Thursday, April 30, 2009

California Ringlet

This is a California Ringlet (Coenonympha California) which I photographed yesterday, again on Ring Mountain in Tiburon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Just a Rock!

It's just a rock and I didn't touch it (him?). Honest!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mount Tam Again

You know how it is when you find a new place to hike and photograph, that you really like. You keep coming back! So this morning I dragged Bob T up to Ring Mountain. From a photographer's point of view, the weather really cooperated. Sunshine on the Two-Toned Tidytips in the foreground, Mount Tamalpais in the shade, and some clouds in the background to complete the composition!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Well, still on Ring Mountain, and a picture of a group of hikers. They had just finished listening to a docent at Petroglyph Rock, and were now heading back down to Paradise Drive. I had found out that they were from the East Bay.
Pictures are supposed to tell a story, and I think this one does.

Turtle Rock

Turtle Rock is a well-known landmark on Ring Mountain in Tiburon. In the background the San Francisco skyline and, if you look close, Alcatraz Island.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I'm ashamed to admit, that I have lived in, or close to, Tiburon, for some 45 years, yet today was the first time I visited the nearby petroglyphs in the Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve! These circles were carved centuries ago by pre-Columbian Coast Miwok Indians on hard bluechist rock, and were probably spiritual in nature. The word "petroglyph" comes from the Greek "petros" (stone), and "glyphein" (to carve).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dr. Fritz Gartenhose

Dr. Fritz Gartenhose (the son of German immigrants) was born in a little town in Minnesota in 1926. After an uneventful childhood and youth, he attended Lowbrow University Medical School in St. Cloud, MN. He became an Otolaryngologist, practicing at the University Hospital. Something of a loner, he remained a bachelor. Little is known about him, except that he passed away in 1998, after being stung by an Africanized Honey Bee, while on a trip to Hidalgo, Texas.
Bob H and I discovered this remarkable likeness of the doctor on a recent hike on Mount Tamalpais.
If you believe any of the above, I would like to offer you a great deal on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On the Lighter Side

The other day I went to the House of Bagels on Geary Blvd. in San Francisco, for my semi-monthly re-stocking of required dietary provisions. Next door (at 5020 Geary) is the Chang Mai Thai Restaurant. As I walked by, the "WE CLOSED ON MONDAY" sign caught my attention. I went closer to get a better look. After chuckling over the sign, I read the "BUSINESS HOUR" board on the right. I was delighted, as I hope you will be! It's really "special"! You may not be able to read the menu up at the top, so I'll help you. #15 Tofu Tod Krob - Deep-fried tofu. #62 Pla Rad Prig - Deep-fried pampano fish. #64 Kung Prig - Sauteed King Prawns. #60 Kung Priew Warn - Sauteed Prawn. #89 Pad Prig NORMAI - Spicy beef or chicken. #78 Tofu Sam Rod - Crispy Tofu. My favorite is probably #35 Red Krappow - Roast Duck!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wild Cucumber

Here's another one from yesterday's Bear Valley hike. My picture shows tendrils growing from a Wild Cucumber plant. I'm always enthralled by the way they coil into the most artistic shapes. 
And, if you must know, Wild Cucumber is a climbing and trailing perennial that grows from a large woody or fleshy underground root weighing as much as 100lbs.  It is because of this root that it is sometimes called manroot, and also that it is one of the first plants to reseed after a fire. The alternate leaves are 5-7 palmately lobed, heart-shaped, and up to 4" across. Tendrils used for anchoring the plant grow opposite the leaves.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Young Fern

Young Fern on the Bear Valley Trail this morning. Let's hear it for Mother Nature!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Many of the birds at the Ponds have migrated north and there wasn't much to photograph this morning - I thought - when Bob T and I heard a major commotion as we approached the middle pond. And that's when we saw several large fish struggling along the rocky shore. I have no idea what they were doing. Some were pushing against each other, while others seemed to want to come ashore. Was this some kind of mating dance? I am pretty sure they were carp (first introduced to the U.S. from Germany in the 19th Century).
Where were these fish last week? And the weeks and months before? Last year I saw some skeletons of large fish on the trail. I figured they may have been dropped there by predatory River Otters, and then cleaned by Turkey Vultures.
Be that as it may, after taking 983 pictures I came up with the one I have attached. These guys/gals didn't hold still for a second to allow me to take  picture.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crane Fly

