Monthly Archives: August 2005

Bees

Bees

Bees, photo by Harold Davis.

There’s nothing as sweet as a bee in a flower – and in this photo I was lucky enough to get “two for one!”

Remembrance of Things Past



Tractor, photo by Harold Davis.

This old John Deere tractor rusting beside the road near Carson City, Nevada caught my eye because of the contrast between the red of the brake lever and the green of the tractor.

Note the (modern) yellow truck you can see on the highway in the background through the hole in the tractor…

Red Dragonfly

Julian spotted this wonderful red dragonfly. It took some patience to photograph because it was constantly in motion. Even in this picture the wings were fluttering (vibrating?).

But it did keep coming back to the same spot, so I was eventually able to get close. My 105mm Nikkor macro lens did the rest!

Moon over Lake Tahoe

This is a long time exposure taken from near Dollar Point on Lake Tahoe. The long time exposure explains the glassy (or hazy) look of the lake, because of the motion of the waves over the length of the exposure.

Here’s how to have a moon in any of your pictures!

Putting the Sky in Emerald Bay

We just got back from a family vacation in Lake Tahoe. We stayed in a condo and spent a lot of time by the pool and at the kid’s beach in Tahoe City.

Lake Tahoe is beautiful. Very beautiful. Possibly one of the wonders of the world since it is such a high large body of water surrounded by peaks.

This photo shows Emerald Bay, one of the most beautiful places on the lake.

But Tahoe the lake is also a resort city under the trees. The human impact is causing the clarity of the lake to vanish, at something like a foot a year. The lake is probably 50% as clear as it was in the middle of the last century.

People enjoying themselves (on the boats in this photo, for example) is a good thing, but it doesn’t spell wilderness.

The decline in the Tahoe eco-system is troubling. To imagine Lake Tahoe as it was (or might have been) in pristine glory takes a positive effort.

Many photos take a similar act of creative improvement to reach their potential. This photo is pretty straightforward, but I did work on the sky, selecting the lower portion with Photoshop’s Magic Wand tool set to a low tolerance, and then adjusting the Red level to add a glow at the horizon.

Flying



Flying, photo by Harold Davis.

When we visited Squaw Valley on our recent trip to Lake Tahoe, we found that Trapeze Arts had set up a flying trapeze on top of a parking garage.

What fun to watch Julian fly through the air with confidence and glee!

Marbles, the Planets, and the Night Sky

Lots of fun – you can probably recognize the marbles, but what about the rim of the glass bowl?

Equals Toys

One of the great things about having kids is that I get to play with their toys!

The Eye and the Wheel

It’s fun to play with Photoshop and create composite images that are part photograph, part painting – and part imagination. This image is one photo of a Bodie wheel, a picture of Nicky’s eye, a flower photo for the background, and some fun filters!

Route 395



Route 395, photo by Harold Davis.

Route 395 runs down a magnificent corridor along the Eastern Sierra, passing through Mono Basin and Owens Valley.

If you turn West on route 120 at Lee Vining you can cross the Sierras and come to Yosemite or the populated parts of California.

Considering how spectacular the land East of the Sierras is, and how close it is to urban California, it is amazing how little development there is along Route 395.

On our recent trip, Julian and I started out in Yosemite Valley where we:

Next, we headed over Tioga Pass to Route 395 and:

Driving along Route 395 watching the mountains and desert was an integral part of the experience. What a great trip for both Julian and me!

Julian and Mammoth

This is Julian beneath the Mammoth in front of the main gondola up Mammoth Mountain in this well-known ski resort in the eastern Sierra.

Julian and I had a great time riding the gondola to the top of the mountain, staying in a fancy condo, and eating in a nice restaurant. Once more he ate a whole rack of ribs, to the amazement of the staff!

On top of the mountain, Julian played in a snow patch and we found a butterfly:

Butterfly on Mammoth Mountain

To me, this butterfly proves there is beauty in devastation. The Mammoth Ski Resort is part of Inyo National Forest. I respect everyone’s right to ski and have fun, and don’t want to be a kill-joy on behalf on an environment cause. But it is astounding the havoc the ski lifts, hotels, artificial snow machines and so on inflict on the wilderness. A whole section of the High Sierra wilderness has been wrecked for everyone but the skiers.

I can only imagine some form of payola to those in the national forest who are responsible for administering wilderness, and I would dearly love to know more about the specifics.

Breakfast at Bodie

Julian and I broke camp and headed for Bodie.

Actually, there’s little (or no) breakfast to be had at Bodie, but plenty of history, artifacts, and photo opportunities.

Here’s a photo of bottles and marbles. Maybe some child once played with the marbles in this bottle:

Bodie Bottles

Part of the history of Bodie is the story of the wildness of the times when Bodie was the largest city in California – for example, the legend of the Bad Man from Bodie.

This makes it seem a perfect place for Harold and Julian, the “bad boys in Bodie!” (As Julian said to me, “Daddy, I wish you were eight years old so you could really play with me all the time!”)

Here’s another picture from Bodie:

Reflecting Bodie 4

High Desert

Julian and I continued our adventures. We left the shores of Mono Lake, and drove towards Bodie in the High Desert.

It was getting late. Crossing into BLM land, we took a side dirt road, and then a side dirt road off that that led to an abandoned mine.

We pulled the car off the road, and made camp. The stars began to come out. We made a small sage brush fire, and toasted marshmallows.

Even though the day had been hot, the high desert night got cold. We were alone in a brilliant universe filled with points of light and shooting stars.

In the morning, the desert was golden, and we could see the Sierras on the horizon.

Mono Lake Is for the Birds and Brine Flies



Mono Lake, photo by Harold Davis.

After our time in Yosemite Valley, watching the sunset from Glacier Point, floating down the Merced, and much more, Julian and I headed over Tioga Pass.

Along Route 120, we stopped to climb out on Olmsted Point for a view of Half Dome from above and took a swim in Lake Tenaya. I took the turn-off for Saddlebag Lake, and found Julian a snow bank to play in. He spent a couple of hours rolling in the snow, throwing snowballs, and so on! It’s amazing how much fun snow is to a kid who essentially hasn’t seen it before.

By the time we reached Lee Vining, it was dinner time, so we had ribs – Julian’s favorite – at the canonical place.

Next, we headed for the shores of Mono Lake, and wandered for a couple of hours until the sun started to set amid the tuffa, birds, and brine flies – peaceful, harmless creatures used by the Paiutes as a protein source.

Mono Lake Birds

Quiet Flows the Merced

Julian and I got back late from sunset at Glacier Point, and slept in the next morning.

After breakfast, I asked Julian whether he’d rather go hiking or raft down the Merced River (we’d seen the rafters putting in near where we were splashing around the previous day). It wasn’t a great surprise that Julian wanted to go rafting.

The Merced winds lazily down Yosemite Valley. You can lie back on the raft and look at views like this one of Yosemite Falls.

Julian explored every sand bank, and every island.

The trip is about three miles, maybe one half day. They rent you a paddle, and a life jacket, and the raft. You get picked up by bus by the concessionaire at the bottom. It’s water with barely a ripple – “Class 0″ white water.

The concessionaire required two adults minimum per raft (although I certainly could have handled it alone) so Julian and I had to wait for someone to come who would join us, or let us tag along. (In a romantic comedy, of course this would have been a mom with a freckled eight year old daughter.)

In our story, it was Doug, on his way to hike the Muir Trail: great company – and extremely tolerant of Julian, catering to his every whim!