Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Minarets, Reflections

Minarets, Reflections - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike made his way around the unnamed lake to get this shot of Minaret reflections.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Trout Blogging

Trout - Sierra Nevada  2014

Swimming away from the photographer.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Sunrise, Minarets - Sierra Nevada  2014

During the night it rained some, not heavy. Once Mike heard the rumble of thunder off in the distance. Also, wind, sounding more fierce than it really was.

In the morning: a clear sky and the rising sun illuminating the Minarets. Great view, enhanced by Mike's usual early morning hot cocoa.

Making Cocoa - Sierra Nevada  2014

Hot Cocoa - Sierra Nevada  2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tokyo Black and White

Dearest, Self-Portrait (Tokyo) - Japan  2014

Kiosk (Tokyo) - Japan  2014

Top photo taken with an Olympus E-PL5 with a Panasonic 14-42mm lens.

Bottom photo taken with an Olympus E-M1 with an Olympus 14-150mm lens.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tech in the Mountains

iPhone, Kindle - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike knew from previous trips that the Mammoth Lakes area has good Verizon coverage. He decided to experiment by taking his iPhone with him.

It worked! Wow . . . checking out the weather reports from your wilderness camp. Sending and receiving texts . . .

Hm. We will have to think on this. (Also, a Kindle of course.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wandering Around the Campsite

Trees, Reflections - Sierra Nevada  2014

Branches, Granite - Sierra Nevada  2014

Top: Mike's "secret" lake, detail.

Bottom: Branches and granite, detail.

And to reiterate: prior to making these exposures Mike knew in precise detail just how he would render these subjects in black and white. Sure. (Insert appropriate emoticon here.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Minarets, Backlit

Minarets, Backlit - Sierra Nevada  2014

As the sun began to set behind the Minarets Mike was treated to a very striking display.

Photo taken with an Olympus E-PL5 and a 12-50mm lens. Mike would like to be able to send this combo back in time to his earlier self for use during those first energy-filled backpack trips.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lake, Reflections

Reflections - Sierra Nevada  2014

At one point during the overhead cloud display Mike wandered over the hill from his camp and was rewarded by a secret lake. Not exactly a secret, because it shows up on the topo as a small unnamed lake near the Minaret Mine junction. Still, Mike had never seen it before since it's not within view of the trail. Nice . . . Mike's own private lake!

Topo Map Selection (Harrison)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Deer Blogging

Deer - Sierra Nevada  2014

As Mike was eating his freeze-dried chili mac dinner this deer wandered by. Ambled off after a few minutes of curious staring.

The chili mac substance wasn't really all that inviting, although Mike normally doesn't have that much appetite when backpacking in altitude anyway.

More on freeze-dried food repackaging:


Repackaging in Action.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Minarets & Cloud

Minarets, Cloud - Sierra Nevada  2014

Back at camp Mike attempted to busy himself with preparations for possible rain, but in reality he was almost completely absorbed in the atmospheric conditions surrounding the Minarets.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

San Francisco Sightems

Softball - San Francisco  2014

Motorcycle Cops, Mexican Restaurant - San Francisco  2014

Top: action sports, softball in this case.

Bottom: Motorcycle cops in a Mexican restaurant. Please compare to earlier 2003 photo taken on Market Street.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Minaret Lake

Minaret Lake - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mountains, Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike clambered over some boulders and forded the lake outlet to get to this Minaret Lake view. Alas, he ended up not staying there very long at all . . . ominous clouds were starting to drift in from the east, looking suspiciously monsoonal in nature. Mike has uncomfortable memories of monsoonal rainfall in the Sierra. He decided to go back down to his campsite.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hike to Minaret Lake

False Hellebore, Minarets - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike got to his camping spot very early, and since there was still plenty of time left in the day he decided to continue going up the trail with his daypack. He ended up going much farther than he had planned, all the way to Minaret Lake. The heights kept beckoning, as they say.

Just before the final switchback he spotted the above composition: false hellebore surrounded by mountain willows and backed up by the Minarets. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Campsite #2

Tent, Minarets - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike came to a stream crossing that he didn't like the look off, decided to backtrack and found a nice spot for camp number two that had obviously been used before.

And . . . as an added bonus, a view of the Minarets!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back on the Trail

Minaret Creek Cascades - Sierra Nevada  2014

Forest, Trail, Self-Portrait - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike got up at 6:15 AM (after it was light enough to see without a flashlight), broke camp, had his coffee, cocoa and granola bar and was soon on the trail heading to yet higher elevations. The Minaret cascades looked to be pretty low, nothing like previous years. Every now and then there'd be some thin cloud cover making for nice lighting conditions.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Squirrel Blogging

Squirrels - Sierra Nevada  2010

OK . . . this photo wasn't taken on Mike's latest backpack. In fact, this is a repost from his 2010 backpack, taken with a Nikon D90 in the Minaret Falls Campground. But during his most recent hike Mike did in fact witness a major squirrel battle!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Campsite #1

