Thursday, March 31, 2016

Marin Oaks

Oaks, Clouds - Marin County  2016

Oak, Rock - Marin County  2016
I could be wrong, but I believe that rock is serpentinite. As Wikipedia helpfully explains,

Serpentinite is formed from olivine via several reactions, some of which are complementary. Olivine is a solid solution between the magnesium-endmember forsterite and the iron-endmember fayalite. Serpentinite reactions  . . . exchange silica between forsterite and fayalite to form serpentine group minerals and magnetite. These are highly exothermic reactions.

Also, the State Rock of California.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sausalito Agave

Agave - Sausalito  2016

The old black 'n white agave trick.

I've always wondered where other photographers find their unblemished agaves.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SOMA Sightems

Plant (Kansas St) - San Francisco  2016

U46 (Rhode Island St) - San Francisco  2016

. . . south of Market. Google Street View.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Cow Blogging

Cows - Point Reyes  2016

It was supposed to rain that day (last January), but it didn't.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Red Door - San Francisco  2015

Clock, Orchid - San Francisco  2016

. . . in San Francisco.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

BART 2004 - 2

BART Station (El Cerrito) - Contra Costa County  2004

Early morning at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station.

Friday, March 25, 2016

BART 2004 - 1

From BART - Oakland   2004

BART Tracks - Oakland   2004

Once back to the Bay Area I resumed my civil service work in San Francisco, but still carrying around the Olympus. Above, two shots that I took while taking BART from SF to Oakland.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Waiting for Shuttle

Mike Waiting for Shuttle #1 - Sierra Nevada  2004

Mike Waiting for Shuttle #2 - Sierra Nevada  2004

I joined a group of backpackers at the shuttle; one of them took these photos while we waited.

Looking closely, I see that a lot of the equipment in the photos has stayed the same (just like my kitchen gear.) Not the pack: this was a Gregory Z, very lightweight but in the end too inconvenient as far as ease of storage went. Straps were too thin as well. It's been replaced by another Gregory pack, heavier but more readily balanced. I don't use two hiking poles anymore either, just one. Shoulder issue.

After I got back to the car, I opted to follow another car out. He was going pretty fast, so the trip to my motel in Fresno didn't take that long. After a shower: a pepperoni pizza at a "Me 'n Ed's" franchise, and of course, a mini-pitcher of draft beer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hike Back to Florence Lake

Forest - Sierra Nevada  2004

I spent the last night camped out near the San Joaquin River, at first alone, but in the morning surrounded by tents: other JMT hikers had arrived during the night.

But first in, first out: I got up in the dark, stiff and sore, crept out of the tent on all fours, pulling out tent pegs until I got unbent enough to stand up.

Then, back to the Florence Lake shuttle pickup spot, travelling way way up, then way way down (as I've mentioned before) through the dry chaparral landscape. Only photos taken were of some random forest scenes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Backpack Campsite #2 (Evolution Creek) - 2

Tent, Campsite #2 - Sierra Nevada  2004

Bear Canister - Sierra Nevada  2004

When I got up the next morning at 6AM, still dark, I found that my food storage canister had been moved during the night, about 8 feet from where I had left it. Huh.

And, it was 32ยบ. Frozen fingers!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Deer Blogging

Deer - Sierra Nevada  2014

OK, so this wasn't taken in 2004, but in 2014, during my most recent backpack. For some reason I didn't get any wildlife photos in 2004. For this photo I used an Olympus E-PL5 with a 12-50mm lens.

As I wrote at the time: "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."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sierra Crest

Sierra Crest (Evolution Lake) - Sierra Nevada  2004

Sierra crest near Evolution Lake. Just below the lake, on the John Muir Trail, there's a "knapsack" route that heads east towards Lamarck Col.

I'm thinking that someday I should investigate Lamarck Col, but from Owens Valley. Check it out.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Evolution Lake

Evolution Lake - Sierra Nevada  2004

Mike, Evolution Lake - Sierra Nevada  2004
From Mike's notes:

"11:35―Evolution Lake! Hard to believe I made it, after all those months staring at the topo map above my desk at work.  Sit by lake for lunch, and then take a short walk to the lake outlet, Evolution Valley far below. Small trout visible―fish jumping in lake. Low battery indicator coming on intermittently on digital camera. Go ahead and change batteries.
Ech! Now I gotta hike all the way back! . . . Ech!
12:25 PM―Leave Evolution Lake.
1:20―Stream crossing. Not so bad this time.
2:20―Ranger cabin.

7 hour dayhike.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Evolution Valley

Evolution Valley - Sierra Nevada  2004

I started my dayhike at 8:15 AM, after 45 minutes hiking I came to this panoramic view of Evolution Valley surrounded by the peaks of the Evolution Region.

Mount Darwin is named for the naturalist, Charles Darwin. Other nearby mountains in the Evolution Group include Mount Mendel, Mount Fiske, Mount Haeckel, Mount Huxley, Mount Spencer, Mount Wallace, and Mount Lamarck. The area around the peaks, known as the Evolution Region, includes Evolution Basin and Evolution Valley.

Very nice indeed, in spite of the meadows' grass starting to fade to yellow.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Evolution Creek #3

Evolution Creek Ford - Sierra Nevada  2004

Evolution Creek, From Middle - Sierra Nevada  2004

At one point I had to cross Evolution Creek without the benefit of a bridge. It was a pretty substantial wade (water came above my knees), but not particularly difficult. This was in August, though . . . wouldn't want to try it earlier in the season.

