Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rock Me Like a Rock: Pinnacles West Side

Well, I have a hiking friend who likes to hug trees, particularly fragrant pines, and I discovered on Wednesday that I now like to hug rocks.  There's just something about geology....
This is the rock...let's see what we can find out about it.

And, the setting, the lovely west side of The Pinnacles National Park.
Now, usually, I focus on wildflowers and they were blooming in proliferation on the west side of Pinnacles NP in mid-March 2015.  So, maybe one shot....

Some variety of Sedum aka "stonecrop".....likes to grow directly on rocks.  
OK, back to "The Rock"....
What do you notice first?
Well, first off, this rock is on the floor of the west side on Juniper Canyon Trail, not up in the Pinnacles proper.  So, probably an important question is whether it is part of the Pacific Plate which was wrenched off of SoCal and, through plate tectonics, moved the Pinnacles formation north 195 miles from its volcanic origin.
Then you might notice that this rock is mighty white and covered with plants like lichen and moss.

Irregular cracks and fissures.  

Small crystals show in the hand lens and macro mode photo.

 Here's mention of volcanic tuff from the Geology Cafe Pinnacles fieldtrip; perhaps my rock is tuff????   Can I find out about it's composition?


Mosses and vascular plants find homes on this rock and speed the breakdown started by lichens.  

On to the Balconies


Here's more about Pinnacles National Park.

And the GeoCafe Pinnacles FieldTrip.



From My Balcony

It's fascinating to people-watch from my balcony.  Today I am trying out different white balances, on advice from a friend.  Everything's blurry.  Also very red-saturated.  Don't know what fstop to use, so everything's on 22.  My point&shoot only went up to 8 and now I want to learn more about fstops and what they do.  






































We had some rain today.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Harvey Bear Ranch Park: Using the dSLR

Here are a few photos from my first real attempt to use a dSLR seriously.  The camera was in spot focus the whole time with focus in the upper middle spot.  Just didn't know how to change that around at the time.  Some photos seem good and some need help or a re-do.  This is a reflective learning post and your comments are welcome!


Goal: learn how to compose a long view and use the camera's functions to optimize the focus.



The morning was overcast, with a grey light.   This composition seems OK, maybe some different cropping.  The contrast on the figures seems too extreme.  But I like the subdued tones.  Would like more overall focus.  



Looks pretty flat & maybe too much going on?  I tend to crop, crop, crop my tree shots and don't know how to use the camera to reveal what I see in real life.  Would like more dimensionality and depth here.  




Have been doing a lot of macro shots with my point&shoot in the last few years and was relieved to see that the dSLR (without a macro lens) can also capture close-up beauty.  




OK, its blurry and weirdly vibrant pink.  But I like the composition and love all Clarkias.  



It was breezy and this branch was moving up & down.  There seems to be quite a bit of light here and maybe this could use more post-production contrast.  




Love these butter-and-eggy flowers, especially that they're tricolored.   The dSLR seems to pick up more depth in some macro shots, making them look messier and wilder.  



Even messier and wilder, plus too breezy to focus completely.  Anyway, I do like this wildness as an alternative to my usual "portrait" flower shots. 



A bit of inter-species interaction.




Like the wire and thistle combo here but there's some oversaturation going on.   Think this is from using the "vivid" setting to counteract the gray sky.  


Thank you for your attention to this experiment.  There will be more.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Signs of Spring at Henry W. Coe Park

These photos are from a wildflower hike on the Forest, Springs, & Corral trails at Coe Park on January 22, 2015.  All photos taken with my Cannon PowerShot.  Most shots are larger than life-size.  Enjoy!

Milkmaids are one of the first flowers of Spring.  Forest Trail.

Sometimes milkmaids have pink tones; some are pure white.  Wildflower enthusiasts love to see milkmaids because their blooms mean the beginning of the flowering season.
Milkmaids flower in different forms.  All have four petals but the petal shapes are different. Forest Trail.

Woodland shooting star in bud.  Another early sign of  Spring.  Forest Trail.

Woodland shooting star; the first flowering on the Forest Trail.  

Ferns are coming out now too.  These may be wood ferns of some type.

Woodfern (?) on the Forest Trail.
Hillside gooseberry was in bloom; do you see any of the spines that characterize this shrub?
Hillside gooseberry on the Forest Trail.  Two stages of bloom.

Insects have laid their eggs in some of the gooseberry leaves and the bush has created galls around them.  Very small insects.

Galls on gooseberry leaves. 



Trees bloom too!  These photos show California bay laurel in bloom on Manzanita Point Road and in bud on the Forest Trail.

California bay laurel.
California Bay Laurel in bloom.

There were two other wildflowers in bloom on the Forest Trail: chickweed and wild cucumber (too bad the cucumber photo didn't turn out well).

Common chickweed is not a native plant; some folks might call it a weed.  Petals are about 1/8 inch in length; leaves about 1/2 inch in length.  
Along the Springs Trail, there were a few Hound's tongue in bud and bloom.  Look for blue flowers and leaves that resemble a dog's tongue.

Hound's tongue in bud on Springs Trail.  

Hound's tongue on the Springs Trail.
Lastly, on the Corral Trail, this single buttercup showed its color.

Buttercup flowers have a lot of shiny petals; makes them easy to ID.  
That's all for now; as we enter wildflower season, there will be more flowers on the Coe trails each week.  Check out What's In Bloom Now for current bloomers and the Henry W. Coe Wildflower Guide for more information and photos.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Japantown San Jose: Changes in Winter

Early evening in Japantown San Jose.  Photo shoot inspired by the publication of 

Originally a Chinese restaurant, then a Cuban eatery.


Winter cold



Sycamore balls snagged on barbed wire.








Plywood on brick




Winter leaves at the Corporation Yard

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bright and Shiny Things

Beautiful morning at the brewery, taking shots of the shiny new equipment.  The light was good.  Here's Dean!