Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bolinas - Agate Beach & Duxbury Reef Tide Pools - 2/27/11

Agate Beach & Duxbury Reef


          After visiting several places dear to Sarah’s’ childhood we made our way to Agate Beach in Bolinas for some tide pooling.
          It was about two hours before the low tide of the day, yet the tide pools were accessible and teaming with life. We carefully maneuvered our way along Duxbury Reef being extra careful not to disturb any wildlife. Although the majority of the Anemones were closed up, the colors and textures were still outstanding.

Star of the Show

Orange Starfish

Great Textures & Colors

Magnificent Anemone??

          Several Turkey Vultures along with a couple of Ravens were quietly perched on a prominent rock.

Turkey Vulture

          If you look closely you can even see some filth left behind on its wing feathers.
          We continued north and spotted a large group of Harbor Seals laying on the reef in the distance. I made my way closer to the seals yet remained the proper 300’ distance from them as I set up to take photos. At that distance my lens is just not quite powerful enough to capture the detail of the seals. I love how relaxed they look!

Harbor Seals

          On our way home we stopped along the Bolinas Fairfax Ridge where we spotted a coyote on a distant hillside.

Distant Coyote

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rodeo Lagoon - Hummingbird - 2/23/11

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

          After work I drove out to the Marin Headlands to Rodeo Lagoon. I parked my car and set off on a short walk along the trail that circumnavigates the lagoon. I was treated to the sight of this Anna's Humminbird perched in a tree top just off trail. I really lucked out with capturing the flared tail feathers. The photos remind of just a few weeks ago when I ran into the same photographer several days in a row. He was photographing a particular Hummingbird that seemed to be quite territorial.
          Hummingbirds are interesting birds to observe. Especially the aerial mating shows put on by the males. They can often times be seen flying high in the sky and then dive bombing, sometimes flying in J or O patterns.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mt. Tamalpais - Snow Capped - 2/19/11

          Over the past couple of days the bay area has been experiencing extremely cold temperatures and snow has been falling down to the 1000' elevation level. Just before Sarah drove home from work out at Stinson Beach friday night she got a call from a friend warning her that the Panoramic Highway was covered in snow and that she would need chains or 4WD. Luckily she was able to take the lower elevation Coast Hwy and make it safely home. It is a pretty rare event when it snows on Mt. Tam and even rarer when it sticks. It seems that each time it has snowed in the past during my lifetime I have been out of town or it has been too cloudy too actually see the snow. Of course we had plans to spend the weekend in Calistoga and again I would be deprived of my snow covered homeland. I vowed to get up early Saturday morning, hoping that it was clear, to try and capture some photos before we left for Calistoga.
          Just after 7am I left San Rafael with my camera in hand. It was raining pretty hard, yet there were several sections of the sky that remained partially clear. I stopped briefly in Corte Madera as the clouds gave way for several minutes, although the rain continued to pour making for fairly poor photos.

Snow Covered Mt. Tam & Corte Madera Bike Path

Snowy Egret Snowy Mountain

          I then drove down to Mill Valley hoping to get a few more shots as long as the mountain was not blanketed with clouds. I only had several minutes of poor lighting and foul weather before the clouds blocked all views of the mountain and snow.

Snowy Mount Tamalpais & Richardson Bay

Snowy Mt. Tam & Richardson Bay

          I then drove back home and finished packing for Calistoga. Because we were not in a great hurry to get to Calistoga we decided to drive up Mt. Tam to check things out. We passed the Mountain Home Inn and realized how busy the mountain would be today as the parking lots and all surrounding pullouts were full of cars. It was fun to see a lot of small children in snow suits.

Throckmorton Ridge Blanketed with Snow

          As we suspected Ridgecrest Blvd. was closed and Bootjack and Pantoll parking lots were a zoo. We opted not to park and keep moving. Regretfully we had to get going to Calistoga and leave the snowy mountain behind. On the flip side we would be rewarded with a great snow filled hike along the Palisades in Calistoga. I'm hoping next time it snows on Tam I will get a chance to go on a hike or mountain bike ride in the snow and not just admire it from below.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Marin Headlands - Rodeo Lagoon Sunset - 2/11/11

Sunset at Rodeo Beach

          The work day ended and I made my way out to the Marin Headlands to take a walk. I explored Gerbode Valley for a while before driving over to Rodeo Beach & Lagoon. After enjoying sunset I began driving back when I noticed a Great Blue Heron land in the Lagoon at the waters edge. I knew it would make a great silhouette so I pulled over and got out my camera. The Heron stood absolutely still and was very accommodating as the colors got better and better.

Great Blue Heron at Sunset

Great Blue Heron Silhouette & Firey Sunset

          At this point another photographer pulled over and began shooting right beside me. I decided to head back to the car as the light was nearly all gone, when I noticed I did not have my car keys. I went back to the area where I was taking photos and scoured the area frantically for several minutes until it got dark. I would have no luck! I went back to the car and realized that I locked the keys in the car along with my cell phone and wallet. So now I'm feeling pretty dumb. I asked the photographer if I could borrow her cell phone but there was no service. Fortunately she was kind enough to give me a lift to Sausalito where the cell phone worked and I was able to arrange for a pickup.
          Although things did work out alright in the end, I definitely learned my lesson.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marin Headlands - Rodeo Lagoon Sunset - 2/9/11

          I made my way out to the Marin Headlands after work to unwind and look for wildlife. I was treated to a beautiful sunset over the Rodeo Lagoon. The water was as still as I've ever seen it making for a great mirror image.

Sunset Over Rodeo Lagoon

Blurred Sunset