Monday, June 30, 2008

Union Pacific Main Line

On the Union Pacific tracks in Truckee, tromping around in the snow trying to line them up.

I used the Nikon F100 for this snow series (January or February, 2004) and then during a trip to New Orleans. I bought an Olympus digital camera a few months later, for a backpacking trip during the summer of 2004 . . . used it extensively, then moved up to the Olympus C-8080.

Still have the Nikon, though.

Photo: Union Pacific Main Line—Truckee, 2004

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Trees in Snow

I didn’t have to walk very far to find a number of subjects. Just a few feet from the lodge, down what ordinarily be a nondescript mountain road, I found myself in a scenic utopia, all color mysteriously drained from the landscape.

Now and then the sound of trucks on nearby interstate 80 intruded on the silence.

And later in the day, hot buttered rum at the bar!

Photo: Trees in Snow—Sierra Nevada, 2004

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Walking Through Falling Snow

Could be another "from the archives" post but I’ll use a more poetic title.

While Hali was off cross-country skiing I stayed behind at Rainbow Lodge, alternately marveling at the falling snow, then gearing up to go out into it.

Once outside I wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Of course, I had on hiking boots with wool socks, long johns, down jacket and the like. Part of the experience was the uniqueness factor since I’d never before had the opportunity to photograph in falling snow (and haven’t had since.) Living in the Bay Area, one has to time it just right in order to arrive in the mountains just as the snow starts to fall.

I can’t remember exactly how I kept the lens of my Nikon F100 clear of melted snowflakes. But I must have had some method.

Photo: Branches in Snow—Sierra Nevada, 2004

Friday, June 27, 2008

. . . from the archives #16: Buildings in Snow—Truckee, 2004

I don’t know if a photo taken as recently as 2004 can qualify as a "from the archives" entry, but anything taken using a film camera (in this case a Nikon F100) seems somewhat ancient. Interesting.

I’ve been trying to scan (in some cases, re-scan) some of my later film negatives in order to bring them into my inventory.

Hali & I had just finished a cross-country ski trip at Rainbow Lodge, during which time a lot of snow fell. Afterwards we ventured up to the mountain town of Truckee, where more snow kept falling, much to my delight.

Photo: Buildings in Snow—Truckee, 2004

Thursday, June 26, 2008

. . . from the archives #15: Green Creek—Sierra Nevada, 2002

I had gone for a two-day backpack, hiking out of the Green Creek Campground just south of Bridgeport, trying to get back into the experience of backcountry overnight camping, experimenting with a internal-frame pack, smaller stove and such-like.

I hiked out July 31st and car camped adjacent to Green Creek. I used a tripod for this shot taken with a Minolta 35mm camera.

Photo: Green Creek—Sierra Nevada, 2002

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Solstice II—Devil’s Gulch

Early morning, birdsong pervading the air, sunlight just starting to strike the by-now-golden hills.

And perfect puffy white clouds completing the picture.

An excellent breakfast consisting of a quantity of bacon and twice-cooked pancakes was still to come.

Photo: Clouds, Devil’s Gulch—Marin County, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Phytophthora ramorum

Dead oak trees are becoming increasingly common in Marin County, due to the "oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum" that leads to the phenomenon known as "sudden oak death."

All along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in West Marin you can see these trees scattered throughout the forest. I saw this particular oak tree in the Devil’s Gulch campground area opposite the horse pens, with a California Buckeye in the background. Strange that it’s so picturesque.

Photo: Dead Oak & California Buckeye—Marin County, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Technical Note

It may be of interest to some to know that one of the features that Blogger offers is an ability to schedule future blog postings.

So I can write up a bunch of posts and schedule them to be published on future dates. Neat.

Summer Solstice—Devil’s Gulch

(Group camping trip organized by Barbara. This Barbara.)

During the 100° day you huddled in the shade, drank plenty of water and read your book. During the 100° day you could at least look forward to the sun finally dropping below the hills and then, the hustle and bustle of dinner preparation.

Our part in this grand enterprise was that Hali and I pre-baked several slabs of spare ribs, which were then laid on one of your large campground grills, with some hickory chunks thrown underneath in the coals to provide smoke effects. Not half bad!

On a somewhat unrelated note, I must say that I covet Barbara’s small coffee pot. Isn’t it cool?

