THE BODIE HILLS are a small mountain range on the west edge of the Great Basin in northern Mono County, California and adjacent Mineral and Lyon counties, Nevada. The Mono Basin and Mono Lake lie to the south; Bridgeport Valley and the Sierra Nevada lie to the west.
As a botany student at Humboldt State University in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I spent 3 summers here collecting plants for my MA thesis, a local flora of the Bodie Hills. Now, a little over 3 decades later, I’m spending time here again, finding additional species and compiling an updated and annotated checklist of plants in the Bodie Hills.
Visiting Yosemite as a kid, I was awe-struck by the landscape and the diversity of life there. I was also enthralled by the knowledge of ranger-naturalists who seemed to know the names and natural history of every plant, animal, and rock they encountered. I wanted to know these things too, so I pursued a degree in Botany and a career as a field biologist.
Plants have long been among my favorite photographic subjects, but creating images of plants in the wild that succeed both scientifically and aesthetically—documenting the plant’s identifying characteristics or habitat while also revealing the unique beauty of each species—is not easy. It’s a most enjoyable challenge, though, and a continuing incentive to explore wild places.
Collomia grandiflora — Large-flowered Collomia
Paeonia brownii — Brown’s peony
Allium bisceptrum — wild onion, with a sweat bee (family Halictidae)