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Land’s End, SF

Perhaps the last weekend of the year before the first rain, which they tell us could come as soon as Thursday. I hope it is true for the sake of the victims of the fires, as well as for all of us breathing the smoke that has been blown down here on the wind.

There’s a thin coating of ash on everything, from plants to cars. I am amazed at how far the smoke and ash can travel. There has been plenty where I live, a good 60 miles away. The wind turned and we had good air again this weekend. But it does make you think about what the world would be like if we allowed as much pollution as can be spewed into the atmosphere unchecked. I read that the air quality here was on par with Beijing. I can’t imagine having to live with it all the time.

I also can’t imagine why anybody would oppose steps to stop us from destroying the earth. It seems like such a basic thing to me. Without air to breathe, what is the point of anything? Even those who don’t claim to care about nature, animals- what about themselves? Surely everyone is selfish enough to want air to breathe.

I recently finished a book, Death’s End, the third in Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem trilogy, and one of the passages described the symbiotic relationship between life (plants, animals, etc) and atmosphere and water on planets. Without an atmosphere, the water evaporates or freezes. Without water, no life (as we understand it). But without life (plants balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide) there can be no atmosphere. So it is like a closed circle- no life without atmosphere, no atmosphere without life.

Everywhere else we have looked in space, there is nothing. Only dark cold death. So what the heck people? Are we really this short sighted?

Hurricanes, flooding, fires, there will only be more and more as the ocean and air temperatures rise.

I guess I went off on a tangent. It’s just really nice to be able to walk around outside, you know? I didn’t like being trapped inside because the air is deemed unhealthy to breathe. Of course this is nothing compared to actually being in the fire itself and losing one’s life or property.

Anyway, pictures.

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Miniature Moss Forest

Finally, after a solid week of rain, I was able to go out and take some pictures after work yesterday. And of course, now it is just gorgeous everywhere. So green. New flowers blooming. I took lots of pictures of those things.

But today I want to share these photos of moss growing on a curb in the late afternoon light as I was headed back to my car. Moss is so intriguing. When you look at it closely you can see another world. And there are so many different types of Moss Forests to see. I love that the macro lens can capture things I can’t see with my naked eye.

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Macro Mushrooms

What happens when two photographers go on a hike with macro lenses? It takes 7 hours to go 7 miles!

From our hike yesterday in Wunderlich County Park in Woodside, CA, I have photos of other things, but since so many of my photos are of mushrooms and other fungus (all mushrooms are fungi, not all fungi is a mushroom) I am giving them their own special post. So many various fungi fruit making a go of it in the moist soil and trees. I particularly love the teeny tiny ones growing out of curtains of moss.

I learned a lesson on this hike. If you stop in one place long enough, you start seeing all kinds of tiny things that would otherwise be missed. Seems like a good note on which to end the year. Happy New Year! See you in 2017.

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Winter Magnolias

Walking around San Mateo Central Park yesterday, I saw a big magnolia petal on the ground before I notice the large trees covered in blossoms above me.

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It was a windy day and I was trying out back button focus  on my new Canon 80D. I am completely sold on this back button focus technique. I normally would have had trouble with capturing sharp flowers that were moving in the wind, but most of my pictures from yesterday came out just lovely, including the challenge of capturing magnolia blossoms high up in their trees.

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I love this type of magnolia most of all. I love the two-sided petals, dark pink and white. And the fuzzy nubs before they bloom. And the carpet of petals they drop to the ground.

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