Tent, Campsite #1 - Sierra Nevada  2014
Forest - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike stopped for his first camp not that far past Johnston Lake, in time for lunch. No, not that far! Short hiking distances were part of his plan. He set up his small one-person Big Agnes tent and spent the rest of the day relaxing and searching out forest details.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Little Girl, Kyoto

Little Girl #1 (Kyoto) - Japan  2014

Little Girl #2 (Kyoto) - Japan  2014

. . . going for a walk in Kyoto.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Johnston Lake

Johnston Lake - Sierra Nevada  2014

False Hellebore Leaf - Sierra Nevada  2014

In the olden days (i.e., the 60's and 70's) we'd be able to dayhike up to Minaret Lake and back in a day. The first milestone on the way was Johnston Lake, shallow and reed-filled. However, for this hike Mike was much less ambitious, studying the topo map and plotting out a gradual ascent utilizing two campsites.

Anyway, here he was at Johnston Lake with his Olympus E-PL5 (with a 12-50mm zoom lens) slung around his neck. Wow!  He was pleased to find that he was able to operate the camera in spite of the altitude, taking a two-photo merge of the lake and a closeup of a late season false hellebore leaf.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

San Joaquin River, Devil's Postpile

San Joaquin River - Sierra Nevada  2014

Devil's Postpile - Sierra Nevada  2014

Top: view from the Devil's Postpile bridge over the San Joaquin River. Compare to last year's view.

Bottom: Photo of the Devil's Postpile formation looking across from the PCT/JMT. Also compare to last year's view.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Backpack Trailhead

Sunrise - Sierra Nevada  2014

Truck, Backpack, Backpacker - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike stayed at a motel overnight in order to get up early enough to be able to drive his truck down to the Devil's Postpile trailhead (after 7:00 AM no personal vehicles allowed: you're required to take a shuttle bus). On the way: a very nice sunrise. Also the realization that he had forgotten to take his aluminum hiking pole.

Then the trailhead parking lot. Mike was somewhat surprised to find only a few cars parked there; he had expected that there would be some crowding, but no. Another backpacker was there performing much the same chores as Mike: nice light running shoes exchanged for heavy hiking boots, hydration unit clipped to the side of the pack, sandals velcro'd on the back . . . and more.

Finally the pack is set upright on the truck tailgate, put onto shoulders, the waist belt is tightened and the walk commences.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fritos & Beer, Yosemite

Fritos and Beer - Yosemite  2014

Taken in the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center parking lot. Mike was headed for a short late season backpacking trip hiking up the Minaret Lake trail, which meant travelling through Yosemite National Park over Tioga Pass.

But first! A lunch stop and the requisite Fritos 'n Beer shot.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Osprey Blogging

Osprey - Point Reyes  2014

I used an Olympus E-PL5 and a 14-150mm lens for this shot.

Alas, no fish in the bird's talons.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Sunrise - Marin County  2014

I was taking some local hikes in preparation for an actual Sierra backpack. I took this photo during a hike that Hali and I took up Loma Alta. I used an Olympus E-PL5 camera with the 12-50mm lens.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tokyo Bubbles

Noticing Bubbles - Japan  2014

Moving In On Bubbles - Japan  2014

Fully Observing Bubbles - Japan  2014

Sequence seen in Tokyo's Central Park in Shinjuku: toddler interested (very interested, of course) in bubbles.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Alders, Spider Webs

Alders - Point Reyes  2014

Spider Webs - Point Reyes  2014

Top: Alders seen on our Point Reyes loop hike. I tried a black and white conversion for the photo, but decided color was better.

Bottom: Spider webs seen in the damp early morning.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Point Reyes, Different Hikes

Trail - Point Reyes  2014

Coast Trail - Point Reyes  2014

Top: Leaving Coast Camp heading back to the truck . . . very sunny day, actually going to be hot.

Bottom: Overcast day, drizzly. Had to wear a parka.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Point Reyes Morning

Surf - Point Reyes  2014

Hills, Sunrise - Point Reyes  2014

Top: overcast morning taken on our hike.

Bottom: sun just starting to hit the hills surrounding Coast Camp.


Please note that it's very important to decide whether or not the final image will be in color or black and white before taking the photograph.

Oh . . . wait a minute. It's not important at all. I routinely make the B&W decision way after the fact. Another broken rule! Yikes!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Point Reyes Visits

Fritos and Beer - Point Reyes  2014

Venus - Point Reyes  2014

Two recent visits: a) I did a practice backpack in July in preparation for an August Sierra backpack, and b) Hali and I went on an extensive hike looping out to the coast and back in August.

The above photos were taken during the backpack: the obligatory Fritos and Beer shot, and an early-morning photo of Venus.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Deer Blogging

Deer, Campsite #2 (Coast Camp) - Point Reyes  2014

Well, time for Mike's annual Point Reyes backpack, but when Mike arrived at his - reserved - Point Reyes campsite he found some squatters already in residence. And, they were in no hurry to leave.