Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Remillard Park Sunset - 1/31/12

Sunset from Remillard Park

          Located off of Sir Francis Drake Blvd near Larkspur Landing is Remillard Park. It's not much as far as open space goes, but their is a decent path that follows the shoreline of the bay and loops around a small pond. Although very overgrown you can sometimes see turtles sunning themselves around the pond.
          There is a marshy area with cattails that offer perches to smaller birds such as the Red Winged Black Bird.
          I've had my eye on some pier posts there that I'd been planning to photograph and was waiting for a good sunset to do so. It just so happens that the clouds looked prime when I got off of work so I headed on over to Remillard Park and awaited the show.

Mt. Tamalpais Sunset

Tamalpais Twilight

Light Invasion

          Now this sunset was something spectacular which is why I was amazed that the only two pairs of walkers I saw on the path didn't even look up from there conversations to notice the beautifully glowing sky.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dilapidated Berkeley Sunset - 1/24/12

          Getting off of work late afternoon in Berkeley leaves me little time for exploration once I make it back to Marin so I decided to stay in the area and head down to the shoreline by the racetrack in Albany to watch sunset. I ended up parking near a dilapidated pier and where the low tide allowed me to walk out among the slimy rocks and climb up onto the decaying structure.
          A Cormorant perched itself on a pier piling with its wings spread out while several Coots swam near the shoreline dipping their heads under from time to time.
          Heavy cloud cover made me wonder if their would even be a sunset worth hanging around for but soon enough the sun found a hole in the clouds and broke through.

As sure as the sun will shine

          As the sun set and the clouds lit up with color I took several pictures from atop the pier.

Dilapidated Pier

Persistent Pier

Knot Hole

          Before the color faded completely I rushed over to a nearby promontory to capture some images of the pier from a different angle.

Posting Up

Piling Up

The Lost Posts

That's What's Left

          As the light faded to dark the cityscape was illuminated by sparkling lights.

City Lights

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bolinas Ridge - Druid Rocks Sunset - 1/21/12

          I drove up to Ridgecrest Blvd on Bolinas Ridge to look for wildlife and watch sunset. After driving the ridge back and forth a couple of times without any sightings of bobcats or coyotes, I pulled over at the Laurel Dell trailhead and set off across the street toward the Druid Rocks.

Bolinas Ridge

          The mysterious megalithic-style circle of boulders on the western flanks of Mt. Tamalpais tend to trigger the curiosity of all those who visit. The location boasts sweeping views of the steep bald hillsides leading down to Stinson Beach and Bolinas Lagoon all the way to Ocean Beach in SF and beyond.

Druid Rocks & Stinson Beach

Funnel Cloud

          Although the scattered cloud cover seemed like it would make for a fantastic sunset, a thick haze over the ocean blocked most of the color and it wasn't until the Ranger came by and asked everyone to leave that a streak of pink appeared for one last picture.

Druid Rocks Sunset

          I must say I'm always disappointed that they don't leave the gates open longer so that one can enjoy the hour or two after sunset. On the other hand it's nice to give the wildlife some space and temporary human-free habitat.

Richmond Bridge Sunrise - 1/21/12

Dawn at San Quentin Beach

          Sarah and I drove down to San Quentin Village in San Rafael and walked down to the small beach by the promontory just before dawn.

San Quentin Promontory

          A rapidly moving storm front was coming in from the west and it was a thrill to watch as the sun lit up a selective group of clouds. For a matter of less than a minute some hot pink sun rays were shooting into the sky from behind the clouds.

Neon Rays over Richmond Bridge

          Mostly shielded by a swath of dark clouds, the sun broke through a small gap for just a moment, casting a beam of light across the bay.

Breaking Through and Shining Bright

          The gull activity on and around the beach was more than I'd ever seen in the past and we watched for a few minutes before heading back to the house for breakfast.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rodeo Beach Sunset - 1/18/12

          I had just enough time after work to make it to Rodeo Beach for sunset. I walked south along the beach to the sea stacks where there were a few photographers with tripods set up. Some say that Galen Rowell made this location famous, but I disagree. In my opinion mother nature made it famous for what it is; Galen Rowell might have made it a famous place to photograph.

