Family Time!

With a father that’s now 95, I think my two brothers and our families are realizing that we need something more than visiting dad to keep us together. We recently got together on Whidbey Island where my brother Kurt and his wife Beth have a house.  A perfect setting for a reunion, with 28 acres to play in, including beach, woods, meadow, and hiking trails within a short distance. With a bountiful garden fresh seafood we had a lovely time. Dining on fresh crab caught in the harbor, oysters from Kurt’s oyster garden. We managed to get most of the kids, and Aunt Sue in on the festivities as well. Each of the brothers,  Arlen and Kurt and myself each have two kids and we managed to get all of them to join us, with the exception of two, my daughter and our foster sister Laurie, both of whom were not able to get time off of work. I think we tend to be an independent clan, we have varied interest, and it seems we’d rather go our own ways most of the time, so getting  the group of us together is a challenge, and I think the two years we spend in dialog and planning paid off. If you want to see a few more photos from our get-together click here.

Tour de Albany

Sometimes you don’t need to go far to see interesting events. Today we had a bicycle race in town, and not just in town, but happening right outside our front door. This was the 32nd Annual Berkeley Bicycle Club Criterium — Red Kite Omnium Event #12.  Since I’m normally photographing architecture which is static, for the most part, I thought it would be a challenge to see what I could do with the action. You can view additional photos here.

Log of the Shearwater July 21, 2016

This past Thursday, July 21, found me once again, taking the day off of work and joining several BASK friends for the “Thursday Lunch Paddle.” We launched from Nick’s Cove. When I arrived at 10:45 the weather was looking grey, chilly and windy. I opted to wear my dry suit for a little added protection. Once we were on the water though, the wind seemed to let up a bit, and paddling across the bay put us in more protected waters. We paddled past Hog Island over to White Gulch,  where paddling along some of the cliffs felt like we were in an exotic garden. Plenty of white pelicans and cormorants on Hog Island, and plenty of harbor seals in the water. From White Gulch we headed to Pelican Point where we landed for lunch, enjoying some fleeting sun light. The return paddle found us battling the wind back up the bay Hog Island, with the skies darkening a bit. Finally returning to our launch point.  You can view additional photos here and a track of our paddle here.

In Celebration of Independence

The eve of the Fourth of July found us at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, picnicking with friends and listening to the Oakland Symphony. Given the divisiveness of events recently it’s a pleasure to come together in celebration. And no shortage of emotion on my part when the orchestra started to play the national anthem and the thousands of people stood and sung “Oh Say Can you See…” in honor of this place in which we live.

Rather than brave the traffic and parking for the event, we put our bikes on the car and drove to a convenient location just off the San Francisco Bay Trail, a yet-to-be completed 500 mile walking and cycling trail around the bay which passes through 47 cities and nine counties.

The entertainment started with the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra playing some rousing music starting with Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein and ending with a selection of suites from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Quite an amazing group of talented young musicians. They are off to Cuba shortly.

Then the Oakland Symphony came on stage, opening with our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Where else can you hear a free concert with a full orchestra ? And as the orchestra played we watched the fire works barge chug by getting in position for the evening pyrotechnic display.

The evening ended with the orchestra playing Souza marches as the fireworks exploded in all manner of colors over the harbor. Not to go unnoticed where a couple of dozen kayakers on the water. Perhaps I’ll try that next year. You can see more photos of the evening event as well as photos from our local City of Albany 4th of July celebration here.

Log of the Shearwater July 2, 2016

Kayaking on Tomales Bay
Kayaking on Tomales Bay

With the tides looking good and Drakes Estero open following the spring seal pupping season we thought we’d go for a paddle. When we arrived though, there was a stiff breeze and fog, and it just looked like slogging into the weather was not going to be much fun, so we headed for Hearts Desire beach, which while only a few miles away is more protected. We had sun and blue sky when we launched our boats, and we paddled  South East along the Point Reyes Peninsula, stopping on a small beach to eat lunch. It’s always a pleasure to paddle along the rugged coast. You can view additional photos here, and you can view a track of our paddle here.

Red rocks and roots
Red rocks and roots Point Reyes

 

 

 

Black and White or Color?

BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/23/16
BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/23/16

I managed to get back on the water Thursday for the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle. There were four of us with Danny, Susan, Chris and myself. We launched from Danny’s Secret Launch (Paradise Cay public boat launch). We had a bright, clear, sunny day with some haze.  The bald sky, mid-day sun and haze was a challenge for photography; and taking photos from a kayak is challenging enough. Where do you put the paddle when you’re bouncing around in the chop? How do you keep water and salt off of the lens or the viewing port? What’s the best camera for kayaking photography?  I’m finding at the moment, that my iPhone 6S in a Lifeproof case with the Lifeproof Lifejacket seems do do well enough. Once I had the photos back on my computer I was torn between color or black and white, so I posted both a color and a black and white conversion on my Facebook page. One of my friends suggested I leave a bit of the red in the black and white conversion, so after playing with the colors I decided to leave a bit of red and just a touch of the color of the water.  You can see a selection of images from the paddle here. For the images above, I’ve included the original color, the black and white conversion and the version represented here.  You can also view the track of our paddle on GaiaGPS

Thursday is my New Saturday

BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/16/16
BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/16/16

It seems that my weekends have become so crammed full of responsibilities that I’m experimenting with taking Thursday off as my day for recreation. Today I was on the water again with the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle. We launched from a little beach at Point Richmond, and paddled out around the breakwater, and around Brooks Island. We were a fleet of six boats with Danny, Susan, David, Cynthia, Steve, and myself. The water was pretty close to flat calm with some nice clouds, which made for some interesting reflections.

BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/16/16
BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/16/16

Once rounding Brooks Island, we debated about heading to the Albany Bulb or a little beach at Barbara and Jay Vincent Park. We opted for the park, had a lovely lunch and then meandered around the underbelly of the Richmond wanterfront.

BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle 6/16/16
Light at the End of the Tunnel

Returning to our original launch point. The facilities at Point Richmond include and outdoor shower, so we ran the boats and our dry suits through the shower to give them a good freshwater rinse. You can see additional photos from the trip here. I’ve also posted the track or our adventure here.