Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blackberry Leaves

Slowly, but surely, my computer and I are getting to know each other. Today's Daily E-mail has been easier to produce!
What you see are blackberry leaves (I believe), left from last year. Margie and I spotted them along Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Point Reyes. The moisture from the early morning fog accentuated the color and produced the lovely teardrops.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Barbed Wire

Still having problems with my new computer. But I did take this picture on Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Point Reyes this morning. I rather liked the composition and colors.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Red Truck

Red truck this morning at the Ponds

Friday, December 26, 2008


Dang! Margie won't let me get away with anything. Hardly had I sent out my Daily E-mail when she wrote to set me straight. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" was written by Betty Smith." Who is Dorothy McGuire"? she asked.
A quick check straightened me out. Betty Smith is indeed the author of the book which was published in 1942. Dorothy McGuire acted in the 1945 film.
I sit corrected.

Tree in Car

Reading Dorothy McGuire's 1945 classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, did not prepare me for what I saw today. What next?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


This is the scene that greeted me when I arrived at Divide Meadow a couple of mornings ago. I was so awed, that it would not have surprised me to see Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, or even Barack Obama emerge from the fog. Though Obama would have required a change from his usual wardrobe!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings
and a
Happy New Year!
With apologies to those that have already seen this picture.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What is it?

This morning none of my cronies showed up for the regular Tuesday morning run/walk on the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes. So I ventured out by my lonesome. But when I saw what is depicted on my photo, I began to wonder whether it's wise for me to go it alone. What do you think?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mohandas K. Gandhi

This morning I took the ferry to the City and wandered around a bit. I revisited the beautiful Gandhi statue and took a picture. That's the Ferry Bldg behind Gandhi, and a building housing condos behind it. The statue, by sculptors Zlatko Pounov and Steen Lowe, was dedicated on October 3, 1988. It is often decorated with Hawaiian leis. Other than that, it receives embarrassingly little attention.
Mohandas K. Gandhi, or Mahatma Gandhi, as he was commonly known, lived from 1869 to 1948. He said "Non-Violence is the greatest force at the disposal of Mankind. It is the supreme law. By it alone can mankind be saved."
Albert Einstein said "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth".

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meggendorfer- Blätter

It's a pity that so few among you know German. For here's another gem from the Famous HGR Literary Collection. It's a book, containing several months worth of the Meggendorfer Blätter 1915, billed as the Magazine of Humor and Art. It is richly illustrated with cartoons which, today, wouldn't even trigger a smile! I don't remember where I snagged this book, but on the inside back cover, is written in pencil  $1.25! Most of the stories, cartoons, and jokes revolve around the war (1914 - 1918).
The poem under the illustration is entitled "Christmas Mail". I'm too lazy to translate it, but the gist of it is that the Christmas mail and packages have arrived. This is no ordinary mail, for if you look closely into the coach, you will see none other than the Christ child itself. The mail has stopped in front of a civil servant's (perhaps the mayor) house. A maid brings the coachman a little glass of grog, while the mailman struggles with the heavy boxes and packages. Those that don't receive anything still enjoy watching happily, thinking to themselves "it's all for the best, it's Christmas!"! (I wonder about that sentiment! ~ Ed.)


Don't these guys know that smoking causes lung-cancer?

Friday, December 19, 2008


I never tire of admiring the beauty of raindrops on blades of grass.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Picture taken at the Northgate Shopping Center in San Rafael.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Der Weihnachtsmarkt in Berlin

About a year ago I really scored when I found a book containing a bound year's worth of a weekly German newspaper in an antique store. The Illustrierte Zeitung, published in Leipzig, dating back to 1845, was the first German newspaper to carry illustrations! Woodcuts, to be precise.
The attached, timely picture, is called "Der Weihnachtsmarkt in Berlin" (Christmas-market in Berlin"). To place it in time ~ the Civil War ended two decades after this paper was published!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I live (so far, so good) and learn (hopefully)!
The other day, at the Ponds, I met a dyed-in-the-wool birder, who awakened me to the fact that there are many, many, specific names for flocks of different birds. Thus flocks of Cormorants are referred to as flights, or gulps. Ya coulda fooled me!
Which leads me to my picture of a flight or gulp of Cormorants, which I saw at the Ponds the other day. I think they were Double-crested Cormorants, though they seemed a little light in color. The sight was a little strange, since I usually observe being rugged individualists, though I have seen large flights (or gulps) of them skimming over the water in the Bay.
Looks like the bird in the right front was barking out orders. But Cormorants don't bark.
Enough of this tomfoolery!