Photos: BBQ Ribs—Marin County, 2008; Coffee Pot—Marin County, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Camping Out

Hali, Tuffy & I have been camping out this weekend at Devil's Gulch, in S.P.Taylor State Park here in Marin County.

It’s been hot!

Photo: Horse Trailer—Marin County, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Photograph of kids taken from the tower of the de Young Museum in San Francisco last year.

Photo: Kids—San Francisco, 2007

Friday, June 20, 2008

No Splash

Speaking of David Hockney . . .

Photo: No Splash—Marin County, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Festival (continued #2)

Various comments:

"How much do you charge to take pictures? I need someone to take a picture of my dog jumping out of a tree." (Alas, my camera really doesn’t have a high enough burst rate to accommodate this task.)

"Nice stuff. I’ll bring my wife back." (Don’t know if he did.)

"If you had a good website, it’d be monstrous!"

Kid: "Are these paintings organic?" Me: "They’re photographs." Kid: "Well, are they organic photographs?"

Woman viewing 8x10 bin: "Holy Shit! Hooooollllly Shit!!"

My favorite: "Taking photos since the 50’s? Huh . . . you don’t look that old."

Photo: Fairfax Festival #2—Marin County, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That Painterly Look

Very interesting! I had a number of people, I say, a number of people, comment on the painterly quality of my prints. One woman even asked if I took photographs before painting my pictures!

I think there are a few things going on here. For one thing, I’m consciously aware of the photorealist style, so it could certainly be that my compositions echo that particular art movement. And then, the digital captures of my Olympus cameras add to the painterly look by being grain-free and capable of very subtle gradations (if you keep the ISO rating and the enlargements fairly low). Finally, the prints that I’ve been making on the HP 8750 are really nice. The inks give a nice, rich tonality. True, they’re dye-based (instead of pigment) so they will "only" last 100 years. And, of course, the ink is expensive, but that’s true of all inkjet printing ink.

This picture in particular, the hammered metal shingles of the Gold Rush era building serving as a backdrop for the pale blue irises, seemed to elicit the "painted image" respose. I used the Olympus C-8080 digital camera for the shot.

Photo: Irises—Bodie, 2006

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Festival (continued)

Here I am, early Sunday morning, ready for business. (Photo snapped by Dave, my opposite booth buddy.) As it turned out, my spot was nicely shaded under the redwoods, so there was no need for the canopy to be set up. Please note the pegboard A-frame thingies in action; they worked out quite well, in fact. A little nicer than this example, anyway.

I was very pleased to have so many friends & relatives show up: Hali helped out both days, taking the bus into Fairfax (traffic is always messed up). Barbara manned the booth for several of my quickie breaks (if you know what I mean). Shawna and Maz spelled me on Sunday (Fathers Day, don’t you know) as well as getting me a Polish dog and a beer (Red Hook . . . mighty tasty!) Devon came on by early Sunday. Jenny and her boyfriend Mike showed up! Wow! (They couldn’t stay because she was going to a gallery opening that night featuring her work.) Gwen and Spike rummaged through my bins, found my Autumn photo taken near Mystic, Connecticut and bought it! Molly and Mr. Ed, the dog, (real name just Ed) dropped by. (Of course, everyone paid more attention to Ed than to my photos.)

Photo: Mike, Fairfax Festival—Marin County, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Fairfax Festival

Yes . . . I sold some photos at the festival! Well, I made enough, anyway, to more than cover the cost of my entry fee. That came as somewhat of a surprise.

I am still mulling over the lessons learned, if any, as far as product line, pricing etc. are concerned. We will have to discuss the finer points of maximizing the gross, product discrimination and other wonderful economic concepts at a later date.

Photo: Fairfax Festival—Marin County, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mount Tamalpais / Dock #2

It was late in the day; the last rays of the sun flooded the landscape creating a soft luminous glow. The light swept up and over Mount Tamalpais like a great wave.

That same day last week I was helping to move a couch to my in-law’s storage shed. After the couch was safely tucked away, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the dock (we’ve seen it before.)

Quick: first the mountain, then the dock. Then the drive home.

And so to bed.

Photos: Sunset, Mt. Tamalpais—Marin County, 2008; Dock #2—Marin County, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

. . . from the archives #14: Church, Ranchos de Taos—New Mexico, 1993

The thing of it is, is that if you’ve traveled a great distance to get to a certain place, you’ll want to take photos once you get there, even if it’s a much-photographed place.

