Monday, December 31, 2012

The Winter Challenge – First Impressions

As we are making our home in the beautiful Canadian Rocky mountains, here some first impressions.

What a change from the always rushing Bay Area to the serene nature of the Rockies, not to speak of daily temperatures.
When we were shivering at 18 degrees Celsius in California, we are now adjusting to minus 18 degrees Celsius...;-)

We are enjoying the Canadian way of living, and I watched my first Ice Hockey game live,

... there is always enough ice, if not cubed, for our drinks.

The landscape is stunning, the snow light and powdery, the temperatures prepare me for Antarctica and the light, especially the sunrises and sunsets are a photographers dream.

We tend to get noticed when driving around town, I guess we are not driving the right kind of car....yet

The dogs love the snow, I might have to put high marker flags on the dachshunds though,  if it keeps snowing ;-)


Here to new adventures and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Conservation Tip

Tis' is the season where we frantically try to find the right presents for family, friends, coworkers and so on. Sometimes you just know the right gift, but more often you have no idea where to start.
Before you by the nth tie for your father in law, here an idea:

How about a gift adoption of his favorite wild animal? Lots of species out there need help and with a gift adoption you are not only giving a meaningful gift to the recipient but also to the animal you choose.

Here are a few organisations I have used in the past, many of them even offer accompanying plush animals, which makes it also a great gift for the young or young at heart:

World Wildlife Fund

Defenders of Wildlife

Polar Bears International


Looking for something for the more the humanitarian type and not so much an animal lover?
No problem either;

Give a goat, pig, chickens or even a donkey to families in need.

Heifer International has a great program with something for every budget.

Best of all, no crowded malls involved...;-)

In this spirit:


Friday, November 30, 2012

Favorite Sunsets

This November has probably been the craziest month in my life. Unfortunately that also meant not so much time for photography.

On the other hand it is also the month where our season for the most beautiful sunsets starts here on the coast.

So I thought I share a few of my favorite sunsets with you...

Princeton Harbor

Painted Ladies in San Francisco

Surfers Beach, Half Moon Bay

At the Hideout Ranch in Wyoming

 Wasa, British Columbia

Cultus Lake, Oregon

McVey Falls, California Coast

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Palouse, Washington

Davenport, California


Vancouver Skyline

....and the view from our balcony.

Enjoy and have a happy holiday season!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Conservation Tip

Dine with your farmer

At the beginning of this month we took "Know you Farmer" a step further and had dinner with our (chicken) farmer.
Around mid October an invitation from Tunitas Creek Kitchen for a farm dinner landed in my inbox. Knowing Suzie and Jay, as well as Christine and Bill from the Potrero Nuevo Farm, and enjoying their great eggs since quite a while, we knew this had to be good and so we signed up for it right away!
Potrero Nuevo Farm is so much more than just a farm. Starting out as a CSA farm they now have a U-Pick club, are the home of Tunitas Creek Organic Eggs and Tunitas Creek Kitchen, offer farm tours and pickling workshops AND most importantly donate the majority of their crops to the low income community on the coast.

The day of the farm dinner couldn't have been a nicer day. It was one of the rare sunny and warm late fall days we live on the coast for.

Upon arrival we got greeted warmly by Suzie and Jay and were invited to try their farm made pickles.

A lovingly decked out dining table...

...and a promising menu added to the excitement.

After tasting the mentioned pickles, which were delicious to say the least,

we got called in for a beer tasting, hosted by the Cypress Brewing Company.
Which to my surprise was Cunha Intermediate schools' favorite tennis coach, Bryan!

And Bryan made the impossible possible, he brewed the very first beer my husband liked!!!

While we were listing to the secrets of beer brewing, Chef Amy and Bill were preparing the yummy flammekueche.

Now after our first hunger and thirst was taken care of, Suzie invited us to meet their very special girls club.....

...a short walk in the mild evening air led us past the fields and right to them.

Quite surprised about all the attention the girls observed the funny featherless chicken and but seemed otherwise undazzled by our presence.

After this, it was time to sit down and enjoy a real harvest dinner...yummy!

The evening ended with, yes of course dessert, and a movie about the challenges young farmer in America meet and overcome.

Encouraging and promising!!

Thank you Suzie and Jay, Amy, Bryan and Lea and of course Christine and Bill for this wonderful evening.

Potrereo Nuevo Farm

Tunitas Creek Kitchen

Tunitas Creek Organic Eggs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Favorite Places....

There are some places that just draw me back to them over and over again. Yosemite National Park is one of them as well as the Marin Headlands. Inspired by a photo from a fellow photographer I wanted to try out a place I had not yet been, Slacker Hill and surroundings. It's always a hit and miss with this area fog wise, but that particular morning the weather gods were with us:

To be up there before sunrise we hiked up the short but steep hill in complete darkness.
Our efforts got rewarded by spectacular views from Angel Island to the Pacific Ocean.

The sun came up amazingly fast immersing the Golden Gate into a golden morning light

Drunken with morning light we moved on to check out Hawk Hill

To get to the top of Hawk Hill one needs to go through a short tunnel, I guess a left over bunker access. And to our surprise we found some modern day cave paintings..;-)

The view was equally stunning, but probably more for a sunset shot, since the sun was already way too bright.

On our way home we quickly stopped by Baker Beach, always a great spot to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

A few days later the promise of the rising full moon drew us back to Hawk Hill

The fog though had a different idea.... instead of a rising moon we watched the fog rolling in.

We were not the only ones hoping for a break,

but eventually we gave in to mother nature.
Although completely different from what I expected, I nevertheless enjoyed being out there and being able to capture a spectacle of a different kind.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Point Bonita

Ever since I had laid eyes on the Point Bonita lighthouse from the distance, I wanted to visit it close up. First I had to wait though until it reopened. Although in it's current location since 1877, it was closed due to repair work until this spring.

Shortly after it reopened I paid it a visit, envisioning the great views one must have from this most northern tip of the Golden Gate.

But as so often here on the coast, the fog came rolling in and there was no view... But the lighthouse itself is charming enough and a knowledgeable volunteer was more than happy to talk about the lighthouse' history.
The first Point Bonita lighthouse was built further up the cliff in 1855. But due to the mostly low lying fog, it was utterly useless. In the 1870s the lighthouse finally was to be moved to a lower location. Which proved to be rather difficult in that steep and rocky area. First a tunnel had to be dug out of the rock leading to the current location, then the lighthouse could finally taken into operation  in 1877.

Until 1940 the lighthouse was actually connected to the mainland by a small walkway. But this walkway gave way to erosion in 1940 and a suspension bridge, mimicking it's famous big sister, the Golden Gate bridge, was built. It was this bridge that needed repair and led to the two year closure of Point Bonita.

Point Bonita is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. I thought it would make a wonderful sunset place and asked the volunteer if there is the possibility to gain entrance at after hours. And sure enough every month at full moon the Marin Headlands visitor center organizes so called full moon walks. A note of caution: You have to register for that and they book out way in advance.

So I had to wait a few months until I finally secured a spot. Given that it was the end of September I hoped for clear skies....but not so much luck. It was even foggier than the first time.

 Well, I guess that's why the lighthouse is there, right?

Nevertheless, it was a great outing, and I have a valid reason to come back.
This is by the way the original fresnel lens from 1877 and note the detail of the eagle shaped rain spouts! As always click on the photos to get a better look at the images.


National Park Service Point Bonita

Lighthouse Friends