The afternoon sun casts its long shadows on the snow and lights lodge-pole pine trees on the slopes of Copper Mountain, Colorado, USA. In the distance, is Peak 8 from the neighbouring Breckenridge ski resort at 12,990 feet, (3,960 m). It is one of the peaks on the Ten Mile Range.
Sprawling at the base of a Saguaro cactus, a patch of flowering California Poppies brightens up a rocky hillside near Pinnacle Peak, Arizona, USA. Saguaros are very slow growing and at around 12 to 15 feet tall, this specimen is estimated to be between 60 and 100 years old. They can grow to over 30 feet and can live over 175 years in a harsh desert environment.
The sharp, prolific spines of a Golden Barrel Cactus, (Echinocactus spp.), could give some pause to the unwary. It is a popular garden plant in Arizona, USA where it is occasionally referred to by some as the "mother-in-law's cushion".
Sheltering among boulders in a gully on the slopes of Mount Kingstone in Colorado, USA, Sub-alpine Daisies (Erigeron spp) and yellow Alpine Hulsea... (Hulsea spp), grow abundently and create a natural wildflower garden.
As winter approaches, the leaves of Aspen trees in the high country of Colorado , USA, change from their summer green into brilliant golden yellow colors. They provide breathtaking contrasts with the surrounding evergreen forrests of Blue Spruce and Lodgepole pine trees.
A hike along Pine Creek near Aspen, Colorado, USA, reveals striking views of ridge lines, rugged terrain, creeks and clear waters rushing over cascades. The yellow autumn foliage of Aspen Trees contrasts with the vivid blue Colorado skies. At the far end of the watershed, Cathedral Peak reaches into the sky.
The changing autumn colours of vegetation growing along a watercourse in the Utah desert, contrast dramatically with the orange and red tones that are predominant in the desert environment. The tilting sandstone strata in the distance lends an interesting texture to the scene.
As dusk falls over the desert in the Arches National Park, Utah, USA, the sun illuminates the distant dramatic skyline of eroded sandstone features. A juniper pine near the end of it's life, struggles on in the arid terrain.
This Juniper Pine clings to life in shallow soils on a rock ledge in Park Lane of the Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA. It stands in silhouette against an eroded rock fin wall that appears to glow in the late afternoon light.
Early morning sunlight catches the edges of a sandstone fin formation, (known as the Tower Of Babel), and lights up the autumn leaves of trees growing along the Courtroom Wash in the Arches National Park, Utah, USA.
The skeletal remains of a pinyon pine still stand after a lifetime of enduring a harsh desert environment. The inspiring sandstone rock fins of "Park Lane" in the Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, USA glow in the afternoon sunshine against a clear blue sky.
After defying a harsh desert environment for so long, this ancient Juniper Pine nears the end of it's life.
Sharp spines protect the fruity body of a prickly-pear cactus that finds a foothold on a rocky ledge in the Canyonlands of Utah, USA. Dangerous to the unwary traveller, these cactus are a testament to survival in a harsh desert environment.
Clinging to life in an inhospitable environment, this hardy Utah Juniper tree survives beside a dramatic sandstone cliff face along the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, USA.
Seemingly out of place on the prairie, this group of cottonwood trees interrupts the rolling, otherwise treeless, landscape of the "sandhill country" grasslands near Sutherland, Nebraska, USA
Surrounded by Aspen trees displaying their characteristic gold leaves in full autumn colours, a stand of pine trees competes for a place to survive on Kenosha Pass, Colorado, USA
Thriving in a meadow seepage area on the side of Pawnee Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado, USA, this patch of wildflowers shows vibrantly against the grasses. Flowering here are Elephant Heads (Purple), Paintbrush (Pink), Bistort (White), Cinquefoil (Yellow) and some Sedges.
A group of Ponderosa Pine trees growing on a rocky headland jutting into Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA are reflected in the clear waters below. Trees growing on the far bank of the lake are reflected in the still waters beyond the headland.
A tropical storm threatens the Gold Coast of Queensland. A grove of flowering Pandanas Palms in the Burleigh Heads National Park, grows down to the water's edge and overlooks these famous tourist and urban regions on the east coast of Australia.
An inflorescence of one of the many Aster species within the Asteraceae family that is commonly found flowering during the mid-summer months throughout the high country of Colorado, USA.
Acclimated to a life in a harsh alpine environment, this Alpine Sunflower, (Tetraneuris spp.), survives and thrives in the tundra vegetation at the top of Kingston Peak, (12,147 ft / 3,702 m), Colorado, USA.
Spring time blossoms emerge from a shoot sprouting from the trunk of a white-flowering ornamental apple tree in Denver, Colorado, USA. While it's an unusual place to find flowers, this tree trunk had suffered winter snow damage. By sprouting the beginnings of a new branch, this flowering shoot was nature's response to injury.
A rainbow sets up in the sky over the Australian bush after an afternoon storm passes through.
Blue skies return after an early snow storm brings a taste of the winter to come to the garden. Tree branches, still cloaked with leaves showing their changing colours, bend under the weight of the fallen snow.
A mixture of garden plants, (including broad leaved Coleus and Brunnera, vines of Clematis, Vinca and Euonymus), surround a colorful patch of Impatiens flowers growing in Denver, Colorado, USA.
As the seasons change, deciduous trees change their leaf color to provide a brilliant display of nature's beauty in Denver, Colorado, USA.
The trunk and tangled root mass of a fallen pine tree rests along the shoreline of Saint Mary's Lake at the base of Saint Mary's Glacier, Colorado, USA. A walking track leads up the rugged hillside through a mix of colorful autumn foliage reflecting in the lake's still waters.
This bush track winds through a stand of Mountain Ash in the heavily timbered forests of the Great Otway National Park. Not knowing what awaits around the next corner, the wet misty day gives the forest a feeling of mysterious foreboding.
Strips of bark fall away from a symmetrical group of young Mountain Ash trees as they grow upwards to the sky through an undergrowth of Black Wattle in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia.
Groves of Tree Ferns grow abundantly in the shady moist gullies of the Great Otway National Park, Australia. Their majestic fronds add an interesting texture to the understory of this Mountain Ash forest.
Tree ferns grow prolifically and gracefully in the understory of forests of the Otway Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Moss and orchids growing on branches of black wattle trees provide an interesting texture for the wild bush environment.
Still standing guard but finally yielding to the test of time and harsh alpine conditions, these ancient bristle-cone pines leave behind their twisted skeletons among new growth on the slopes of Mount Goliath in the Mount Evans Wilderness near Denver, Colorado. Bristle-cone pines are thought to be the oldest of living single-organisms on earth. Some of these trees at Mount Goliath are believed to be over 1,700 years old while some in California are over 3,000 years.
After a long life withstanding the ravages of savage weather conditions, this Bristle Cone Pine tree finally perished on the slopes of Mount Goliath, Colorado, USA. Nevertheless, its sturdy trunk will remain for many more years as a testament to wilderness survival. Some Bristle Cone Pines in this area are over 1,000 years old.
On the slopes of Mount Goliath in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area near Denver, Colorado, USA, the gnarled skeleton of a dead Bristlecone Pine tree stands where it has for many hundreds of years. Some of these trees at Mount Goliath are believed to be over 1,700 years old while some in California are over 3,000 years.
Tree tops glow as they catch the setting sun in Yosemite Valley, California. These trees stand in a striking silhouette on the gigantic granite walls that were carved by glacial action.
The afternoon sun lights a hardy ponderosa pine tree in the Yosemite National Park while a waterfall on Fireplace Creek, full with springtime snow-melt waters, thunders into the Merced River valley below.