Landscape

A Whirlwind Visit to Maui, Hawaii

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013

Randy and Kathy on the edge of a waterfall flowing into an emerald green jungle pool.

Randy and Kathy on the edge of a waterfall flowing into an emerald green jungle pool.

My first time to, and impression of, Hawaii

As mentioned previously Randy and I went on a “free” trip to Hawaii. It turned out to be not so free but that’s ok, we went and we had a good time. It was my first time to Hawaii so I was really looking forward to the trip. For a long time I had listened to people talking about how wonderful Hawaii was; the blue ocean, the white (and black) sand beaches, surfers hanging out in the waves, waterfalls and volcanos. All of it sounded so exciting! So when we got there it was late and we walked to a very modern American mall to find some dinner. Then the next day we picked up our rental car and started exploring. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. It seemed just like home. We were in a town with the same stores (even a Costco) and the same gas stations and restaurants. Where was the romantic tropical paradise I was expecting?

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Bald Eagles, Crater Lake and More

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013

Bald Eagle at the Tule Lake Reserve

Bald Eagle at the Tule Lake Reserve

 

BALD EAGLES AND WILDLIFE AT THE KLAMATH BASIN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES

Recently Randy and I headed to the far northern part of California to photograph Bald Eagles. The eagles winter at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge primarily at the Tule Lake Refuge and the Lower Klamath Refuge. We had joined a Meetup, Bay Area Photography Events, for this adventure. A link to a gallery of my images from the adventure is at the bottom of this post.

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Manless Hiking at Russian Ridge

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013

Today I took a long hike. Randy is away visiting relatives so I went on my own…manless hiking. I had invited some lady friends and my sister but I guess they couldn’t get rid of their men because no one else decided to join me. Of course, they may have been working or they may have not wanted to go hiking on the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains in an impending storm. Either way it ended up I went alone except for my NEX5 camera. This was ok. First I went to the local surplus store and bought a lightweight rain jacket. I was going to wear my big heavy one but if it didn’t rain I would be stuck with a big heavy jacket to carry around, not the greatest thing when you’re hiking.

View of Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

View of Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

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Visiting and Photographing Yellowstone National Park

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013

Yellowstone National Park

In 1872 the United States established the first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park. The main reason for the park’s establishment was to protect and preserve the geysers. But the area was also home to an incredible array of wildlife including grizzly bears, bison, elk and wolves. Unfortunately those wolves eventually vanished and by the 1970s, there was no evidence of a wolf population in Yellowstone. In 1995 66 wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, coming from grey wolf populations in Alberta, Canada. This was highly controversial, and still is. Photographing those wolves was instrumental in our desire to visit Yellowstone.

 

Randy, Kathy and Chris at Yellowstone's North Gate

Randy, Kathy and Chris at Yellowstone’s North Gate

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San Francisco Nights

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012

I haven’t been underwater much lately, but have been spending some quality time with my camera on land. On our way home from the Napa Valley yesterday Randy and I stopped to photograph the Golden Gate bridge and the city as the sun went down and the lights came on.

Sunset on the city by the bay, San Francisco and the Golden Gate.

It was really beautiful, and warm! We were out there in the night in short sleeve shirts. Fall along the Northern California Coastline is great!

 

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Big Sur, Condors and Point Lobos in the Moonlight

Posted by on Oct 6, 2012

 Magic of Point Lobos Photography Competition and Gallery Exhibit

Randy recently won two awards at a juried photography competition, the Magic of Point Lobos. His awards were for Best of Underwater and Best of Wildlife. All of the winning images and some additional images chosen by the judges were invited to take place in a gallery exhibition at the Carmel Art Institute with the opening reception being held on September 28. So Randy printed up his images and on September 28 we headed for Carmel for the reception.

Magic of Point Lobos Gallery Opening Reception

Magic of Point Lobos Gallery Opening Reception

We had a great time at the reception. There were lots of really beautiful photos taken at Point Lobos State Reserve displayed, many of the photographers were there and there was finger food to munch on and wine being poured freely. We ran into some friends there who also had photos in the exhibit and enjoyed talking to them about how more underwater photographers needed to enter and eventually a bunch of us went out to dinner at the Bahama Island Steak House.

California Condors in the Wild!

We were spending the night with our friends Nancy and Scott at their house in Prunedale, and later that night we were talking about what we were going to do the next day before heading to the Moonlight Walk at Point Lobos. Scott mentioned that he had never seen a condor and our adventure was decided upon. The next day we would pack a lunch, hop in the car and head south along Hwy 1 to find condors.

Condors are related to turkey vultures and are still on the edge of extinction even after some extreme measures were taken to help them to survive. In the late 1980’s all the wild birds were captured and breeding programs were started in various zoos. Years later Fish and Wildlife biologists began to release birds born in captivity into the wild. Today the population is almost 300 birds, up from a low of 27! Some of the huge birds (approximately 125) are living along Big Sur, at the Pinnacles and in Ventura County and some live in The Grand Canyon and a few in Baja California. They aren’t easy to spot in the wild but along the Big Sur coast is one of the best areas to find them.

