Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shadows at the Fountains

The farmer's market at Whole Foods is in a rather fancy shopping center. I brought my camera since it is "The Fountains" and I thought I would get some watery shots along with my local produce and meat.
The shadows were as good as the water shots.
They had some very interesting benches.

And since it is the Fountains I caught some wet shadows as well.

To see more shadows go to Hey Harriet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I like to get out for a walk, to get in touch with earth and sky.
On this afternoon it was the sky that drew my attention.
It was so beautiful, the clouds looked soft, like down or the fur of a white kitten. I wished I could reach up and stroke it.
Find more skies here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hot Creek

When we think of thermal areas we usually think Yellowstone. Eastern California with its volcanic remnants has many thermal pools and a few geysers (I have never seen any erupt).

Hot Creek is near Mammoth Mountain, the remnant of an ancient volcano.

In past years the creek and thermal pools were a popular place for bathers but after some earthquake activity the pools became much hotter and the forest service fenced it off.
Cited? Cooked is more like it!
It is unfortunate that we can no longer get close, we must keep our distance to protect the foolish.
There are still many thermal pools in the area that are less dangerous. Guide books have been written to direct people to pools on public land and people enjoy soaking in them.

Find more watery sites here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gold Country Halloween

Last week I showed you Bodie, a gold rush ghost town in the Eastern Sierra. This is Columbia State Historic Park, a gold rush town on the western side of the Sierra that has been preserved much as it was in the late 1800's.
Cars are kept off the streets and merchants sell food and items of interest to tourists.
Some of the buildings have exhibits to show life as it was. This had been a saloon and bowling alley. Other exhibits include the jail and firehouse. There is a working blacksmith shop.
What we enjoyed the most was the parade. It was Halloween and the local elementary school was across the street. We noticed that a lot of people who seemed to be locals were lining up on the street and soon we saw why. They brought all the kids in their costumes to parade down the main street.
Our next stop was Sonora. This is a living town that dates back to the gold rush. It is one of the larger towns in the Gold Country serving a larger rural populace. While other parts of town are quite modern they have preserved the old Main Street.
We were treated to another parade of costumed children. Here the merchants had treats for the kids. They said that since many children in the area lived in isolated homes it was safer for them to come to town and do there trick-or-treating on Main street during the afternoon. Some may not be familiar with the Halloween tradition of children dressing in constume and going door to door asking for treats.

It turned out to be a great day for people watching.

See other worlds here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shadows on an Autumn Afternoon

Now that I keep my camera handy when I walk I'm ready for whatever presents itself.
I found a nice curvy snake shadow.
There was a complex mantis shadow. (This one needs to be enlarged to fully appreciate.)
A shadow of a man made object placed to enable one to enjoy the natural world.

I never know what I will find when I go for a walk.
Find more shadows at HeyHarriet

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sky shots for the Birds

We went for a walk and I didn't bring my camera, bad idea. We spotted a swainson hawk with lunch, a snake. He took off about 100 feet in front of us, snake in talons. Now the camera will come every walk, the hawks are back in town for the winter.
But waking through the nearby oak woodlands the first thing I saw was a woodpecker.
Later I found a flicker on this dead branch.
Then I found my hawk. This isn't the same one I had seen before though it might be a Swainson, I'm not that good a birder. He seems to think he might have spotted lunch.
Off he went. He seemed to be after some song birds but they were a little quicker.

A lot of hawks winter in our area. I am starting to see them on fence posts and power poles. Soon kites and harriers will be a regular sight in the open areas and the sharp shinned hawk will be checking out the birds at my feeder.

To see what is in other skies, click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Water's for Fight'n

There is a saying in the west, sometimes attributed to Mark Twain, that "Whiskey's for drink'n and water's for fight'n over" No where is it more true than in the Owen's Valley. Many books have been written on the subject and I won't attempt to go into detail here.

Since early in the last century people have been arguing over the water of this valley and whether the city of Los Angeles stole it. After years of litigation a peace of sorts has been achieved and part of the agreement is that LA's Department of Water and Power would put water back in the lower Owen's River. A river that has been dry since LADWP diverted its water for use in Los Angeles.
When we were in Lone Pine last month we decided to go see what the river looks like now that it has a little water.
It seems to be a green oasis in an otherwise dry landscape. They refer to this as a mitigation project, restoring some of the lost habitat. It certainly looks like a place for birds and other wildlife
Looking across the river bed you can see the grasses and trees in front of arid lands, the Alabama Hills and the Sierra crest, an interesting layering of landscapes.

