Monday, March 31, 2008

Publications (#4): Camping Stories

First Camping Trip

In 1959 my friend Howard and I left Los Angeles, driving up highway 395 to the Mammoth Lakes area, eventually traveling down a winding, dusty dirt road to the Minaret Falls campground on the banks of the San Joaquin River. He had been there before on a fishing trip, but neither one of us had any high altitude hiking experience. We started out late one morning for a quick (we thought) jaunt to Minaret Lake, only to be beaten back hours later and miles from our goal by the brain-warping ascent. I got out my Argus C3 and snapped Howard as he slumped disconsolately against a tree at the Minaret Mine trail junction.

Photo: Howard, Minaret Lake Trail—Sierra Nevada, 1959

Sunday, March 30, 2008

. . . from the archives #7: Man Sweeping—Kyoto, 1965

We’ve been trying to plan for our upcoming (in October) trip to Japan. There are quite a few imponderables! The yen-dollar issue, for one.

And then, trying to plan an itinerary is very difficult. Tokyo, yes. Kyoto, of course. But there should be at least one other place. But which? In addition, there are the difficulties of finding hotels, ryokans, etc.

Discussed some of these issues at last night’s dinner, prepared by Shawna and Maz for John and Dena, Hali and myself, which featured Ohitashi, Albacore Tuna Tataki, Hiyashi-Chuka and an exquisitely rich Vanilla Ginger Crème Brulee. Wow!

My trip to Japan in 1965 was, in large part, financed by U.S. taxpayers. As I recall, I stayed at a small ryokan near the Kyoto train station and located quite close to a pachinko parlor.

Photo: Man Sweeping—Kyoto, 1965

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Infiniti G35

My car in Owens Valley. I would think that Infiniti would want this shot for an ad campaign. (Of course I'd have to get rid of the bug stains on the bumper in Photoshop.)

Photo: Infiniti G35—Owens Valley, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Thursday: Lunch in San Francisco with Marilyn, at Mo’s in Yerba Buena Gardens. The view was outstanding, but they’ve inconsiderately planted trees right in front of the balconey, blocking my photo attempts. Had to wander down towards the play area to get the full skyline expanse.

Yerba Buena Gardens is also home to the "historic Charles Looff Carousel." According to the website, "This beautifully hand carved Carousel was built in 1906 and was formerly the Carousel from Playland-at-the-Beach where it ran from 1912 to 1972. In 1998, it was purchased by the City of San Francisco, fully restored and brought to Yerba Buena Gardens."

Photos: Skyline from Yerba Buena Gardens—San Francisco, 2008; Carousel—San Francisco, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

L.A. & the Santa Monica Mountains

Hali and I stayed at the Best Western motel just a hop, skip and a jump away from the famous intersection of Pico and Sepulveda. I took a walk in the early morning traffic and took this picture of traffic stopped at, yes, Pico and Sepulveda.

We drove into the Santa Monica Mountains, past Malibu, Zuma and Leo Carillo beaches, turning on a small two-lane road winding up into the foothills, past bicyclists, thence hiking down, down, down through the chaparral, finally reaching a sylvan glade with oaks and sycamores.

Photos: Escape—Los Angeles, 2008; Sycamore—Santa Monica Mountains, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Santa Monica & Malibu

After camping, I picked Hali up at LAX and we drove to the Santa Monica shopping district. The shopping, such as there was, was disappointing. The same dreary things over and over: Sunglass Hut, Banana Republic etc etc ad infinitum. Better was the view overlooking the Pacific: miles of unused early spring beaches, with the lone jogger making an appearance.

Later that evening: an excellent dinner at Providence on Melrose Avenue! (Unbelievable traffic getting there, though.)

Next day, to Malibu and the Getty Villa, reminiscent of San Simeon. We had early reservations, so the "Outer Peristyle" was empty, where I was able to take this panoramic shot.

Photographs: Jogger—Santa Monica, 2008; Outer Peristyle, Getty Villa—Malibu, 2008.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunrise—Owens Valley

Mike huddled in his sleeping bag, loathe to challenge the early morning cold outside the tent. But he knew that the first light of sunrise was starting to touch the higher peaks, so he resolutely wriggled out of the bag and into his clothes, popped two handwarmers into his North Face down jacket, unzipped the door and stepped out. He stood facing the Sierra crest, gazing at Lone Pine Peak and Mt. Whitney; then he turned around.

Dark clouds were moving in from the east, tinged red by the rising sun. He stood and stared for a second, then moved to his car, threw the camera in, and took off for the ridge overlooking Owens Valley. Once there, he mounted the camera—an Olympus E-510—on his flimsy—yet sturdy enough—tripod, intermittantly jamming his hands into his pockets and clutching the handwarmers. This photograph consists of three vertical shots, combined in Photoshop.

