Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

This card, borrowed from my vast and valuable collection of junk, is almost a hundred years old. Though in French, the message is the same ~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Spider-web photography is addictive. Once you get the bug, it's really hard to shake. Worse than grass! I could make it my New Year's resolution, but .......................... I don't wanna!
FYI - Yesterday's spider-web clung to a bench right near the entrance to the Ponds.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Early Morning Fog

It was really foggy at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Ponds this morning, providing some great photo ops.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron at the Ponds this morning. We are so lucky to be living here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

River Otter

River Otter at the Ponds, a few days ago.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rock Art

Now that the Christmas craziness is behind us, I can once again turn my attention to the serious and important business of Accidental Rock Art. I discovered today's entry, which measures 2" x 2-1/4", at Fort Cronkhite, a few weeks ago. To my credit, I can say that I have not altered the piece in any way. Honest! And it is now up to you (if you so wish) to find a resemblance to a person, living or dead, that you see in this work of nature's art.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Greeting Card

This is the picture I used for my holiday greeting card many, many years ago. I think I took it at the Homewood Ski Resort, near Lake Tahoe, and it proves that I was already a great photographer way back in the Sixties. Please forgive my modesty! And if you want to read this in Spanish, click 1.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Deer

After a valiant struggle, I have finally succumbed to the holiday craziness, and here is my contribution ~ the lighted deer at the Bon Air Shopping Center. I photographed them last night, bravely risking great bodily harm from unsteady ground and speeding traffic. So now I sit here, wondering what the heck deer have to do with Christmas. I quote the best Google explanation I could find ~
"A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "T' was the Night Before Christmas" from its first line) is a poem first published anonymously in 1823. It is generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although it has also been claimed that it was written Henry Livingston, Jr. It is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the English-speaking world and beyond.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Draw Bridge

Did the name Draw Bridge attract the taggers? How did they get up there? What's the message? All I understand is what it says at the bottom ~ UP NEVER DOWN ~ which may refer to the fact that the bridge is frozen in time in an upright position. The train used to run over it and you can still see the tracks. The bridge spanned the Corte Madera Creek where it flows into the Bay. The trestle may return to life if plans for a railroad are realized. Note San Quentin Prison in the background. And on the right the houseboat community which I have visited and photographed a number of times. I guess I was focusing on the graffiti in this picture but, in fact, the whole scene is interesting and invites some scrutiny.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Granddaughters are more fun! To wit, Danika, ten, visiting from Byron IL, is always ready to monkey around in front of the camera. But let me assure you that her real eyes are beautiful. Mebbe next time!

Monday, December 21, 2009


When, this morning at the Ponds, there were no Birds of Paradise to be seen, I had to resort to SIMPLICITY. Sometimes not a bad choice.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thursday Morning Run

Kees Tuinzing's very popular Thursday morning running workouts at the College of Marin track have been going on for many years. Before the workout, at 7:00 a.m., most of the runners warm up with a 2 mile loop around the Corte Madera Creek. I took the picture from across the creek. Note the couple walking their dogs on the right of the picture.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hans the Sinologist

Yesterday my Chinese friend Clover and I visited the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. My picture shows Clover standing behind the glass case displaying a Chinese ritual vessel This vessel, dating back to 1100 BCE, is my very favorite art object in the museum. Clover, much livelier than the Rhino, dates back to 1986.
Photographer's Note ~ Flash photography is not allowed in the museum.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Yes, I'm up to my old tricks again, and here's a picture of the Bon Air Bridge reflected in the Corte Madera Creek. Did I enhance the color in Photoshop. Yup, I sure did! Do I feel guilty about any of this? Nope!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


All my friends abandoned me this morning and I wound up walking solo around the Corte Madera Creek! I wanted to call this picture "o sole mio", only to discover that the Neapolitan name of the famous song meant "My Sun". So there! However, if you must hear Luciano Pavarotti ~ click on this
But I'm getting too far adrift. Cutting to the chase ~ the mist was slowly lifting, creating some beautiful picture opportunities. Here is one that I hope I captured.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Soft Landing!

At the Ponds last Monday. I've been hitting pay-dirt these last few days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poor Mousie!

