Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Seal Pups!

They are SOOOOO cute! They come in different colors from black to silver gray sometimes with white bellies. They follow their mothers everywhere. They seem to swim from the beginning, sometimes riding their mother's backs. And there are 12 or 13 that were born in the last week! You can keep up with the births at Pup News from the La Jolla Friends of the Seals site.

While these will not be my best shots . . . lighting was not right and I carried lenses more for capturing sunset rather than seals, these pups are just too cute not to share!

In watching the moms and pups today, I noticed that once they were out in the water, it seemed hard for them to get back on the shore, perhaps it was the wave action at this tide level. One of the moms seemed to try to be on the ocean side to help get her little one back on the shore - I think she finally did, but they looked tired afterward. One that may have been born today with a difficult birth was busy nursing.

At one point it looked like mom had had enough and kept moving away from the pup, but the pup was fast and stayed close. Something may have startled her, because she took off for the water, and that little pup came behind her just as fast as it could.

After watching some of the moms and pups by the waterline, I found myself going and checking on them one last time before we left. I was worried about the ones struggling to get back on the beach. Pup mortality can be as high as 50% - and I'm rooting for as many as possible to live!

I've got at least three nights here - I'm hoping for seal photos and sunset beach photos. Tonight I got both!

La Jolla Bound

We spent last night at the Malibu RV Beach Park. We got a prime spot for laundry - right next to the building. After taking care of the mundane we are heading south to La Jolla. I checked the internet last night - the harbor seals are having pups! One was born last night and several have been born this week! Oh boy! I can hardly wait to get there!

The seal pups

The seal pups are what draw me to this place over and over. For one thing, they are cute - who doesn't love baby animals. For another, they are remarkable - born at around60-80 pounds thay rapidly quadruple their weight in just four short weeks. The mother mates and then abruptly weans them when she heads out to sea. These cute little fellows are on their own on the beach for another month - their round little bodies must sustain them another month while they learn on their own how to swim and fish for themselves.

While I don't understand how these mothers can go off and leave these sweet young things, it is nature's way and the pups do figure it all out.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

San Simeon's Elephant Seals

While we have visited San Simeon before and enjoyed the elephant seals, this time of year is spectacular. On other trips, the bull elephant seals just layed around sleeping. This is mating season and the bulls are the most energetic I've ever seen them. Between young bulls trying to get their opportunity with the ladies and the older bulls chasing them off, there is a lot of drama.

The male elephant seals are significantly larger than the females. It is astonishing how rapidly they can move across the sand, the muscles in their torses undulating. And it is funny they rush across the sand to protect their territory and then collapse and rest long enough to recover their strength.

The big guys pay no attention to the pups that may still be nursing - the pups have to move quickly to avoid getting squished.
Sometimes the fights between the males continue out in the ocean as a male escorts his lady friend out to sea.

And there are tender moments when both the guy and the girl look content.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Golden Gate Bridge

Although certainly one of the most photographed bridges in the world, I wanted to have my own images of this incredible structure. There are many vantage points, but as we are here only a limited time, I'm not trying to get photos from each one . . . this time. But I am trying to take photos that will be distinctive . . . not like everyone else's. This first photo is really a combination of shots, one to get the sunset colors in the clouds and the other to capture the city lights and the bridge lights.

The city lights put a glow on the clouds after the sunlight is totally gone - it also took a combination of exposures to capture the clouds illuminated from the lights and to get the city lights properly exposed as well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wave Dance

We got a late start Sunday - I ended up sleeping late. We headed over to Rockaway Beach to eat at one of the restaurants there. It was high tide, and the sea was churning, the waves were high and splashing over the wall. We watched groups of people standing to watch the waves jump back hoping to avoid getting wet. Several of them got soaked by "sneaker" waves - those large waves that come from nowhere and produce magnificent splashes against the wall.

After lunch we headed south along Highway 1 looking for photographic opportunities. The wind was high and the the swells were tall and the waves beautiful. We stopped at Pescadero Beach to watch the magnificent wave action against the rocks.