And we got lucky, we found some condors! They were a few miles south of the Big Sur Inn soaring above highway 1 at a place known as Grimes Point. The fog was still hanging around and would drift in and out sometimes hiding the condors and their turkey vulture cousins from us. The condors are the most graceful and ugly birds I have ever seen. They soar effortlessly on huge wings marked with striking white feathers when viewed from below. But their featherless heads are wrinkled and pinkish red with a small sharp beak, ugly!

California Condor Soaring Over the Big Sur Coast

California Condor Soaring Over the Big Sur Coast

After spending some time marveling at the condors and trying to get some photographs we decided to head down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to have lunch. We then walked out to the McWay Falls vista point where you can look down at the waterfall and protected cove on one side and north along the wild coastline on the other side. Rocks stained bright white with bird droppings rise out of the blue-green water with waves splashing over the rocks. Patches of kelp float in the water.  It is a beautiful place and I encourage everyone who is driving up or down the coast highway along Big Sur to stop and walk out to the point. It is an easy walk and fully accessible.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in the Moonlight

Back at Point Lobos we had some time before the Moonlight walk event so we went for a hike. Later, when we arrived at the event we found tables set up with sandwiches, salads and desserts as well as soft drinks, water and a local winery was pouring wine. After dinner Chuck Bancroft, retired Point Lobos ranger, led us out on the new Bird Rock trail. He read poetry at stops on the trail from a book on poetry about Point Lobos by local poets. Randy and I were trying to take long time exposures and slowly fell behind the others. This turned out to be a lucky thing because most of the hike the moon was hidden by the fog. But while we were at the most distant point all by ourselves the moon finally came out of the fog and lit up the rocks for us. Up to that point it had been really hard to focus as it was too dark for autofocus to work and looking through a tiny viewfinder and focusing manually at night can be difficult also. But having the light from the moon helped and we got some interesting images!

Guided Moonlight (and spotlight) Walk at Bird Rock, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Guided Moonlight (and spotlight) Walk at Bird Rock, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Most of my images ended up being a bit soft but it was a lot of fun! A gallery of the images from the weekend is in my Recent Images gallery.

 

More information on Condors and Point Lobos:

 Ventana Wildlife Society
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

 

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Yosemite People Photos

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012

Instead of writing more about Yosemite (which I have covered before in this blog), I am just going to post some images from our most recent trip to Yosemite. This time I concentrated on trying to get images of the people in Yosemite, the tourists, the employees, my friends. This was really fun although I think I need to practice my people picture taking!

Enjoy, Kathy

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New Idria Mine and Ghost Town

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012

The Rotary Furnace building at New Idria which contained the four Gould Rotary furnaces.
The Rotary Furnace building at New Idria which contained the four Gould Rotary furnaces.

Over the holidays Randy and I decided to explore a place that his father had told us of; an old quicksilver mine and ghost town called New Idria. Randy’s father had been there a long time ago. The mine was opened in 1854 and was named after the world’s second largest quicksilver producer in Idria, Slovenia. The town grew up around the mine with the local population eventually reaching more than 3,000 people. The mine was closed in 1972 due to falling quicksilver prices. The town still contains many historic buildings although many buildings are in extreme disrepair and the furnace building and some other buildings are fenced off.

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Colorful Sunsets in Yosemite National Park

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011

Colorful Sunsets in Yosemite National Park

Last month I made reservations in one of our favorite places, Yosemite National Park, for an “all U can heat” Camp Curry tent cabin during the full moon and off we went for the weekend. The “all U can heat” special runs for only certain dates. You pay what the temperature was the night before plus $20. This is a great deal! Camp Curry was sold out Friday and Saturday nights for that weekend, so we stayed at the Yosemite Inn in Mariposa on Saturday and checked into Camp Curry on Sunday. Monday was a holiday so we were able to stay for an extra day. It is so nice to live close enough to go to such an amazing place like Yosemite for the weekend.

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Non-diver? Don’t worry, Bonaire has lots of fun non-diving activities!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011

Enjoying Lac Bai.
Enjoying our jaunt to beautiful Lac Bai.

 

In 2008 Randy and I went to Bonaire with another couple, one of whom wasn’t a diver. This is a pretty common situation where a dive group or couple has a member that isn’t a diver or maybe isn’t as avid a diver as the rest. Sometimes that person may be happy sitting by the pool or the beach reading a book but not always. Because we had a non-diver in our group on that trip we ended up doing a lot of non-dive related land-based activities. Bonaire is a small island. It takes less than one day to drive all the way around Bonaire. But there are a surprising amount of non-diving activities for such a small island. This blog features some of the fun land-based activities on Bonaire.

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