Photograph: Sunrise—Owens Valley, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lone Pine Campground (1)

Drove from Marin last Monday to Lone Pine Campground, within view of Mt. Whitney. A very long drive. (Note to self: avoid highway 58 in the future through Bakersfield. In the olden times, I could zip through rural fields; but now, of course: traffic lights, congestion . . . the works, all conspiring against one.) OK, the campground: most of it is closed for the season, but some sites have been left open. I was happy to find one at the end that afforded a degree of privacy.

The campground is located directly below Mt. Whitney, as I said, but actually Lone Pine Peak is more impressive, looming over Owens Valley. I took this picture as the sun was rising over the White Mountains, the light just beginning to strike the Sierra Nevada.

Also in the vicinity are the Alabama Hills, location for several western films. A veritable photographic treasure trove: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Alan Ross and Galen Rowell have all worked here. This picture was taken at twilight.

Photos: Sunrise, Lone Pine Peak—Sierra Nevada, 2008; Rocks—Alabama Hills, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greetings From L.A.

Currently in Los Angeles, and it's hot! Trips to the Getty Villa and the Santa Monica mountains. Pix to follow!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Leaving for a short trip tomorrow . . . Owens Valley, Alabama Hills etc, and then to L.A.

Blogging will be intermittent.

de Young Museum

From the de Young Museum’s website:

What better introduction to spring than dozens of stunning, elaborate floral arrangements displayed in a dramatic museum setting? And what better way to see the de Young than when filled with Bouquets to Art? Enjoy floral exhibits, lectures, lunch, and tea.

I was there! Hali & I parked at the museum and walked over to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, observing a wedding photography session taking place on the steps. Then we met Shawna & Maz for lunch at the museum . . . really very nice. Afterwards we toured the museum, ooh-ing and ah-ing at the flower arrangements.

(Actually, I was mainly looking at the art works themselves. This solitary statue, plenty of fool-the-eye paintings, and . . . an original Charles Sheeler!)

Photos: Wedding Party—San Francisco, 2008, de Young Museum Lobby—San Francisco, 2008, Statue, de Young Museum—San Francisco, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Publications (#3): San Francisco Places (Dance of the Hours)

Late afternoon at Fisherman’s Wharf.

My advice: ignore the crowds and wander around the docks. Listen to the quiet lapping of the Bay against the piers. Search for that transforming moment when the golden evening light slanting through the masts casts its spell and you’re no longer in the frantic fifties but a much earlier, much less hurried, time.

Excerpt from San Francisco Places (Dance of the Hours) by Ronald Sung © Glen Drive Productions 2006.

Photo: Boats, Fisherman’s Wharf—San Francisco, 2005

Friday, March 14, 2008

Low Print Prices

Whoa . . . I'm quoted in one of my "photo sites" blogs, here.

I myself am thinking through a pricing structure for my prints, even as we speak. Have come up with something very theoretical . . . will need to be tested in the harsh light of reality.

Abbott's Lagoon

After I was done hanging my pix, I drove into Point Reyes National Seashore . . . rolling hills, grazing cattle, spring wildflowers. Turning around to come back, I saw this view of Abbott's Lagoon . . . then, frantically looking for a pullout and finding none, stopping right on the road, getting out of the car, snapping the shot and beating a hasty getaway.

Photo: Abbott’s Lagoon—Point Reyes, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Inverness Library

I have a few photos being exhibited at the quaint little library in Inverness.
(The town of Inverness is located in an extremely scenic area adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore, just off Tomales Bay.) Spent some time yesterday hanging the pix using nylon twine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


A photo taken with the Sony DSC-R1, showing the use of the wide angle option to good effect.

Photo: Tulelake—Modoc County, 2007

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oki Dog

From a review of Oki Dog found on the website Chowhound:

As we stood there talking, I watched the gentleman put 4 hot-dogs split down the middle on the grill, making 8 lengths of hot-dog. I thought to myself, 'Who is all that for??" Then, after a minute or two, he used some tongs to drag up and throw a HUGE portion of something that looked like corned beef on the griddle next to the hot dogs. Again I thought, 'Goodness, who the hell is all that food for??' I even looked around, but we were the only people in the place.

Then, he pulled two ENORMOUS flour tortillas from the refrigerator. He lay them on grill to warm. I started to realize what was about to happen. Ha! If only I knew! When everything was ready, he took each huge tortilla, arranged 4 halves of hot dog in each one, then piled on the 'corned beef.' THEN, he took chili that was cooking unforeseen next the grill and ladled it over everything. (It was Tommy's/Jay Burger type chili.) THEN he took large slices of cheese and put them on top. Finally, as I watched agape, he rolled it all together and gave us each the biggest 'burrito' either of us had ever seen. Hot dogs, chili, cheese, some kind of meat, huge portions of each, all rolled together in an enormous flour tortilla.

I just have to say, this was one of the most amazing, revolting, wonderful, literally heart stopping (cholesterol city), pleasure and heart burn inducing treats I have ever encountered. I am not sure I could ever eat one if I was not slightly toasted. But I will definitely be back.

Alas, Oki Dog was closed in the early AM when I took this photograph.

