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.

 

Quail Hollow Ranch

Pacific Madrone in Quail Hollow Ranch County Park
Pacific Madrone in Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

We had some time on Saturday afternoon to do a little exploring around Scott’s Valley and we discovered a lovely little park, Quail Hollow Ranch County Park. We’ve visited some of the more popular state parks in the area, but this was a treat. On a three mile loop we past on other hiker.  I’ve posted the track of the hike on GaiaGPS.

From the park office we took the Woodrat trail to the Sunset trail, with a short side trip to the end of the Sunset trail and back around the Sunset trail and Lower Chaparral trail returning to the park office. Despite the fact that there was a wedding going on near the park office, we only saw one hiker on the trail. The park encompasses an amazing variety of habitats,  from pond and surrounding riparian to dry chaparral and the unique sandhills habitat. You cans also find cixed evergreen forests, redwoods, and grasslands. We started in a grassland meadow and meandered through redwoods and coastal chaparral. A number of plants were in bloom including  Bush Poppies, Dendromecon rigida and  Sticky Monkey Flower, Mimulus. This is an easy three mile hike on well maintained trails.

Monolith in a Rain Puddle

IMG_4123

I was out walking the dog yesterday; and as always, on the look out for something interesting to photograph. I’m a firm believe in trying to create interest in mundane objects. I think we can look for beauty or interest in our own back yard without having to go to Yosemite, Iceland, or wherever. Not that there’s anything wrong with photographing grand landscapes, but I think the trained eye will do better in those places, and like a musician practicing scales, perhaps this is the practice in seeing that leads to the skill of capturing something grand when the opportunity arises.

I spied this piece of debris in a field next to St. Jerome Catholic Church, a few blocks from my house. So I started playing with it to see what I could do. While I’m not going to make this into a print to hang on the wall; there are some technical problems with the image. But as an exercise is seeing images, I think I was successful. This is also an example of using the tools at hand, an iPhone 6S, and a software app called Pro HDR. Unfortunately I was hand-holding the phone, and apparently introduced some movement between the two exposures.