Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Waxing Moon, Waning Mood


Yesterday's Sunrise

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything, so I thought I'd splain a little bit. As I've gotten into a groove of just enjoying the heck out of each and every day, I haven't felt inspired toward any particular photographic direction that fits in with that. I still snap a few frames here and there, with my phone or the point-and-shoot, while I'm out walking or biking around the city, but it doesn't feel like the kind of thing that's worth blogging about. 

That said, I'd like to get back to exploring with the DSLR, but my man-moon seems to be in a waning phase, so I'm just going to enjoy coasting into the winter solstice while I wait to see what the new year brings, inspiration-wise. 

Meanwhile, my bike was in the shop for a week due to supply issues on the new brake rotors I needed, so today I gave the new brakes a workout by riding out to Mt. Tam to place a couple of trail cams.

I've been letting the ship-spotting slide for the most part, but seeing this incredibly colorful and fully-packed container ship stopped me in my tracks. This is the Japan-flagged One Columba heading into the Golden Gate. Her recent port calls include Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Los Angeles. 

I was still in the Presidio when I took the previous shot, and by the time I got to the other end of the bridge the One Columba was just passing beneath it, its bright colors washed out by the directional light of a star about 93 million miles in the background.

I gave thanks for a nice encounter with these tom turkeys. I first met them in the woods as I was looking for a new camera trap location. And while I'm at it I'll also say thanks to the young man who shouted, "You got this!" out the back window of the car as his parents passed me on a steep section of the climb up Mt. Tam.

I first saw this from a distance and had no idea what it was. I hoped it was a dragonfly larva, and was disappointed to find that it was a drowned Jerusalem cricket.

The expansive view from my Bolinas Ridge lunch spot included this golden bigleaf maple glowing in an otherwise green forest.

I could hear chainsaws in the woods and found this fairly recent handiwork. I guess this is all about making the woods more fire-resilient, and I get cutting off the low branches so fire can't climb the tree as easily. As for the slash piles, I believe the plan is to return eventually to burn them under controlled conditions. But what I don't understand is why they girdled many of the smaller live trees. 

I was watching the surf a couple days ago and loved seeing this guy just slide into the tube with no hope of coming out the other end.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Morning Drive


Drakes Estero

I needed a little break from my urban hike-n-bike routine today, so I drove out to Point Reyes to take in the sunrise. It was high tide as the sun came up, but my plan to photograph the Giacomini Marsh was thwarted by fog over Tomales Bay. I continued out Sir Francis Drake and took in the estero as the approaching dawn gradually brought the landscape to life. 

Up next, I thought I might look for mushrooms on Mt. Vision, but I quickly realized I wasn't in the mood for spending a lot of time scrounging around in the woods and possibly coming up empty. I did see a mushroom-picker with a bucket on his back, but I didn't get a chance to ask if he'd scored any porcini.

Meanwhile, the lion's manes (not bear's heads, as I originally thought) were calling from Mt. Tam, so I drove up to Rock Spring and hiked down the trail to collect them and snap a couple photos with the DSLR. The mystery fungus had grown out its "mane," so I collected that one too, since lion's mane is supposed to be really tasty. Unfortunately, although it cooked up nicely and looked great on a dinner plate, the flavor was mild and uninteresting. 

Vertical Estero

Mt. Vision in fog, with sun breaking through.

Pond near the top of Mt. Vision Road.

View toward Point Reyes and Chimney Rock.

Roadside gardens near Inverness.

Pearly Web

Sunny Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest Floor

Lion's Mane

Close-up view of the spines.

Fall Color

I'm sure this slime mold wasn't sporulating when my wife and I hiked down the Cataract Trail two days ago. It would have been impossible to miss. 

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Sunday, November 5, 2023

See Ya, Summery Fall

Lion's Mane Fungus
(Hericium erinaceus)

My wife and I took a little hike in the rain on Mt. Tam today, and I'm pretty sure the mystery fungus whose pix I've posted earlier is going to turn into one of these, a lion's mane fungus. Having just been there a few days ago, when everything was still dry, I had no expectation of seeing so much fungi on today's hike (it wasn't raining at all in San Francisco). All I had was my phone camera, and of course I had no wax paper bags for collecting. However, it was such a pleasure to see mushrooms again that I didn't want to disturb anything by picking them.

