Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bye-Bye McNear's

One last picture from McNear's Brickyard. You are correct ~ it is merely (ha!) a composition.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

McNear's Brickyard

Yesterday's Daily E-mail showed Swifts swarming around a chimney at McNear's brickyard in San Rafael. Today I am presenting a picture of the brickyard, prominently showing the chimneys. The chimneys' kilns were used to make bricks. The chimney on the left is the one favored by the birds. These chimneys date back over a century, but were retired fifty years ago.
Forget all about birds and brickyard history for a moment. Instead, just look at today's picture simply as a composition. I think the brickyard is beautiful and reminds of the "olden days", haha!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vaux's Swifts

Sunset is the time to watch Vaux's Swift as they swarm and catch mosquitos. This is happening at McNear's brickyard off San Pedro Road in San Rafael. The birds fly around and then descend into one of three defunct kiln chimneys. They are on break while on their way to Mexico, having come from Alaska. These birds are not built to walk, clinging instead to the inside walls of the chimneys. I believe this is where they build their nests, with the fledglings leaving after about a month. My pictures are not very sharp for three reasons ~ 1) The action takes place way high, and all I have is a 250mm lens. 2) The birds don't want to pose for the photographer, but fly at up to 30 miles/hour. 3) Since the action takes place at dusk, light conditions are less than optimal!
If you want more information, let me suggest

Hoses Waiting

~ at the San Anselmo Fire Station

Monday, September 27, 2010

One More Shadow

As I was sauntering through the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival the other day, my eye fell upon this pair of earrings (I think) and the shadow they threw. Kinda neat, I thought.
I've had a thing for shadows from day one. According to my mother, cute little Hansi, aged six, opined that the shadow was the fastest artist on earth! Now be honest, isn't that the sweetest thing you ever heard?
Anybody throw up yet?

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Roenau Original

The word fickle has a negative connotation. But sometimes I think it may apply to me. One day I want to photograph nothing but birds, the next day I get all excited about a tug-of-war, the next day it's portraiture. Today, I think that what I really love is abstract photography. It doesn't really matter what the subject is. I wonder whether Marshall McLuhan's "The medium is the message" applies to what I'm trying to say? Whatever the case may be, today I'm all gaga about this kind of photography. Not to be confused with Lady Gaga, whose antics, I hate to confess, I rather enjoy. Shame on me!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Third Installment

Here's the third installment of pix from the Fairfax Town Picnic held last Sunday. The tug-of-war was very popular with the kids, at least fifty of them participating. And most of them pulling in the right direction!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Egg and Spoon Race

Egg and Spoon Race at last Sunday's Fairfax Town Picnic. I was really impressed by the total concentration of the girl in the brown dress. It was no surprise that she won by a country mile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This is a picture I took of the Sack-Race at the Fairfax Town Picnic last Sunday. The event was a blast and this old guy had a lot of fun. Beside the Sack-Race there was also a Spoon and Egg Race, a Tug-of-War, and a Watermelon-Eating-Contest. Mebbe more tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010


"What the heck is that guy up to?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Blackbirds on barbed wire fence at the Ponds.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Another day, another shadow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's hear it for the Canada Geese!

Some people object to their honking! Others complain about their pooping! But let's face it, they are beautiful birds, especially in flight. And particularly when photographed by your master photographer, Hans Modesto!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Let me introduce Bo to you. He is an artist and lives in his bus, aptly named "VanBo", not to be confused with the famous painter. He can usually be found at the corner of Napa Street and Bridgeway in  Sausalito. Yes, his paintings are for sale and, as a matter of fact I purchased one from him yesterday. And I sure hope the paint will eventually dry! But the purpose of today's picture is portraiture, not biography.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Have you ever taken a  close look at a Cucumis melo reticulatus? Well, here is one. I bet you'll remember this picture the next time you see a Cantaloupe. What amazing intricacy! Have I stumbled across the secret source of the inspiration of some of our modern painters?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Monday, September 13, 2010


They must have found something really delicious on the trail! At the Ponds, this morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classic Car Show

This morning saw me at the Fairfax Classic Car Show, taking pictures for PATCH. And here is Roxy Chiurco of Napa, leaning on her 1937 Chevy Business Coupe. Yeah, I posed her! Was that OK? Friendly Roxy, happy as a clam (are they really?), loves driving her baby all over California and neighboring States. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Woman and a Man

Vive la difference!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Paint Buckets

Paint buckets along the Greenbrae Boardwalk yesterday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A different View of San Quentin

Here's a different view of San Quentin State Prison. Note the Larkspur Ferry coming in (on the far right). I took this picture from the Greenbrae Boardwalk this morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Hill Climb

Boy, it's hard to believe that, until just a few yeas ago, yours truly ran this race every year. 2.8 miles, 2,571 feet, from downtown Mill Valley to the fire-look-out atop Mount Tamalpais. 98 stalwarts braved it this year. The winner, 24-year-old Gus Gibbs, took just 36 minutes to the top! As soon as the runners were gone, your stalwart photographer, feeling a little nostalgic, retired to Peet's Coffee Shop, whereat he drowned his envy in a cup of coffee. No cream, thank you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Security Guard

Monday, September 6, 2010


I made a third trip to the Sausalito Art Festival this morning. On the way my friend and I encountered the couple shown on my picture. They were playing country music and are probably best described as street musicians since they had a hat with a few dollars on the ground. Not visible on my picture are their two cute little children. The family is from North Carolina and they currently live in their Greyhound bus.
Their music was pure magic and I thought that there was an air of absolute innocence about the family. I was more impressed by this little interlude than by the whole, highly commercial, art festival.
I hope my picture captured a little of what I experienced.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More from Sausalito

Here's another picture I took at the Sausalito Art Festival yesterday. What's going on here?
Marc Sijan is a sculptor. He was born in Serbia and now lives in Milwaukee. The girl  he is holding is one of his amazing creations. She is made of Polyester/Resin.
Sijan asked me not to let his wife see this picture!
There's lots of info on Sijan on the Internet. Just Google if your curiosity has been aroused.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sausalito Art Festival

I was at the huge Sausalito Art Festival today. Hundreds of paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc. I liked some of it, but was not greatly impressed by most of what I saw. Then my eyes fell on the lovely piece, a picture of which is attached. Oops! It was a picture hanger and a random shadow! So what? I thought it was great, whatever it turned out to be.
Which just goes to show you! I forget since I'm tired.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seniors for Peace

Seniors for Peace have been sitting outside the Redwoods Retirement Center in Mill Valley every Friday afternoon for years. A wonderful, intelligent, intellectual, and friendly group of people. Today was the first time I have seen their new signs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Family that Braids Together

That's a lot of braiding! I wonder whether they sleep with their hair braided, or loosen it for the night and start over again in the morning? Whatever the case, the family caught my eye. I took the picture a couple of weeks ago at the Sonoma Air Show.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


For a change of pace here's a picture I took at a soccer-match at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley yesterday. Soccer is slowly gaining in popularity in the US, and the recent World Cup helped.
I took the pictures for the Mill Valley Patch, a new on-line news organization. I also take pix for the San Anselmo - Fairfax Patch. This organization is slowly spreading across the country. Check it out at