Friday, April 4, 2014

Cascade Falls

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I've been trying to get a Friday off for several weeks -- I sure miss my old 4-day workweek -- and finally got a chance today. I've been wanting to take the borrowed 4x5 view camera out to expose the rest of the sheets of film I bought a few months ago. 

The view camera is quite a handful. It's heavy and its case is bulky (case, camera + one lens and film holders = 25.8 lbs.), so I was glad to be able to practically drive right up to Cascade Falls in Mill Valley. This is the same waterfall that was dry when Pam and I stumbled on it way back near the start of the circumannuation, at the bottom of the Zig Zag Trail.

I fired off a few frames with my D800E, then switched gears to the 4x5. I have to say, I fall in love with using a view camera right away, even the huge, heavy monorail that a friend was kind enough to let me borrow. I think I'm going to get one of my own, and I've been looking at a lightweight Chamonix 4x5 field camera.

I exposed all the remaining sheets of film I had in short order and felt a touch of disappointment over being out of film when the day was still so young. It would have been tough to keep going, though, because the storm blowing through was creating fairly windy conditions on the mountain. Wind blowing into a bulky view camera can make it impossible to get sharp pictures.

After shooting Cascade Falls and using up my remaining sheets of film, I headed up the mountain to check on the camera trap and to move the camera to a new location. I stopped by the Serpentine Power Point area to look for wildflowers, but most were still closed up due to lack of sunshine, and many others were well past their prime.

A covey of quail was feeding along the road very near the pull-out near my trail camera, so I parked and walked back to see if they'd let me get close enough to make a few photographs.

Unfortunately, the quail on Mt. Tam aren't as accommodating as they are in, say, Tennessee Valley. They view a human in much the same way they'd view most other animals -- something to be avoided.

Before checking on the camera, which was close to the road, I poked around in the woods and found these interesting little Amanita pantherina mushrooms.

There were still numerous calypso orchids in bloom, but they're already starting to fade. 

The spotted coral roots, another of our native orchids, are just getting started for the most part, at least up here near Bolinas Ridge. I believe they start blooming earlier near the base of the mountain. The bright orange stuff in the background is fungus, probably incipient turkey tails.

I snapped this frame on the way back to the Jeep after setting the trail camera out in its new location. I'm a little concerned that people will trip the motion sensor in this location, and probably even spot the camera, but we'll see. I've been thinking about setting out in this spot for quite a while. It's near a tree where a bobcat that I had photographed a few years ago lay down to die. Another photographer who'd been with me was looking for it again a couple of weeks after we'd seen it and found the cat peacefully laid out at the base of a huge old oak tree.

There was a little bit of rain off and on, but nothing really significant. I dozed for a while in the Jeep with the sound of light rain tapping the roof and windows. Beautiful.

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