Monthly Archives: January 2006

Evangelical Light

Yesterday I drove over to Indian Rock on one of my frequent afternoon pilgrimages to honor sunset. It’s a few minutes from home, but by the time I got there a cold rain was coming down hard.

I gritted my teeth, pulled on the jacket I have stashed in my trunk, and climbed the slippery rock. It was beautiful at the top of the rock. And after a while the rain stopped. But I didn’t think there’d be much of a sunset to photograph because a huge bank of clouds was hanging directly to the west (and over the Golden Gate).

Around here the wind picks up a bit before sunset, and the weather can move surprisingly quickly.

Still, this afternoon looked to be disappointing. So I packed my soggy, sorry self up, and headed down down the rock for my car.

The attendant spirit of Indian Rock these days seems to be one “Grey Wolf.” He cleans up the place, helps keep it nice, complains loudly about people who litter, and generally hangs out. I was chatting with Grey Wolf before leaving when I glanced up and saw rays of the setting sun streaming down from the clouds.

Evangelical Light 2

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Of course, I hurried back up Indian Rock, and took these photos.

Looking at the photographs at home in Adobe Bridge, with the kind of grand streaming spectral lighting they show, I didn’t know whether to call the set “God Light” or a “Hallmark Special.” I guess it kind of depends how one looks at things.

Still, I can certainly see why light of this sort in a grand landscape appeals to our spiritual side. That’s why I’ve ended up called the series “Evangelical Lighting.”

“Evangelical” is not quite as specific as mentioning a deity, and this good, clear, golden light is evangelical in the sense that it recruits. It is a gift. This clarity, and this kind of vista is what beings visitors to the Bay area, and moves folk to move here in defiance of all economic common sense.

Evangelical Light 5

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Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Primroses in the Rain

I photographed these primroses in my garden yesterday in the rain. Well, the rain was stopping and starting, and it was dry enough that I didn’t get my camera too wet.

I think this macro photograph adds a good sense of scale to my extreme close-ups of primroses–and is pretty in its own right!

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

Prim Rose Not Rose

These photos are more from the set I took on my birthday. Check out the earlier primrose posts: Primula Birthday and Prim? Not. Also from the same shoot, a spectacular Guzmania hybrid flower: Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Check out my Primula set on Flickr.

There are many things I like about photographing primroses (and these primrose photos, if I say so myself). The action is very close, extreme macro, so what you see is unexpected: unless you’ve studied a primula carefully close-up.

The colors are wild. Gardeners who think of themselves as true keepers of the primula flame regard these hybrids as garish. The original primrose plants were modest, shy, understated things: not what you see here.

While I was photographing these primroses at Berkeley Hort, I got into a conversation with another gardener. She was kind of prim herself, “of a certain age” (as they say), with long, stringy gray hair and metal-rimmed glasses. She spoke with a clipped, New England accent (however improbable such a thing may be in Berkeley).

She told me how she hated these colorful, wild, artificially engineered flowers: “I prefer my primroses simple and plain, the way they are in the wild, the way they are meant to be. Not these garish colors.”

The colors may be wild and “garish,” but the textures–the way petals fold into one another like Navajo blankets–are unexpected and sometimes subtle.


Primula 6

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Primula 9

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Primula 5

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Primula 7

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Posted in Flowers, Photography

Potato Vine Flower

I photographed this potato vine (solanum jasminoides) flower in our backyard with my Lensbaby and its macro lens. Then I hurried for cover from the rain.

Here’s a hydrangea, also taken with the Lensbaby macro kit, which can be compared with a hydrangea photographed with a conventional macro lens and extension tubes. In either case, the bud is really small.


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Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Golden Gate Sunset

Oh, hem, haw, what can I say: another beautiful sunset over the San Francisco Bay. Or, here’s one reason thay call it the “Golden Gate”: it’s golden.

This picture was taken on January 7, and I’m just getting around to processing it!

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Floating Leaf

I photographed this leaf floating in a puddle when I was out exploring in the rain with Mathew the other day. Naturally, I used my waterproof Pentax OptioWPi a/k/a “the toy.”

Posted in Photography

Construction of Nature

Coneflower 4, photo by Harold Davis. Photographed at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. View this photo larger.

