Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tokyo Wedding

Bride (Tokyo) - Japan  2014

Once when Hali and Mike were returning to the Hyatt they found a wedding in progress in the lobby. So they decided to join the other uninvited spectators in waiting for the bride to make her appearance. Lo! She descended from above utilizing one of the Hyatt's see-through elevators! Wow . . . what an entrance!

Quite a nice-looking bride, actually.

Bride Descending in Elevator (Tokyo) - Japan  2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms I - Japan  2014

Cherry Blossoms II - Japan  2014

We were right at the end of the season, but there were still some trees blooming in Shinjuku Park.

Picnic, Cherry Blossoms - Japan  2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cocoon Tower

Cocoon Tower I - Japan  2014

Cocoon Tower II - Japan  2014

It is called the "Cocoon Tower." It was fairly close to our hotel so we could use it as a landmark.

Cocoon Tower III - Japan  2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Tokyo - Japan  2014

Commuters - Tokyo  2014

Population density.

Our last trip avoided it, for the most part (except for a few days towards the end, in Tokyo.) I don't know why that was . . . not on purpose anyway.

Very evident this time. Hali and I went to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for the top photo, bottom photo taken in Shinjuku Station.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to Japan, Narita Airport - Japan 2014

Sign at Narita Airport, as seen by Mike as he walked by in a haze brought on by sleeplessness and numerous decongestants. He had just gotten off a 10-hour flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and was still in the midst of fighting a bad cold.

Hali, Mike and Dan along with Maz, Shawna and Hanna took a van to the Shinjuku Hilton; Hali and Mike crossed the street to the Hyatt and registered. Afterwards, Mike ate some snacks and collapsed into bed. The others were able to have a yakitori meal at a restaurant underneath the Hilton.

For reference: our 2008 Tokyo arrival.

Hali, Hyatt (Tokyo) - Japan  2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Banana Slug Blogging

Banana Slug - Point Reyes  2014

Seen on a Point Reyes hike that Hali and I took in March. Please compare and contrast to the equally fascinating Deception Pass black slug.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Olive Fruit Fly Control

Olive Grove, McEvoy Ranch - Marin County  2014

As we recall, last year's olive crop was a total loss. So that explains Mike's attendence at the McEvoy Ranch's fruit fly seminar.

So anyway, the key to olive fruit fly control is a substance known as "spinosad." (Link to Wikipedia article.)

"Spinosad is considered a natural product and approved for use in organic agriculture by numerous national and international certifications."

For olive groves, it can be purchased as GF-120 spray at $200 per gallon.

For less substantial needs one can purchase "Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew." But you'll need to mix it with some molasses to act as an attractant.

Spinosad should be applied to olive trees starting in June, every 7 days in the morning.

I might give it a try this year just out of scientific curiosity. We'll see.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

McEvoy Ranch

Olive Trees, McEvoy Ranch - Marin County  2014

Agave, McEvoy Ranch - Marin County  2014

Scenes from McEvoy Ranch, famous for their olive oil derived from extensive olive groves located on the property. I was there to attend an olive fruit fly seminar.

Friday, May 23, 2014

. . . from the archives #82: Tioga Lake, Yosemite 1994

Tioga Lake - Yosemite  1994

I just recently scanned this 4x5 negative and was able to tame its wide dynamic range using Photoshop. Makes a nice-looking print!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oak, May 2004

Oak (Glen Drive) - Marin County  2004

And of course, once you start using digital you can pinpoint the exact date of the "capture," as some like to call it. I've since taken a number of shots of this oak tree, but probably this is the best.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tulips, May 2004

Tulips - Marin County  2004

Almost forgot . . . 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of my first extensive use of a digital camera (a 4-megapixel Olympus C-4000Z). Here's one of my first photos, taken in May, 2004. It was somehow difficult for me to pinpoint that what gave those photos their unusual look was the absence of film grain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Merced Theater - Central California  2014

Bar B-Q Pit (Merced) - Central California  2014

A recent trip to Yosemite left me taking a detour through Merced when returning. As a result I could get some coveted through-the-windshield Merced pix.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Geese Blogging

Geese - Central California  2014

Geese - Central California  2014

Some BIF shots of Canadian geese. (BIF: Birds in Flight.)