While waves are always beautiful, the waves today with the angry sea were incredibly beautiful. The water level was such that the waves would crest and hit the rocks and explode upwards in a powerful display. The wind would whip the spray and then the explosion of water would collapse in on itself. Each wave produced a different pattern - some low and contained, others joyously tall that would continue to build and grow before thundering down.

Even though I knew the lighting was not at the best angle, I had to try to capture the power and beauty with the camera. I also did not have my 100-400mm with me - so I knew that I could not get "close". I started at one place, but I could see there was another place to stand a little closer. After getting Henry to walk with me down a treacherous area, we saw the easy way . . . a series of real steps. The wind was stiff threatening to blow even me down and producing a layer of sea spray that created some naturally soft focus photos when it got on the camera lens.

Even after I finished my photography, we lingered mesmerized by the continually changing dance of the waves.

Friday, February 16, 2007

San Francisco Sunset

After the gardens, we went over to the FIsherman's Wharf area for lunch.

I've learned that it is good to find your sunset spot early. I had been thinking about going across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island to check out the vantage point. We got there early enough that we could explore the roads on the small island to find the best viewpoint. ( photographer later told me about a place that I still haven't found that gives a good view of the Bay Bridge.)

I decided on the parking lot. As I waited for sunset, I enjoyed watching the water, the boat traffic, and the harbor seal that kept popping up right off the bank.

The sunset was most cooperative. My original plan was to take one shot over a period of time to merge the best sunset and the best night light together. However, the sunset was too beautiful. And there were several great angles here for photos.

It will take me awhile to process the shots that I took. But here is a sample shot - toward the end of the sunset. I've taken one of the shots that got the lighting on the water, and another shot that got the lights on the buildings and merged them. I've got better shots, but this was the easiest one to work "in a hurry."

Great ending to a nice day.

Time in the Garden

I went to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens hoping to get some "garden" shots. I knew it was a pretty place, I'd been here before with Debra. While I knew it was not the best time of day for photos, I was hoping for those little light clouds that cross the sun and give you that wonderful diffuse light.

I was also starting my day on the tired side. While I know that rest is an important component of life, it is also hard for me to rest when I'm in a photography rich area. When I was growing up and visiting one of my great-aunts, I was tired and probably did not want to get up early one morning. Her wise comment was that I could always sleep when I got home. And when I'm in stimulating, interesting environments, I want to let it all soak in-I want to do as much as I can while I'm at a location. Resting feels like I'm not taking advantage of my opportunities.

So, in a discipline way, I entered the gardens and began to walk around. The grass was green, the temperature comfortably cool with a gentle breeze. There are benches everywhere. I took advantage of one that was underneath an arbor area. There was a green grassy meadow in front of me. A mother, grandmother and little girl were down there. The little girl was about 3 years old, blond with short pigtails. Something about her reminded me of my daughter-in-law, Stephanie - what she might have looked like at that age. I used that as an opportunity to pray for Stephanie and Thomas. I watched older couples stroll through the pathways. I watched a very pregnant mom with a stroller for her older child. There will be a new sibling soon.

As I sat on the bench, I realized that my photographic muse was being very silent. While a beautiful place, there was no little scene that jumped out at me as being a likely calendar shot or other intimate landscape. But I was enjoying just sitting there, contemplating.

I stood up and continued following the path. Immediately I found this waterfall area. Yes, this would make a good photo . . . in different lighting. Even though I knew it was futile, I began to photograph the area. Taking lots of exposures knowing I would have to blend the photos to get the brightly lit and the shadowed areas to look right.

I finally moved on, knowing I had not gotten the shot I could visualize because of the harsh lighting. I found an area that had a Japanese garden feel. But once again, the shadows were dark and the sunlit areas very bright. I came across the redwood grove area. These redbuds were planted about 100 years ago and it is a nice area, but I had just been in a much larger grove area - so this did not call to me photographically.