As I was making the crossing I realized that I should document the exploit, so I got out the camera while I stood in the center and took the bottom photo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Evolution Creek #2

Evolution Creek, Mountains - Sierra Nevada  2004

Evolution Creek, Ripples - Sierra Nevada  2004

The trail next to my campsite was, in fact, the famous John Muir Trail, at this point making a slight detour around the formidable crest to the east. It was my intention to leave my camp the next day and do a dayhike up towards Evolution Valley and then beyond as far as I could.

Yes, some blown highlights in the top photo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Evolution Creek #1

Evolution Creek - Sierra Nevada  2004

Trees, Granite Slope - Sierra Nevada  2004

My water source. Away from the tent and across the trail, then a slight decline.

I remember being fascinated by the trees poking out of the granite slope opposite my campsite.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday White-Tailed Kite Blogging

White-Tailed Kite - Point Reyes  2016

As I pulled into a parking space at the Drake's Estero trailhead I noticed this very dramatic bird sitting on a post directly in front of the car. The creature sat patiently while I retrieved my Olympus EM-10 with a 14-150 lens attached. Naturally I used the full 150mm of zoom (300mm equiv.). Still, one can see that the lens, while admirable for landscape photos, is not really meant for birding: the photo has had to be severely cropped.

And, of course I was unable to identify my bird, finally relying once again on Barbara who immediately nailed it. A white-tailed kite!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Backpack Campsite #2 (Evolution Creek) - 1

Mike, Campsite (Evolution Creek) - Sierra Nevada  2004

After another 6-hour hike, involving several creek-fording moments, I arrived at this nice, open campsite. "Camping in dry granitic area adjacent to forest."

Photo of my kitchen below. All of the items pictured are still in use. Note the MSR PocketRocket stove, the latest in a line of which the Svea was the first.

Kitchen - Sierra Nevada  2004

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trail to Evolution Valley

View to the West - Sierra Nevada  2004

Aspens - Sierra Nevada  2004

"8:15. Leave camp. Hike next to the San Joaquin River, sun gradually appearing over the canyon walls"

Photos from the trail.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Boulders, Manzanita, Trees, Sunset

Pines, Sunset (Piute Creek) - Sierra Nevada  2004

Boulders, Manzanita (Piute Creek) - Sierra Nevada  2004

"Large dark amorphous clouds with occasional sun." Nice diffuse light!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Backpack Campsite #1 (Piute Creek)

Campsite (Piute Creek) - Sierra Nevada  2004

Really very pleasant. Of course I wasn't alone in finding it attractive.

Plus, a nice view outside my tent door! Below, the view, with the camera's wide-angle zoom lens making the tent's crawl-out entrance look gigantic.

View from Tent (Piute Creek) - Sierra Nevada  2004

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Piute Creek

Piute Creek (From Bridge) - Sierra Nevada  2004

Rocks, Piute Creek - Sierra Nevada  2004

I arrived at Piute Creek at 2:20 PM. Thank the gods! A bridge! I walked over the bridge into Kings Canyon National Park and set up camp amidst the pines and abundant manzanita.

So. That was a 6 hour hike, somewhat longer than I'd like. Per my notes: "Very tough hike - ache all over. Keep the ibuprofen coming."

Still, I did find the energy to wander around with the Olympus C4040, marveling at the amount of photos that could be taken with one memory card.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Backpacking Weather

Sierra Crest, Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2004

Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2004

Weather while packbacking can become quite the obsession. You don't want the heavens to come crashing down on you, of course, but at the same time you don't want a boring succession of unending blue skies.

This particular trip started out fairly gloomy, but ended up sunny.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Dog Blogging

Dog on Boat Shuttle -  Sierra Nevada  2004

Florence Lake, Shuttle Pier - Sierra Nevada  2004

I left Bolsillo Campground at 7:25 and got to Florence Lake by 7:55, where I planned to take the morning shuttle across the lake.

I was met there by a woman (the shuttle operator) and her dog, who accompanied us on the ride over (I was the only passenger at that early hour.) Once on the other side I clambered out, retrieved my Gregory Z backpack and started off. I spent some time trying to locate the actual route which was a rough-hewn truck road heading for Muir Trail Ranch, but did OK, finally reaching the Muir Trail Ranch / Kings Canyon National Park junction at 11:00. For some reason the trail designers had found it necessary to have the trail go first way way up, then way way down.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

. . . from the archives #93: Church - Hornitos 1995

Church - Hornitos  1995

Nice photo! Although Edward Weston and Ansel Adams had gotten there first. I was going to drop by Hornitos last year to see what the intervening 20 years have wrought. Alas, my plans were disrupted by the weather.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bolsillo Campground - 2

Manzanita Branch - Sierra Nevada  2004

Manzanita Branches, Boulder - Sierra Nevada  2004

I guess you could say . . . sightems!

Black and white conversions are new . . . sometimes BW just makes more sense.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bolsillo Campground - 1

Bolsillo Campground - Sierra Nevada  2004
Mike, Bolsillo Campground - Sierra Nevada  2004

Back then my theory was to drive half-way on the extremely aggravating Kaiser Pass Road, then camp at this diminutive campground. I think the last few times I've gone I've just gritted my teeth and gone the distance.

Top photo: Nissan Maxima with trunk open along with LL Bean car camp tent.

Bottom photo: Mike cooking an exquisite meal, holding obligatory wine glass.

"Pasta for my car camp dinner. A success!" (From Mike's notes.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Olympus C-4040

Olympus C-4040 - Marin County  2004

My first digital camera . . . 4 megapixels! First, and only, silver finish camera I've owned.

I've been going through some photos (jpegs, of course) that I took during an August, 2004 backpack using this camera . . . running them through the Adobe Camera Raw program and tweaking in Photoshop. Will be posting them starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

No Posts

. . . for 3/1 and 3/2 for technical reasons.