Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shrine, Ginkaku-ji

A small shrine located at Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto. Not sure of its significance . . .

Photo: Shrine at Ginkaku-ji—Kyoto, 2008


Seen in front of Negi restaurant. We ate there later that night.

Photo: Pumpkin—Kyoto, 2008

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn in Japan

The walk from the bus stop to the Snow Monkey site was exceedingly pleasant. We passed by various autumnal colors and this upscale hotel, which might be nice to stay in if we ever go back.

Photos: Maple Leaves—Japan, 2008; Hotel Sign—Japan, 2008

Melrose Avenue #9: Inquire Within

Another early-morning L.A. scene. Mike had to underexpose so the various blurbs running across the top of the building would be legible.

From the metatheaters website:

You'll learn to "stop acting" and instead start living in your work in a progressively deeper, more truthful and courageous way with each class. The focus is not on a "method" applied to each actor who must subscribe to one way of working, but instead follows Universal Laws of Quantum Mechanics.

Photo: Inquire Within—Los Angeles, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009


And now for a fond look back at our ryokan experience at Sumiyoshiya.

Very fun . . . and quite filling!

Photos: Meal at Sumiyoshiya—Kanazawa, 2008; Sumiyoshiya—Kanazawa, 2008

Starbucks Wi-Fi


Yes, Mike is finally able, utilizing Hali's nice little netbook, to sit at the Starbucks on Melrose Avenue whilst sipping his tall half-caf: leisurely perusing the web and responding to blog comments, looking like one of the Real People.

Photo: Netbook, Melrose Avenue Starbucks—Los Angeles, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Another shot from Kanazawa's famous Kenrokuen garden, taken when a stray cloud gave me some nice even lighting. More pix here.

Photo: Tree & Wall, Kenrokuen—Kanazawa, 2008

Melrose Avenue #8: Billboard

One of those obnoxious electronic billboards, seen earlier on the blog.

Another in Mike's continuing series of Melrose Avenue pix. Taken in early October while walking to the local Starbucks, around 6:30 AM.

Photo: Billboard—Los Angeles, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuolumne River

A view from the famous Tuolumne Meadows, sere and dry in late September, with the Tuolumne River running very shallow as could be expected.

Mt. Dana looms in the background.

Tuolumne River—Yosemite, 2009

San Geronimo Valley Rain

San Geronimo Valley Rain from Mike Mundy on Vimeo.

Last week . . . more rain than I expected!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Monkey Blogging

Another snow monkey image from last year's Japan trip.

More info here and here.

Photo: Snow Monkeys—Japan, 2008

Sunday, October 25, 2009

German Cafe

Taken in a train station. Can't remember what city.

Photo: German Cafe—Japan, 2008

Rain Trip Meadow

The trail ride back not only tested Mike’s saddle endurance on the steep granite downslopes, but also gave Hali & Mike a chance to study the site of a memorable 1976 backpack they had taken. As Mike has written:

When we reached the banks of the San Joaquin we halted and stared in dismay. The river was flowing in flood stage, at least two feet higher than it was when we had crossed it three days earlier. And, of course, memory does not serve: some recall that the rain stopped at the point of crossing the river; others believe that the rain was still continuing. And now? Now, we simply call it "the Rain Trip." Details of the Rain Trip, a long-planned backpacking event in August, 1976, have now faded into the mists of time, but taken as a whole the experience of a flooded High Sierra still remains remarkably fresh.

The backpackers had camped on the banks of Shadow Creek (now prohibited as being too close to the water) and had struck a bad patch of monsoonal moisture that drenched both the deserts to the south and the Sierra. After all members of the party were thoroughly soaked, the decision was made to leave:

What followed was an actually quite dangerous flight by the whole party that included wading through water waist-high and an extremely hazardous crossing of the San Joaquin River, this last involving a human chain across the river.

. . . the subsequent (dry) trip back to Los Angeles only served to heighten the trip’s seeming unreality, which the intervening years have only enhanced. And now? Now, we simply call it "the Rain Trip."

Photos: "Rain Trip Meadow"—Sierra Nevada, 1976; "Rain Trip Meadow"—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Mike on Redneck—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009


While Mike was waiting for the wrangler to show up he discovered this axe. Right there, in the open, getting rusty.
Photo: Axe—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tokyo Rain

During our trip we had two episodes of rain: one in Kyoto and one in Tokyo.

What luck!

Photo: Reflections—Tokyo, 2008

Lake Ediza

As I have recounted elsewhere, California and the West by Charis Weston was one of my earliest photo books. My favorite chapter in the book was Chapter V: High Sierra, Lake Ediza, her account of a mule-packing trip she, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams took in 1937.

Therein, Ms. Weston recounts her struggle to hike the distance: "The trail ran easily along a hillside, down to a river fording, then zigzagged steeply up two thousand feet of sheer mountainside." Apparently after reaching the lake a titanic battle with mosquitoes ensued [pre-deet days]. Later, her description of the scenery is still apt: "Volcanic Ridge, a dark forbidding mass, closes off the east; south, the Minarets—a line of jagged black spires, patched with snow that looks like cut-out bits of paper—tower in the sky; to the west Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak, both around thirteen thousand feet—story-book mountains neatly cut triangular masses of snow and rock." Lake Ediza ended up being the scene for some of Edward Weston’s most famous photographs, including Charis—Lake Ediza, False Hellebore—Lake Ediza and Iceberg Lake.


Mike had been to Lake Ediza several times before on various backpacking trips and wanted to go again: thus, this year’s trail ride. After much—yes—zigging and zagging, Hali, Mike, Dave the wrangler and the horses arrived at Lake Ediza. Hali and Mike wandered down to the shore for lunch and pix while Dave attended to the steeds. After an hour, they mounted up and began the trip back.

Photos: Lake Ediza—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Minarets from Lake Ediza—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Hali & Mike—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soy Beans

Quite aromatic.

Photo: Fermented Soy Beans—Kyoto, 2008

Horse vs Mule

Horse vs Mule from Mike Mundy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Garden pathway in Kanazawa's (famous) garden.

Photo: Pathway—Japan, 2008

Trail Ride

During their latest camping trip Hali & Mike took a trail ride out of Agnew Meadows up to Lake Ediza using the trusty steeds and guide services of the Reds Meadows Pack Station. Hali rode "Coors" and Mike rode "Redneck."

Luckily, Mike brought up the rear, thus being able to take pix of the riders up in front.

Photographs: Riders #1—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Riders #2—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Reds Meadows Truck—Sierra Nevada, 2005

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Daily Yamazaki

First morning in Kyoto, walking around the side streets. Lots of convenience stores!

Photo: Daily Yamazaki—Kyoto, 2008

Rainbow Falls

Hali & Mike hiked from Minaret Falls Campground over the "Snuffy Smith Trail" to Devils Postpile. From there, a longish, warm hike through the Rainbow Fire burn area to Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls had a surprising amount of water coming over, fed by a few still-remaining higher elevation snowfields.

Photos: Rainbow Fire—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Rainbow Falls—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Pigeon Blogging

Pigeons are very adaptable, I deem.

Photo: Pigeons—San Francisco, 2005

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Minaret Falls Campground

Mike wanted to return to this campground on the banks of the San Joaquin River, in recognition of his first camping experience at the same location in 1959.

So it was that Hali & Mike found themselves in a fairly nice campsite, away from the river and any late-summer mosquitoes. The only caveat was that it was too close to the road in and out of the campground. Since the campground is fairly small, you would not have thought that there would be any real traffic going in and out. But you would be wrong. Mike speculated that a lot of the traffic was due to fisherpeople driving into this location for trout fishing opportunities.

Hali’s camping style is much more organized, elaborate and gourmet-ish than Mike’s, with great salads, BBQ shrimp on skewers, etc etc.

Photos: San Joaquin River—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Aluminum Camp Table—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Maltitude: a combination of the Spanish mal and the English altitude.

Headaches, anxiety, and, at the recently-visited Minaret Falls Campground, extruding mustard.

Photo: Mustard—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Night Rain

. . . with the famous Yamanote Line in the background.

Photo: Night Rain, Shinbashi—Tokyo, 2008

Oregon Grape

Another ISO 100 experiment.

Photo: Oregon Grape—Marin County, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Photo from our hotel window. Yikes! I'd almost forgotten how smoky it was (agricultural burning.) But Matsumoto was actually very nice, a high-altitude city.

Photo: Train—Matsumoto, 2008

Barbed Wire in Rain

A lot of rain last Tuesday, fine drizzle this AM. I'm trying out ISO 100 on the E620 . . . I'm thinking that ISO 200 has issues . . .

Photo: Barbed Wire, Rain—Marin County, 2009

Smog in the Mountains

Very disconcerting and discouraging.

Top pix is the view west from Crown Pass, overlooking the San Joaquin Valley choked in smog which ends up filling the interior canyons of the Sierra. Several contrails as a bonus.

Then, the view south from the same vicinity. Even objects only a few miles away are obscured.

Below, the view leaving Woodchuck Lake: trees clear in the foreground but the far side of the lake starting to fade.

Photos: View West—Sierra Nevada, 2009; View South—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Trees, Woodchuck Lake—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stone Lion

Continuing the year-ago theme: stone lion in the rain.

Very atmospheric. Kyoto.

Photo: Stone Lion—Kyoto, 2008


The Minarets form part of California’s Ritter Range—intertwined with, but separate from, the nearby Sierra crest. I first visited this area, near Devils Postpile National Monument, in 1959. At that time my friend Howard and I camped at the Minaret Falls Campground and hiked up to Minaret Lake.

I’ve taken a number of photos of the Minarets from Minaret Outlook, near the Mammoth Mountain ski area. I’ve even been able to sell some!

Photos: Minarets During Storm—Sierra Nevada, 2007; Minarets, Afternoon—Sierra Nevada, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fresno! Dental

Mike particularly liked the exclamation mark.

Photo: Fresno! Dental—Fresno, 2009

BART Escalator

Taken while my Olympus SLR was propped on a wall, composing through the rotating LCD on the back.

Photo: BART Escalator—San Francisco, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Hummingbird Hawkmoth Blogging

I had earlier posted on a Kamakura hummingbird sighting. However, alert blog reader Barbara notified me that hummingbirds occur naturally only in North and South America.

A few minutes on Google led to the inexorable conclusion that the "hummingbird" was no hummingbird! It was a "hummingbird hawkmoth." From the Japan Times:

Adults hover over flowers to feed on the nectar, sucking it out with a proboscis (tongue) up to 30 mm long. The moth has to remain a constant distance from the flower in order to take up nectar, so it has very finely tuned reactions and highly controlled flight ability. If there is a gust of wind, the moth instantly and precisely follows the movement of the flower head.

But you know, it's cool. I see hummingbirds every day here, have to chase them away practically.

But I've only seen one Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (Blog post originally published 2008.)

Photo: Hummingbird Hawkmoth—Kamakura, 2008

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kyoto Street

A photo from October of last year.

Street scene in Kyoto. Perhaps more Japan pix should be scattered throughout the mikereport this month.

Photo: Street—Kyoto, 2008

One Market

Taken while having a little convivial chat with James at One Market in San Francisco.

Mike's Anchor Steam to the left, and James' Grey Goose martini to the right.

Photo: Anchor Steam & Grey Goose Martini—San Francisco, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vines on Wall

At the Whole Foods market in San Rafael.

Another Whole Foods photo here.

I tried taking some photos of their vegetables once and got kicked out.

Photo: Vines on Wall—Marin County, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009


First, wee sailboats floating on the illimitable Pacific, taken during a Margaret / Hali / Mike hike near Bolinas.

Then, a sailboat taken from the Larkspur—San Francisco ferry, on my way to a Meeting with my Publisher.

Photos: Sailboats—Marin County, 2009; Sailboat—San Francisco, 2009