apel: (spring)
Kieron and I went to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in early March. This is the view south from the trail not far from the car park at the end of Bollinger Canyon Road. Note the flowering trees on the right.
View south from Las Trampas
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three flowers )

scat, possibly mountain lion )
apel: (California)
Three cows and a coyote
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I went hiking in Round Valley Regional Park in remote Contra Costa County today. There were hardly any people around. On the main part of the hike I met one other hiker and he seemed mighty surprised.

On the other hand, the park was teeming with squirrels. It's probably because dogs aren't allowed there at all. Still, the guy in the picture didn't seem to have any luck stalking them.
apel: (berkeley)
This afternoon I went up to the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley for lunch. I chose Saul's Russian deli. It's a great place. Love their food and the ambiance. They have lots of veggie stuff too on their menu so I could take [livejournal.com profile] ciaran01 there. Their potato latkes are wonderful.

I also spent quite a lot of time at the Elephant Pharmacy. Thanks for the tip, [livejournal.com profile] sweet_pickles. I got some dried kava and other stuff.

Then I drove over to Telegraph. Parking there is hopeless. I got tired of going round in circles and parked in a place that charged $10. Outrageous. Tips on where to park in the area near the university, convenient to Moe's etc, would be gratefully accepted. I don't mind walking a couple of blocks, I do mind having to hunt for parking and I hardly ever have quarters.

While there was still some light, I strolled a bit on campus. Naturally I wanted to take a photo of the Campanile. It is famous, after all.

Campanile on University of California, Berkeley Campus
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Just to show that this campus is no different from other American campuses, I also took a photo of a squirrel. It wasn't afraid of me at all.
Squirrel on campus
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Then I walked along Telegraph to soak up the atmosphere and maybe buy something. There was only one street vendor. Maybe there are more on the weekends. I had wanted to check out their bumper stickers. Having a silver sedan ain't easy. On the other hand, I forgot to mention that in San Jose there was a very cute Japanese shop. There I bought a plush Totoro. So now I've got a little grey fellow looking out the rightside, rear window.

To return to Telegraph, there was a street musician who played a strange, stringed and amplified instrument. He used long metal picks on most of his fingers. It sounded eerie but quite beautiful. I was almost tempted to buy one of his CDs. But I still have lots of CDs from my boxes that I haven't unpacked and ripped yet, so I shouldn't buy any more music for a while now.

I found an ethnic boutique I quite liked and bought a scarf there. Then I went over to the herbalist shop with the funny name, Lhasa Karnak, and got a tincture.

On my way home I discovered that I don't have Ancient Ways stored as a favourite on my GPS, so I didn't make it there. Maybe on Sunday, on my way to [livejournal.com profile] dpaxson. Maybe they'll have bumper stickers.
apel: (weepingoak)
Garin was a new acquaintance to me but I will be sure to come back. It's very easy to get to and the scenery is lovely, without requiring as much energy as e.g. Pleasanton Ridge. This time I only walked a little bit along the western side of the Peak Loop Trail. I'd imagine that it would be fairly easy to get away from the traffic hum if I continued further into the hills. As you can see, it was beautifully lush and green. Not to mention photogenic.

The post on the left is a trail marker. The trail was a bit muddy.
Green hills
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Zorro, the Bay and rolling, green hills (4 more) )
apel: (California)
Sunset over the Bay from Garin RP
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Rainy Days

Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:48 pm
apel: (trail)
The online portfolio is necessitating a redesign of my site. Or rather a design, as I can't honestly say that it was designed before. But I took a bit of a break to photoshop two photos from the other day.

The weather here in the Bay Area has been cold and rainy lately. Next week should be better, I'm told. I found this camellia in Berkeley. Note the drop on the leaf on the left.
Camellia in the rain
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This photo is from Anthony Chabot Regional Park. I always thought this was a very boring park because all I knew was the surfaced path around the lake in Castro Valley. But accidentally driving along it, I discovered that it's huge. The lake is just a small part of it.