Poor Mousie!
This morning at the Ponds.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Search for Food

In Jamaica I saw Cattle Egrets sitting on cattle. They rid the cattle of nasty ticks, while having a good food source. A symbiotic relationship.
At the California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, I watched Cleaner Shrimp clean other organisms of parasites. Again, a symbiotic relationship.
This morning Bob T. and I watched four Egrets follow a couple of River Otters dive for food. The Otters must have been stirring up some fish, or other under-water creatures, and the birds somehow profited from this activity. In my picture the Egrets are following along the shore, waiting for the Otters' next move. While reminded of the Cattle Egrets and the Cleaner Shrimp, I don't see this as a symbiotic relationship.
Whatever it was, it provided quite show!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm always amazed at how many black feathers Pelicans have. When they are standing or swimming, they look all white. I wonder how, and why, in the course of evolution, these black feathers appeared. The older I get, the dumber I feel.
Excuse me, while I go to sit in the lotus position (I wish I still could) and contemplate my navel. While I'm doing that, you may click on

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I was at the Sausalito Yacht Club this evening, taking pictures of their fireworks. If you haven't already figured it out, I hand-held my camera for this picture. I don't need no stink'n Jackson Pollock!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Western Sandpiper???

My best guess is that it's a Western Sandpiper. A cute, tiny, shorebird, which I photographed at the Ponds on Tuesday. These birds scurry around at great speed. To me, precise identification is more a burden than a virtue. I marvel at the birds' beauty and skill, and don't worry whether they are Western, or Least, Sandpipers! However, I do love the groups of old folks, armed with scopes and Audubon guide-books, writing down the precise number of Red-tailed Hawks and Kites they have spied. Perhaps, when I grow up, I'll start taking pictures of the birders.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Birds on Wires

I love to see the birds (Blackbirds, I believe) sitting on the wires at the Ponds. It's amazing how they'll fly to the wire in a flock, each one finding a spot to alight. They never bump into each other, never fail to grasp the wire. They must grip it pretty hard so they don't keel over. Look at the space between the birds. What accuracy. Birds don't know the word 'clumsy' (yeah, yeah, I know, they don't know other words either). And you may have noticed the biggest miracle ~ birds can fly!
Perhaps the following words, penned by Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 - 1519) in his Codex on the Flight of Birds, will help you understand some of the mysteries.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pelican Lunch

When it comes to food, Pelicans don't fool around. It's every bird for  her/himself. As seen in this picture, taken yesterday at the Ponds. This group must have run across a particularly fertile underwater snack-bar as they were vying for position.
Why did I think of the word "tiffin"? Growing up in Shanghai, I knew it as as meaning lunch, or any light meal. It originated in British India and somehow found itself into the mish-mash English used by the foreign community. I believe the word has become archaic and is only remembered by old folks like me. But I thought you would be anxious to know.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


These Cormorant gals/guys looked like they were waiting for a ferry to take them across. When none showed up, they decided to swim. All this transpired at the Ponds this morning. It was really cold again, and I always shudder when I think how cold the water must be!
On another note ~ In Marin I have rarely seen large numbers of Cormorants congregating like the ones today. Usually I see no more than three or four in a group. But, from the Larkspur Ferry, I have seen large flocks of them flying at great speed and just inches above the water.

The Weather

Yesterday morning, at the Ponds, it was colder than a stepmother's mitt. And the weather called for rain. Though I don't understand the expression "call for rain". Be that as it may, I braved the potential adversity, when, lo and behold, it cleared up! Let my picture be worth a thousand words.
I shot my first roll of megapixels with my new Nikon D-90. I love the camera.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Useful Tattoo

After many months of research, I have finally found a useful application for a tattoo. The handsome, young waiter at Bubba's Diner in San Anselmo is sporting a very handy tape-measure on his arm. At this time he is not planning travel to any country that is on the metric system. At such time he could simply add a centimeter-tattoo to his right arm.
One possible drawback has to do with the ravages of time. Will accuracy be threatened as age takes its inevitable course? Fortunately it's not for me to worry!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Early Morning

I take so many early morning pictures in Point Reyes that I would be a pauper if I were still using film.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I saw this composition on the Sausalito Ferry dock this morning and liked it. That's all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Canada Geese

Another cold morning as we walked around the Corte Madera Creek. My picture shows a gaggle of the ubiquitous Canada Geese, heading out under the Bon Air Bridge, in search of breakfast delicacies. How do they stay warm? Brrrr!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Frosty Man, Frosty!

It was really cold when we got to Point Reyes yesterday morning!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I know full well that some of you are sick and tired of spider webs. But how could I have resisted this morning, when I was confronted with this beautiful display! And please do not miss the piece de la resistance ~ a little spider web intricately woven into the larger cobweb. You presumed right ~ the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rush Creek Revisited

A couple of days ago I sent out a picture of Rush Creek. While I was showered by accolades, my very-long-time San Francisco friend Jennifer, never one to mince words, wrote "that was a so-so picture". And, bless (?) her heart, she sent me her altered version  of same (attached hereto). I like it better than mine. Jennie has shown considerable talent acting as an arbiter elegantarium (look it up in your Funk and Google) of my photographs and then editing and re-creating them. While she is self-appointed, I wonder if I should I offer her a job? Do I smell a burgeoning cottage-industry?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Here's another one of my reflection pictures which some of you love, and others love to hate. As for me, I am pure as the driven snow, innocently recording what I see. It all took place at Rush Creek, yesterday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rush Creek