Monday, December 15, 2008


What evil beast lurketh, not a hundred yards from my abode? This morning. I think I'll have to get no less than a pit bull to protect me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Here's a picture of Emiliano (on top) and Conchita, in a tight embrace, at the Academy. They are Phyllomedusa sauvagii, commonly known as Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs. Note that Conchita, being a girl, is quite a bit larger than Emiliano. They are madly in love. Conchita actually fell for Emiliano when, day after day, he brought her delicious insects, and especially fruit flies, which are her favorite. Their ancestors came from Venezuela (before Hugo Chavez's rule). They walk, rather than hop, hence the "monkey" in their name. In the wild, Conchita would lay eggs down the middle of a leaf before folding it, sandwiching the eggs inside. She would then place them in a nest, so that hatching tadpoles would drop into the water. I'm not sure what she'll do at the Academy. But regardless, it's all very romantic!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Leafy Sea Dragon

Yesterday, at the California Academy of Sciences, I saw the strangest creature I have ever seen. It was the Leafy Sea Dragon, Phycodurus eques, a marine fish related to the seahorse. Leafy Sea Dragons are found around southern and western Australia. They look like floating seaweed, and this is their camouflage. The Leafy Sea Dragon is the official marine emblem of the state of South Australia. A biennial Leafy Sea Dragon Festival is held by the District Council of Yankalilla, South Australia. If you don't believe me, look it up in your Funk & Wagnall, or rather, on your trusty Wikipedia!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rock Pigeon

Once again, a picture of a Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). As you know, I'm a pigeon-fancier. What you probably don't know is that a pigeon, named Cher Ami, received several medals in World War I, for saving the US Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the Battle of the Argonne, October 1918. Visit to read more about this famous bird. The pigeon on my picture, not quite as famous, posed for me yesterday on the Great Highway in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now, here's my point

The title of the photograph is "Now here's my point"
I took the picture today at the Beach Chalet Restaurant at the foot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, along the Great Highway. I was drawn by the animated conversation the two gentlemen were having, their silhouette, and the way in which the red wine in their glasses provided color.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spiderweb No. 378

Please file under SPIDERWEB NO. 378!
From yesterday's walk in Point Reyes.
# end

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Here's a gaggle of Shovelers doing a circular dance, yesterday, at the Ponds. According to a birder, who happened to be passing by, they were actually stirring up the mud in the shallow water, to bring up little worms and other delicacies.

Monday, December 8, 2008


It was cold and overcast at the Ponds this morning. However, the weather did not deter this flock of beautiful Avocets from their search for breakfast. They seemed to be standing in line in the shallow water. Birds always seem to be clothed appropriately. I thought of the Avocets a little later, as I stood in line at the checkout stand at Trader Joe's (for the uninitiated ~ it's a supermarket).

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Archeological Find

I beseech you to keep this information under your hat.
I'm not sure how many of you know that, in addition my other talents, I am also a passionate archeologist. Yesterday, I finally hit the jackpot, when I practically stumbled over the fossilized human skull shown on my picture, right here in Marin County. Upon cursory examination, the prehistoric find seemed in excellent condition. Fortunately I had my camera along, enabling me to take some pictures and immediately send them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
You are certainly curious to know where I made my discovery. Unfortunately, but for obvious reasons, all the details I can divulge at this time, are that it was in the general Corte Madera Marsh area. Watch the local newspapers for more information as it becomes available for dissemination to the public.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blue-toothed Entoloma

The fact of the matter is that I am clueless. I searched in my 926-page Audubon mushroom guidebook and Blue-toothed Entoloma was the closest I could come. What I do  know is that Margie, Bob T, and I came upon this little mushroom on the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes a week ago. As you can see, it was covered with dew,  glistening in the early morning light. Once again, I sit in awe of Mother Nature.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Moneysaver Bird

