Tuesday 30 June 2009


I'm posting two versions of the following photo. The first one edited in Lightroom, and the second one tweaked in Photoshop. Opinions/preferences welcome!

Tuesday 23 June 2009

More poppies

Well, had to go back to the poppy fields today before they all die out.

OK, enough poppies for this year!

Let's move onto reeds.

Monday 22 June 2009


We're a little late for the local poppy season, but luckily they haven't stopped blooming just yet!

Sunday 21 June 2009

Back at home!

Wow, what a long journey home. We are absolutely pooped. Still, it was great to see Zebedee again! I've missed the little rascal so much. And also we realised that our neck of the woods is alright after all... When Kippy and Jeremy were showing us around in the Nevada/California area, we thought to ourselves that we won't be able to show anything as grand as that to them when they come over to visit us in England. Everything we saw seemed to dwarf anything we have back home. But still, it IS nice and beautiful over here, too - just in a different way. And it is good to be home. After an absolutely fantastic holiday, it's good to be home, too.

In the evening we went to Piddinghoe with Zebedee to have a play and a swim.

We were testing out Zebedee's new water toy (which is just one of the six new toys we brought him...).

Love the grasses along the river...

...and love the silly dog, of course.

Life is good. :)

Friday 19 June 2009

California & Nevada Day 15

We stayed the last night of our trip in a hotel with a view over Bay Bridge. For some reason I woke up around six in the morning, only to witness a beautiful sunrise.

I was still half asleep so I wasn't quite aware of the fact that I was watching a sunrise, but as soon as I realised that I was, I got out of the bed and grabbed my camera.

I'm glad I did, as I really was only half conscious while I took these photos... and then went back to bed and fell asleep. And it's only afterwards, when I woke up properly, that I saw what I had taken photos of.

We got up at about 11, by which time it was daylight, of course.

The last photo from our hotel window...

We had just time to drive to Sausalito before heading off to SFO airport for a first flight on our way back to the UK. Sadly, I didn't do my research beforehand, so we didn't know exactly where the best part of Sausalito was, and ended up having our lunch without being next to the harbour and without overlooking San Francisco skyline. So... here is just a random dog being petted by an upside-down woman.

After lunch we did drive through the area where we should have had our lunch, and saw SF skyline and Alcatraz in front of Bay Bridge.

...and pelicans... Sadly, this is the best photo I got of pelicans during the whole trip. Oh, well.

So, here's a pelican I took a photo of in the Galapagos Islands in 2000. God, I wish I could go there again now that I know a little more about photography!

Thursday 18 June 2009

California & Nevada Day 14

Today we drove from Mariposa back to San Francisco. And saw a few birds on the way. First, the turkey vulture who has been following me since we last left San Francisco. This vulture is responsible for scaring off all little birds before I get a shot of them. Yeah. He follows me around and scares off birds I want to take a photo of - right before I get close enough to shoot them. No, really.

A few wild wild west horses by the road.

And a hawk! Finally!

I hope Kippy will identify this hawk for me. :)

In the evening we went to Yoshi's for a "Japanese" dinner and some latin jazz. And quite a few Margaritas. Was good.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

California & Nevada Day 13

This is going to be another huge post... it was another long, fantastic day!

We left Kippy and Jeremy's home in Carson City some time after 5 AM. And these were the first photos I took today:

Just some gophers around the back of a petrol station. :)

"Is it safe to come out again? Has that weird human with a big white lense gone?"

From the EXIF it looks like I took these photos at 7:11 so I guess it was the petrol station very near to the entrance to Yosemite. Tioga pass entrance, that is. Yes, we went back to Yosemite for the day!! And it was fabulous!

OK, so here goes. This is just to show what country we are in. (Taken at the same spot as the gophers.)

...as if we could forget. After all, the people talk a strange language here. You know the drill: I say to-mah-to, you say to-may-to, etc. And there are plenty of flags to remind you where you are. Not as many in this area as they are in the big cities where the flags are as concentrated as the people are, though!

