Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hay Stacker

You are absolutely correct. Farm machinery is not my specialty. But that didn't deter me from being fascinated by this automatic bale wagon. Bob H and I were at the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Tolay Creek, and watched as this machine picked up and stacked bale after bale - lickety-split (I had to use that term, which dates back to the 1830s). One picture is worth a thousand words. Take a close look at my picture and you'll be able to figure out what the machine is doing.
And if you now feel you must have one of these devices to stack your alfalfa, Bob found a used one on the Internet for a mere $35,000. But before you decide, you might consider going to an auction. Two of them recently went for $23,000 each. Look for the Model 1085 New Holland bale wagon or harrow bed.
After diligently studying my Daily E-mails for three years, and passing the final examination, you will be awarded the Hansean School of Useless Information Graduate Degree. This degree, together with $1.65 (EU 1.06), will buy you a "Tall" at most Starbucks. And do leave a tip.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Yesterday Bob Hollingsworth and I wandered around in the Corte Madera Marsh. The sides of the trail were literally covered with pretty little balls, and I took a picture. I identified the pellets as seeds from plants. Bob said no, these were scat, probably from rabbits. I argued the point, but I should have known better. Bob, my resident scientist, was right as usual and what we saw turned out to be Cottontail scat.
Bob followed up with an E-mail and referred me to page 327 of THE LAWS FIELD GUIDE TO THE SIERRA NEVADA, a reference-book we both have, for a picture. No question!
He then went on to say: "Rabbit scat is composed of the vegetation the animal has been eating. There are two kinds of rabbit scat. One kind is compact and somewhat dry. The other is moister and softer. Rabbits will eat this type of scat to get all the nutrients from it. This is called coprophagy. The first type has been through the rabbit's digestive system twice and no longer has a lot of nutrients in it. Rabbit scat is in pellet form and is rounder than that of deer."

I have refrained from taking and mailing scat pictures for three years, but this one seemed harmless to me and the explanation very informative. If you feel you must learn more about the subject, click on:

I am sure you were all dying to know.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This morning yielded a couple of American Avocets in breeding plumage with the Richmond San Rafael Bridge in the background. A lucky shot taken at the Corte Madera Marsh.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A few days ago, my friend Kare and I spotted this Acorn Woodpecker on our walk around Lake Lagunitas. These birds are not terribly shy. You see them perched on an exposed branch from which they will fly as you approach, but only to perch again on another branch not far away. It's as if they want you to admire them. What puzzles me is how they can do their woodpecking without serious injury. Just imagine you doing it!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Here's a refreshing respite from my daily photographs!
Elli Delignon and I have been friends for fifty-six years and have remained in touch for all this time. She is one of Vienna's foremost illustrators, mostly of children-books. I have always loved her work and was really tickled to receive the two attached sketches a couple of days ago. For those of you who, unfortunately, don't know German, the bird is saying "oh, you again!"

Monday, May 26, 2008


Lest you think that I no longer shoot portraits, or perhaps think I only shoot portraits of beautiful women, here's a picture of my Greek buddy, Dimitri, who I know from my running days. He is quite a character who doesn't own a car but runs or bicycles wherever  he goes, often shirtless. Everybody likes Dimitri.
I took his picture this morning at the Memorial Day Races in Kentfield.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Here's another one from the Tolay Creek excursion a few days ago. I think there's beauty in symmetry, especially when mixed with some gorgeous colors. Bob H said these were bales of alfalfa, and Bob is right 99.1% of the time. I like to say the word alfalfa aloud. Something unreal about it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I find myself on the verge of launching a new career. This one would take me to the Black Hills of South Dakota, specifically to the vicinity of Keystone. By now you have probably guessed that I'd be heading to Mount Rushmore, to add the sculpture of a fifth President to the four already there. Yes, I want to immortalize Dubya for his uniqueness among America's presidents. I have already submitted a picture of my work to the National Park Service, a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. Attached is a facsimile of that picture. And yes, I believe that a little color is appropriate for the twenty-first century. It would also add an appropriate cartoon quality to the august features of the Decider.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Western Pond Turtle