In these hard times, everyone is looking for ways to economize. The tiny bird on my picture is guaranteed to save you thousands of dollars (Schillinge or Mark). Instead of going on a arduous, expensive, trip to Madagascar, Borneo, and/or Costa Rica, to see the little guy/gal, you can simply take the Muni to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. And, thinking green, you won't be wasting a lot of our natural resources, and your footprint will almost be invisible.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I took this picture in the Rainforest at the California Academy of Sciences a couple of days ago. Don't ask me what kind of butterfly it is! You see, the birds and butterflies are from places like Madagascar, Borneo, and Costa Rica, and are not identified. They fly around freely inside the 90-foot diameter dome. To enter, visitors first step into a little cubicle (like an elevator car); the door is closed behind them, then a door on the other side is opened when they may proceed. The birds and butterflies are not at all shy, and alight on feeding platforms, located just a couple of feet from the spectators. There is even a little nest nearby, and I saw the babies being fed by their parents.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Through a glass darkly

I took this picture at the Academy today. I shot up, through the aquarium, at the audience above. I decided to call the picture "Through a Glass Darkly", for no really good reason. The phrase dates back to the New Testament - Corinthians - and refers to humans having an imperfect perception of reality. So what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Beats me! Just look at the picture!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Simplicity two days in a row! I hope I'm not sick. I better check my temperature!


Thank goodness, once in a while Simplicity wins out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Laughing Rock

When you're retired, the whole world comes to life!


I am signed up for a December 4th Beginner's Photoshop class at the Mill Valley Library. Who knows what mischief I'll get into after I have that under my belt!
I took the attached picture at about 8 AM this morning at the Corte Madera Marsh. Weather clear, temperature about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Centigrade)

Friday, November 28, 2008

California Academy Of Sciences

The gorgeous, brand-new, California Academy of Sciences is touted as "a four-story rainforest, an aquarium, a planetarium, and a natural history museum all under one living roof!" What more could one possibly expect? Well, I found some thrilling shadows and reflections, unnoticed by the teeming crowds, attuned solely to the official presentations.
I took my picture, looking up, from a spot not far from the main entrance. The beautiful lines and curves were in constant motion, as I stood enjoying the spectacle.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Egrets

Just in case you needed to see more Egrets, here's another one of the pix I took at Rush Creek eight days ago. When I went back four days ago, I didn't see a single Egret.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Art Nouveau

A century ago, and for fifteen years, Art Nouveau flourished throughout the Western World. It is still wildly popular among many art-lovers, yours truly among them.
That being said, I was truly surprised when I saw a whole field of Art Nouveau-style, what I think were, Common Thistles, at the Olema Marsh. Usually Art mimics Nature, but here we have a reversal. Could I have stumbled on a new movement?
Now that your pulse has returned to normal, take a good look at my picture, and tell me what Tiffany, Gaudi, Mucha, Klimt, et al, would say to my discovery, were they alive today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Bob T and I wandered out the Bear Valley Trail In Point Reyes this morning. There was a light drizzle so we decided to leave our cameras in the car, thinking there wouldn't be much to photograph anyway. Of course we were proved wrong twenty minutes later as we came upon these beautiful mushrooms. We continued on our hike, passing the mushrooms again on the way back. "They'll still be here next week", we rationalized. By the time we got back to the car it had stopped raining. Now our creative conscience began to plague us, so we trudged back to the mushrooms, this time with cameras in hand! And you are the beneficiaries of our travail!
After unsuccessfully searching through all my guide books, I E-mailed Emma K., the head of my Mycological Research Advisory Group for assistance. Being Ukrainian, Emma has been on a first-name basis with mushrooms since she was two years old and, astonishingly, is still alive. Anyway, she responded post-haste and wrote "Those are not edible mushrooms, they are called LBMs (little brown mushrooms). Some call them LYMs or LWMs (yellow or white). They are similar to honey mushrooms which are edible, but those have little hairs on the top and much more brown/purple coloring". Being of a gullible nature, I am taking Emma's words for gospel, though somewhere, in the depth of my brain (ha!) I suspect that the wool is being pulled over my eyes.
By the way, I hope that, after all the above ranting, you like the picture. Which is what it's all about!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Early Morning at Rush Creek

A heavy fog lay over Rush Creek this morning, as Bob T and I ventured out. The rest, of course, is photography!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh No!