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Rose Petals - Marin County  2014

White Roses - Marin County  2014
Roses seen one Sunday morning last month at a shopping mall in Corte Madera.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ferry, Sunrise

Ferry, Clouds - Marin County  2014

Early morning, photo taken at low tide from the Larkspur Landing pedestrian overcrossing.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oaks - New Growth

Oak, New Growth - Marin County  2014

Oak, New Growth - Marin County  2014

Of course these photos from March and April were taken in color, but they seem more effective in black and white. I used Photoshop to do the conversion with the green filter option.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rain - 2

Lake Nicasio, Rain - Marin County  2014

Oak, Rain - Marin County  2014

I attended an Olive Fruit Fly seminar last month at McEvoy Ranch near Petaluma; driving back afterwards using the back road I was hit by a very intense downpour. For these two photos I pulled over to the side of the road, rolled the passenger side window down and took the photo using the telephoto zoom. I had to be quick about it: once the window was down the rain really started to accumulate inside the car.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rain - 1

Poison Oak, Rain - Marin County  2014

Buckeye Leaves, Rain - Marin County  2014

Some remaining photos taken in the rains that fell in March and April.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge, Sun - Marin County  2014

Richmond Bridge, San Quentin Watchtower - Marin County  2014

More photos of the Richmond Bridge. Seems to lend itself nicely to black and white.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Egret Blogging

Egret - Central California  2014

Seen amongst the reeds at the Cosumnes preserve last February.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

. . . from the archives #81: Apples for Sale, San Luis Obispo County 1992

Apples for Sale - San Luis Obispo County  1992

Taken while driving around in a rural area of San Luis Obispo County known for its apple orchards.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Trail Out

Mountains, Trees -  Sierra Nevada  2002

Foxtail Pines - Sierra Nevada  2002

We left Rock Creek and travelled south on the PCT, eventually taking a side trail over Trail Pass to the Horseshoe Meadow trailhead. On the way out we were treated to views of mountainous vistas, ancient foxtail pines and distant meadows far below.

We stayed overnight at Mammoth Lakes, then drove home the following day.

And yes, the horses were very tired at the end.

Tired Horse, Horseshoe Meadow - Sierra Nevada  2002

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rock Creek - 2

Rocks, Backlit Trees - Sierra Nevada  2002

Stream, Rocks, Grass - Sierra Nevada  2002

Two more photos taken during our stay near Rock Creek.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rock Creek - 1

Rock Creek - Sierra Nevada  2002

Meadow near Rock Creek - Sierra Nevada  2002

Rock Creek was the last campsite of our trip, very serene and pastoral. The only drawback was that for some reason our tent had to be pitched on decidedly unlevel ground. You entered the tent, then flopped in.

A note on these 2002 photographs: I know that I took a Minolta SLR with me (the 7000i, as I recall). Also, on the evidence of the creek photo, I had a lightweight tripod along. I'm thinking that the photos taken from horseback must have been taken with a Leica Minilux, because the Minolta would have been too bulky. I used Kodacolor negative film in both cameras.

I used an Epson flatbed scanner to bring the negatives into the computer with mixed results. Some photos didn't scan well at all, others (such as the above) were OK.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mt. Guyot

Mt. Guyot, Pacific Crest Trail - Sierra Nevada  2002

View from Mt. Guyot - Sierra Nevada  2002

The Crabtree Meadow camp afforded an opportunity to hike up Mt. Whitney from the west. However, since I'd already been to the top (albeit from the east), I decided to try for another objective on our free day.

Scanning the map I decided to try for Mt. Guyot (Goo-Yo), a 12,300-foot mountain just to the west of the main Sierra crest. I headed south on the PCT intending to travel cross-country to the base of the mountain, then head straight up. I embarked on the cross-country section, but after getting a better look at the mountain decided to veer back to the trail which would take me to the western slope. So that was a little mini-adventure . . . walking around trailless in the wilderness. But the terrain was pretty self-explanatory and shortly after reaching the trail I continued on up the the slope of the mountain and turned right. The hiking poles I was using soon had to be put away since the rest of the trip involved clambering among large granite boulders.

Nice view from the top! And getting back to camp was easy enough.

Once back, I realized that I hadn't seen anyone else during the entire day.

Mike, Self-Portrait - Sierra Nevada  2002

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Camp Kitchen

Camp Kitchen - Sierra Nevada  2002

Cowboy Coffee - Sierra Nevada  2002

The packers rigged a tarp above the camp kitchen as storm clouds threatened, but it wasn't needed after all.

And, in the morning . . . cowboy coffee!

"Cowboy coffee" is made by heating coarse grounds with water in a pot, letting the grounds settle and pouring off the liquid to drink, sometimes filtering it to remove fine grounds. While the name suggests that this method was used by cowboys, presumably on the trail around a campfire, it is used by others; some people prefer this method.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Horse Blogging

Horses - Sierra Nevada  2002

Here are the horses attached to a tie line, perhaps getting ready to be saddled up.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2002

The only time it threatened to rain was during our stay at Crabtree Meadow. Dramatic clouds and an overcast sky, but eventually no rain.