Sunday, March 19, 2023

Madrone Abstractions


Inside Looking Out

When I was up on Mt. Tam on my bike the other day I scouted a location my wife's been wanting to paint, checking to see if it's green enough yet. She's painted from the same location a couple other times, years when the hills were more golden, but she's had to postpone capturing the scene in green due to drought-challenged conditions. I sent her a phone snap of the scene, and she decided it was finally a go.

On the way to dropping her off with her easel and paints yesterday, a large madrone caught my interest, and after we parked the car I headed back toward the tree with my camera gear. There were a few tiny flowers blooming on the tips of its sparse, copper-colored branches, but I was drawn to the hollowed-out, fire-scarred section of its trunk.

Every angle I set up on felt like an homage to this resilient old tree. The deep beauty of photography comes when we sense a connection with our subject and feel the bond between ourselves and a fellow living being. Something in the core of our own being harmonizes with the life of another, and it feels like respect. It reminds me of the well-known Henry Beston quote, but extended beyond animals to all of life.

Madrone Portal

Waves of Time

Texture & Curves

Ancient Strength

Life On The Rock We Call Earth

Always Reaching Higher

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Saturday, March 18, 2023

Early March Tam Cams


Turkeys in the Rain

Thursday was a beautiful day for a ride to Mt. Tam. The light fog of early morning burned off to produce a cool and sunny day with hardly any wind. The trail cams survived the atmospheric rivers without mishap and caught some coyotes and turkeys in the rain. 

Biking up to Mt. Tam is kind of an end in itself, but I like having the task of visiting the trail cams to swap out new batteries and memory cards. It's a little too much of a ride to do a longer hike when I get there, but hiking to the cams is just about right. It's good to stretch the legs and to have a little more intimate nature experience than you get riding a bike.

On the way home I stopped to photograph the Ever Lucent, a Singapore-flagged cargo ship that had just passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and now had the city skyline for a backdrop. The ship had recently been in Busan, South Korea, then hit the ports of Qingdao, Hongqiao, and Ningbo, China, before sailing first to Los Angeles, then arriving in here on Thursday. And just as I got home I looked out the back door and saw a bunch of chattering wild parrots resting and preening in my neighbor's 60-year-old oak tree.

One deer, then two: one-second interval between frames.

The Night Coyote Prowls

Growing New Antlers

The Ever Lucent in San Francisco Bay

Red-Masked Parakeets in the Neighborhood

Tam Cam Video Clips
(Unmute to hear the owl.)

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Reef Range


Shell Sunrise

When I noticed yesterday that low tide was going to happen around noon today I decided to head out to Duxbury Reef. I figured the tidepools might be murky from storm runoff, but I hoped I might find something interesting due to all the recent rain exposing the reef to so much fresh water.

I arrived early and walked north up the beach to look around the point and maybe see Palomarin Beach, which has been one of my favorite tidepooling locations, but it's another couple of miles up the coast. There appeared to be reef all along the way, though, so I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by hiking all that way for tidepools.

Especially after a big storm, perhaps. The tidepools were indeed murky. But the really strange thing was the lack of biodiversity. There were lots of turban snails, as usual, but not a lot of anything else. I only saw one full-sized sea anemone, and even the sea weed was sparse, maybe due more to the time of year than anything else.

Even though the tidepools were disappointing, it was a beautiful morning to have Agate Beach almost completely to myself. The drive up and over Mt. Tam was enjoyable also, and it looked like just about every embankment that could slide, did slide. Road crews had already been on the job, though, so the road surface was nicely de-mucked.

Shell Sunrise II

Sculpture in the Range

Basin and Range

Slight Rainbow Over Seal Rocks (3/13/23)

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Monday, March 13, 2023

More Pt. Reyes


Sunrise Over Drake's Estero

Egrets Nesting

Pt. Reyes Wallflower, Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Deer

Exposed Reef at Drake's Beach

Smooth Lines at Drake's Beach

Kehoe Beach

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Saturday, March 11, 2023

Carson Falls


Lower Carson Falls

After dropping my wife off at work Friday morning I drove home and put on my rain gear in anticipation of having a little adventure in the storm while hiking up to Carson Falls. I'd been thinking about hiking to Cataract Falls, but the upper part of Mt. Tamalpais was closed, and Fairfax-Bolinas Road was closed at Azalea Hill.

Despite having all the rain gear, it didn't rain a drop during the whole hike. We'd heard some rain during the night (but no thunder), so we know the forecast wasn't completely wrong. Still, it seemed a little comical that Mt. Tam had closed for weather that turned out to be fairly pleasant.

It seemed like it hadn't been very long since I last hiked up to Carson Falls, but when I checked my photo files after getting home I found it's been six years. This was maybe the second time I've been there and failed to find any foothill yellow-legged frogs along the sides of the falls. I hope they were down there somewhere, and looking forward to a productive mating season.

Upper Carson Falls

Buckeye By the Falls, March 10, 2023

Buckeye By the Falls, January 11, 2008

Bay Laurel

Mt. Tam View with Madrone

Short Clip of Carson Falls

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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Pt. Reyes in Early March


Iris Patch & Setting Moon

Sleeping Beauty

Elk & Setting Moon

Drifting Thoughts

Chitons & Friends

Sea Star, Anemones & Sea Grass

Giacomini Wetlands

Color on the Fence Line

Table for One

Contemplative Bull

A Gathering of Elk

Elk Surprise

Whimbrels in a State of Aesthetic Arrest

Hold Fast

Cliff Dweller

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Bad Gopher


San Francisco Wallflower, March 6, 2023

March 7

March 8

I was so glad to see my first-of-the-season local San Francisco Wallflower (Erysimum franciscanum) on March 6, and when I checked it out again the next morning it looked sad and droopy, as if weighted down with rain. Unfortunately, a closer look revealed an even sadder situation, a nearby gopher hole. When I checked again this morning there was no longer any sign of the wallflower.

Wallflower, Bush Lupine & Bracken at Grandview Park (3/24/2020)


It wasn't there yesterday, so here is the first bloom for Grandview Park, caught on March 9, 2023. The first handful of lupine blossoms has also come out.

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