Saturday, January 31, 2009


Here's one of the pictures I took today on a safari with Ethan in San Francisco's "Dogpatch Historic District". I don't have a clue what the four cylinders were once used for, but no matter, they created a perfect abstract picture. There'll be more pix of the area; I have 104 to choose from, and film is cheap!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shadow #468

In case there's any doubt in your mind ~ it's all about the shadow. And not my first shadow picture either! Margie and I both went bonkers on Tuesday, when we saw the obvious picture opportunity, and Margie immediately posted an excellent picture on the web. There are two identical black cats at the Morgan Horse Ranch in Point Reyes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


"Bocolo" is the nickname of the Giant Sea Bass at the California Academy of Sciences. He is 70 years old and weighs 165# (2# more than yours truly). He may reach 100 yrs and will outlive me. But not, if people elbow him in the eye, as the woman in the picture did yesterday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I see squirrels in the trees facing my kitchen window all the time. But they keep running and jumping from branch to branch, never allowing me to take a picture. Not so in Golden Gate Park. Last Sunday, on my way to the Academy in Golden Gate Park, and walking through the Rose Garden  I came upon a very friendly squirrel, practically posing to have its picture taken. Of course, that was the day I didn't have my camera along. Faithful photographer that I am, I made a special detour to the Rose Garden today. My efforts were rewarded by a welcoming committee of not one, but four squirrels. There's a bench nearby and I think that people must sit there and feed the little critters. I finally got my picture of, what I think is, a Douglas Squirrel (or Chickaree). 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Platform Bridge

This bridge is located where Platform Bridge Road meets Point Reyes Petaluma Road. We cross the bridge every Tuesday, on our way back from Point Reyes. We used to delight in the painting and/or graffiti that adorned the bridge. Every so often the artists re-did the whole bridge. Then, about a year ago, the bridge appeared with a purple coat of paint, period. We were very disappointed at its new drabness. Today, to our delight, we found the bridge newly decorated, mostly with trees and fishes. Perhaps I'll show a picture of all that another day, but today I decided to post my favorite. So there ~~~~~~~

Monday, January 26, 2009


Here is part of an article, written by Doug Rose, a duck-hunter, which appeared in a publication entitled GAME&FISH.

"As I cleaned my first pintail last year, I noticed none of the strong odor that even puddle ducks take on in saltwater. There was also an abundance of pin feathers on its breast and sides, which indicated it was a young bird. As a result, I cooked it the way I would a succulent, non-gamy bird such as a blue grouse or quail. I basted it lightly in butter, seasoned it with salt and pepper and put it into a large cast iron Dutch oven with a little water and white wine. I cooked it on the top of the stove over a slow simmer. It wasn't long before a savory aroma filled the kitchen.

When I put the bird on a platter an 1 1/2 hours later, it was so tender it nearly fell apart. I knew right away that it would taste great, and it did. It was the best duck I've eaten in several years.

Yet again, I was reminded why the Northern pintail is widely regarded by many Pacific Northwest waterfowlers as perhaps the most-prized duck of all. In addition to its superb qualities as table fare, it is a wild flier that swirls and tumbles in the air, presenting tough, challenging targets. It is also a quick study, becoming wary of decoys and hunters' tricks rapidly. Not least of all, the pintail is among the most handsome of all waterfowl."

This morning, at the Ponds, I photographed a pair of Pintails. Unfortunately I was not able to get both of them with their heads out of the water at the same time! As a confirmed vegetarian, for going on forty years, the thought of killing and eating ducks makes me sick. What do you experience when you look at my picture and then read the above?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I'm going to ask President Obama to consider labeling ducks for easier identification.
The case in point is that, last Friday at Shollenberger Park, I photographed these ducks, and now I'm not sure what they are. I believe the white one is a male Canvasback. What about his two (Mormon?) consorts? Female Canvasbacks are supposed to be grayish, not black. To make matters worse, I can't find any black ducks in my guide books.
But who really cares, they're sure pretty, aren't they? All of which proves that I'm a maverick (where have I heard this word before?) birder.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Petaluma River