Let's get back on track. Once I get my GPS device sorted, I will geotag all my photos. But until then, it's a little vague. "Around this area" sort of thing. Here are the first photos in the Yosemite park, proper. This time I got better photos of the deer. First, showing them in their natural environment, and then closer shots with the long lense.

How elegant is this guy, eh?

Then, at Olmsted Point, we saw a very cute little creature!

Guess what he is yet?

A marmot!! Finally, I got to see a marmot who was very happy to pose for me!

I mean, seriously. He'd pose for a few seconds, then walk...

...pose for a few seconds...

...move a bit forward, pose...


A very obliging marmot, I have to say! I'm posting quite a few photos of him as my friend Heikki said that they (a Finnish travel magazine Mondo) might publish some of my photos, and possibly have the marmot on the cover. Hope he was serious about that.

The above photos were taken about 200 metres off the 'View Point' of Olmsted Point. Our friends tell us that they have seen marmots at this location EVERY time they have driven past, and that is about 6-7 times in the past few years. So following my disappointment of NOT seeing any marmots here two days ago, I was doubly happy and excited about seeing one today! And not just one, either! When we walked back towards the car park of Olmsted Point, we saw that there were at least a couple more marmots nearby - waiting for titbits from tourists, perhaps?

Here's a photo to show how near they were to the car park (the car park being to the left of the woman taking the photo):

We started driving towards Yosemite Valley again, and came across another pretty waterfall by the road.

Merced River.

The famous El Capitan. It was actually pretty busy in the valley today, too, even though it is Monday. But the schools are on holiday, which explains a lot.

We drove the loop that takes you to the Yosemite Center and drove right past it and back on the other side of the valley.

...and stopped for our picnic lunch at the same place as on Saturday. You can eat your lunch somewhere boring at a picnic table along with dozens of other people, but we prefer to sit on a log or a rock and have this view to accompany our luncheon:

Some butterflies were meeting there, too.

After lunch we decided to drive to Glacier Point. I wanted to stop on the way at the same spot where I took a photo three years ago, looking back into the valley. Half Dome is at the very far end in the horizon in this picture. This was my first view of Half Dome three years ago.

We arrived at Glacier Point and after being breathless from admiring the spectacular view for a while, we started taking pictures...

We sat on a rock for quite a while, mesmerised by the beauty around us. Here is the waterfall you can see in the above photo in the bottom right third in the frame:

It's only after I looked at this picture in my camera LCD display that I realised that there were people standing right next to the top of the waterfall!

Surprise, eh?!

Some girls playing in front of a rather nice backdrop.

This is the main viewpoint at Glacier Point. As you can see, quite a lot of people.

I'm glad clouds were co-operating today.

From there we could see the also the bottom half of the mighty Yosemite Falls.

This is my favourite bit to the left of the viewpoint. I love the way the light falls on the trees.

It was still a long time till sunset, so we decided to drive to Mariposa Grove. I'd been there before and that time was very impressed by the extremely tall redwood trees.

...but shock horror - most of the grove was burnt!

At least the "Bachelor and Three Graces" were still there.

For scale - see if you can spot Miles standing next to the fence on the left of the trees?

...and the "drive-through" tree, complete with tourists taking the obligatory giant tree family portrait.

We hurried back in order to get back to Glacier Point before sunset.

We made it on time.

There were quite a few people there watching the sunset and taking photos!

Well, actually, not watching the sunset, but watching Half Dome lit by the setting sun. (Click on the picture to see it bigger and better.)

Some were rather more enthusiastic than others! There were three or four medium format cameras on tripods, just waiting for the right moment...

We were wondering when the right moment was going to be, so we just kept taking photos of the changing light.

Eventually the medium formatists started shooting away frame after frame. I'm still not sure what exactly they were looking for... the light never got THAT dramatic in my opinion.

All the excitement over, there was some alpenglow...

And that was it. We were sad to leave - but we had to. We got swiftly back to our car and started our drive to our motel in Mariposa. It was going to be at least an hour's drive, and the light was fading fast!

What a wonderful day. That's all I can say.