I could see a series of clouds above me. I watched their movement in relation to the sun. Hum . . . would they cover the sun for those few moments to get the waterfall? I walked back and waited. I watched the clouds and waited. Surely just a part of that cloud could block the sun. I had my camera on the tripod with the scene framed. I was rooting for that cloud. While the light softened just a little, the sun won.

I continued to wander the garden. While the weather feels like spring, most of the garden area had a "winter" feel. The rose bushes had been pruned, but had no leaves. There were many things that promised to bloom later in the year. AH HA! The camillas were in bloom. I discovered that there were at least three kinds of camillas - singles, doubles, and multiples (probably not the right terms, but it describes the number of petals and how they are arranged in the bloom). There were red ones, pink ones, big ones, smaller ones. I enjoyed their beauty. But I had not brought my macro lens, and with the breeze, I knew it would be an exercise in futility. I moved on. I thought briefly how fun it might be to have camillas at home, and quickly dismissed the notion. Camillas are acid loving plants - my soil is naturally alkaline - even the water is alkaline. I'll enjoy camillas, azelias, and gardenias where they grow naturally or where people have time to add acid and iron every week.

I came across another area that had bushes with tiny blooms. There was a young couple enjoying these, the young man was busy with his small camera shooting macros of the tiny blossoms. They seemed pleased and were certainly enjoying themselves.

I had covered about half of this part of the garden. I had not gone over to the Japanese Tea Garden, but I knew the lighting just was not good - way too bright. We'll be in San Francisco several more days. Surely one of them will be cloudy.

While photographically, the trip to the garden was a bust, the contemplation time was important. Watching the people as they enjoyed their strolls and activities with their children in the garden reminded me how important it is to spend time outdoors in our natural world. The open air, the sunshine, the beautiful plant life, the busy squirrels - this was a peaceful tranquil time - well worth the several hours I spent here. Contemplation has value as well.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Challenging Day

Today was moving day. We had spent four days at Westport RV park. I knew I was looking for an area along the California coast that I had seen when we went through 3 years ago.

South from Westport you go through the lovely Mendocino area and then gradually you are along the Sonoma Coastline. The road is narrow, twisty, curvy, up-and-down, and scenic. In the RV we have to take it slow. We take advantage of what pull-offs there are to let the faster moving traffic pass.

Around lunchtime we stopped at one of the pullouts along the coast and had sandwiches. It also gives Henry a chance break from the constant vigilance he must maintain to drive this road with a big vehicle.

When it was time to go, he started the engine . . . no, he tried to start the engine . . . oh dear, the starter just keeps going and going and going and going - no matter what position the key switch is in, even with the key pulled out . . .not only is it making a horrible grinding squealing noise, it's beginning to smell. Henry is getting panicky (for good reason). He runs out side, opens the hood, and ends up cutting the wires to the starter. Fortunately the engine has started and is running OK. But now we won't be able to start it back up if we kill the engine.

Hum . . . . we have a quarter tank of gas. As we pass through the small picturesque villages along the coastline, there are no auto repair places. The first place we stop for gas, the alignment does not work, but in the next town, we add gas without turning off the engine.

When we finally get into Sprint cell phone territory, I get on the internet and try to find a place in the San Francisco area that will work on the RV. The first two places are no-go's, but they recommend another place, giving me the phone number. The phone number works, but the place has changed ownership and has a new name . . . no wonder I could not find it with Yahoo Yellow Pages.

Yes, they can work on it. I am given great directions on how to get from Petaluma to the dealership in the Alameda area. So we head into San Francisco, with relatively mild traffic considering it is almost 5:00.

I've looked up the Walmart that was mentioned, but it is likely on the RV unfriendly list. As we pull off the interstate, it is almost 6:00. While we're pretty sure that the dealership has already closed, I want to drive by to check on it.