Here's another picture from yesterday's walk around Shollenberger Park in Petaluma. Part of the trail runs along the Petaluma River, where we saw a few old stranded boats. Quite picturesque! The one on the left is appropriately named "Rusty"!
Note that when it rains, sediment from the surrounding hillsides is carried into the river. The sediment settles on the river bottom and is dredged every four years. The ponds at the park were created as a site to collect and settle the accumulated sediment that the dredge machine removes from the river. All this makes for a fascinating study. If you are curious, just Google "Shollenberger Park" and you'll find all the nitty-gritty.
Why do I take pictures like this? Hmmmm? Van Gogh? Nogh! Pretty? Yes! Too hard to explain, short of a lengthy dissertation!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Shollenberger Park

This drizzly morning took Bob H. and me to Shollenberger Park in Petaluma. And this is where we saw an interesting, somewhat unusual, scene. First of all the adult Mute Swan, a first for me in Marin County. (Note: they are not mute). You can't tell males and females apart. It looks as if he/she is counting the considerably smaller Northern Shovelers (1 gal and 2 guys), while a Coot is swimming to the left of this scene. All this, while three Turkey Vultures, undisturbed by the goings-on, are feasting on some delicious carrion. Five centuries ago, Pieter Bruegel the Elder would have whipped out his brush and painted all this! I merely whipped out my camera and, holding it in one hand, took this picture, while trying to balance my umbrella with the other.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Buteo jamaicensis

Can a Red-tailed Hawk scan for prey with an eagle-eye? As seen at the Ponds on Monday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Mount Rushless

We all watched the helicopter, carrying the "decider" (whose real name has slipped my mind), disappear into the sky, while a lone figure in a wheelchair wiped a tear from his eye. Lickety-split I received a  picture of the latest version of Mount Rushless, from Elli D, my brilliant Vienna artist friend. The speed with which all this happened makes my head spin.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The Obamas get out of their limousine and into my living room. Happy days are here again!

Monday, January 19, 2009

San Quentin Prison

Can anyone tell me what a Wild Turkey was doing at the main entrance of San Quentin Prison yesterday? No, this is not a quiz. I really want to know.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mount Rushless

How about a Mount Rushless National Monument at Dillon Beach. One Block-Head is already there, and I can think of another one that would fit right in. Whaddaya think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lunch in Bodega Bay

This picture is entitled "Lunch in Bodega Bay". I took it this morning, on a day when the temperature reached an unbelievable 75 degrees! Don't you just love the warmer, sweeter side of me?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, worried that my fans will think that I have abandoned the artsy, crazy side of my photography. Never fear! To prove that I have not reformed, here's a picture of a piece of wood I found on the trail at the Ponds the other day. Seems like even pieces of wood can occasionally suffer from depression!

Sandhill Cranes

Probably the last picture from my recent trip to the Delta. Here's a sedge (yes, sedge) of Sandhill Cranes flying to a safe place to spend the night, away from predators. They will probably settle down on one of the many islands. This is the sight that draws birdwatchers to the area at sunset.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Here's another one from my trip to the Central San Joaquin Valley. That's Mt. Diablo in the background. 3,849 feet (1,173 meters) high. And I have no idea what the Japanese-looking house is. The picture presents just another one of my wonderful landscapes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes were what I actually went to see in the Central San Joaquin Valley last Saturday but I got distracted by the wonderful Snow Geese! Today's picture shows a couple of male cranes doing a courtship "dance", trying to woo the young damsel who has demurely turned away during the spectacle. The elaborate "dance" displays have inspired artists and choreographers. During the dance birds sometimes pick items off the ground and toss them into the air. Note that the birds have a wingspan of from 6 to 7 feet. Sandhill Cranes are probably the world's oldest species of birds. The oldest fossil that has been found being 2-1/2 million years old!
Please forgive the poor quality of my picture, but we were never allowed to get close to the birds. The longest focal length of my camera is 250 mm. Hint - my birthday falls on June 1st.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Back again, with another picture of the Snow Geese. This group was not in a drafting V-formation, rather flying wingtip-to-wingtip, reminding me a little of the Blue Angels. Or of the Carpet-Bombing operations carried out by the British during WWII.
But I don't really want to compare these magnificent birds to airplanes. I feel more like waxing poetic! When I saw the birds I felt that I was witnessing something great happening before my very eyes. A majestic spectacle, an other-worldly, unstoppable natural phenomenon.
How do the geese decide what they're going to do and where they are heading? Who's in charge here?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow Geese

I spent most of the day yesterday at the Woodbridge Sandhill Crane Preserve in the Central Joaquin Valley to see, you guessed it, Sandhill Cranes. It was a great day, with all kinds of waterfowl, plus a beautiful sunset, followed closely by a terrific full-moon-rise. But the undisputable highlight of the day was an overflight of Snow Geese, hundreds of them, in incredibly amazing formations. What a bonus! Here's one of the pictures I took, but I'm afraid that, for the next couple of days at least, you'll see more pictures of my excursion.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Northern Shoveler

Here's a Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata doing its morning exercise. As seen yesterday by your trusty chronicler at the Las Gallinas Sanitary District Ponds. On Thursday night some scumbags drove a truck into the area and stole 90 solar panels of the system that powers the north San Rafael water treatment plant. Damage and losses could top $135,000. Sign of the times?