Photo: Oki Dog—Los Angeles, 2007

Monday, March 10, 2008

. . . from the archives #6: Boulder, Tree—Olmstead Point, 1984

Olmstead Point is a popular scenic viewpoint on the Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park, now of course with its own Wikipedia entry. The granite backbone of the Sierra is in full view here, as are small bonsai-like pines and glacially-placed erratic boulders. This particular arrangement has, I believe, been photographed many times before.

Photo: Boulder, Tree—Olmstead Point, 1984

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Photo: We’re Open Sunday—San Francisco, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Publications (#2): Rocks & Peaks, Rivers & Streams

Rain falling
Slick surfaced rock glistens
Wiping my glasses I hear
The sound of the water.

Excerpt from Rocks and Peaks, Rivers and Streams by Richard Saunders © Glen Drive Productions 2005.

Photo: Rain on Silver Creek—Pocket Meadow, 2003

Friday, March 7, 2008

San Francisco Evening

Into the city yesterday afternoon for a Meeting with my Publisher. Sold a picture! Arrived slightly early, so I was able to wander around a bit taking advantage of the late afternoon light.

Photos: Reflections—San Francisco, 2008, Market Street, Evening—San Francisco, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sony DSC-R1

Boulders (White Wolf) - Yosemite  2007

I had the Sony DSC-R1 for a number of months in 2006-2007. What attracted me to it was the large lens—a zoom lens that was the 35mm equivalent of 24-120, and the rotating LCD, of which I’ve spoken before. But it wasn’t long before problems surfaced.

I found that JPG files from the camera were unworkable, very smeared and unpleasant. RAW files were much better, so I used those. Still, I found it odd that I had to write off the use of JPGs.

It was the camera’s weight, however, that became the biggest issue for me over time. And, the R1 was extremely clunky: the weight of the lens meant that the camera pointed down when worn hanging around the neck. Over two pounds of camera with the EVF assembly constantly poking one in the ribs is quickly tiring—at least for me. But I valued it for its 10MP sensor and the ability to compose on the (small) LCD screen. However, once Olympus announced the E-510 SLR I quickly resolved to switch, eventually selling the R1 back to B&H.

The best use that I found for the R1 was on a tripod, as in this shot taken in an oddly mosquito-less White Wolf Campground, Yosemite, June, 2007.

Photo: Tree Trunk & Boulders—Yosemite, 2007

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bridge Viewing

Traveled to San Francisco today for a really nice dim sum brunch with Jenny. (At the "Lucky Fortune" on Geary Blvd.) Topics of discussion: art festivals, festival displays, pricing tactics, snooty gallery owners and, of course, the latest gossip.

Afterwards, I headed out Geary, parked at the Fort Miley parking lot and walked to this overlook. A most unique perspective on the Golden Gate Bridge . . . will have to return.

Photo: Bridge Viewing—San Francisco, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


As depicted in the statue at the rear of the Ferry Building, Gandhi appears to be walking, staff in hand, towards the Bay Bridge. While all of the other commuters were scurrying off the just-arrived ferry in the chill morning air of March, there was one commuter who quickly scurried over to the statue, rested his Olympus C-8080 on his wheeled daypack, and took this picture.

Photo: Gandhi, Sunrise—San Francisco, 2006

Monday, March 3, 2008

. . . from the archives #5: Photographers—Yosemite, 1991

As a late Spring storm began to clear I hurried up from my El Portal campsite to the famous Yosemite overlook area, only to find it overrun by photographers. The clouds weren't cooperating and the sun kept trying to break through, frustrating us in our mutual desire to create a fake Ansel Adams.

Photo: Photographers—Yosemite, 1991

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Herding Cattle

Traveling though Northern California last year, I came across this cattle drive; the cowboys had stopped traffic so that the cattle could be moved from one pasture to the other. Alas, I was stuck in the line of cars and couldn’t really get a good shot. I managed to make a quick U-turn, come back, and stop right on the highway, taking this shot through the passenger side window. Please note the presence of the working dog, probably some kind of border collie.

Photo: Herding Cattle—Plumas County, 2007

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Publications (#1): Notes From My Desert Novel

Out in the dry riverbed I wander through corridors of corroding rocky soil. Randomly halting, I gaze at the clean colored stones under my feet. Pale-shaded, ochre, vermilion and mauve―what was the poet’s phrase? Ah yes, “The infinite sum of particular things." Just a few simple elements: sky, rocks, mountains, the steaming cup in my hand. Can moments like these ever be fully realized? I pause . . . I hesitate. A revelation is just at the edge of things, borne on that dry breeze caressing my skin. I smile and dismiss the half-formed notion of a desert satori.

And yet. The slanting sunbeams pick out discrete objects; boulders and plants glow in the desert splendor. The wind shakes a dried shrub, creating a slight, subliminal rattle.

And yet . . .

—Excerpt from Notes From My Desert Novel by Rebecca Saito, © Glen Drive Productions 2004

Photo: Rocks, Fall Canyon—Death Valley, 2003