I suspect these and other wood-sprouters were honey mushrooms, and later we would find a few giant fruitings that left no room for doubt.

There were many colorful russula patches like these among fallen bay leaves.

The big-leaf maples along Cataract Creek were looking about as good as they get.

I wasn't picking anything, or even looking under caps, so I won't even guess what this guy is.

Another juicy lion's mane.

Probably more honey mushrooms.

This was part of one of two patches of coccoli (Amanita calyptroderma) we found this morning. It was interesting to see so much development in the caps with hardly any stalk. 

Honey Patch

Dyer's Polypore

Again, I didn't look at the gills, so I'm not sure, but I suspect this is just a crazy-big lepiota, and not the prince (Agaricus augustus).

A pool along Cataract Creek at Laurel Dell.

Fresh greens and fading yellows next to a mostly dry Cataract Creek.

One of many grisettes (probably Amanita pachycolea) that we found in several places.

Two Short Clips from the Rainy Forest

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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Summery Fall


Canada Geese in Coyote Creek

I've been thinking about making the long drive up to the Klamath Basin to immerse myself in millions of geese who fill the air with incessant honking and countless fluttering wings rising up like a thunderous applause, but for now I'll settle for eleven geese silently floating past Mt. Tamalpais.

It was amazingly sunny and warm today and felt more like summer than fall, although I was pleasantly surprised to find a few little fruitings of fungi. They were pretty dried out, but were a tantalizing taste of what the rains will bring.

The new trail cam location was a dud, so I moved the cams once again. When I returned to Rock Spring there was a group of CalFire and other folks at the picnic table near my bike. They'd been doing more prescribed burns. We noticed a lot of dark smoke out over the ocean that didn't seem to make sense. Where was it coming from? One guy said there's another burn going on at China Camp State Park, but it still didn't make sense until I got down the mountain a ways and could see that, sure enough, the smoke was blowing down from there and then getting whooshed out through the Golden Gate.

Just another gorgeous day for a bike ride on Mt. Tam. 

The California fuchsia are still going strong.

When this guy fluttered past me the tops of its wings seemed more intricately patterned than a cabbage white, but it never spread its wings after it landed, so I'm not sure what this is.

Just a few steps farther along, a more indulgent painted lady soaked up the sun on the Cataract Trail.

This thing has gotten a little bigger (since 10/26), but I'm still not sure if it's going to turn into anything recognizeable. It's still quite spongy, so I assume it's still growing into ... something.

A few dried russulas thought it was time to hop to it, only to have Mother Nature deliver a bit of a fake-out.

This cute littel amanita has barely cleared its universal veil. Maybe some rain will come this weekend and get things going again.

I would have thought this tipped-over madrone with the dead crown was all done with life, but the brand new leaves say otherwise. I assume this new growth is sprouting from the original tree's burl, and not from a berry that fell down in there and sprouted.

First I found the band-tailed pigeon feather, then I saw a couple of nearby madrone berries that the birds didn't get at feeding time.

California giant salamander hanging out on a rock in a relatively deep and quiet pool.

Another of those white butterflies fluttered past me and drew me out into a meadow where I found a lot of pushed-down grass and some relatively fresh deer bones. 

Smoke from a prescribed burn blows out to sea.

Black-necked stilt along Coyote Creek.

Looking very stilty!

This large and odd-looking ship is the vehicle carrier Shanghai Highway, most recently from Incheon, Korea, and before that -- where else but Shanghai, China.

The container ship YM Travel was close behind, heading for Oakland. VesselFinder doesn't show its other recent port calls.

Just down the way from the large No Dancing sign on Golden Gate Park's JFK Promenade, some cool new sculptures were being set up as I passed through on my way home.

Some kids nearby were hoping the Gillie and Marc sculptures were made of chocolate.

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