October 30, 2014

Nicasio Reservoir -- and yet another visit


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photo by Donald Kinney

Oh, the stoic Milk Thistle (silibum marianum)--now just mere skeletons of their former glory. Earlier in the year they had hairy flowers at the top of their seed pods and were most beautiful shade of purple. Some folks claim Milk Thistles are able to lower cholesterol and help with liver problems.


My image a of Milk Thistle in bloom, taken in November of 2010.



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photo by Donald Kinney

But, oh yes, Nicasio… Just a tiny amount of blue--and lots of morning fog.



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Occasionally the rising sun and the clearing fog can put on quite a show.


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October 29, 2014

Lagunitas Creek -- stopping by to say hello, once again


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photo by Donald Kinney

Oh, I guess we all have familiar and wonderful places of our own that we can identify with. For me it is Lagunitas Creek (pronounced "La-goo-nĂ­-tas"), and I started stopping by shortly after I resumed my interest in photography in 2002. Some call it "Paper-mill Creek", because Marin County pioneer Samuel P. Taylor established a water-powered paper-mill here in 1856. "Lagunitas" in Spanish means "little lagoons".



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photo by Donald Kinney

Water flows year around, supplied from reservoir releases mandated by the State of California--this pristine stream is home for the endangered Coho Salmon. Wild Coho's have diminished in numbers over the years to near extinction, but are making a tenacious comeback thanks to efforts by Marin Municipal Water District and the State Department of Fish and Game.



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Photo (above) taken in December 2011. Read more about the plight of Coho Salmon in a blog post I did in June 2012.   You may also peruse the pages of the book I did on Lagunitas Creek in 2011.



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Most of the year the Lagunitas is a bucolic and gentle stream, but during heavy winter rains it turns into a raging torrent. Trees get ripped from its banks and float a ways down stream before clumping together in massive piles. Gravel scours and smooths and polishes its rocky bottom. The course of the Lagunitas changes ever so slightly from year to year and it is easy to see how this creek has carved out its rippled bottom and canyon over eons.


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October 28, 2014

morning walk-around in Northbeach and Chinatown


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photo by Donald Kinney

Maybe you weren't aware that Carol Doda has busted-out a new career for herself as a singer! You can go see her on November 3 at Tupelo. I noticed the bill posted here at Music-101, a vintage vinyl store on upper Grant, and found it prominently displayed in several windows throughout Northbeach.



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The key to a successful walk-around in San Francisco, for me at least, is getting there early. Even on Sunday many of the locals are out-and-about with the crack of dawn. Sidewalks can get crowded. Inquisitive and suspicious eyes can be annoying. I am a pesky outsider--one level below the status of a tourist! I get yelled at and shooed away, a lot.



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Taking photos of the sidewalk in front of Green Street Mortuary apparently caused great consternation with the owners who were opening for the day. The vibes they were giving off were strong enough to raise the dead.


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October 27, 2014

gold -- it is where we find it...


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photo by Donald Kinney

Yup… On Saturday I found some gold in the sky at sunset near Nicasio.



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And a slightly different shade, just before sunrise near the G.G. Bridge.



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And sometimes I am even able find gold in my beloved Lagunitas Creek.
This image (above) is from July 2011.


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October 26, 2014

the grand view from China Camp


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photo by Donald Kinney

Farther out, with a tiny Mount Burdell in the background.
Sometimes my wide-angle (24mm) lens isn't wide enough. In this case I needed to turn the camera vertical, making a panorama of six exposures, then "stitching" them together seamlessly in Photoshop.



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Closer in, with a larger Mount Burdell in the distance.
For this I zoomed in (70mm) for a slight telescopic effect.


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October 25, 2014

the view from Slacker Ridge


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photo by Donald Kinney

I knew something was wrong with this image (above) when I used it as my header yesterday. A little cropping seems to have turned it into a more pleasing image. I finally realized that some of the sky and a bit of the right side of the photo needed to go.

That flat-topped peak is Hill 88, the main radar site for the Nike-Hercules missile station at nearby Point Bonita. This view was taken from Slacker Ridge, which towers above the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. I don't come here often because the hike, although less than one mile, is extremely steep--a substantial workout for an old codger like me.



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Up until 1977 the Bay Area was defended against Soviet attack with a ring of eight Nike-Hercules surface to air launch stations. The photo (above) is from my August 26, 2009 AphotoAday blog post titled "Nukes in Marin County".



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Sunset from Slacker Hill... Imagine, if you will, the cloud being a contrail of a nuclear tipped missile, and the sun--a mushroom cloud on the horizon after the Nike-Hercules missile had found its target. Perish the thought that the radiation would have crept back towards the Bay Area, irradiating us all.


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October 24, 2014

Nicasio -- yet another foggy morning visit


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photo by Donald Kinney

As perhaps the luckiest-person-on-this-planet, each morning brings a yawn, and then, hopefully, a smile. Generally, I only have an hour or two before the sun rises, so I try not to dawdle. I have places to go, and the very best part of it is that I have the entire world to myself. Selfish of me, I know.



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And I live in the fabulously beautiful county of Marin, California. I'm sure you have beauty in your area also. Dream about it if you must, sleepyhead…

Depending on the sky and weather conditions I have a wide choice of places I can go. My routes vary. It might be a fast trip to the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, or a twisty ride up on my beloved Mount Tamalpais, or an adventure out to the Lagunitas Creek. But quite often I will first swing by Loch Lomond Harbor on San Pablo Bay. Then on to a circuitous route around the China Camp shoreline, out through Lucas Valley and up to Big Rock, and then out to the Nicasio area including a reservoir that has a lot more dry mud right now than actual water.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Yes, this is Nicasio Reservoir; Marin County's emergency backup supply. Curiously it is capable of generating its own micro-climate. A foggy surface is its specialty. I often find it quite surreal. As I mentioned; I am perhaps the luckiest-person-on-this-planet.


