Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Tulipmannia comes to Pier 39 in San Francisco during a two-week period in February.  Planters and half wine barrels are full of colorful blooms.

This year our camera club had a field trip to the location. This is not a spot I usually visit.  It tends to be a popular tourist location and I had skipped it for years for that reason.  But this weekend was great fun, both for the tulips and for the people watching.   

Here are some samples from the excursion:

Kids of all ages were out enjoying the sunshine, the flowers, and activities.

San Francisco skyline in the background.  

This girl's family was visiting the U.S. from China for 3 weeks.  The large bubble making gadget was a big hit with her and with the children further down the street.

Chris and I rode over on BART.  It was a short trolley ride down to the wharf area where we met several other club members.  Besides photographing, we enjoyed lunch out together.

Remember that you can go back and click on the first photograph and view them all in a slide show at a much larger size.    Using spot metering and underexposing a bit I could get the dramatic light on the flowers and darken the backgrounds to almost total black.  The early morning moisture from the watering misters was still in evidence.  And, at least when we first arrived, there was no breeze.  Made for ideal flower close up photography.

Winter in California

I am spending the winter in California, mostly on my site in Coarsegold, but with regular visits to other areas of north-central California.

The winter is noticeable for the drought conditions.  Although there have been a couple of good rain storms, they have been too far between, too short, and too warm.  This region depends heavily on the snow pack in the Sierras and there is little snow there.  And what does drought look like?    Here are a couple of photos.

It is a long ways from docks to water at Bass Lake.  Bass Lake is in the foothills not too far from where my site is.

These water carved holes in Coarsegold Creek should be underwater this time of year.   There are a few tiny pools from the last rain storm, but hardly what we need.  If the winter is cold enough, the real action in the creek is in spring when snow higher-up melts.  But even in a cold winter, there should be substantially more water in this creek.. This section of the creek flows through Park of the Sierras.  Part of the park is in the undeveloped acreage.

Boring insects like pine borers and pine bark beetles are kept in check by nature through fire and cold snaps.  As people move out into the countryside we suppress fire. And cold weather is not the norm anymore.  Here is a stretch of dirt road in the National Forest , above Coarsegold with serious beetle damage.  Note the dead needles on the tree and the ground.   Although this area did not burn last year, it is a serious fire hazard.  There was a huge fire in and around Oakhurst last year.

This winter has provided time for some visits with family and old friends.  In January Chris and I joined my cousin Bonnie at her house in Albany to celebrate her sister's birthday.  Bonnie and Sharon are my second cousins.   Besides the two sisters, Bonnie's son and grand kids, in-laws, ex spouse and old friends were there.  They are all folks I have known for a long time so it was fun visiting.  All the descendants of the Maxfield clan in attendance signed a birthday card for my aunt.  Ruth, one of my mom's younger sister, turned 100 the end of January.   The card made it in time for her birthday which was celebrated in Florida.  I've had a nice note back from her.  She still lives independently although she gave up golfing a couple years ago.

In February my cousin Dick Dilley and his wife, Jan, were here from Indiana.  We had a day long adventure in Yosemite, and a couple dinners together in Oakhurst.  The following weekend I joined them, their son John, his wife Gail and their college son, Paul,  near Pinnacles National Monument (south of Hollister).  Gail's family has a ranch there.  Although rains have been sparse this year, it did rain that weekend and we relished it.
This coyote was resting near the Bridal Veils parking lot.   Later we saw it in the parking lot where it was clearly accustomed to being fed.   

Jan and Dick during our trip to Yosemite

Road into the ranch with another ranch to the left.

John, Dick and Jan during our walk.  
Looking back toward the ranch with outbuilding in view
Gail and Paul along creek which had been dry the day before but came up quickly in the rain.

In February, Carol Kolb, an old friend from our early days in the camera club emailed me to say she would be in Fresno for a horse competition with her daughter.  It was a chance to see Carol and visit, meet her daughter who I hadn't seen since she was a toddler (she is now graduated from college), and photograph some of the riding competitions.  Here are a few views.
Sissy with her horse in a jumping event

This photo and the ones that follow were in the cross country competitions across the road from where I photographed Sissy.

This photo and the following were taken during the cross country events.