Swirling Surf

Sea Stacks

          A layer of clouds blocked the sun and showed potential for a colorful sunset. Eventually the sun broke through a gap in the clouds for just a minute and the photographers jockeyed for position to capture the shot.

Sun Star

          I'm not too keen on photographing with mobs of people around but in some instances it is unavoidable and enjoyable nonetheless.

Rodeo Beach Sunset

          The sun soon set and we were not disappointed with the display of colors.

Marin Headlands Sunset

          A longer exposure shows off the motion of the waves appearing like an eerie fog.

Natural Mystic

Rodeo Beach Sunset

Capturing The Image

          What can I say but what an amazing sunset!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

China Camp Sunrise - 1/15/12

          I drove out to China Camp to watch sunrise over the San Pablo Bay. I took my chances and parked illegally near the closed gate to the China Camp Village lot. I figured the Ranger would not arrive until it was time to open the gate and I would be alright. There are several legal spaces further away, but with the sun soon rising I was pressed for time.
          I walked down to China Camp Beach and then scrambled along the rocky shoreline toward Rat Rock Island. A low lying bank of clouds blocked most of the light but some of the higher clouds did get some color.

China Camp Sunrise

San Pablo Bay Sunrise

          As the sun rose higher the pink shifted from cloud to cloud and I made my way closer to the island, being careful not to slip on the slick rocks.

Rat Rock Island Sunrise

Bonzai Island

Fading Color

          Although I wanted to stick around longer, I knew Ranger Rick would be coming by soon and I didn't want a ticket. Back at the car I spotted a Red Shouldered Hawk on a telephone wire focused intently on catching breakfast. As I drove along San Pedro Road a coyote ran across the street right in front of my car, scared as hell it bolted up the adjacent hillside. It made its way to the edge of some brush, turned around and briefly locked eyes with me, and then away it went.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

And Another Ring Mountain Sunset - 1/14/12

          Now I know I've been posting about Ring Mountain a lot lately but to be honest, the days are short and when I get off of work I'm really not too keen on driving any more than I have to. Ring Mountain is just a few minutes from San Rafael and is a great place to catch sunset because no matter which direction the clouds light up there is always some cool rock you can sneak into the foreground.
          I arrived at the parking area at the top of Taylor Ave. just in time to jog up to the ridge top and catch the setting sun.

Ring Mountain Sunset


          A White Tailed Kite flew toward the ridge top and fluttered in place as it scanned the hillsides for pray. It dove at the grass several times but I did not see it come up with any dinner.
Lichen' the Sunset

Fire in the Sky

Twilight Zone

          I hung around well after sunset and played around with some long exposures, experimenting with using my headlamp to light-paint some rock features.

Light Painting

          One thing I've realized over the past few adventures to Ring Mountain is how much I like it up there after dark. Especially on a moonlit night, as there are not many trees and the open hillsides and trails are easy to traverse. As I walked back to my car I stepped quietly and carefully seeing if I would come across any wildlife. Indeed I came across two black tailed deer who seemed caught off guard as I popped onto the scene.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Another Ring Mountain Sunset - 1/8/12

          Late in the evening I decided to drive the short distance to Ring Mountain to watch another sunset. Besides China Camp, it is one of the closest nature get-aways to my home, therefore I utilize it often.

Sunset from Ring Mountain

Ring Mountain Pathway

Ring Mountain Ridgetops


          Again I stuck around until after dark and was once again swooped by an owl.

Light Painted Rock

Looking West

          As I walked back to the car under the light of the moon, I was suddenly overcome by the loud sound of what I thought was rushing water. It turned out to be a passing flock of birds overhead with their rapidly beating wings emulating the sound of a rain stick. It happened once more before I reached the car and I was very curious as to what type of birds they were.