I took today’s photo, Threshing About, from a boat, steaming down the Li River in China. I’m not sure who had the harder job as the stalks of rice were being cut with a hand scythe by a woman I assumed to be this man’s wife. I know nothing about rice farming, despite the city of Katy, TX, where I now live, being known for its rice harvest (now a receding memory as ever more fields are turned over to housing). I wonder how much rice the bundle of stalks this man is holding would yield?

A man feeds rice into a threshing machine to separate the grains from the stalks in a rice paddy off the Li River near Guilin, in China.

A man feeds rice into a threshing machine to separate the grains from the stalks in a rice paddy off the Li River near Guilin, in China.

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I look at images such as today’s photo of a breezy day taken in 1990 or 1991 with bitter sweet feelings. Breezy days, where the wind would pick up the sand and blot out the view, were few and far between thankfully. I wouldn’t refer to this as a sandstorm – those things really hurt if you got caught out in them. This was more an annoying, steady blow of sand that permeated everything. It’s such a shame what has happened to Libya, the country and its people, in the last few years. Anyone else see shades of Jakku here?

The wind picks up the sand on a breezy day, blotting out the view beyond the drill buggy and vibrator at our camp in the Calanscio sand sea.

The wind picks up the sand on a breezy day, blotting out the view beyond the drill buggy and vibrator at our camp in the Calanscio sand sea.

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The Stovepipe Wells sand dunes are a well known feature and every photographer in the valley stops there sooner or later. Most photographers trek out there in the darkness to capture the sunrise. It’s a challenge to avoid others and their footprints. This particular shot was taken in the evening, just after sunset. I’ve no idea how this piece of tree found itself on top of this dune but I can only imagine someone hauled it up there – perhaps another photographer, even. I had a hard enough time hauling my camera bag and tripod up the soft sand!

Looking east from atop a sand dune at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Park.

Looking east from atop a sand dune at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Park.

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Titus Canyon Road is a one-way drive for most of it’s length. You can drive from the valley to where the canyon exits but then you have to hike into the canyon. Most people that take that route will never reach this spot, some 5 miles or so from the parking lot. This is a view to the west as the road starts to descend more steeply through the Grapevine Mountains of the Amargosa Range. In the distance you can see the Cottonwood Mountains of the Panamint Range.

The upper reaches of Titus Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

The upper reaches of Titus Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

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If you drive the Titus Canyon Road in Death Valley National Park, about a quarter mile after you pass through the remains of Leadfield you get to the upper entrance to Titus Canyon. I had to stop and get a few shots of this wondrous view – the most amazing folded rocks I’ve ever seen. Having taken classes in Geology as part of my Geophysics degree, to see these folded rocks literally stopped me in my tracks. Imagine the forces required to bend all this material, and the heat such that the rocks would bend not snap.

Folded Rocks at the entrance to Titus Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

Folded Rocks at the entrance to Titus Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

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