I haven't posted a Crane Fly photo in a long time. But when there's one sitting on the wall outside my door, it is hard to resist taking its picture. Take a close look. Crane Flies are really beautiful. They go by many names ~ Mosquito Hawk, Daddy Long-Legs, and my favorite - Gollywhopper! Adult Crane Flies don't eat. My guide-book says "they live to mate and die". Sounds a little harsh to me! My book also says that they "serve as a food-source for birds and other insects". Sounds even harsher!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Could this be .................?

In May of 1978, the beautiful debutante, Sylvia Ann Guldenridge-Burp, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, while traveling from The Hamptons to Beverly Hills. For days the press was aflutter with theories about her disappearance, until finally she was all but forgotten.
Then, last Tuesday, while hiking on the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes, I suddenly discovered a striking likeness (adding thirty years) of the missing socialite. I did not have my camera along, so Margie C kindly obliged and took the picture, which I have now attached. While the ravages of time have left their mark, the regal features are still recognizable.
I have been sworn to secrecy by the FBI and cannot divulge any further details. Watch the media for the next few days. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Calypso Orchid

I heard that Calypso Orchids had been spotted on the Benstein Trail on Mount Tamalpais. Since this is one of my very favorite wildflowers, Bob H and I ventured up the mountain this morning, parked at Rock Springs, and started on our search. As you can see from my picture, our efforts were met with success.

The Calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa) is also known as the fairy slipper or Venus's slipper. It takes its name from the Greek, signifying concealment, as it tends to favor sheltered areas on conifer forest floors.

The Calypso Orchid relies on "pollination by deception", as it attracts insects which it does not nourish and which eventually begin to learn not to revisit it. Avoiding such recognition may account for some of the small variation in the flower's appearance.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elephant Seals

After an absence of 150 years, Elephant Seals began coming back to Point Reyes in 1981. My picture (taken a couple of days ago) shows some of the hundreds of seals at Chimney Rock. The colony is growing by about 16% a year! Definitely worth a trip to see them. Googling Elephant Seals is also a worthwhile endeavor! There's lots of information about them on the web.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Junior is just a few days old and not yet quite steady on his legs. Nonetheless  he's already curious to see what's going on. Meanwhile mom, carrying a lot of milk, is calmly grazing. All this on the way back from a trip to Chimney Rock in Point Reyes this morning. Marty Albion was my spiritual advisor (and driver).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Song Sparrow

A sweet zeet zeet zeee diddle diddle dee caught my attention at the Ponds this morning. While Song Sparrows are our most widespread species, they sure are cute. Males and females are similar. Before I became more aware of birds, I used to think that a sparrow was a sparrow, was a sparrow. I feel so fortunate to have at last learnt the difference between different species and to enjoy them to the fullest. Or, as we say in French "vive la differance!"

Mount Diablo

"The early bird catches the worm". I was up pretty early this morning and caught this shot of the East Bay's Mount Diablo from the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary Ponds. I never tire of visiting the Ponds, there's always something to photograph.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Yesterday I was at the Memorial Park in San Anselmo, taking pix of the Parks & Rec Easter-Egg Hunt, for the Marin Scope. Here we see a few of the kids eagerly awaiting the starting signal. I think the two whispering girls were planning strategy! I just love little kids!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sculpture on Mount Tamalpais

Владимир Ленин

We all know that Vladimir Lenin, born in 1870, was the first head of the Soviet Union.

Some of us also know that there are large deposits of green serpentine on our very own Mount Tamalpais.