Friday, January 9, 2009


Christiane Amanpour has long been my favorite CNN correspondent. She is absolutely fearless, often placing herself in the line of fire while remaining cool as a cucumber. She has reported on Iraq, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and Rwanda, to name just a few countries.
Yesterday, on a bagel-purchasing mission (at the House of Bagels) on Geary Street, I  emulated Christiane. You see, I'm something of an amateur scientist, forever searching for answers to the great questions that puzzle our civilization. One of these is "how do birds succeed in sitting equidistant from each other on a wire?" When I saw a loft (yes, loft) of pigeons on a wire, I stationed myself directly below the birds, for the best shot to illustrate my research. I was in  their precise line of fire. The ground beneath me was covered with spent missiles. But thinking of Christiane filled me with courage. Luckily I took my picture and escaped unscathed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Yesterday I saw the sun rise on the horizon as a large, fiery ball. Only one problem ~ I did not have my camera along. Making up for a lost opportunity I was out at the Corte Madera Marsh at 7:30 this morning, ready for a repeat performance. Well, due to clouds, no fiery ball! I was just preparing to be disappointed when I saw beautiful reflections appearing in the water. I was richly rewarded for my efforts! Here's my favorite picture of the spectacle. And this time, no Photoshop!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tennessee Valley

Today turned out to be a gorgeous day in the Tennessee Valley. It was unusually cold for our region, and the wind was blowing, but then the sun popped out and warmed things up a bit. The fall colors created some real magic and I took a ton of pictures and I had a really hard time deciding which one to pick for my Daily E-mail. Anyway, here it is, and I have warmed up!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Accidental Photography

You may file this one in a totally new category - ACCIDENTAL PHOTOGRAPHY.
We were heading to Point Reyes very early this morning  with Dick C at the wheel. It was still pretty dark and the most prominent thing in our view were the reflective buttons in the middle of the road. I thought I'd give them a crack. A slow exposure, and voila! I was amazed at the result! And yes, shamefacedly I admit that,once again, I employed my trusty Photoshop for a little added oomph! Perhaps a new career? It's never too late!

Accidental Photography

You may file this one in a totally new category - ACCIDENTAL PHOTOGRAPHY.
We were heading to Point Reyes very early this morning  with Dick C at the wheel. It was still pretty dark and the most prominent thing in our view were the reflective buttons in the middle of the road. I thought I'd give them a crack. A slow exposure, and voila! I was amazed at the result! And yes, shamefacedly I admit that,once again, I employed my trusty Photoshop for a little added oomph! Perhaps a new career? It's never too late!

Monday, January 5, 2009


You'd think these mushrooms would be easy to identify. Don't kid yourself! After studying literally dozens of pictures of look-a-likes, I finally threw up my hands, and in the towel. Just appreciate the picture for its composition and color! I captured these guys near the parking lot at Lake Lagunitas.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


These cattails grow at Lake Lagunitas, right by the dam. Yes, I did play with Photoshop. Just a little!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hooded Merganser

I believe this is a Hooded Merganser. I saw it this morning in the Corte Madera Marsh. I think this guy is really beautiful.

Friday, January 2, 2009


This gate and the barbed-wire fascinates me every time I see it. The fog helps. It is located on top of the hill on Sir Francis Drake Blvd, on the way down to Olema. I must confess I took the picture on Tuesday, through the windshield, with Dick C. driving! But I was waiting, with camera ready, as we approached the spot. Still, no way to take a picture. Copy-catting admirers take heed!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Breakfast

What better way is there to usher in the New Year than to have breakfast with my granddaughter, Kelso, and her two roommates Michelle and Rachel (Santa Barbara Community College)! It all took place at Willie's Cafe in San Anselmo. I'll let you ponder on whether the event made me feel young or old!