Yearly Archives: 2005

There and Back Again!

I’m just back from a week trip to the mountains and the desert.

Phyllis is a saint and took care of the three kids more-or-less solo. I think Julian wanted to come with me so much that he really was acting out. Handling the three of them at once is no piece of cake for one person.

I visited Yosemite, the eastern Sierra, and the desert.

On this trip I took over 1,000 images, and as time goes by I’ll be processing and blogging the best of them. I’m very excited by these photos, but they are stark.

The purpose of the entry is to explain in an overview fashion where I went.

If you look at the map, you can see I first drove to Yosemite, where I spent several days hiking. (You can click on the map or here to see it in a larger size.)

there be dragons

After Yosemite, I went over Tioga Pass and into Owens Valley.

I drove south down Owens Valley, stopping to take pictures, and then turned east towards Westgard Pass, the ancient Bristlecone Pines, and the desert.

From Beatty, Nevada I explored the ghost town of Rhyolite, and then entered Death Valley National Park.

I returned to Owens Valley near Lone Pine, watched the sunrise shed morning alpenglow on Mount Whitney, and spent several sessions photographing the Alabama Hills.

Turning north, I headed for Bridgeport, photographed Twin Lakes, and had a straight shot home over Sonora Pass.

This is the macro picture. Stay tuned for more photos, and stories of my travels in more detail.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Road Trip, Writing, Yosemite

Aerial Autumn Leaf

This is a very close view of a maple leaf. It reminds me of a map, or aerial view.

The capillaries you can see in the leaf are like the rivers in this imagined territory.

Posted in Bemusements, Patterns, Photography

Calligraphic Sky

Kanji Sky, photo by Harold Davis.

I love the way sunset across the Bay catches different layers of clouds. You can see the sky shimmering through the layers. The tree silhouetted against the sky reminds me of a calligraphic character.

This photo is from the roof of our house at sunset.

Clouds @ Sunset

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Bud ‘n Bloom

Bloom, photo by Harold Davis.

My garden doesn’t know yet that it is supposed to be autumn. If ever there really is an autumn in this Pacific micro climate. Our autumn is more like summer than the real summer, which (as Mark Twain famously observed) can be chill indeed.

Flowers keep on budding, and blooming. Like this one. And I keep on watching, enjoying…and taking pictures.


Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Patterns, Photography

Slide Ranch

Goat Eye, photo by Harold Davis.

I went along with Julian’s second grade class yesterday as a parent driver and volunteer on a field trip to Slide Ranch.

We milked a goat and explored the habitats of chickens, geese, and ducks.

In the organic garden, we ate berries, beans, apples, and lemons. We harvested compost excreted by earth worms, and planted spinach seeds.

Here are some more photos from the trip:

Rooster Fresh Egg
Duck Duck Goose
Sunflower Bone Grove
Posted in Bemusements, Kids, Photography, San Francisco Area

Mount Diablo Sunrise

The drive between Nicky’s pre-school drop-off and Julian’s second grade drop-off goes along the crest of the coastal range. (In this metropolitan area, the creat of the coastal range also means the Berkeley and Oakland Hills.)

The whole Bay area is part of a great Pacifdic weather system that waters the inland valley, California’s “bread basket”.

This weather system is like a bellows, pushing a giant fog bank out and in. Some days the fog bank hovers out at sea, beyond the Golden Gate, at the edge of the horizon and of sight.

More often, at this time of year, the fog bank rushes in after sunset, and is pushed back out in the morning by the warming sun.

Depending on where in the cycle things are, the ride between pre-school and grade school can be fogged in with no visibility, completely clear, or anywhere in between. I’ve begun to bring my camera on the ride because some of the views are so special.

This one is from the road looking east towards Mount Diablo.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Fisheye-Lens Dog

I’m trying out my new toy, an AF-Fisheye Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED lens for my D70. This is one of the first pictures with it.

One of our neighbors has this dog on approval from the Milo Foundation. He (the neighbor, not the dog) says they haven’t given the dog a name yet until they decide to keep him. I hope they do, I think he is very cute.

The fisheye lens is kind of cute, too – and will take some getting used to. I’m looking forward to using it in situations where I want to capture an entire wide scene.

Extreme wide angles are problematic on digital SLRs because the capture arrays (sensors) are smaller than on film SLRs. The magnification factor is 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. This is good for telephotos (your 200mm lens becomes a powerful 300mm equivalent on Nikon digital) but bad for wide angles (your nifty 20mm has become a so-so 30mm equivalent).

