Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Surface tension in water

Look how water drops hold it together on the nandina--cool! Also: I wish it would rain again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playland at the Conservatory - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The Playland model train layout at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park will be going until April, 2012. Take a look. The miniature landmark buildings and Playland amusement park (long gone from San Francisco's Ocean Beach, but not from our memory banks) are all made from recycled materials. For example, the cages on the ferris wheel are made from old pencil sharpeners--a must-see!

The train this time around consists of cable cars and street cars, a minor disappointment (we love trains), but the layout is lovely with tons of plants from the Conservatory, as always. And there's a cable-car camera that takes you inside the train tunnel, for miniature spooky action. Plus vintage arcade games and fun-house mirrors, and an original Playland bumper car to pose in.

If you really want to experience antique arcade games, visit the Musée Mécanique at Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf. Epic kinetic toothpick sculptures, player pianos, moviolas, and Laughing Sal live on at the Musée Mécanique.

Museé Mécanique from Jan Sturmann on Vimeo.

My mom told me that my Grandma Tocha always had to hear this one player piano at the Playland arcade. That was her constant source of entertainment at the park throughout the years. You can experience similar thrills at Playland Not-At-The-Beach in El Cerrito. One admission price gets you unlimited vintage and modern pinball and skeeball plays throughout the museum of fun. There's amusement-park dioramas and magic shows--it's F-U-N.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowy Egret plus bonus turkey-duck

We had a beautiful outing at Golden Gate Park this weekend. Jackson brought his remote-control boat and we stopped by Lloyd Lake (forgetting momentarily that Spreckels Lake is set up for RC boating). But this geographical miscalculation worked in our favor. Lloyd Lake ends in a waterfall, is surrounded by trees and wildlife, and is accented by Greek columns, for that romantic, historical look.

Here's an egret who didn't mind me getting up close with my little Canon Powershot zoomed in. The egrets in our neighborhood are very shy and fly away as soon as they notice you're stealing their souls photographically. This urban bird actually preened and stretched but wouldn't give up his sunny spot. I like seeing all the things egrets can do with their necks.

Bonus: one of the odd, over-sized ducks that appear to be part turkey in appearance. Is that possible?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Backyard plants - extreme close-up

Jackson has a new digital microscope and we've been playing around with it this week. Let's see how it does photographing tiny bits of nature from the backyard. This photo shows our subjects bigger than scale. The twig is actually about two inches long.

Aloe Vera plant.

Extreme close-up (200x) of fuzzy succulent.

Fuzzy succulent at 20x magnification (and saturation).

Another succulent. These are green all summer. They turned red when the weather got colder.

The Oak twiglet and its lichens.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stonington, Connecticut - 2011

We were back in Stonington for Christmas and New Year's this holiday. Last year when we were there, we had heavy snowfall. This time, it was quite cold, but by the time we left, the sun was out forcefully, making for a balmy 55-degree departure. That wasn't to last. This week, Stonington weather is in the teens, but we're back in California, hoping for some rain and snow to fall. Come one, precipitation!

I've never had a photo of seaweed on this site, so here it is--a first