Oh no! Hans is back to his wicked ways again! He says, that every so often, he just can't help himself, things just happen.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More Rush Creek

Here, finally, in an attempt to mollify the conservative traditionalist members of my fan-club, is an original Hans Roenau landscape, this one a beautiful view of Rush Creek. Are you happy now?
Signed and numbered 8" x 10" prints are available, at a special Holiday Sale price of only US$ 182.73, plus Sales Tax where applicable. Shipping is included in the purchase price. Order today and delivery by December 12th is guaranteed.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I can hardly take credit for this picture. I was watching the mind-boggling show at the new California Academy of Sciences Planetarium. We were told "no flash, no cell-phones, no nothing". It was really dark during the show but I decided to take a picture anyway, of course without flash. It took forever and then, to my embarrassment, the whole back of my camera, unexpectedly, lit up like a Christmas tree! I quickly turned my camera off as I sank into my seat (the ground).
When I downloaded my pictures I was totally amazed at what came up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Chase

Here's another one from yesterday's Rush Creek excursion. Bob H alerted me that something strange was going on. The Avocets were busy digging in the mud just under the water under the watchful eyes of some beady-eyed Gulls. When one of the Avocets scooped up a delectable morsel and flew off, a Gull would follow in hot pursuit. If the Avocet dropped the goodie, the Gull would swoop down and pick it up. It was almost as though the Avocets were the unwilling slaves of the Gulls!  Size does matter and Might is Right!
Not easy to photograph, though! Nobody stopped to pose! The attached picture is the best of dozes I shot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Bob H and I could hardly believe our eyes this morning when we came upon this scene at Rush Creek this morning. Neither one had ever seen anywhere near this many egrets in one place. Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets, with some Avocets and Gulls thrown in for good measure. A photographer's dream! Once again we had hit pay-dirt!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bridal Veil

A beautiful morning at Point Reyes. Everything covered with dew.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Canada Geese Again

When I started out around the Ponds with Bob T. this morning, there were 483 picture opportunities that I was looking for in my mind's eye (huh?). A flying flock (try repeating that fast) of Canada Geese, outlined against Mount Tamalpais, was one of them. Here's the picture, and now my wish-list is down to 482!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Street Art

Something about this three-way splitter and jumble of wires caught my eye. Real, accidental, Street Art, I thought! It happened yesterday in Fairfax (the town whose citizens voted almost 80% for Obama).

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Just don't tell me the trees aren't listening.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Acorn Woodpeckers

Hiking around Lake Lagunitas the other day, I heard a big commotion on one of the trees. Looking up I saw about twenty birds flopping around in, what seemed to be, some kind of dispute. By the time I got around to taking a picture, only a few were left. From the ground I couldn't identify the birds, though I noticed, as they flew away, that their wings appeared black and white on the underside. When I got my picture on the computer screen I realized, that what I had seen, were Acorn Woodpeckers. I had always believed that woodpeckers were solitary birds. But, looking in my 'Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior', I found that "The Acorn Woodpecker is a communal, cooperative breeder, with groups of birds filling, using, and defending granaries. The granaries can be quite substantial. One study reported Acorn Woodpeckers storing more than 60,000 acorns in a single granary". I live and learn!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Once in a while I give in to the clamor of some of the members of my fan club, who insist that I show pictures from my colored past. So here is one that goes back to 1946, at the Kiangwan Airfield outside of Shanghai, where I was working as a civilian employee for the US Air Transport Command. You see me posing with two Chinese Nationalist (Kuomingtan - Chiang Kai-shek) soldiers in front of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. I was working as an air-transport clerk. Sometimes I got to operate a fork-lift (years before I learned to drive a car)! I was eighteen and three inches taller than I am now! This was three years before the Communists, under Mao Tse-Tung, won control of all of China. Shown below is a picture of a B-17 which I stole from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time! I know that some of you hate the images that I photograph on my walks, while others really like them. And I can't help it if they insist on popping up. This one appeared to me at Lake Lagunitas on Monday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


No, this is not the greatest picture of a squirrel you have ever seen. And no, it is not a rare and/or endangered species. What it is, is (spells Isis) the first time in over three years, that I succeeded in getting, an at least halfway decent shot, of a squirrel from my kitchen window. You see, they don't sit still, but jump from branch to branch at record speed. I think it's a Douglas' Squirrel, also known as a Pine Squirrel. And now you're at least as smart as I am on this subject.