Monday, April 30, 2012

I Heart Pretty Facades.

I cannot remember the last time I have nothing in the works for a post. I seemed to be always lagging behind posting travel photos. Well, lookie here. I have nothing, nada, zilch, no travel photos left. I must not be travelling anymore. I'm finally caught up.

My next travel is in a few months which will last a month long, so rest assured that this blog will have lotsa photos to show given my pathological shooter tendencies.

In the meantime, I ransacked my archives and leafed through the albums. I always take more photos than necessary anyway, and there are shots I've always wanted to share. Like these:

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Eleven months ago I took these pictures while driving home (I'm the passenger) from a day in the city. Aren't these gorgeous? The facades look very inviting. I'd look to take a quick peek at the interiors, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Birthday John Muir

If you love the outdoors, if you love the wilderness, hiking, camping and being with nature, you'd surely know or have heard of John Muir. If you've been to Yosemite, you'd certainly heard of his name. John Muir is an American born in Scotland on April 21, 1838. He was an activist and preservationist. His efforts saved Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. He also founded (co-founded) Sierra Club, a very important conservation organization in the US.

I don't really know how Earth Day (April 22) got started, but I'd like to think that it should have been on April 21 - the birthday of John Muir, because he was pushing for preservation of wilderness and open spaces ---- way ahead of his time.

And so on Saturday, John Muir's birthday, we joined people in celebrating his birthday by visiting his old house that is now a national historic site. It is located in Martinez, CA, some 15 minutes from home. Another bonus last Saturday was that entrance to the site was free. I hear Yosemite's entrance was also free. We were torn between going to Yosemite and to his house. But since it was also Earth Day weekend, we thought that it would best served Earth if we chose to limit our carbon footprint by going to Martinez.

Let me show you how we joined others in celebrating his birthday.

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His house in Martinez. He lived here the last 24 years of his life.
This house and a part of the ranch are now national historic site.

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Music was playing outside his house.

We went around and stayed for the program. It was a hot afternoon.

The emcee.

Little talk.

Guess who showed up for the b/day celebration - John Muir himself.

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People were under the shade, don't be fooled why there seems to be no one watching the program. Tis hot, 90s.

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The kids were called up front to sing happy birthday to John Muir.

Wouldn't be a birthday party without a cake, volunteers pass out cake to every one.

Afterwards there was a recycled fashion show from an elementary school in the district.
Introducing the fashion show.





Park Rangers took time out to enjoy the program.

Dalmatian Horse
This is a dalmatian horse. They breed them here. It's the first time I'd be seeing one of this breed. Who knew they even existed. How cool.

Happy Earth Day. Let us all reflect on how we can do a better job at preserving the earth that we call home. It's our only home.

A few John Muir quotes:

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.

I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walking With Camera

I found myself walking the streets of San Francisco with a camera dangling on my neck. A pretty different perspective from my usual drive by shooting, I know. My take on walk by shooting.

Since I'm walking in the residential area, I thought I'd shoot at the beautiful houses. You're not tired of my San Francisco houses now, are you?

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Did you have any favorites?

Here are my other San Francisco houses posts.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wine Country Breather Part 3

We reached the inn just enough time to get freshen up for our dinner at a little fancy restaurant called John Ash and Co, which happens to be housed inside the compound.

While getting ready, I got a knock on the door asking if I'd like a turn down service. When I politely shook my hand, he handed a huge cookie :).

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While I limit my outing to fancy restaurants to once a year (for special occasions), when it's attached to a package, I don't mind going.

Still full from the fried artichoke and potato chips from Johnny Garlic's, I was set on taking a looong dinner, so I could pace myself.

Upon the recommendation of the waiter, we ordered one cocktail to share, since we have brought a bottle of wine with us.

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We were started with a complimentary fish escabeche as a palate cleanser.
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The hubs had a wilted baby spinach salad ($12). He said it's wilted :) He didn't like it much.
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I had the gorgeous Asian-style tuna tartare ($15) with wakame salad and wonton chips. Have you seen a tartare this size for appetizer? I thought they really were generous with the portion. It was so good, but so large that I was still picking at it long before the main course was served.
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My entree was salmon and scallop over Asian noodles. This is no longer in their menu as I had to check the menu online to make sure I was getting the prices correctly. If I'm not mistaken this was around $24-26. My husband's dinner was the special of the night and my little point and shoot couldn't handle the lowlights so no good photos of his meal.

We lingered for coffee and tea after meal then went to walk the calories off. It was dark and the sprinklers were on but we managed to walk along the path missing getting soak for the most part. We ran into the car to get the tripod and decided to take photos at nightlight.




Needless to say we had a restful sleep. And when I woke up the following morning, I peeked out to see this:
A foggy, misty morning.

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We rushed to get ready to take shots of the fog and have breakfast afterwards.

It was a beautiful start to the day.
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A Continental breakfast was included in the package. We decided to go ahead and eat. But we wanted something heavier, since we were thinking of skipping lunch.
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So I got my 2 eggs scrambled, hash brown, ham and toasted english muffin.
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The hubby had 2 eggs benedict with country potatoes. Heavy enough to sustain us until dinner time doncha think?
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A little stroll around the perimeter before heading out. We were curious about the mist, but by this time it was all gone.
The mist was all in the grass. This is my pathetic attempt at shooting. Tips on how to capture this?
Also settled on the cobwebs.

It was about 11 am when we checked out and headed for another wine tasting. We had about 4 more free passes, but only one would do today.
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We went to Kendall-Jackson, one of the most easily recognizable brands in the grocery store.
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The imposing facade.
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The tasting room/gift shop.
Ann, a Brit, was pouring that day. I find it rate to have a Brit pouring me wine. I can't see wine and Britain side by side :). But she does know her stuff.
I had my fill. I liked a couple of them. But didn't buy here. Their wines are easily available.
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It wasn't long before we weren't the only ones sipping wines.
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The rapeseed is a common sight in the vineyards in the months of January to sometimes even as late as April-May.
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Heading home. I love this road. I told my husband I'd like to photograph this every season. Here is the same road going the opposite way in the fall, which I posted here, photo #10.

The End....