Nov 212009

Midsummer, Patti and I visited the San Francisco Bay area. We had a great time. I’ve been a bit delinquent in posting photos, but better late than never.

We drove up US 1 from Monterey to San Francisco and caught the sunset.
US 1 Sunset

The next day, we drove up to Muir Woods, a national park just over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Muir Woods
Patti and I at Muir Woods

Parts of the woods were filled with spiders; others had no wildlife whatsoever.
Spiders at Muir Woods
Patti and I at Muir Woods in a tree
Muir Woods

As we walked through the woods, we heard a knocking sound. After searching around, Patti saw this woodpecker. When we got back to the entry of the park, we used the books there to identify it as a Hairy Woodpecker.
Hairy Woodpecker at Muir Woods
Hairy Woodpecker at Muir Woods
Hairy Woodpecker at Muir Woods

Muir Woods is a vacation spot for ladybugs. These two were having a grand old time.
Ladybugs at Muir Woods
Ladybugs at Muir Woods

There was a sign less than five feed away stating, “Don’t feed the chipmunks.”
Chipmunk at Muir Woods

I used my Google phone as a GPS to map our trip with the MyTracks application. I forgot to start the app when we started our hike, we really started where the track ends.

View Muir Woods in a larger map

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Oct 082009

My vacation to California took me to Monterey, where my friends Barbara and Raj got married. Monterey is beautiful and the weather was nice and cool. There are wild animals throughout the bay.
Monterey Bay bird
Cormorants, sea lions, and sea otters
Monterey Bay animals
Monterey Bay animals

The day after the wedding, everyone was invited to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Black Sea Nettle
Decorator crab
Decorator crab
Sea anemone
Sea Anemone
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Warty sea cucumber
Warty sea cucumber

The Aquarium also hosts shorebirds that are being rehabilitated.

There was a special exhibit of seahorses

What aquarium would be complete without penguins?

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Oct 082009

A couple of weeks ago I went to San Francisco for vacation. I posted a few photos from my cell phone, but I also took my hefty, large camera. Well, not so hefty and not so large, but small enough to fit in my pocket.

We start out our vacation by walking over to Fisherman’s Wharf. Sea lions are all around the wharf, but a ton of them congregate at Pier 39. They are a lot of fun to watch, but they smell quite bad.
Pier 39
Pier 39

You can see Alcatraz from Fisherman’s Wharf. We saw neither Sean Connery nor Nicholas Cage.

After seeing the Sea Lions, my friend Patti and I walked up a long staircase to Coit Tower. Patti held the tower up.
Coit Tower

We were visiting San Francisco to see my friends Barbara and Raj get married. It was a fun wedding in Monterey, California. Congratulations Barbara and Raj!
Barbara and Raj

[More photos to come later….]

 Posted by at 1:27 am
Oct 062009

I’ve been up to the house of my friends Phil and Karen several times this summer. They have a home that sits on the Hudson River between the Bear Mountain Bridge and West Point.

Phil and Karen have a butterfly bush: every time a butterfly stops by their house, it cannot resist stopping at this bush.

Phil and Karen let a friend moor his boat off their dock. Occasionally, we go out for a ride on the Hudson. West Point looks very nice at sunset.
West Point

The train ride leaves from Grand Central and runs along the Hudson–it’s a beautiful trip.

 Posted by at 2:19 pm
Oct 062009

I meant to post these photos a while ago. In summer, I took a trip to the Bronx Zoo. One of my favorite places in the zoo is the Butterfly Garden. I love visiting the zoo and don’t go there enough. When you enter the garden, you are given a sheet showing all of the butterflies–it’s fun to figure out if you have seen them all.

Butterflies from the Bronx Zoo
Butterflies from the Bronx Zoo
Butterflies from the Bronx Zoo

 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Sep 152009

Earlier this summer on July 26, some huge storms whipped through the New York City area. I was at home when one of them came through. Later, tornadoes were reported in Staten Island and Brooklyn; I think I saw a funnel cloud in DUMBO as well.

This is the view from my window of J Condo in DUMBO shortly before the storm began. If you look to the left of the tower, you can see an odd discoloration in the sky.
Funnel Cloud in Dumbo

I took the liberty of enhancing the photo to emphasize what may have been a weak funnel cloud.
Enhanced Funnel Cloud in Dumbo

As the sky grew stranger and stranger, I decided to go up to the roof of my building to take a look at the view. A family of four was there. Shortly after they arrived we heard huge thunderclaps. The dad said that was that and after dragging the kids away from the metal kitchen vent pipes they went downstairs. I stayed up for around five or ten more minutes. However, I was also freaked out by the loud thunderclaps directly above my head and practically ran inside.
Storms from my roof

Shortly after returning downstairs, the heavens let loose a torrent of water. A friend of mine was driving in Manhattan at the time, and described having to pull over to avoid the wall of water coming down the street. As you can see from the photo, it was impossible to see Manhattan from my apartment.
Huge rainstorm in Brooklyn

Less than 15 minutes after the rain started to fall the storm abruptly ended. If you were to look at the sky it was like nothing had happened at all.

 Posted by at 8:01 pm
Mar 222009

When I visit my friends Phil and Karen in Garrison, New York, one of my favorite places to hike is Mystery Point. It’s a small piece of land the juts out into the Hudson around 10 minutes north of Bear Mountain Bridge.

I’ve visited Mystery Point in the past few months. One of my visits was December 27 of last year. The tide at Mystery Point was very low, and the water level was very low. December 27 was relatively warm, but the ground was still covered with snow.
Mystery Point Panorama

A light haze covered the water, and you could see it accumulate as you looked into the distance.
Mystery Point Low tide at Mystery Point
Every now and then you see odd artifacts; this hook was embedded into a large boulder at Mystery Point. Was it used to dock small boats? Was it part of a larger structure? Around 100-200 yards north of Mystery Point is a loading dock; perhaps this was part of that infrastructure.
Hook at Mystery Point

Even in the middle of winter, there are splashes of bright colors all around Mystery Point. The bright red flowers seemingly pop out of the middle of boulders. Mushrooms and other fungi abound.
Lichen near Mystery Point Fungus near Mystery Point

My friend Anne frequently hikes up to Phil and Karen’s house.
Anne near Mystery Point
Phil has been doing quite a bit of hiking–I think he wants to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in New York.
Phil near Mystery Point

Karen, Anne and Phil on the goat trail next to Mystery Point.
Hiking near Mystery Point
Tilt-shift effects can sometimes be fun….
Fun with tilt-shift effects at Mystery Point

I went back up to Mystery Point last weekend. Spring has already arrived at Mystery Point, yet it was a bit surprising how much the weather, water, and land resembled the weather of late December.
Swamp near Mystery Point Mystery Point Trunk at Mystery Point Swamp at Mystery Point

Wildlife abounds at Mystery Point. My friend Kathy took a fantastic photo of an immature bald eagle on the Hudson next to our friends’ house. She was also kind enough to lend me her camera for this most recent trip since I had left mine at home. One of the signs that Spring was arriving were the large number of red-winged blackbirds migrating back. They had a distinctive call and a stunningly sharp and bright swatch of red and yellow on a black body.
Blackbird at Mystery Point Blackbirds at Mystery Point

Metro North and Amtrak share a train line that runs parallel to the Hudson. Near Mystery Point is a bridge where you can see the train motoring North and South. I created two stop-motion images of both trains: Stop motion #1 of train next to the Hudson Stop motion #2 of train next to the Hudson. Of course, I also have the individual photos that made each video.

 Posted by at 10:39 pm
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