How many Western Pond Turtles have the good fortune of getting their picture taken with a reflection of majestic MountTamalpais in the foreground? The answer is ~ not many! The Western Pond Turtle is the pond's native turtle of record. Other turtles, such as the Slider, are being very humanly trapped and transported away from the lake. A word of caution. Don't even think of getting rid of your pet-turtle in the lake. Doing so will risk a fine of thousands of dollars.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Red-winged Blackbird

I took this picture of a Red-winged Blackbird in flight at the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge a few days ago. I just love catching birds in flight. Even the Blackbird looks majestic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Palace of the Legion of Honor

Here's a bit of a change of pace. It could also be called "A Day in the life of a certain Hans".
Being in the City this morning, I decided to drive to the Palace of the Legion of Honor to photograph some of the very early 20th Century bases of the "Winning of the West" lamp posts, designed by sculptor Arthur Putnam. I had seen these lamps there before and they can also be found on Market Street and by the Ferry Building. Shown are two of the bases.
At this point I discovered the California Poppies growing in front of the pillared wall surrounding the parking area and pond. That same wall also inspired me to take the shadow picture.
I decided to go into the museum and was surprised by the blown glass installation by Dale Chihuly. It is called "Sun" and measures 14' in diameter. I decided to juxtaposition it with Rodin's Thinker. There are two more Chihulies inside and I photographed a young lady taking a picture of one of them. These installations are there to announce the Chihuly show opening at the de Young (the Legion's sister- or brother-museum) on June 14th.
Another shadow-picture and a photo of and older lady taking a picture of a young lady. All in front of the Legion.
I'll be happy to furnish you more information on any of the above.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Zhan Wang

I was at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco a couple of days ago and happened upon Beijing sculptor Zhan Wang's exhibit. The centerpiece is a panorama of San Francisco, composed entirely of pots, pans, etc. I have never seen anything like it and was really impressed. Of course, I didn't have my camera along, so I went back today.
Zhan Wang is among the most respected artists in China, creating mostly stainless sculpture of rocks, called "Scholars' Rocks". Some of these were also shown at the Asian.
When you look at my picture, note the Ferry Building on the right, and the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest tower.
Gather your husband, wife, partner, offspring, dog, canary, and goldfish, and get yourself to the Asian right away! The show closes on Sunday.

Monday, May 19, 2008


What's a nice young quail doing in a place like this? I don't know the answer. But what s/he is sitting on are the barbs of a power tower. They are there to keep nudniks from climbing up. Taken this morning at my favorite Ponds.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Skaggs Island

Boy, I'm really milking that hike Bob Hollingsworth and I took out to Skaggs Island!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prehistoric Fish?

One of my finest qualities is that I never tell a lie (well, almost never). What you see here is not the remains of a pre-historic fish, but rather a couple of leaves that fate (or the wind) had joined on the floor of my garage. And I did not doctor the scene or the picture! When I get old I'll take pictures rat here where I live. Just think of the gas I'll save. All I'll have to worry about will be that I don't E-mail the same picture eight days in a row!

Friday, May 16, 2008

White Pelicans

You are very perceptive. I have, indeed, tinkered a little with this picture. Taken at Skaggs Island a couple of days ago. Lately I haven't seen many American White Pelicans, so I was really pleased to see this group overhead. These are really very large birds, 62" (158 cm) long, with a wingspan of 108" (274 cm). As far as I know, males and females look alike. They are usually found in flocks.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Here's a portrait of my friend, Bob, squatting in one of the abandoned structures on Skaggs Island. We figured that the strange pipe on the left was an air-vent, since there were no windows. Perhaps this was some kind of shelter. Your guess is as good as mine. The vets among you can set me straight.
Again, remember, my objective is more of an artistic nature. Look at the picture in that sense.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mt Tam from Skaggs Island

This morning Bob Hollingsworth and I ventured out into hitherto uncharted territory ~ Skaggs Island in Sonoma County. We climbed through a hole in the fence and went on a longish hike. Skaggs Island is a drained area of San Pablo Bay tidelands, formerly a Naval Communications base, decommissioned in 1993. We inspected some abandoned, vandalized buildings, scaring away three barn owls! We had an unusual view of the Highway 37 bridge spanning the Petaluma River, with Mount Tamalpais in the background, and this is what is shown on my picture.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wild Turkey