Over our years in the Owen's Valley we heard many opinions on the controversy. In the spirit of full disclosure I will say that my husband worked for the LADWP. We loved the valley though and would like to think that we were unbiased in our opinion. I have come to realize, though, that no one is unbiased, we tend to filter the facts through our own interests.

Many believe that when the City bought the land and water rights (LA owns most of the land in the valley, and some believe they were dishonest when they bought it) they ended any chance for economic development and this is a fair assessment.

Others, myself included, feel that if the City had not bought out the farmers and ranchers the valley would have been developed beyond its ability to sustain a quality environment. It would have had air pollution, congestion and locked gates rather than the open spaces and free access that LADWP allows. As for air pollution, it has that on a cold winter morning when everyone is burning wood for heat.

It reminds me of the story of the blind men and the elephant, "while all of them are partly right, each of them is wrong." Perhaps not wrong but trying to make a very complicated problem simple. Is it better to move the people to the water or the water to the people. What do you think?
For more watery sites, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bodie State Historic Park--My World

Bodie State Historic Park, a ghost town dating back to the 1870s, lies in an isolated valley about 25 miles from our cabin. We visited last June. Not the best time for photography but I managed to get some good photos anyway. Shooting in camera raw allowed me to doctor the harsh light a bit.

Designated a State Historic Park in 1962, the buildings are kept in a state of "arrested decay". This means that they are not restored but an attempt is made to keep them from completely falling apart.
It's popular with foreign visitors and someone has thoughtfully hand lettered the no smoking sign in German and French.
It's very popular with photographers and is a stop for some photography workshops.
There are many interesting subjects, this truck is colorful but they used to have one that was rusted out and more in keeping with the rest of the park.
There are plenty of interesting buildings, some in pretty good shape and others being propped up.
You can find a variety of old machinery. I think I need to try this one in monochrome.
I like the effect you get with the reflections in the windows. Look carefully and you can see school desks, a clock on the wall, chalk board and what may be a map hanging on the wall in this old classroom. A ghost world inside and the real world reflected. This shot probably would have worked better without the harsh light of the summer solstice.
Some of the houses have been slightly rehabilitated and used as employee housing. The house on the end has a good supply of firewood. It gets cold in Bodie in the winter but I would think they would worry about wood fires even with the most modern wood stove.
That house also sports a very modern, environmentally sensitive, florescent porch light and the pretty curtain in my SSS post.
I'll show you more of this interesting park soon.

See more interesting worlds here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bodie Shadow Shots

Early last summer we visited Bodie State Historic Park and I spotted a variety of interesting shadows.
Baby buggy frame

Ore bucket
To see more shadows, go to HeyHarriet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuolumne Meadows Skywatch

Last week I showed you the sky at Olmsted Point.
Beyond Olmested Point on the Tioga Road is Tuolumne Meadows. Here the sky, incredibly blue, was still painted with high thin clouds. We parked at Lembert Dome so Hubby could take a nap. I walked down a short easy path to see the river.
The sky was reflected in the placid river.
To see more skies, click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn on Bishop Creek

The last week in September we camped on the south fork of Bishop Creek.

There was some nice fall color this year.
Yellow predominates in aspens but there was some orange as well.

This little pond is just below South Lake. South Lake trail leads to Long Lake and Bishop Pass. A wonderful hike that I will show on a later post.

To see more watery sites, click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

End of Summer--My World

Fall has come to our canyon and winter is close on its heals.
A storm is due and the community water is to be shut down next weekend. It was time to say goodbye to our cabin until spring. Summer seems so short, we have running water for less than five months though we often extend the season a bit and "camp out" in it once the road is plowed the end of April.
The fresh water and water heater are drained, non-toxic anti-freeze in the drains. I defrost the refrigerator and remove any cans from the pantry that might burst when they freeze. There is water stored and firewood for early opening. The deck railing has been removed so the snow can not slide off the roof and remove it in a more destructive fashion.
We roll down the shutters and say good-bye, until next year.
To see other worlds, click here.