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Crystal Springs Reservoir

Sawyer Camp Trail, which runs along the reservoir is a popular multi-use paved recreational path. If I want to go here on a weekend, I make sure to get there as early as possible. Today I managed to park before 7 am, which is also ideal for photography of course.

Western Scrub Jay

Right away, I snapped a picture of a Western Scrub Jay, a bird I have wanted to photograph for years. When I first moved to the Bay Area, I was amazed at how bright the blue birds and jays are here. Blue birds in Pennsylvania were much more muted. These California birds are an almost unbelievably bright saturated shade of blue. They’re very active though, and hard to capture especially with a lot of people around making noise.

As usual, most of my favorite pictures from the day are of wildflowers. Here’s a selection of the flowers that were blooming today, at the end of February:

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Under the San Mateo Bridge

I walked a new part of the Bay Trail today, between Seal Point Park and the San Mateo Bridge. This part of the trail is a paved recreational trail.

Bay Trail Curve Toward Bridge

I saw a man fishing, not an uncommon sight along the Bay Trail. I liked the look of his big hat.

Fisherman with San Mateo Bridge

This is the part they call the “high rise” when they’re telling me about the traffic on the news. The San Mateo bridge is a nice bridge. I like the way it looks, both from the ground and when driving on it. Wouldn’t want to be driving on it during rush hour like these people though.

San Mateo Bridge with Reflection

I made it all the way to the bridge. Here’s the view from the south side. I’d never seen it from this vantage point before. Cool. I’ll have to come back on a day with better light. Today was hazy and too sunny at the same time.

San Mateo Bridge South Side

 

Here’s a view from underneath. I love the reflections the water casts up onto the concrete structure.

Close Up Underneath San Mateo Bridge

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San Francisco Across the Bay

On a rare extremely clear day in February, the haze of fog and smog has dissipated and I see clear views of San Francisco from the park where I like to take walks after work. Openings in the trees create natural framing devices.

San Francisco Framed by Trees

The water is so still it looks like glass.

San Francisco Glass Water

As the sun sets behind me, soft pink shades appear in the sky giving everything a dream-like feel.

San Francisco Leaves Sil Frame

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Wind Sculptures and Power Lines

Seal Point Park has an intriguing feel to it. I like the juxtaposition of the intentional wind sculptures with the large towers holding up the power lines. One of these days I’ll go there with a tripod and get some interesting pictures of the wind sculptures in motion.

There are a lot of good sounds at this park too. The wind sculptures are designed to make different noised when they move, and there are multitudes of seabirds and other birds flying around and making their sounds. I didn’t realize this the first time I went because I had my headphones on.

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Point Reyes – Bear Creek Trail

There were several challenging things about this hike that made photography difficult.

  1. I am out of shape and it’s hard to focus on photos when you’re focusing on not dying.
  2. Mid-day sun is really harsh and difficult. The shadows are so dark and the highlights are so bright. Toward the end of the day it started getting better, but I much prefer the early morning or late afternoon for photos. However you can’t hike for 5-6 hours in nice light, because Earth doesn’t work that way.
  3. It was hot and my glasses fogged up when I put the camera to my face. I am *almost* tempted enough to try contacts again, but I just know how uncomfortable they are for me. Hopefully my new glasses won’t do this as much since they are smaller.

Anyway, I took a lot of photos and some of them are decent. Here are some images of the lovely scenery:

Beach, with waterfall:

And, of course, flowers (and a butterfly)!

It’s a learning experience. Luckily, I live here! So I can do it all again and improve my photographs each time.

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Egret v. Seagull

Half the fun of photographing birds for me is getting to see their antics up close – through the zoom of my camera. This feisty egret was really not having any seagulls up in her business! I was quite entertained watching as she chased away gulls and caught some hilarious pictures. I love the moment she poofed herself up and the gull beat it out of there. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Egret HuntingEgret and SeagullSeagullIrritated EgretAw Hell No Egret

 

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Sunrise City

I realize that when I look around for things to photograph, I want to erase human-made structures and only see things that look like nature (even though, if we’re being honest, most of this “nature” is human-placed too.) Still, I’d rather look at flowers, trees, skies, and landscapes than anything else.

But this is not the reality of the Bay Area. Sure, we have some of the most fantastic nature around and it is accessible to visit. But we are also a place that is overrun with traffic and industry and business. In the future, I want to photograph some of these places where we spend so much time without thinking about the fact of their physical existence, like Facebook HQ, which is less than a mile away from me as I write this.

I digress. This morning, instead of looking away, I looked toward the buildings and high power lines. They are interesting too, and this is the reality of where I live.

Sunrise with High Power Lines

The poles that hold up the high power lines are geometrically visually pleasing. I enjoy the multitude of shapes and spaces they create when you look at them from various angles.

Sunrise with High Power Lines 2

In other news, there was a red wing blackbird singing its song high up on a pole, and I was impressed that the photo came out at all given the lighting conditions and the distance away. They have a sound that is quite easily recognizable. If you’d like to hear it, check the audio files on this site. As you can see, I caught him mid song.

Singing Redwing Blackbird

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Pulgas Ridge Evening

I had such a good time photographing at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve on Sunday morning that I had to go back again yesterday afternoon. I can’t believe how many more things were blooming and sprouting in just two days time! This is really the most exciting time to go check out Bay Area parks.

I don’t have a lot of time to write right now, so without further ado, here are the photos. Please feel free to ask if you want to know more details about any of them.

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February Wildflowers at Pulgas Ridge OSP

I consider Pulgas Ridge Open Space Reserve my park. When I lived in Redwood City, it was just up the road from my apartment. Now that I live a little further away, I don’t go there as often. I wanted to go somewhere familiar today so I could futz around with my camera and not worry about remembering where I was going. Also, since I’ve been to this park so many times all year round, I know where to look for the wildflowers and what is blooming now. It is really lovely there this time of year, and there was actually water in the creek! I have never seen water in the creek in the 3 years I have been going here. Good job, El Niño.

Lots of things blooming today, early wildflower season has begun. Here are the flowers I saw today, identified with the help of the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to California and of course, Dr. Google.

Milkmaids:

Hounds Tongue:

Hounds Tongue 02

Indian Warrior:

Indian Warrior

This was a new one to me, and I can see why. It was small and greenish and easily missed. I only saw one small cluster of these Fetid Adder’s Tongues:

Fetid Adders Tongue

Manzanita was blooming everywhere. It smells so good:

Manzanita PinkManzanita small cluster

I saw a few Shooting Stars, looks like their season is just beginning:

Shooting Stars

Twisty vines of Bedstraw and the ubiquitous yellow Radishroot Woodsorrel:

I’ll have to go back soon and keep up with the new blossoms. I saw the beginnings of some of my favorites. Buckeye! I love the smell of that one too.

These last two photos aren’t flowers, just some shots of foliage I like. Captures the very GREEN feeling of the day.

bright green herb bunchLight from above leaves