Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ring Mountain

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When I woke up and saw more than just a wall of fog out my window I decided to take a crack at catching a sunrise up on Ring Mountain. This is the blueschist boulder with the petroglyphs on it (and a few nasty scratches made by obligatory idiots). San Francisco is in the distance to the right.

Unfortunately, the sunrise never really went off, color-wise. This is the view through a 300mm lens.

I hiked up in the dark, using a headlight to see the rocky trail and holding a small flashlight for the darker stretches where the trail was covered by trees. Coyotes yipped across the hillside to the east. The petroglyphs that give Ring Mountain its name were hard to see in the dim, diffuse light. 

I gave up on catching good light at the petroglyph site and started to poke around to look for the Tiburon mariposa lilies. I've only been up there a few times and I couldn't remember exactly where they were, so I hiked higher and farther west than I needed to, but I didn't care because I also wanted to see Mt. Tam. The clouds were thick around the mountain, and when I drove over there later on I needed to run the windshield wipers a few times.

This was about as colorful as the sunrise got. A bit of a gale was blowing on the ridge.

I don't often see Indian pink since it doesn't grow on the parts of Mt. Tam or Pt. Reyes that I usually explore. I've seen it near Alpine Lake, though. The flowers were low to the ground and partially in the lee of the wind, surrounded mainly by poison oak, but I managed to get one half-decent shot without too much movement.

I'm always glad to finally stumble upon the rare Tiburon mariposa lilies. They don't grow in profusion, but they do stand out.

With the wind less of an issue at this elevation I was able to run off a couple of focus stacks on the amazing, hairy corollas.

The sun peaked out for just a minute, casting the only shadow of the morning.

These two little California ringlets were resting together in the grass, clinging to soaproot buds. They were extremely accommodating as I moved in closer and closer, and they were still just like this when I finally walked away.

I was surprised on my way back down to the car when I looked at my watch and saw that it was only 7:40 a.m. I could have stayed longer and tried to photograph the many wildflower species, but my heart wasn't in it. Had the morning been still and heavy with dew, I might have felt differently.

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  1. Some great shots and thanks for the update on the Tiburon Mariposas.

  2. The Tiburon Mariposa Lily is fascinating to the eye. Wow!