Two weeks ago, I showed you this series of six images of Payson and Piskor Halls, with the eventual idea of assembling them into a dynamic wallpaper for macOS. I’m happy to say that, after some troubleshooting, that process is done. The result is available here.
While horse shows aimed at English riding don’t tend to have an excess of cowboys present, this hat perhaps suggests otherwise.
Hand grazing is a delightful treat, but patience may be necessary.
This image of Berkeley and San Francisco on Christmas Day 2016 is one of those shots so lovely that I’m not sure why I haven’t shared it already. All of the little details laid out in the hillsides and city streets of the Bay Area… How did I miss this one?
In the era before the Bay Bridge and BART tunnel, the ferry between the East Bay and San Francisco departed from the end of a long pier. (The pier used to be even longer—the Berkeley Marina extended into the water around it.) The ferry ended service in 1937, after the bridge opened, but remained a popular location for fishing until it deteriorated to its current unsafe state. I’m kind of fascinated to see its skeleton jutting out into the Bay, a linear form amid rolling marine layer clouds.
Views like this one, capturing the marine layer rolling across the San Francisco Bay towards the Port of Oakland, are the kind that first attracted me to photography. I took this picture nearly four years ago, during my sabbatical to the Bay Area, when I was still shooting with my Nikon D7000 (already antiquated tech in 2017); I can’t want to be able to safely revisit Berkeley’s Grizzly Peak to capture more cityscapes with my new Sony a7R IV.
I remember thinking at the beginning of my “serious” return to photography in 2011 that I’d someday look back to those pictures of a particular place and time (Berkeley in the early 2010s) with a sense of nostalgia that then random street scenes didn’t necessarily offer at the time. This view of a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV parked outside the Cheese Board has now become one of those images: in 2020, the prohibition on diners in the road median is now being enforced, while the parking for the cars see here has been largely removed and replaced with additional sidewalk seating.
In the weirder hills of the Bay Area, back yard detritus falls alongside stones pulled into position by ancient glaciers.
We’re not far from the ninth anniversary of the founding of Decaseconds, and I came upon this arresting image of Berkeley Marina, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge (never before published here) while searching for just the right anniversary shot. I’m fascinated by the way the orange emission of sodium vapor lamps lighting Berkeley (I’m sure now all swapped for white LEDs) matches the Rayleigh-scattered oranges of the winter sunset. The same wavelengths of light, coming from completely different mechanisms.
Though I’m pretty sure (from the pipes) that this is a solar water heater, I still felt the appropriate “Californian” vibes when my early-morning hillside exploration revealed some sun-harvesting equipment.
Exploring up a forested Napa hillside at dawn, I was surprised to find the remains of a road and (a bit farther on) the foundations of a long-abandoned building. Given how many well-remembered childhood films took place in the forested hills of California, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Dawn in Napa brings the kinds of landscapes, with layer upon layer of hills and fields and trees, that I associate with prints of impressionist oil paintings scattered around the average home in the late twentieth century.
A wet, mild California winter (rather the opposite of what the Bay Area is unfortunately currently experiencing) may make for a lovely view in wine country, but I’m not sure I’d want to stop at that particular seat… It looks like it has captured more than its share of the dampness of its environs.
Against the backdrop of mostly native flora on the hillside, the palms and vines in the foreground are notable for being (1) particularly emblematic of California, in spite of being (2) transplants from elsewhere.
Very late last fall, we left the already-frigid upstate New York for a weekend in Napa.
During that trip, we visited the Bond-villain-esque Palmaz Vineyards. Almost the entire winery is underground in an 18-story cavern, using gravity to feed grapes and nascent wine from level to level. These enormous fermentation tanks are on a 24-tank rotating rail system so that each can be filled.
Even the dormant vines in “winter” give the setting an idyllic, “classical landscape” look.
I’m very sad to share that my graduate advisor, Prof. Charles B. Harris, passed away yesterday. He discovered the quadruple bond and he taught me how to be a scientist and a mentor. Charles was always so proud of the achievements of his students; we spoke last year after I received tenure and I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that he could add yet another successful faculty member to his list of accomplishments. I miss him.
Looking at this picture from the mossy hills of the Bay Area on a misty morning, I’m reminded of his house in hills of Orinda.