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October 23, 2014

Nicasio -- the way it works


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photo by Donald Kinney

sun cometh up...



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photo by Donald Kinney

fog; she arriveth...



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photo by Donald Kinney

trees been cutteth down; a long time ago...


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October 22, 2014

a fast splash, and some slow splashes


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photo by Donald Kinney

We only received traces of rain from this latest storm out of the Gulf of Alaska, but it certainly has been whipping up some impressive waves.
On Monday I buzzed up to the Sonoma coast and had a snap-fest.



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photo by Donald Kinney

On Tuesday I visited the fierce waves closer to home near Rodeo Beach.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Smokey-water is what I call this technique. For you photogs, here is the info; I used an 8 stop neutral-density filter which allowed a long exposure of 8/10th of a second, f-14, ISO-100, and -1 stop of exposure compensation.


Note: I found a few dozen comments waiting to be moderated that I somehow missed. Blogger is supposed to notify me by email whenever I get a comment, but apparently either their system is not working properly, or the problem is on "my end". In any case, I'll try to keep a better eye on it henceforth. I do really enjoy getting the comments. You can always leave a comment on my Facebook page if you aren't a Blogger or Google member. My email address is in left column. --By the way, please tell your friends about this blog so my ego and "stats" can swell to unimaginable proportions.


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October 21, 2014

Rodeo Beach -- new and old snaps


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photo by Donald Kinney

"A"photoAday might be a bit of a misnomer. As you know, I almost always post more than just one photo in these blog posts.

"Less is more" comes to mind--it is a rule of presentation, so I understand. But rules are meant to be broken! AND I want you to get your money's worth I have SO many images to show you. Otherwise, what WOULD I do with them? As it is, I have to discard about 99.5 percent of what I shoot.

I have a dear friend who once suggested that I might be showing too much of my work--that I should only show the very best. But how would I know what was good if I didn't run-it-up-the-flagpole to see-who-salutes. That is why your input is so vital to my success. The problem is that I can become personally attached to certain images. My experience of just being there can often sway my objective evaluation of my own images.



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photo by Donald Kinney

This photo [above] is not new. Snapped on January 12, 2010. I always let you know when I pull them up out of the archives.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Not a new image either. Taken on October 14, 2009 at Rodeo Beach.



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These bubbles are old also. Shot on January 14, 2010. If you look closely [hint: click on image to see full-size image] you might be able to see a multitude tiny Donald Kinneys straddling the bubbly tide pool. Note to you photographers; for best results make sure your bubbles are in the shade.


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October 20, 2014

Coit Tower -- all lit up


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photo by Donald Kinney

I snapped this view of San Francisco on Friday morning, and because I was working with the camera and tripod so fast and furiously I didn't even notice that Coit Tower was illuminated in red. Oh, my first and best guess is that the color represents support of the San Francisco 49'ers, a football team which I generally couldn't care a rat's-ass about these days.

I'm not sure who has the concession or contract on colored lights, but lighting up buildings colorfully for one reason or another has become a regular occurrence in our fair city. When the San Francisco Giants (that's baseball) is on a roll, the town including City Hall turns orange.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Now, this [above] of a side of Coit Tower is not new, but snapped on September 11, 2011. Three guesses of what it commemorates...



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photo by Donald Kinney

And this photo of the Transamerica Pyramid was also snapped on that same evening of September 11, 2011. I really like this image--hope you do too.


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October 19, 2014

Hyde Street Pier -- playground of maritime photo-ops


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photo by Donald Kinney

Commercial fishing based at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf still goes on, but the area has largely been taken over by a dizzying number of tourist oriented shops and restaurants. To escape the general tackiness of the area, all we have to do is take a short walk west to Hyde Street Pier, operated by the National Park Service. Admission is only $5. Oldsters like yours-truly with a N.P.S. "senior pass" get in free.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Here we will find the well preserved 1886 square-rigger, Balcutha. By that date in history steam power had revolutionized the speed of shipping, but wind-powered boats such as the Balcutha remained the most economical way of moving freight vast distances on the highways of the sea.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Other water-craft on display is the 1895 schooner C.A. Thayer, the 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka, the 1891 scow schooner Alma, the 1907 steam tug Hercules, the 1914 paddlewheel tub Eppleton Hall, a furnished 1890 San Francisco Bay Ark, and the 1915 steam schooner Wapama.



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Imagine my delight when I saw these rather artistic designs on the water. After a while I noticed some rather curious looks from other visitors who were probably wondering what-in-god's-name I was snapping.


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October 18, 2014

cat tails at sunrise -- Nicasio, west Marin


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photo by Donald Kinney

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photo by Donald Kinney

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October 17, 2014

Lands End and Point Bonita at the "Golden Gate"


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photo by Donald Kinney

Lands End says it all. Go any further and you are probably going to get wet!



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photo by Donald Kinney

Point Bonita--an accurate name also. "Bonita" in Spanish means "nice", "beautiful", or "pretty". I probably would have named it "dramatic".



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photo by Donald Kinney

And in this photo you can see both Lands End and Point Bonita. This is the entrance to the Golden Gate. The 2-1/2 mile width looks adequately wide in this photo, but heavy fog has always been a navigational problem. Over the years more than 300 ships have been unable to thread-the-needle, resulting in tragedy.



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