This photo came about because I was thinking about a conversation I had had with [livejournal.com profile] dpaxon about photos that frame a path into the void. I think that for her purposes the traffic sign might be a bit distracting, though.
Road near Chabot Regional Park
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apel: (juicy)
Here I was trying to illustrate the botanical garden experience. One of the most obvious differences between a botanical garden and other types of gardens, at least to the lay person, are the labels.

As a hobby botanist I find that they make the experience richer because they put each plant in its botanical context. I go "Oh, so that's a Rosacaea? Yeah, you can see the remainder of the flower at the bottom of the fruit, just like on an apple. That makes sense" or "Ah, it's a Malvacae. No wonder I thought it was pretty. It's got that extremely prominent stamen too, like a hibiscus. I should have guessed." and I can't help but try teaching those around me to understand at least a smidgen of plant taxonomy. Plant geeks can be just as tedious as computer geeks or car geeks that way.

As a photographer I often find the labels intrusive, on the other hand. A big red thing like this one can totally ruin a shot. Having been irritated by the large labels a few times, I decided to take a photo that makes a feature of one.
Coffee berry label
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And here is a shot showing just the coffeeberry flowers. I'm not familiar at all with the Rhamnaceae or Buckthorn family. That's hardly surprising since they occur mostly in subtropical and tropical biotopes. Another well-known genus in the Rhamnaceae family is Ceanothus, the California lilac. Me, I would have guessed on Ericaceae, because of the heather-like, bell-shaped, flowers.
Rhamnus california ssp. nov., Coffee berry
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This is another new species to me, Ribes malvaceum, although I'm familiar with the genus. Ribes is the currant genus. There is a reason why the blackcurrant drink is called Ribena. I can only surmise that malvaceum has something to do with mallows. Perhaps it refers to the pretty, pink colour of the flower? Googling the name I find that there are a number of named cultivar grown in gardens in California but no information about the name.
Ribes malvaceum, Chaparral Currant
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Finally, a locally significant climber, Fremontodendron californicum 'Margo,' Margo's Fremontia. It was named after a California explorer and hobby botanist, the same person who had the city of Fremont named after him.
Fremontodendron californicum 'Margo,' Margo's Fremontia
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apel: (january)
Yesterday I went to Tilden in the Berkeley Hills to visit the Botanical Garden. There are two botanical gardens up there, one run by the university and this one run by the East Bay Parks District. It contains only native California plants and entry is free.

Manzanitas are featured prominently in the foothills section of the garden. I felt a bit out of my depth here. I'm coming to terms with new motifs, compositions and light conditions. This is the result and I'm not 100% sure I like it. What I wanted to show was the feeling of enclosure created by the shrubs and the light on the concrete trail. It doesn't really work, I think. It's a learning process and you'll get to watch it here in my LJ. Unless you all unfriend me because I'm not showing enough sheep anymore. :-)
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more manzanitas, hummingbirds and redwoods )
apel: (California)
I went up to Berkeley today. It was partly cloudy and very cold. I was wishing for my gloves. My goal was Tilden Botanical Garden. It's a Botanical Garden with only native California flowers. It was a very cool experience, not the least because I got to watch an Anna's hummingbird take a bath in a creek.

Before I go to bed, two photos from the drive there and back again. I took the scenic route, via Skyline Boulevard on top of the Oakland/Berkeley hills. This was the very first photo I took, at the south end of Skyline Boulevard. As you can see, it was cloudy where I was in south Oakland but sunny in the City. The trees that flank the view are eucalyptus. On the large version you can easily make out the Bay Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid. One of the Golden Gate towers is also visible on the right.
San Francisco from Skyline Boulevard, Oakland
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The other photo is from later in the day, about an hour before sunset. It's taken on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, much further north than the previous shot. The bridge is the Bay Bridge, connecting Oakland and San Francisco. There are three bridges across the bay: from north to south they're the Bay Bridge, the San Mateo Bridge and the Dumbarton Bridge. They're all east-west oriented. The Golden Gate Bridge spans the entrance to the bay from the Pacific. Hence it's oriented north-south. The Bay and its bridges play an important role in the lives of people who live here, not the least for transport reasons.
Oakland, San Francisco and the Bay Bridge
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apel: (Default)
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