Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mt. Diablo Morgan Fire Recovery

We headed up to Mt. Diablo Easter Sunday, to see some greenery, wild flowers, fire damage, and environmental recovery. The Nerds for Nature project has launched a monitoring program that utilizes social media and nerds like me to record Mt. Diablo's comeback from the September, 2013 fire. The fire was accidentally started by a still-at-large target shooter and burned 3,111 acres.

There's four camera stations along an old fire-interpretative trail from a 1977 lightning-strike fire, that burned 6,000 acres. (I only found one station because I didn't study my Google map thoroughly beforehand, and no, I still don't have a smart phone.) Once photographed, the views are posted to social media with their proper hash tags and over time, a stop-motion animation will be created, showing plant regrowth of the region. Exciting!

Here's view #4 for the project:

And some general shots of the area.

The picnic area just below the summit is fried, but it's making a comeback.

A big ol' tree, most likely not going to survive, but note the shoots at the base.

And ground cover below.

Still lots of California Poppies scattered all over the mountain—hurry or you'll miss them.

And other flowers as well, although not as abundant as hoped, due to the ongoing drought. Hopefully we'll get more rain this year.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lime Ridge - Walnut Creek, CA

I haven't done any hiking on Lime Ridge since we moved here four years ago, but all that changed since we've been hanging out at Boundary Oaks Golf Course on a regular basis. Lime Ridge rises right out of the links. One of the practice holds is an actual tiny foothill of the ridge. It's nice to see the view from the golf course, and while Jackson practices, I head on up, trying to avoid cow herds in case there's a territorial bull near by. There's a manzanita trail (with that peculiar scent of manzanita—like an old-time corral) that the cows aren't allowed to graze upon, so that's the better bet.

A wind-blown Oak

A long-ago fallen tree

The fingers of fallen-tree fate

View of Walnut Creek with Shell Ridge beyond

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Future's Past Tree Sculpture - Hayes Valley, San Francisco

This metal sculpture lights up at night in a mesmerizing way, but I was on a daytime visit. Still—looking good! Future's Past was created by Kate Raudenbush and you can see it on Octavia at Hayes, in the green-space across from Smitten Ice Cream (another important cultural landmark).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mega-birdsong Minute

These birds have been flocking in our area and holding noisy bird conventions in the afternoons. This week they picked our back yard for their meet-up. I could do a little research to find out what type of bird is holding forth here, but they're so camouflaged that it's not as easy as it looks. The females are Oak-tree colored. The males have a little more yellowish color going on, but not much. I suspect they're a type of finch.

Our neighborhood crows joined in as well as you'll see in the film's near-climax. This was for the Vimeo 1-minute project - one minute of film, no editing or camera movement—just a minute of life. Bird life.

Birdsong Convention from Miss Lisa on Vimeo.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mono Lake, California - Sunset

We got there right at magic hour and the tufas were literally crawling with photographers—hauling their tripods this way and that to capture the moment. I only have a point-and-shoot at this time, so here's what it could manage. Mono Lake—a truly special place.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Heather Farm Park in the Cold

We're experiencing a cold snap in Northern California. Compared to parts of the U.S., this is nothing, but to us—it's pretty cold. Highs in the evening in the 20s-30s. Daytime high today was in the low 40s. Two weeks ago we were wearing shorts and T-shirts, biking all over the place and looking around for our sunblock. I feel bad for my San Francisco friends when it's cold. I have yet to see a San Francisco apartment or flat with adequate heat or insulation. Plus it's damp. Stay warm, my friends.

A walk in the park yesterday.

Mt. Diablo was snow-less, despite the rainstorm the night before.

Cormorants - they sun themselves to dry off.

A weeping mulberry tree, looking grandfatherly.

Flags at half-mast in honor of Nelson Mandela.