Hallelujah!!!!! the gates are open and the repair bay doors are open!!!!! We don't have to figure out what we would have to do in the morning if we turned the engine off. We don't have to sleep all night with the engine running.

When this mishap first happened, we wondered who we would find to fix the RV THIS time. But one of my first thoughts was that God would provide.

Not only were they still open, they would be there till 9:00, plenty of time for me to gather together the stuff we would need to stay in hotels for the next few days.

While we are getting a little gunshy this trip about automotive troubles . . . . God has taken care of us each time.

And . . . if we have to be stranded again . . . I wanted to spend time in San Francisco this trip anyway.

And even though it took some driving, I found a fairly reasonably priced hotel in Pacifica. And we even found a neat place to eat near the hotel.

Yes, we are a little stressed out tonight, but God is good.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Strange Story

After meeting Julie Zickefoose briefly at the Festival of the Cranes, I started reading her blog. Today I ran into this article mentioned in her blog, "Why I Broke One of My 'Cardinal' Rules".

I've got mixed emotions about this one. I also have cardinals in my yard. I rejoiced last year when I had a cardinal nest in a rose bush by my front porch. They have a beautiful flutelike whistle. Cardinal photos are always popular, especially winter snowy ones.

When humans and wildlife life in close proximity, there is always the possibility of conflict. While I love small furry animals in the forest, I'm not so fond of small furry mice in my house. And living in the country, mice ocassionally think that my warm dry house is suitable habitat for them.

We've also had some interesting experiences with mice and campers. Years ago when we were camping in a extra long converted Dodge van at Maroon Bells in Colorado, some mice found the cheese treats inside the van irresistible. All night long we could hear the rustle of papers and wrappers. We would turn on the light and the van became quiet. We would go up front, hoping to chase them out. But to no avail, all night long, rustle . . .rustle . . . rustle. Fortunately, when morning dawned, the mice left for their burrows. We did not hear them again at a new campsite the next night.

This year we picked up a mouse at a campsite in Illinois. We were hoping that it would also return to its burrow before we left. No such luck. That mouse travelled back to Texas with us and thwarted our attempts with mouse traps. When it finally met is demise, we grieved a little. On the other hand, we know first hand how destructive mice can be and we have too many electrical cords.

My grandfather bought ranchland in the Texas Panhandle in the 1960's. Cattlemen don't like prairie dogs. While I do like prairie dogs, I understand the conflict. Prairie dogs clear the area around their town of grass and create holes that cows can step in and injure themselves. While Mother always checked for prairie dogs and took steps for their removal, I remain mum on the subject with my tenants, hoping that a few prairie dogs will find their way back. As a nature photographer, I'm seriously considering telling them not to remove new prairie dogs, but I don't even know if we've had prairie dogs there in years.

But shooting a cardinal . . . since I've not had a beserker cardinal, I can't fully put myself in her shoes. I would think you would get used to it and tune out the noise. And I certainly don't know the legality of killing songbirds.

I'm not against guns or hunting. But I also believe in planning for the future. Don't hunt or harvest wildlife, fish, or trees beyond their ability to regenerate.

One lost cardinal will not change the ecology of the area, but I find grief that it had to happen.

Unexpected Drama

As I started back along the beach in the direction of the jeep, a truck pulled up beside me and the nice young gentlemen asked me if I'd like a ride back. Yes, it sounded tempting because it was quite a way back to the jeep, but I still had "sunset" photos to take. Sometimes the best shots occur after the sun has gone down and the light levels allows me to capture some smooth silky wave action. So, I said "No, because I'll be taking more photos as I walk back."

They were planning to drive down by the whale and back. They knew they needed to hurry because it was about time for the tide to start coming in and they did not want to be stranded.

I watch them head back toward the exit. And then I saw them come back for one more drive around the whale.

I kept walking back and stopping to take photos. And then walking a little farther, trying to find the "best" composition.

At one point I sat on a rock and waited for waves to come in. One of the bigger waves came right under my feet, but since I was sitting on a rock, I just lifted my feet and the waves came in below. However, it was not long before the next big wave came in. I got ready to do the same thing, but this time the wave was much larger, I stood up quickly because I had over a foot of water running around my leg and rock, and I did not want to get my camera vest wet. When that wave receded, I quickly moved higher than the current water line and took a few more photos.

Henry had come later to see the whale . . . I had neglected to charge the other camera battery and he waited in the car until it was charged and then brought it to me. He rejoined me right after the wave had gotten the bottom foot of my pants wet. We had started walking back to the jeep, when one of the young men from the truck came running by, he was a little agitated because the truck was stuck in the sand near the whale! And the waves had started moving it around! No . . it was not his truck, it was his friend's.

"Oh my" I thought. The waves were getting higher and higher. High tide was another hour or so away, but there was not going to be much time to rescue that truck. Henry and I were halfway back to our jeep . . . there was not really much we could do to help. But they had been such kind young men, offering to drive me back. I was concerned.

Once we got back to the jeep, I saw another vehicle come in.

On our way back to the RV park, we stopped at the overlook to check on what was going on with the truck. We could see two trucks next to the whale's body. We could see several people checking things out, shining flashlights. We could see two sets of headlights. But they did not seem to be making progress in moving the truck.

Henry suggested I get out the camera and tripod and take a long exposure. On one level I don't like taking photos of people in difficult circumstances . . . but I agreed that this was a photo that needed to be taken.

You can see the part of the whale in front of the truck on the left as well as the tow rope between the trucks.

Soon after the photo the second truck gave up and headed back out of the beach area. But I still saw flashlights around the stranded truck. All along I kept hoping that no one would get killed trying to save the truck. So I was relieved when we saw the flashlights walking up the beach, leaving the truck to its fate.

When we got to the RV we checked the tide schedules. Oh, dear, the next low tide was not going to be very low and only two hours after high tide. I don't know whether it will be low enough to be able to rescue the truck before the next higher tide in the morning.

We'll go by in the morning and see if the truck is still there.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Cycle of Life

When we stopped at the little grocery store in Westport last night, the clerk told us about a dead beached whale nearby. A fin whale had washed ashore. She made sure we knew exactly where to find it.

As we drove into town to do the laundry, we located it and looked at it from the high bluff above. There was a steady stream of people walking out to get a closer look. We noted where the parking was at beach level and went on into town to do our mundane chores.

After we got all the laundry back to the RV and most of the clothes put away, it was time to head out for the sunset shots. Because the beach with the whale was also a likely candidate for "magical" sunset photos, that was where we headed. Even near sunset there was still a good sized group of people still coming to see the whale.

I headed down the beach and started doing my beach photos. Several people asked if I was there to photograph the whale. The honest answer was, "No, I'm here for the sunset." But I knew i did not have much time before the light went away, so after taking several sequences of shots, I kept working my way toward the whale, because I could see that the lighting was good.

There had been a lull, and I had the opportunity to take some photos without people around the whale.

I chose to take one with another photographer in order to have some perspective on the size of this whale.

I continued on with my sunset photos. But it was amazing, people were still coming. Families with children, people with dogs (yes, everyone and his dog was there . . . )

Some to take photos and some to get their picture made next to the whale.

There were even some young guys driving their truck down the beach toward the whale. (more on that . . . next blog).

When Henry was at the whale, people were even throwing rocks at it. This I don't understand, the poor whale is dead . . . I did not mind the guy who took some of the baleen. He told me he "thanked" the whale when he took it. Taking the baleen . . . no, I don't have a problem with that, the whale does not need it anymore. But throwing rocks . . . that seems disrespectful somehow.

I had a chance to talk to the other photographer. He mentioned a big hole on the other side (surf side) of the whale. After looking at it, I had to agree it was probably cause of death. A big almost shark sized hole on the top of the whale near his dorsal fin. The other photographer wondered if this whale had died heroically defending his pod from a shark attack.

While I was on the side examining the wound, I suddenly saw the eye.

There was something about the eye that got my attention. Wide open in death, it was a beautiful blue, complete with iris. Unseeing, and yet still a compelling image. I knew I had to photograph it. And with the tide beginning to come in, I took my shots quickly watching for sneaker waves.

With the next big wave coming in rapidly, I moved quickly out of its way. But in glancing back, the eye's location made me realize what a huge mouth this whale has.

While I am sad that this whale is dead, it is part of the cycle of life. The seagulls are finding a temporary food source. And we humans are getting a chance to see the wonder of whales up close and personal.

Mundane Chores

We left home January 4th or 5th. We did laundry at Evelyn's house before we headed to California for the NANPA Summit. Once we hit Crescent City I was in photographer's heaven. I was getting up at dawn most mornings. While we both worked on things in the RV during the day, I was usually back out at sunset. I had lots of deadlines and my time in Crescent City was long hour day "work time." Now I'm grateful that I enjoy all this "work." But I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity when the sun and the clouds might get together for some magical photography.

So . . . . lthe laundry kept getting put off. I kept thinking we'll do it tomorrow . . . and then "tomorrow" was busy, I was tired, I did not know what hours the big laundromat was open . . . yada yada.

Plus I've learned some tricks for expanding the time between laundry when on the road. At home, I prefer to use a towel once. On the road I can stretch it out. At home, I'll wear clothes once or twice. . . on the road, I'll wear the same outer garments for several days to stretch out how long I'll have clean clothes. However, getting the jeans legs wet from the surf tends to bring out the next clean pair.

Yesterday was moving day. Back in the back there was dirty laundry everywhere it seemed. I knew the day to do laundry was here.

Now most RV parks have laundries. The one in Crescent City had a room with two washers and two dryers. If you don't have much laundry, that works. When you've got several weeks worth . . . you need a big laundry with lots of washer and dryers. That way you can do all the wash at the same time and get them all dried at the same time minimizing the time spent getting the clothes clean. And with Henry helping when it came time to fold and hang the dry clothes, it really went pretty fast. The dryers were a little slow . . . but . . . with so many washers and dryers to use . . . it really went pretty fast considering how many clothes we had. We used 10 washing machines and 6 dryers. (Of course, one of those loads was a delicate load with only one item in the washer.)

When the kids were little and we took our two week vacations, we always had to do laundry at least once. I find I have some fond memories of laundromats. In Paris, there was a laundromat about a block from our hotel. There was one place to add money for all the machines. In Edinborough, Scotland, people bring their laundry in large plaid bags. The laundry attendant there kept telling me to put the quarters in faster . . . the machine cools off at the end of the cycle and I would NEVER get my clothes dry the way I was doing it.

I will have to say I am very grateful to have all the clothes clean again. I had just about run out of the every day clothes. And I'm NOT going out to do nature photography in my Sunday clothes. So while having all the clothes clean again sounds like a little blessing . . . for me . . . it feels especially good to me.

AHHH . . . a shower . . . clean clothes . . . the fragrant scent of Bounce . . . . AHHHHH!


As we left this morning, we left behind the sound of the foghorn at the harbor and the barking sea lions. After spending two weeks in Crescent City, I was sorry to leave it behind.

But the rains had come in, and I had gotten about as many shots as I could at that location. It was time to move.

We don't usually book reservations ahead. Sometimes I check out the RV books where we are going and pick one. Sometimes, the perfect place shows up unannounced.

After traveling through several redwood areas on the "Lost Coast" and then down an extremely twisty curvy road, we again reached the Pacific. Beautiful rocky, craigy shore line. Lots of picture possibilities. We passed a couple of state beach parks, but due to heating issues in the RV, we needed to find a place with electricity.

But right around the corner, we found the perfect place for the next couple of days, an RV park right on the beach. Tonight we'll hear the breakers roar as we fall asleep.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Crescent City Photos

I've set up a webpage with some of the photos I've taken in the Crescent City area. I'm planning to add to these over the next few days.