It's true ~ the early worm does, indeed, catch the bird! I was out at Tennessee Valley at 6:30 this morning and saw about a dozen wild turkeys. Both boys and girls. The guy I photographed was strutting his stuff. Was it to impress the ladies or to keep me at bay? Whatever the reason, he sure is an awe-inspiring dude.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I took this picture of a thistle this morning at the Ponds. The most common thistle hereabouts. Must be really easy to identify. Right? Wrong! I am stymied. The closest I could come was Milk Thistle. Just one problem, it grows in the Mediterranean, in North Africa, and the Middle East. Not in the United States! I'm sure some of you will E-mail me with comments like "how could you not recognize the Xxxxxx Thistle"? So be it.
Of course the reason I took the picture was because the thistle is a real work of art. Never mind what it's called.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all that qualify!
Happy Sunday to the rest of you!
Picture taken at Abbots Lagoon in Point Reyes.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Five Brooks

I took this picture about a week ago at Five Brooks in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It's beautiful over there. What more can I say? The only possible negative is that there's lotsa horse-manure and accompanying odor! But you'll get over it!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Well, once again I got carried away by a tiny insect. I spied this tiny Snakefly (about 1/2") outside my apartment. It is also known as Neuroptera: Raphidiidae. The Snakefly is an active predator, feeding on small insects, such as aphids and caterpillars. For this reason it is considered beneficial. Snakeflies are one of only two groups of insects than can run backwards at full speed.

Now that you've read all this, have a good look at my picture. Isn't the Snakefly, with its transparent, intricately veined wings, and its long neck, really beautiful?

One of my aims in photography is to call attention to creatures and things people might not ordinarily notice or, worse yet, step on! 

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Shadow of a bench in Fairfax yesterday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Western Scrub-Jay

Yes, I know, the Western Scrub-Jay is quite common in these here parts. However, I present this picture, which I took a few days ago at Five Brooks, for its composition, background, and color. When I saw the scene, I was reminded of a Chinese painting, and that's what I tried to convey in my photograph.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Face with Glasses

I've often wondered about the efficacy of my trifocals. Yesterday it finally dawned on me. As the afternoon sun shone through the window, it threw the shadow of my glasses onto the kitchen-table. In my mind's eye I saw a face, and a few lines on a sheet of paper completed the picture. Voila!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Sooner or later, the truth will out. I love and am fascinated by tattoos. That having been said, a tattoo on anyone near and dear to me needs to be small and discreet, e.g. a little butterfly, a Bluebird, or a rose. And it should be hidden from public view.
The tattoos on my picture belong to a young lady I met last Saturday, at the Miwok 100K Ultra. She was waiting for her manfriend, to pace him the last 22 miles of the race. She readily and graciously agreed to model for me. The advantage of posing as a harmless old guy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wood Duck

Here's my humble entry into the fictitious, International Wood Duck Competition. After Margie took a picture of the duck the other day, and I without a camera, I returned to the exact spot along the Corte Madera Creek, the very next day. No duck! Only slightly daunted, I camped out for 47 hours, lying in wait until the duck finally and blessedly returned. During my ordeal, kind-hearted passers-by fed me crumpets, while a small, nearsighted dog mistook me for a tree. But it was all worth the trouble. Wood Ducks are not that common in these here parts. I now believe that they are the most beautiful of all ducks, even surpassing my former favorites, the Mergansers. (Don't tell Dick Cheney!)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Nature's Art

Hans Arp, Constantin Brancusi, et al, better step aside, for here is Nature's own sculpture. With a little bit of magic. I took this picture at Five Brooks, near Point Reyes, yesterday.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Well, here is the long-promised mosquito picture. Actually I'm not 100% sure it was a mosquito because it was larger than any I've ever seen. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately) it was dead when I found it, so I couldn't ask for ID. Anyhow, I think my Daily E-mail will serve as a fitting memorial for the insect, regardless of its species.
And let me remind you, the aim of my pictures is mostly for artistic, biology being only a bi-product. And the purpose of my writing is to amuse you (and me). If something informative results, it is probably purely accidental!
By the way ~ I took the picture with my new close up filter.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Turkey Vulture

I was tempted to make this image the Royal Seal of the House of Roenau, but then it occurred to me that a vulture not a good insignia maketh. Instead, I will hunt for a Golden Eagle. I took the picture of the Turkey Vulture near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal yesterday.
The promised picture of the mosquito (since it's much smaller than the TV), will have to wait another day.