This is the same fantastic Proteaceae (Isopogon Formosos, “Coneflower”, native to Western Australia) that I photoblogged about here and here.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Love in the Ruins

No not really. But I thought the headline might get your attention.

These photos were taken around the area of the ruins of the Russian Baths on the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco near the Cliff House restaurant. The place is remarkable.

I took this seascape of Marin after exploring with Julian a very slippery, dank tunnel. This vista was the reward at the end of the “cave”:

Beyond the Cave

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Further up the cliffs, I saw this unusual view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unusual because I was looking back east at the bridge from the San Francisco side.

Bridge and Rock

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I think these photos are all worth looking at in their larger size (but then I usually think that!). Note to self: come back to this place during a good sunset to photograph the reflections in the ruined pools of water.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Red Hot Peppers

Melastomataceae 2, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger. Photographed at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.

The pistils in this flower remind me of red-hot chili peppers. Of course, they are tiny: so not really peppers.

I found the flower in the South America section of the Botanical Garden. It’s labeled from the Melastomateceae genus, “Tibouchina SP”, from Ecuador.

These two pictures are experiments with using my 18-200 zoom lens with a 36mm extender and a +4 macro filter, tripod mounted of course. The combination works pretty well, although both the focus and the zoom impact the magnification, depth of field, and focus. This makes for a crazy number of variables to consider.

Here’s another photo:


View this photo larger. Photographed at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Kids and Kupkakes

The kids were mostly happy yesterday as they ate their cupcakes at the San Francisco Botannical Garden. If you look at Mathew in this photo (the baby on the right), he doesn’t seem so sure.

After taking this photo, I got involved in macro flower photography. But whenever I wasn’t sure where Phyllis and the kids were, all I had to do was listen, or ask a passing stranger: “Oh, you mean the very blond boys with cameras. They’re at the duck pond.” “Now they’re at the fountain.”

It seemed the whole garden was tracking them.

Posted in Kids, Photography

Golden Gate Sunset

I photographed sunset this evening from the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lot. After yesterday’s rain, the air was crisp and unusually clear. If you look at the larger versions of these photos you can see many details, and even (in some of them) the Farallon Islands.

San Francisco Sunset

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Golden Gate Sunset 3

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Golden Gate Sunset

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Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Basket Weaving 101

This is another photo of a Western Australia Coneflower of the Proteaceae genus, specifically Isopogan Formosos I photographed the opther day at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. Here are the earlier images.

I think this one looks alot like a basket weaving.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography

Playing in the Rain

The rain is fun, and I like splashing in puddles, but I get cold and a bit tired and out of sorts (but I am so cute).

My big brother likes to ride his trike in the rain:

Playing in the Rain - Nicky

And my biggest brother likes to climb all over rocks and take pictures with Dad:

While Dad Takes Photos - Julian

Posted in Kids, Photography

Sunset on a Rainy Day

Yellow Bay Sunset, photo by Harold Davis. It’s worth checking out this photo larger.

The sun set all golden and yellow this evening: a relief after a rainy day. Here’s how it looked over the Golden Gate:

Golden Gate

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Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Flower as Fiber Construction

I photographed this flower today at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. It is a Western Australia Coneflower of the Proteaceae genus, specifically Isopogan Formosos.

Check out some other pictures I took in the same session.

I think this flower looks like a wonderful fiber construction. Here’s another photo:

Coneflower 1

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By the way, I come by having an eye for fiber constructions (in flowers or otherwise) honestly: my mother Virginia Davis makes them.

This flower was sitting on top of a hill between the Fragrance Garden and the rhododendron section. We couldn’t figure out how to find the path to get up it, and had almost given up. But Julian insisted we go back and climb the hill. I’m glad we did.

I’m afraid all the photography was a bit boring for Julian after a while (although he took hundreds of photos himself). But he was a sport.

After photographing, we had a late lunch of Dim Sum at Ton Kiang, and Julian dictated a story to me:

Julian and Harold went to the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Then they found a secret, magical entrance. Julian found a rusty key. He tried it in the lock. The lock opened.

Then Harold and Julian went in. They found themselves in Narnia.

There were beautiful flowers and Harold photographed them.

The dictation ended in a ravenous orgy of potstickers and pork buns.

Posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography