The East Bay Regional Parks District is hosting a digital photography contest from now through May 31, 2010. They are looking for photos highlighting the natural landscapes of the parks, whether it be wildlife, scenic panoramas, or people enjoying themselves via one of the many recreational opportunities the parks provide.
By submitting the the contest, photographers retain rights to their photographs while granting EBRPD permission to use the photos in their own publications (with credit). The photos must be taken in one of the parks managed by EBRPD.
For more information, see this page on the EBRPD website.
I will probably enter, if I get around to digging out some of my images from the past year. I’ve hiked several miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail through the East Bay parks so I’m sure I have something worthy of submission.
And while I’m on the subject of EBRPD, I’d just like to thank them for their wonderful wildflower guides. If I ever need help identifying a Bay Area wildflower, this is the first place I check.
Recently I acquired a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 digital camera (birthday present to myself). This camera is a high quality device disguised as a compact point-and-shoot.
When I’m backpacking, I’m often in the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever experienced and strongly wish I had my DSLR along, but I’m not going to haul it for long trips. So a few months ago I started looking for a ‘professional’ compact (meaning flexibility via manual controls) with a good wide lens. Not surprisingly, the market for this type of camera is pretty small – someone who cares that much about the lens and control is probably going to go for an SLR (especially at that price point) – and choices are somewhat limited. But us backpackers – well, we’re really good and compromising and balancing function, weight, price, and convenience, and a small camera that’s going to get me as close to the SLR quality and experience as possible is something I’m willing to spend some $$ and research time on.
Every year I wait until the last minute to print calendars, and usually do just a personal run of a few to give to family at Christmas. I had a calendar last year at Cafepress but was disappointed in the print quality. This year I’m trying out a new service, redbubble.com. General consensus on photography message boards is that the quality is pretty good, so I’m looking forward to receiving my order.
The nice thing about redbubble is that I can offer my calendars for sale to the general public. I originally was just going to do a single calendar of my favorite photos from 2009, but someone asked if I could do a wildflower specific one too. Then, I couldn’t narrow down my favorite photos to 12, so I did two calendars, one specifically of Mt Whitney, and another one of the Sierra Nevada.
All photos featured in the calendars were taken by me on my various trips in 2009. Click here to view the calendars (or on the photos below), or here to see all available prints at redbubble.com. For other ways to support calipidder.com, please see the new and exciting Brazen Commercialism page.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the people who encouraged me to set this up. I’d been putting it off, but there is something very motivating about people actually asking to buy prints of my photos. Thanks!
Happy fall! Up until Saturday, I was still functioning in 100% summer mode – summer can’t quite possibly be over, right? Although I wasn’t really ready for it, on Friday we hopped in the truck and headed out to 395 to check out the colors. It was absolutely glorious and I insist that you all check it out NOW! I say NOW not because I think you don’t have anything else to do, but because the cold system that is coming in right now is bringing high winds along for the ride, and I’m afraid it may ruin the lovely show that the aspens are putting on.
So without further ado, here is a rundown of the places I got to check out. I have tons of raw photo data to process so it may be a while before most photos are posted, but these should give you an idea what you can see right now.
June Lake (update 9/26 and 9/28)
After driving out Friday night and crashing at Glass Creek campground, we started off on Saturday morning along the June Lake Loop. The aspens were still pretty much green, with occasional bursts of yellow. It was nothing too exciting, so after a few half-hearted photos in a greenish-yellow grove, we decided to fish Rush Creek instead. Today (Monday), when driving north along 395, I looked over towards the Loop and saw a blanket of orange on the hillside above Silver Lake. I don’t know if it was there on Saturday – might not be visible from the loop itself. Unfortunately, the time of day was horrible for light, so we didn’t stop to photograph the distant mountainside.
Rock Creek (update 9/26)
After the complete bust at June Lake (both colors and fish), we headed up Rock Creek. Here, the colors were much better. Still green in the lower groves, the colors started to pop as we worked our way up to Mosquito Flat. Bright yellows, oranges, and occasional blots of red lined the road and mountainsides. We parked at the trailhead and hiked through Little Lakes Valley all the way to Morgan Pass, but unfortunately the colors through here were brown and bland – if you want a pretty hike it’s great, but if you want fall colors, stick to the upper half of Rock Creek Road, between the middle campgrounds and the trailhead at Mosquito Flat.
Lake Sabrina and North Lake (Bishop Creek) (update 9/27)
They are both peaking right now. They will be done by next weekend, especially with the weather system that is currently coming through. Below the lakes (Aspendell), the trees are still fairly green, but I don’t know if they’ll have a chance to turn before being frozen/windblown. Go NOW! We spent about 6 hours Sunday morning at Sabrina – first when the colors were shaded and contrasty, and later as the sunlight made everything glow. The colors around the lakeshore and on the surrounding mountainsides made for some fantastic big-mountain photography, and also for some closer in, more intimate reflection shots. North Lake probably has the most variety – greens near the lake fade to deep reds above, making for some interesting reflection shots in the lake. It’s perfect – in case I didn’t mention it, go NOW!
(Note: I spent so much of the day up at Sabrina and North Lake, I didn’t get a chance to check out South Lake. Oh no!)
McGee Creek (update 9/28)
Although the area around Bishop Creek is absolutely beautiful in its peak right now, my favorite stop of the weekend was McGee Creek. After spying a streak of orange on the flanks of Mount Baldwin from 395, we headed up to the trailhead, grabbed our cameras, and threw on the daypacks. McGee Creek is a lovely and easy trail and as we strolled along the colors and views just got better. The aspens are in every phase up there – from bright green to deep orangey-red – and with the contrast of the unique bands of rock on Baldwin, there are breathtaking views to be had and photos to be taken. This is the canyon for the ‘big mountain’ photos – I made good use of my 18mm wide angle up here. Make sure to hit this one late morning – too early and you’ll have some annoying shadows to deal with, but too late and you’ll lose the contrast of the mountain’s colors.
It’s a great year for colors – I hope they hold on through this weather system. Go now and have a great time!
I mentioned a few entries back that I’ve gotten the Bay Area Ridge Trail hiking bug, and of course past hikes don’t count. I have to start from scratch and ‘officially’ add everything to the list. Yesterday I took the opportunity to knock of the stretch at Anthony Chabot Regional Park since David had a shooting competition at the range there. I also wanted to check out the wildflowers before the weather gets too much warmer. East Bay hiking is miserable in the summer heat, so we’re getting close to the end of the season over there.
The park is nice, though not one of my favorites. One of the reasons I seek out the Bay Area Ridge Trail sections in parks is because they, well, follow the ridges. Ridges usually mean good views and good hiking. Unfortunately, the stretch through Chabot doesn’t have too many open views, and the trail was very rutted from heavy mountain bike use, causing me to roll my ankle a few times. I was also accompanied nearly the entire day by the cracks and bangs of the shooting range – it was hard to get away from that noise when along the ridge. I was in kind of crabby mood to begin with, having not entirely slept off the previous night’s dose of NyQuil (even half a dose of that stuff leaves me in a haze the next day – blech). However, it wasn’t really a disappointing hike – there were some geocaches, many nice wildflowers to photograph, and several eucalyptus groves with their wonderful scent to keep me happy.
This past weekend was a perfect one to get out on the trail. The parks are still green, the wildflowers are peaking, and the weather was absolutely beautiful. I chose to spend Saturday morning up at Russian Ridge, and then during yesterday’s record highs I headed over to the redwoods of Big Basin to stroll through the cool shaded forest along the relatively untraveled Whitehouse Ridge Trail.
Most of the photos I took were of the wildflower variety – it’s hard to resist them right now. But the views from the trail in Big Basin towards the Pigeon Point lighthouse and Ano Nuevo were also stunning.
Track from the BART (Bay Area Ridge Trail) stretch in Russian Ridge
I can’t believe I forgot to post an entry on this, but a very kind comment I received yesterday spurred me to action.
Last weekend I visited two local parks that are right now known for their wildflower displays: Harvey Bear Ranch (east of Morgan Hill) and Santa Theresa County Park in south San Jose. The key word there is ‘wildflower’ so I won’t continue typing – rather I’ll point you to the photos. If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend and looking for a nice place to see the flowers, I’d recommend either park.