This fisheye is specially made for Nikon’s digital cameras, and gets around this problem by opticially reducing the image size within the lens before it even hits the camera’s sensors.

I’m having fun playing! More fisheye photos:

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Glad to Be a Gladiola

Gladiola, photo by Harold Davis.

I have been photographing gladioluses today.

A gladiola, or gladiolus, is a glad thing. This member of the Iris family is so colorful and always makes me feel glad.

Do flowers have feelings? If so, I suspect that the gladiola feels glad too – even when I’m examining its every petal, crevasse, and mote of pollen with my extension-tubed macro lens rig.

More glads…

Gladiolus Lips More Gladiola Gladness

…and more flowers:

Posted in Flowers, Photography


Staged 1, photo by Harold Davis.

I like looking at houses for sale – open houses – and imagining the past and the future.

This house, around the corner on Thousand Oaks, is rather grand. It had been lived in by a nice old couple for many years. We used to vote in the garage (the garage was tricked out as a polling station).

For the sales process, the house was “staged” – but all the staging in the world can’t distract from the granny wallpaper behind the bed in this picture.

Staged 2

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

San Francisco Sunset

Last night Gary had us to dinner. It takes a brave man to invite my horde of three boys (ages from one to eight) to dinner – especially as every corner of Gary’s house is crammed with books. We had great fun, and the boys want to know how soon they can go back. So thanks Gary!

Gary’s house in El Cerrito is right across the Bay from San Francisco and the Golden Gate. I dashed out on the deck at sunset to take these pictures with a tripod and the lens stopped down. I didn’t really have a lens long enough for the job with me, so these are crops from the hearts of the originals!

Golden Gate

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Oh Cecil, We Hardly Knew Ye!

This is a Cecil Bruner rose from my planting of about five or six years ago.

What turns out is that Cecil Bruners do wonderfully well around here, love the local climate, and are mostly desease resistant.

I didn’t know this when we planted it, but I do now. This climber worked its way up our fence and arched over the sidewalk to the street signs, forming a fragrant and colorful tunnel.

What I also didn’t know was that this flowering tunnel bothered some people (although others loved it). There were anonymous complaints to the city (c’mon people, why don’t you just talk to us, we are neighbors)!

Once I realized that it upset people, of course it had to come down. A big job. The Cecil Bruner will flower in our garden, but it won’t overhang the path, and it won’t bother people. (And it will grow back!)

I like my garden somewhat wild looking, and I think that offends a suburban mentality – even here in Berkeley. If we lived in the country far away from neighbors, of course we could plant anyway we liked, but here one has to respect the feelings of others.

All this said, in some ways I like the garden better without the massive Cecil Bruner dominating one side. It is lighter and airier.

This is a photo of a small bud from the cuttings. Taken with my 105mm Nikkor macro and a 30mm Kenko extension tube, 4 seconds exposure time, and stopped down to f/51.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography, Writing

Clouds @ Sunset

Yesterday as we were finishing dinner I looked up and saw a really neat cloud pattern. I grabbed my camera and headed for the roof.

The thing that really makes this photo interesting to me is the contrast between the blue and white cloud pattern in the background and the foreground fog cloud (which is catching the sunset coloration).

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Mount Diablo

I drove to Inspiration Point in Tilden Park this morning after dropping Nicky off at pre-school. Here’s a photo from Inspiration Point of Mount Diablo with a trace remaining of fog…

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area, Tilden Park

A Fire Burns within Each Flower

This succulent flower had a glorious red color when I got up close to it. Triumphant!

It seems that my way close macros always have a great deal of artifacts. I clean them up in Photoshop with the Clone Stamp Tool.

I’ve been seeing if this is any easier using a Wacom tablet and wand rather than my mouse for input. So far, the Wacom takes some learning, at least for me – but I’ll keep at it, and report.

In the meantime, here’s to the flowers and fires within us all!

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Leaf Map

Leaf Map, photo by Harold Davis.

I took Nicky and Julian out yesterday evening for a walk before bed. It’s always fun to be out with them because they see things I might not. Julian usually points things out, or gathers them, like this leaf, and says, “Daddy, photograph this please!” Often, I am happy to comply.

This leaf from a Japanese maple is one of the few overt signs of autumn we are likely to see around here. Usually, autumn is a great time of year in the Bay area – almost more summer than summer itself.

This is the first of a number of photos I took of the leaf. I think it works better than the ones that are closer up. But if you look at the details of the leaf, it does look like a map (at least to Julian and me) – which is why I call it “Leaf Map!”

Posted in Photography