I'm also working on a chronological blog entry as to what all we did these last two weeks.

But now it is time to rapidly stow all the stuff we've been using inside the RV the last two weeks - hard drives, books, DVD's, coats, sweaters, etc. Today is moving day and we are heading south. Destination tonight is somewhere around Fort Bragg, California.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wet, cold, miserable . . . . and loving every minute!

After almost two dry weeks, the rains have moved in. I had work on the computer this morning, so we did not get out until lunch time. My original plan was to head south into areas we have not visited this trip. But i remembered a place where there should be a waterfall that I thought was nearby.

Well, it turned out my memory was from the little road we took in Oregon, not near Crescent City. But my memory took us back on the road that is mentioned in Henry's blog. The first time we took this road, my eye was in the viewfinder or on the tree trunks trying to find compositions that would work as artistic blurs. And yes, I was encouraging Henry to go faster on this twisty turny road to try to make the blurs work. But today I was looking for that possible waterfall and marveling at the beauty of the trees in the fog and rain.This time I was seeing all sorts of photo opportunities. But I decided to go all the way to the end of the road enjoying the scenery and trying to figure out where to take my shots. My first plan was to drive back to the beginning of the road and come back for the most promising spots.

But as we drove down, I started seeing compositions. When I got out the first time, I was dubious. In the past, I've not had good luck taking photos of foggy forests. But today the light looked like it might cooperate. So I put on my sweatshirt. Henry handed me my "gimme" hat from NANPA. I hauled out the tripod and camera. I had to go back to get the little lens wipe as raindrops kept landing on the lens. And I started playing.

It was not pouring, but it was more than drizzle. While I did not feel that wet, I noticed that my camera had drops of water all over it. I've taken photos with another camera through rain, so I was not too worried. I got back in the car, a little frustrated by the wet. But we rounded another curve, and I was saying, "Stop!" again.

The fog was so pretty in the trees. Sometimes things "call out" to be photographed. This was one of those days. The images on the back of the camera were looking promising, but I don't trust them till I get back to the computer.

After the second or third stop, I was definitely wet, a little chilled . . . . not really miserable . . . . but rainy days are not my favorite for being out taking photos, especially when you can't keep the lens dry long enough to take your shot or to remember to check the polarizer position.

I thought I was wet enough and the camera was wet enough that I was "done" for the day. But one more shot "called." I took three series of shots at this location. This is the last set.

Somewhere during the afternoon, I realized that . . .yes, I'm wet, chilled . . . but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else today. It was an incredibly beautiful afternoon.

I've set up a webpage with some of the redwood forest shots from this trip.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Crescent City

We've been in Crescent City now for the past twelve days. It is my third visit here and I came back because of the beautiful rocky coastline. We found a campsite that is literally right on the bay near the harbor. We go to sleep with the gentle sound of a foghorn in the distance and sometimes barking sea lions who hang out around the nearby harbor.

The view out my front window is constantly changing as the tides come and go.

At low tide, there is a huge mudflat where the seagulls and other shorebirds hang out.

There is a stream that comes in on my right and there are always birds hanging out where the water flows into the bay. Behind the stream is the Battery Point Lighthouse. At night it is illuminated brightly and shines in the night.

But once the tide starts coming in, the view changes rapidly. Where once there was mud, there are now gently rolling waves as the bay fills up.

Occasionally, I see seals surfacing.

I like to watch the boats come and go through the channel. The largest boat is a Coast Guard ship. But there are many sized fishing and pleasure boats that I can watch throughout the day.

One stormy day last week, we saw waves break over the breakwaters.

We've decided to make this our base because there is much to see around here -

not only is there a beautiful coastline,

but we are only 10 minutes away from the beautiful redwoods.

P.S. It is also very useful that there is a reliable mechanic within walking distance . . . jeep has made two visits there so far.