Category Archives: California

Nevada and South Lake Tahoe.

Thumbnail image of Lake Tahoe.

Our last day in Tahoe was spent at leisure. As I mentioned in my previous post, we were supposed to drive back out to Reno-Stead but decided it was not worth the time/distance. I am very glad we decided to stay in Tahoe.

The night before we stopped on the Nevada side of the lake. The sky was pretty clear and light pollution was not too bad. It was better for the star gazing but the moon was not out. I’d definitely like to return and do more night time photo exploring with various phases of the moon. (I know it’s been done but i gotta see it with my own eyes — IRL, as it were.)

We had a little visitor in the night. ;) I had seen some evidence on the floor, in the way of dust fallen from the rafters. I actually said out load, “I think we may have a squirrel or chipmunk…” Then, Chad said, “Oh, I think there is a moth. I heard it flapping around last night.” Immediately, I knew what it probably was and, LIKE CLOCK WORK, the tiny bat leaped into the air – from its hiding place above the fireplace – and proceeded to scare the crap out of J. then buzz Chad and I. Good times! After a few tense minutes “die fledermaus” was gently coaxed out the back door. (Honest, we did not hurt it.)

With excitement like that, who needs the air races? :cool: We spent the rest of the morning looking at Emerald Bay and walking up the trail to Cascade Falls. It was more like a trickle when we got there. But that was a good thing as it allowed us to actually walk where water would normally be flowing. (What volume? I have no idea.) The weather could not have been better. It was a very cool diversion before our 6 hour return trip to the South Bay. Good weekend! Please click on the image above to view the photo gallery.

2009 Reno Air Race.

Thumbnail image of Blue Angels.

The 2009 Reno Air Race would be my very first experience of this kind. (See the gallery above.) Sure we’ve had more than a few Air Force and Navy air shows in Hawaii but nothing like Reno. The trip to Reno-Stead was inspired mainly by my father’s life long fascination with aircraft and flying; in part by a chance meeting earlier this year, in Hawaii.

I had done some architectural work for a regular client and the home owners happened to be Mr. & Mrs. Mike Brown. Yes, that same Mike Brown of Reno Air Race fame! Captain and patriarch of the 2006, gold medal, “Mike Brown Air Force”: September Pops, September Fury, and Big Boss Man. I knew very little about pylon racing and probably insulted Mike by asking, “Is it like the Red Bull?” He sorta straightened me out and outlined his experiences and small fleet of very impressive aircraft. I was hooked! And I promised myself that I would bare witness to a “real air race”, this year!

Well, we did it! Although it was “a day late and a buck short”. While at Reno-Stead, I constantly wondered, “Where is Mike?” The MB Air Force was no where to be seen. Only after returning to Hawaii did I realize why. Apparently, late 2008, Mike had made the decision to retire from air racing and sold EVERYTHING. I felt like more of an ass for making the Red Bull comparison!!! The reasons are the Browns’ alone and I respect that… I just wish I could have had the chance to see the MB Air Force fly, at least once!

We actually had purchased tickets for the entire weekend but after a long, MB-Air-Force-free Saturday, we decided not to return on Sunday. With MB absent, I was far less enthused to watch the Unlimited’s. And I knew enough about Strega to know that she and her new pilot would more than likely win their class… it’s no fun when you know who is gonna win before the race is run.

I am glad we attended the 2009 Reno Air Race. I may return. But I am sure there are many who were also very disappointed by the lack of the MB Air Force. I am glad I met Mike Brown and his lovely wife, when I did, and I wish them all the very best that life has to offer!

Joseph E. Grant County Park.

Thumbnail image of Chad at Joseph E. Grant Park.

Back from California. Everything worked out great! I hope to be taking many more trips like this in the future. Thanks to LEICA (and Uncle Harvey) the photo gang is reevaluating our “photographic experience”. The proof is in the pudding, so they say. Chad and I did very little photography (by comparison) on this trip.

Of course, we did do some. ;) Above is the link to an image gallery that spans the course of two days. Nestled in between Mt. Hamilton and the South San Jose foot hills is the Joseph E. Grant County Park. Nice place!

The next day we were up relatively early to visit the “City” (San Francisco). No photos but we hit Japan Town first. Saw the new pop culture museum / VIZ theater. It was nice but kind of “MEH”. The rest of the day is pretty well documented in the photos, so please click the thumbnail above to see. Stay tuned, more from California to come. :)

In Front of CAoS.

Thumbnail image of California Academy of Sciences.

Hehe, that title sounds a lot cooler than it really is. ;) CAoS stands for: “California Academy of Sciences”. The place itself is super cool! They underwent major renovation recently and are now a model of efficient use of space, intelligent design, and down right awesomeness! If you click on the image above, it will take you to a 360 spherical panorama. It was captured at the front entrance just after closing time. A more detailed view/photo gallery of the CAoS will follow shortly. Please stay tuned. (^^)V

A Stroll Through Golden Gate Park.

Thumbnail image in front of CAoS.

My last Saturday, in California, was spent at Golden Gate Park. I believe the area I was in was specifically called the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. (Not absolutely sure about that though.) The fog rolled in that morning: it was gray, a little chilly — “typical” SF weather (I am told). Definitely not, “lay in the grass and nap”, kind of weather. It was good for photographing colorful plants though. Direct sunlight is actually really bad for vividly saturated colors. More precisely: digital (and analog to a smaller extent) color channels tend to “blow out” much more easily in direct light. Please click the above thumbnail to view the brief photo gallery.

I did more walking than shooting, that day. I wasn’t “in the mood”. It was fun following the Humming Birds though. Once I figured out which calls were theirs, it was pretty easy to figure out where they were / would be. Getting my focus was another story however.

The California Academy of Sciences (CAoS) was a mad house that day! The front of the building was as close as I dared get. (Plus I waited till closing time.) ;) I have a 360 pano to follow up this post. Please keep an eye out for it.

Tacos and Roses.

Thumbnail image of Viva Taqureia menu.

More from San Jose (ie: I have been slacking off). Viva Taqueria has some excellent traditional Mexican food! I had a six pack of soft tacos. The lengua (beef tongue) was the best. After lunch I went for a walk in the municipal rose garden. It was nice. Lots of different rose types and hybrids. I found the spiders to be much more interesting though. :wink: