Friday, February 28, 2014


Welcome to Alturas - Alturas  2007

Niles High Grade Room - Alturas  2007

Despite its abundance of wilderness, recreational opportunities, hunting and fishing resources, and resplendent natural beauty, tourism is not a major sector of the local economy - largely due to the city's remote location.


Alturas in 2007 wasn't exactly thriving. Mike was interested to discover that highway 395 (of Eastern Sierra fame) runs right through town.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fence in Rain

Fence in Rain - Shasta County  2007

Mike's 2007 campground was just south of Lassen National Park. As long as he was in the area he wanted to travel over to Alturas in northeast California taking photos along the way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Digger Pine Cones

Digger Pine Cone - Tehama County  2007

Digger Pine Cones - Tehama County  2007

Mike's 2007 trip involved taking photos of Digger Pine cones in preparation for a photo project he was working on.

Yes, the term "digger" was meant as a form of derision—a term of contempt meant to describe the California natives. But with the long slow passage of the days, months and years the opprobrium has faded. Ironically, it was the hydraulic gold miners themselves who were more deserving of the word.

Latter-day revisionists, with good intentions, I'm sure, have attempted to remedy the historical injustice by renaming the tree. “Gray pine,” we're now supposed to call it.

But this effort only compounds the affront. From the poetic standpoint this erases the “Diggers” from our shared history. And in the end, the poetic standpoint is the enduring standpoint. So, with apologies to those who might be offended, I have elected to continue calling this pine the Digger Pine. 

- Rebecca Saito

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Red Bluff

Elmore Pharmacy - Red Bluff  2007

Etta's Place - Red Bluff  2007

In 2007 Mike took a photo trip into the "Narrow Roads of the Far North," as a kind of homage to Basho's Oku no Hosomichi. In Mike's case, the narrow roads were in Northern California, unfortunately still a kind of terra incognita to the urbanites of the California coast. Since this happened before the start date of Mike's exquisite blog none of the photos have been posted here. So some of the photos from that trip will be appearing on the blog, along with some 2014 pix as well as some earlier scanned black and white photos.

Traveling to the north means going up highway 5, not a narrow road by any stretch of the definition. But once in Red Bluff, you can travel to the east towards Lassen National Park and into the mountains.

And as you can see, Etta's Place is certainly Open.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Horse Blogging

Horse in Rain 1 - Marin County  2014

Horse in Rain 2 - Marin County  2014

Horse In Rain Blogging, that is.

Jpgs taken with an iPhone 5s.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rain 6 - Redwoods

Redwoods in Rain - Marin County  2014

Can't see the rain as such. But it definitely was raining.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rain 5 - Stable

Stable, Rain - Marin County  2014

Taken crouching under Tuffy's shelter, pointing my iPhone out into the rain.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Rain 4 - Lichen

Lichen in Rain - Marin County  2014

I've also shown an earlier shot of the same subject taken in 2012.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rain 3 - Alders

Alders, Rain - Marin County  2014

Alders in rain, taken in the same spot as this 2010 photo. The older shot was taken with an Olympus E-610, this time I used an Olympus EM1, shutter speed was 1/13th second, ISO 500.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rain 2 - Couch, Stable

Couch in Rain - Marin County  2014

Stable in Rain - Marin County  2014

Top: Across the street from the stable entrance.

Bottom: Rainy stable scene.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rain 1 - Maple Branches, Nandina

Maple Branches, Rain - Marin County  2014

Nandina Leaves & Berries, Rain - Marin County  2014

Well, it finally rained here! Quite a bit actually, but not enough to make up for the extended period of dryness that we've experienced.

Above photos taken in my back yard using the Panasonic 20mm lens on an Olympus E-PL5 body.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Dog Blogging

Dog, Farmers Market - Alameda County  2013

White Dog - Alameda County  2013

In Alameda County.

Top: at the Berkeley December Farmers Market.

Bottom: walking through an upscale neighborhood near the Claremont Hotel.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog Comments

Hm. Some comments have been hidden in the "Waiting Moderation" section of the blog. And they are hidden. Finally found one today.

Also, Google has buried some comments in the "Spam" section. And they are spam. But still:

"What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge regarding unpredicted feelings," posted as a comment to a Pike Place post.

I almost agree. 

Alas, a Google search reveals that this message has been posted to a great many other blogs, blogs that apparently have not enabled a spam filter.

Morning Ferries, Larkspur

Ferries, AM - Marin County  2014

Ferries, AM - Marin County  2014

Taken from the walkway over Sir Francis Drake Blvd., near Mike's new gym.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Can You See It From The Moon

Can You See It From The Moon - San Francisco  2014

Mural in a garage on Folsom Street.

Artist's story.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Three Trees 1985

Three Trees - Yosemite  1985

I don't really remember, but I think that I went down to the lower elevation area by myself. I recall being there huddling under a tree when a thunderstorm drifted by. Afterwards, mist collected over the meadow. From this point it was a relatively easy hike out to the trailhead at Tuolumne Meadows.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mountains, Snow 1985

Mountains, Snow - Yosemite  1985

Taken with a twin-lens reflex camera using 120 film. Negative scanned on an Epson V700, then tweaked in Photoshop.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ritter & Banner in 1985 & 2010

Mt Ritter and Banner Peak - Sierra Nevada  1985

Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak - Sierra Nevada  2010

While the others went off to scale Mt. Lyell (Joe Mundy succeeded) I went on a day hike up to Donahue Pass, taking an I-was-there photo of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak as they came into sight. You can't really get a good idea of just what they look like, though. I think that the digital photograph below, taken 25 years later with a Nikon D90 from the Shadow Creek area, gives a better idea.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Boulder Field 1985

Boulder Field - Yosemite  1985
My compositional skills using the twin-lens camera could have used a little honing. I know that in the back of my mind I planned on turning the square compositions that the camera took into rectangular ones. During a workshop I took in Asilomar, Henry Gilpin (a Monterey County photographer) said that that was his procedure.

The only problem was trying to visualize in advance whether or not your final photo was going to be horizontal or vertical. Maybe it would have been better to just stick with the square, like so.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Marmot Blogging

Marmot - Yosemite  1985

Taken during a 1985 backpacking trip in Yosemite that I took with Joe Mundy, Joe Grant and David Berman. One of our camps was above timberline, in the granite near Donahue Pass, where we encountered this fellow looking for some handouts. (He didn't get any.)

So this is why I'd like to go back in time and give myself a modern camera. The photo was taken with a twin-lens Mamiya camera, auto-nothing. It certainly looks as if I focused on the granite right in front of the creature, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mexican Sage 5

Mexican Sage, After Rain - Marin County  2014

. . . after the rain. Raining heavily again this weekend, so we'll have to wait a bit to check out the visual impact.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mexican Sage 4

Mexican Sage, Rain - Marin County  2014

Well, there actually was some rain last Sunday. But not enough to knock off the old leaves.

[Update: And raining this weekend!]

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mexican Sage 3

Mexican Sage - Marin County  2014

As cold temperatures continued the sage blossoms became more and more ethereal, still clinging to the stems. Normally they would have been knocked off by rain showers, but this year there haven't been any rain showers to date.

[Update: Actually we've just had some rain. More expected.]

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mexican Sage 2

Mexican Sage, Frost - Marin County  2013

Mexican Sage - Marin County  2013

We had a severe cold snap in December, cold for Marin County that is (in the 20's). So the blossoms on the Mexican Sage plants started to fade.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mexican Sage 1

Mexican Sage - Marin County  2013

Mexican Sage is known for its spectacular fall display. Above photo was taken in September of last year.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls (Grunewald) - San Francisco  2014

Like the painters of the Hudson River School, Grunewald often portrayed nature as a combination of divine power and sublime beauty. He was particularly fascinated by Niagara Falls, the ultimate symbol of that concept, and made at least 11 versions of it, two of which were once attributed to John Vanderlyn.

Yet Grunewald didn't always strive for the most romantic interpretations. A landscape of the Delaware Water Gap is placid and bucolic, while another of the Lehigh River gorge at Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) is downright pedestrian, considering the Alpine character of the scenery there.

Grunewald wasn't an inspired painter or always an especially graceful one, and some of his work seems labored and formulaic.

Well, maybe. Anyway, Mike liked these early panorama mode paintings seen in the DeYoung Museum.

[Add: and in a nice Nabokovian coincidence, what should appear in the Jan. 27th issue of the New Yorker but a poem by Alfred Corn titled "In the Grunewald Cafe:"

Where do slackers go to get their jollies? / Where do they spend hours every day? / Where commit their most moronic follies? / In the Grunewald Cafe.]

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Egret Blogging

Egret - Point Lobos  2013

At Point Lobos. Either the tide was very low and the bird was standing on some submerged rocks, or egrets can somehow balance on kelp beds.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

. . . from the archives #79: Napa Valley, Napa County, 1988

Napa Valley - Napa County  1988

In times past it was Mike's whim to travel through the wineries and scenery of the Napa Valley in February, on Superbowl Sunday, thereby having a nice uncrowded visit.

This was probably taken on one of those trips, although there's no way to definitively tell.

The camera used was a Tachihara wooden 4x5. At one point Mike suspected the camera of causing light leaks, but the problem was finally traced to faulty film holders.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Work Crews

Work Crew - San Francisco  1989

Work Crew - San Francisco  2014

Top: Construction crew on Mission Street, 1989.

Bottom: Construction crew on Folsom Street, 2014.

The Mission St. photo (Minolta film SLR camera) was shot in more advantageous conditions, in the shade. Folsom St. photo (Olympus digital m43 camera) shot in very difficult contrasty light.