We have lived knowing the above without giving these facts much thought. Suddenly we are awakened by a mind-boggling discovery. Fifty-five years after Lenin's death, I found a sculpture of his head, hewn from a block of serpentine, on the mountain. Of course, I immediately alerted the appropriate scientific and historical institutions of my find, and they are excitedly studying my discovery, even as I write. Fortunately I managed to take a picture of the sculpture before it was snatched away from me.


Old St. Mary's Church in Nicasio dates back to 1867. Early each spring it is surrounded by daffodils. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that someone had placed one of these beautiful flowers in the praying hands of the little statue of the Virgin Mary, just behind the iron fence surrounding the church. A picture of serenity, just waiting to be photographed. I did not hesitate.
Daffodils symbolize friendship. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Canada Geese

Canada Geese get a lot of bad press because they multiply, honk, and poop. Hello? "He who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw stones". We humans are guilty of exactly the same behavior.
The geese are really beautiful. Except for the coloring, they look a lot like Swans with their elegant long necks. And, by the way, the Swan's honk is uglier than that of the Canada Goose, though not as ugly as that of the automobile.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bald Mountain

As Bob H and I were walking back down Bald Mountain, a few days ago, we encountered these two ladies and their dog hiking up. I thought it was a beautiful scene, with the sun highlighting their shapes. Note Phoenix Lake in the background, and also note the stick in the dog's mouth! One of the ladies told us that the dog was never without his/her stick! This is a great time of year!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter-Egg Hunt

Last Saturday found me at the Mill Valley Community Center's Easter-Egg Hunt, taking pictures for the Mill Valley Herald. I couldn't believe the size of the crowd. As you can see, the kids went bananas at the start, 'egged' on by their parents! It was a fun event!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Honey Bee

This morning, at the Ponds, I photographed this Honey Bee, as it was just about to alight on a Wild Radish flower. The term "busy as a bee" is justified; it's not easy to photograph one in flight, and I must have taken twenty-five pictures before I got one that was halfway decent. Do take note of the fluttering wings. The Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum, comes in different colors. While a damagingly invasive species (sometimes claimed to be the ancestor of the edible radish), it is a significant source of nectar for Honey Bees.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cliff Dwellings

Years ago I visited the Anasazi Indian Cliff Dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park. The Anasazi, ancestors of the Pueblo Indians, lived in this area from 1100 - 1300 AD. The different levels of the Cliff Dwellings were connected by ladders. Seven hundred years ago the Indians mysteriously disappeared. Today the Cliff Dwellings are an important tourist destination.
I took my picture this morning while on a hike with Bob H, up Mount Baldy, starting at the Phoenix Lake Parking lot. The weather was gorgeous!

Friday, April 3, 2009


I love taking pictures of kids, especially when they are my own grandchildren! Here's one of my soon-to-be-ten granddaughter, Danika, which I took a couple of weeks ago on my visit to Byron, Illinois. That's my cap she's wearing. Danika and her parents may be moving to California in the not too distant future.

On the Greenbrae Boardwalk

 "It is what it is, and that's exactly what it is."
Famous words by moi.
I took this picture a couple of days ago on the Greenbrae Boardwalk. And the word "Boardwalk" brought back memories of the old song "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters. If you're curious - here's the You Tube for you

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Definitely a Heron!

Margie, Sandy, and I saw this Heron on our walk along the Corte Madera Creek this morning. When we first spied it, it stretched out its neck and the two ladies identified it as a Great Blue Heron. I disagreed and said it was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. I still think I was right, though the longish neck is confusing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chain and Shadow

Once in a while a picture just jumps into my eye! I get pretty excited and totally focused, don't need to think about how to frame it, or what angle to take it from, it's just there. And I already know what the finished product will look like before I click the shutter. I almost feel like a robot, just doing what I'm programmed to do.
Such was the case with today's photograph, which I took out at the houseboats along the Greenbrae Boardwalk.
After all this balderdash you'll probably stifle a yawn and say "yeah, it's OK"!