Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Lagunitas Creek Sunrise


I hadn't planned to be anywhere in particular to photograph the sunrise, and in fact had only brought my camera gear on the off-chance I'd want to use it. I just haven't felt fired up to do much more than phone-snaps for quite some time. The workweeks are long, and the weekends short. I've found that I enjoy being out in a different way when I don't have my camera gear with me, when I don't have the same drive to acquire an image. Instead I just enjoy being out and about. This time, though, the scene just kind of fell in my lap.

By the time I passed through Point Reyes Station I realized I needed a bathroom, and I knew there were porta-potties at the turn-out for White House Pool. I almost missed the entrance in the pre-dawn darkness, but once I was there I figured I might as well set up my camera for the coming sunrise.

I was surprised how quickly the blaze of color came and went. You don't get very long to bask in the color this time of year, whereas in December you get so much time you can hardly believe it.

A kingfisher chattered from upstream, then finally flew downstream along the opposite bank. It was cold out there, and I was glad I'd chosen to wear jeans instead of shorts. I even had jacket and gloves on until after the sun broke out. It was beautifully quiet out there, and the reflective surface of Lagunitas Creek lent itself to a contemplative frame of mind. 

I've been reading a couple of those "Best Science and Nature Writing" anthologies, downloading them to my Kindle from the library. With all the amazing science going on, I'm still in awe of the fact that we don't know what the "life force" is. I mean, we know all kinds of things about physics, chemistry, and biology, but we still don't know how the elements that formed in exploding stars found their way to becoming living plants and trees, kingfishers and human beings. As one astrobiologist put it, the theory of evolution should be able to address how supposedly dead matter comes to life in the first place. I hope I'm still alive when (or if) we figure that out.

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Monday, November 8, 2021

First Porcini

Giacomini Wetlands Overlook

Sometimes I wonder why I bring my bulky and heavy Nikon at all since it's often enjoyable to just whip out my smartphone and fire off a few frames. I did bring the Nikon on this trip, but I was a lot more picky about my subjects. It's actually great to have the smartphone for quick snaps, plus the Nikon for when I want to be more contemplative in my photographic work.

The Giacomini Wetlands Overlook was nice, but it's gotten a little overgrown for scenic purposes since I photographed it in 2015. I don't think the shot I made then would be possible now.

Giacomini Marsh in 2015

First Porcini of the Season

I found this porcini in the first two minutes of my mushroom-hunt on Mt. Vision, and it was in great shape. My wife and I ate it that night. I poked around under the bishop pines for another hour-and-a-half or so without finding any others. All I found instead were a few holes in the pine duff where it appeared that someone had beaten me to the goods.

Raggedy Amanita

While I was in the woods I also found this apparently rain-soaked amanita with its raggedy veil remnants hanging off the cap margin. I suspect the top of the cap wouldn't have been quite so white if it hadn't been rained on.

Curlews on the Beach

Along with Mt. Vision being open again, it was great to see that Drake's Beach was too. The parking lot and marsh restoration look nice and new.

Estero Bird Overlook

The Estero Bird Overlook at the edge of Schooner Bay beckoned with its mirror-like reflections. As I made this phone snap I caught some movement in my peripheral vision and was surprised to see a river otter preening nearby.

Resting River Otter

I hung out while it carried on without paying me much mind. The otter really seemed to like using the rolled straw wattle at the base of the riprap as a comfy platform to preen from. A car drove by as I was hanging out, then stopped to turn around and park. I had tried not to bring attention to the otter, but apparently a sharp-eyed photographer had spotted me watching it, and I felt a little bit like I'd betrayed the otter. I walked back toward my car and said hello to the photographer, who said, "We must have seen the same thing, eh?" I must have given him a slightly quizzical look because he added, "The reflections." Oh yeah, I said. He had some kind of Brit or Aussie accent and I liked his demeanor enough to tell him about the otter. Thankfully he just went over to pay his respects from a distance without the otter being bothered in the least.

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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Change of Season

On the one hand, it's great to finally be getting some rain. On the other hand, I had to postpone my dental check-up this Tuesday because I didn't want to show up like a soggy dog after biking downtown.

I took the day off to drive out to Pt. Reyes yesterday to beat the weekend crowds. I drove up through Lucas Valley where there's still a traffic light where they're doing roadwork on a tight bend in the road. I drove home on Hwy. 1, the Shoreline Highway. I'd planned to climb up the northwest side of Mt. Tam via Bolinas Fairfax Road, but the gate was closed, so I enjoyed the drive along Bolinas Lagoon instead. It was pretty much high tide at the time, something like +6 feet. Definitely no dry land for basking harbor seals or foraging shorebirds.

I shot these three scenes along West Ridgecrest Road, near the intersection with Bolinas-Fairfax. It kind of looks like I could have made these shots yesterday, but they were made back in early July, when ferns and redwoods live off the sometimes prodigious summer fog drip.

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