This church, the San Francisco de Asis church in Ranchos de Taos, is very famous and much-photographed. Regardless, I like this photo of the church’s edge.

I mean, I had traveled a great distance to get there.

Photo: Church, Ranchos de Taos—New Mexico, 1993

Friday, June 13, 2008


I’ve been putting together some pegboard displays to use at the Fairfax Festival. My goal has been to have at least a minimal display that could be transported and put together without much difficulty.

I got the pegboard—white, 24x48 inches—at Orchard Supply. I’m using 2x2’s for the legs. The 2x2’s come in 8-foot lengths so I used some of the excess to make the little hinge devices seen above. Legs attach to the display using 2-1/2 inch bolts and wingnuts.

I’ll be using the pegboard to show at least four photos framed in 16x20 inch frames. Depending on the physical situation, I could show up to eight photos.
We'll see what happens.

Photos: Hinge Device—Marin County, 2008; Pegboard Display on Table—Marin County, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Some flowers I saw up the street. They resemble, in shape anyway, the so-called "Torch Lily." Maybe a varient?

Photo: Flowers—Marin County, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Heat Pulsating Off The Dried Landscape

It wasn’t as hot yesterday as it was on Monday, so I managed to get in a little morning walk up the street and through the hills. Not as hot, but still pretty warm.

Heat pulsated off the dried landscape, with a breeze every now and then providing transient relief. A solitary cloud stood out against the electric blue sky.

I’m sure the yellow flowers are an invasive species (although I’ve been known to be wrong on such matters.) Nice-looking, though.

Photos: Cloud—Marin County, 2008; Oak & Broom—Marin County, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I’ll be at the Fairfax Festival this weekend displaying some pix. I have a map of the location, but it’s not too clear exactly where I’m to set up.

Hali and I set up the canopy (we’ve had it for a while) in the driveway weekend before last. After much debate we finally got it up, after a quick pdf download of the instructions from the manufacturer’s web site. I’ll have a table, some pegboard displays, a canvas bin and some plastic boxes. And a chair.

Alas, I am not equipped—at the present time—to do any live blogging from the festival.

Photo: Canopy—Marin County, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Miscellaneous Birds Update

According to Barbara, the woodpecker is most likely a Downey Woodpecker. Very common!

More here.

Miscellaneous Birds

Top: Crows and myself on an empty Yosemite evening road.

Bottom: Interesting little woodpecker seen at Larkspur Landing yesterday morning. Not the usual type found at the stable—smaller and rounder.

Photos: Crows—Yosemite, 2008; Woodpecker—Marin County, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Yosemite

Again, going through the files, making contact sheets, seeing some pix anew.

Photos: Yosemite Falls, Meadow—Yosemite, 2008; Tenaya Creek—Yosemite, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

California Buckeye

The Buckeyes are flowering. (More info here.)

Photo: Buckeye Flowers—Marin County, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008


We brought this azalea with us when we moved from Los Angeles to Marin in 1981. It had been in my parents’ back yard for a number of years before that.

Photo: White Azalea—Marin County, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Point Lobos

I’ve been creating contact sheets for the past few month’s exposures and, in so doing, came across some extra pix from my Point Lobos trip that grabbed my attention.

Photos: Grass & Tidepool—Point Lobos, 2008; Limpets & Salt Rings—Point Lobos, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Photo of redwoods on the Willis Evans Trail (also known as "the archery") in the San Geronimo Valley.

Photo: Redwoods—Marin County, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Red Convertible

I went for a hike on Sunday with Hali, Margaret & Tuffy. This picture was taken at the start while we were walking though the stables.

We all trekked from Tuffy’s stable up through the redwoods until we reached Conifer Road. At that point, Hali and Tuffy turned back, while Margaret and I continued on towards the ridge with its attendant views. At one point the fire road that we were on turned into a crumbled-up jumble of fine rocky serpentinite.

Of great interest to Mike was Margaret’s pointing out to him the California native plant Baccharis pilularis, aka Coyote Brush, very like to the invasive broom species.

Alas, I fear that for Tuffy the hike had a certain negative quality to it, due to him being given several turn-back cues that turned out to be incorrect. Tuffy certainly likes that turn-back point.

Photo: Red Convertible—Marin County, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Another photo taken in Sausalito last week & tweaked in Photoshop.

Photo: Incognito—Marin County, 2008