Bob T and I braved gale-force winds to walk along Rush Creek this morning. Proving once again that photographers are a hardy bunch!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Unhappy Mushroom

While I was sound asleep last night, my artist friend, Elli, in Vienna, taking advantage of a 9 hour time difference, was hard at work on my mushroom. Isn't modern technology amazing!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Mushroom

You probably think of me as someone whose stories are often fabrications. But, not unlike the boy who always cried wolf, this time my story is true. I did not fiddle with the mushroom. It really had a smiley face. The eyes and the mouth had dropped from the trees above. Honest! Truly! 'pon my word!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Polly Wants a Cracker

I saw this man and his parrot in San Anselmo yesterday, and they were more than willing to pose for me.

Polly Wants a Cracker

I saw this man and his parrot in San Anselmo yesterday, and they were more than willing to pose for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mount Diablo

The East Bay's Mount Diablo, as I saw it from the Ponds yesterday morning. Standing 3,864ft (1,178m), it is the highest mountain in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our own Mount Tamalpais is 2,574ft (784m).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for Brunch

If there's one thing I cannot tolerate it's people telling me why their pictures are not perfect. It's even worse when they start explaining why they are not.
That having been said, let me tell you about my picture. I took it this morning at the Ponds. How often do you see a Great Blue Heron, a Great Egret and a couple of, what I think were, Snowy Egrets, all waiting for their brunch to be served by the current of the stream? But I had problems. The sunlight was blinding and the birds refused to move closer together. I couldn't change my position because a) I didn't want to fall into the drink, and b) because I would have had to shoot through some weeds and branches. So there you have it!
The birds' wait was not in vain. They caught plenty of whatever it was they caught.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brown Pelican

Here's a Brown Pelican we saw at the Tennessee Valley Beach yesterday. A little unusual, since 99% of the Pelicans I see in Marin County are white. On the other side of the GG Bridge, in San Francisco however, I see mostly brown birds.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Surf is Up

This morning at Tennessee Valley Beach with Eva L. Beautiful surf.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is it?

Tell me what it is, and I'll feed it.
I found it on the street. My guess is - a holder for beverages.


Yes, it's a picture! One that I have been wanting to take for a long time. It's looking East from the Bon Air Bridge crossing the Corte Madera Creek. It's on Margie, Sandy, Bob T and my Thursday morning walk, from the College of Marin Track, along the creek on one side and back on the other. Trouble is that you have to cross the street to take the picture. Today I finally did it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I counted fifteen Mute Swans at the Ellis Creek Ponds in Petaluma this morning. For the second time I ran into Bob Dyer, the most knowledgeable docent around. I asked him why the swan in my picture was fluffing his wings. Bob told me that the swans are very territorial, and this one was asserting himself and showing off. Bob believes there are two swan families at the ponds and they are always in competition. Bob also said that the Mute Swans are not welcome because they are quite aggressive toward other birds.
Despite their name, the Mute Swans are far from mute!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outdoor Art

Arturo Ragno was born in Rome, but, early on, moved to Florence to study art at the internationally renowned Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici. Upon completion of his studies, the artist picked Point Reyes to practice what he had learnt. This morning I chose one of his masterpieces, exhibited through December 31st on the Bear Valley Trail, for my Daily E-mail.
For those with a curious mind ~ the artist's surname, Ragno, means 'spider' in Italian.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Career?

I wonder whether, in this time of specialization, I could make a living as an elbow photographer? Attached is an example of my work. The elbow belongs to a lovely lady whose name I cannot divulge, because of  the right of privacy. As far as the face is concerned ~  resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Though I will admit that Max Schmeling comes to mind.
Is this a possible career for me?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


No more spiders for a while!
As you know, portrait photography is one of my passions. Gorgeous Fatma (yes, Fatma - not Fatima) was helping her friend, Tsadae Neway, at her Inesscents Aromatic Botanicals booth at the Green Festival in San Francisco today, and she graciously allowed me to take her picture. Fatma is from Kenya, but unlike our President, she was born there. And yes, I will E-mail her the picture.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spider in the Morning

My sincere apologies to those among you who are afraid of spiders, even if they are merely on a photograph. But how could I have resisted taking a picture of this gorgeous specimen at the Ponds this morning? Pea-soup fog covered everything with shiny pearls. Once again, my Audubon guide failed me, and you'll have to live without an identifying label. But then, what's in a name? If you must, you can call him/her TIGER, for the yellow and black striped legs.