Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve, one sunset, & some year-end thoughts.

One last nice sunset for the year, a few days ago.

A few thoughts about 2014?
Well.... i would like to think the world might become a bit more peaceful, sane.
I could play John Lennon's most notable song, "Imagine" in head... and hope it might come true. But I won't hold my breath, and I don't advise you to do the same.

Unfortunately, I think another song written a long time ago, is closer to the truth - 'Gimme Shelter', the Rolling Stones. When I first heard this, it was spine chilling, the Vietnam War has happening, too many guys my age coming back in body bags, all for what turned out to be a last cause.
And this is one of Keith's best guitar works, it has a trembling menace about it, an uncertainty, it descends and then ascends and then starts all over again, never ending.
The 'menace' never ends.

"Storm is threatening my very life today,
If I don't get some shelter, ooo, I'm gonna fade away"

That's the way I felt about my life then... and still do now.
The 'storms' never go away for long, do they?

Another great phrase about the world - "Mad bull, lost it's way"
Yep, just take a look at the Middle east - seems like all they wanna do is kill someone who doesn't agree w/ them. And killing people in the name of god is... kind of an oxymoron isn't it?

Below, the signs and anchors we used to depend on aren't worth much are they?
They point to nowhere.

So an image that describes the world now... might look much more like this, a storm trying to get over the mountains, shot looking west just north of Mojave Ca a few years ago.

Yes, a "storm is threatening my life today."

Let's hope for a few moments of tranquility - if it can be found anywhere, i would think that might be in the desert, like this one, somewhere near Joshua Tree, 10+ years ago.

"Over and out".......
and as the Terminator said most succinctly:
"I'll be back"
Yes, indeed... i sure hope so.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Late December - winter, wherefore art thou?

Since the storm just before Thanksgiving, it's been nothing but smooth easy sailing, if I didn't look at the calendar, I'd think it was summer for the most part. We had a stretch of cold recently, but no rain, and we really, REALLY need the rain.
(And by my standards, growing up in Maine, it wasn't really very cold. People in the Bay area? when it goes below forty degrees, they're bitchin and moanin'.)
A big hi pressure system has taken up residence off the coast, and anything stormy in the jet stream has been pushed way north of the SF Bay area.
A few afternoons some cirrus has managed to drift thru after sunset, and made for some very nice viewing, one cloud in particular was fantastic, it's at the bottom.
What i really want to see out my window is something like this:

There's definitely some H2O in that monster!

Or to be awakened at 3AM by a howling wind, and look out my 4th floor window to see rain like this, illuminated by the street lamp:

But I'll settle for some nice sunsets.
This is the one killer cloud from the last month, off to the east,
lit by a sun way over the horizon.
 I hope to have more to report next month... but if i don't,
I can take you to the desert, through Tehechapi Pass :-)
It's one of the nicest drives I've done in Ca., but dammit there's no turnouts, and it's next to impossible to photograph anything without them.
"I'll be back" - just like 'Ahnold' terminator but i won't drive thru you window,
just land on yer screen :-)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Winter...but not much of it.

Winter finally arrived in the SF Bay area on Nov 18-20.
'Twas a mild start, incoming front was just grey and featureless, but on the back side, after the front passed thru?...some nice multilayered cloud cover,
which shaped up nicely as the sun set. I could see this one coming.
(I have had much 'practice' watching skies. From '81-'91 I shot archictecture in the Wash DC area, you always watch the sky, it can totally make a shot, and always watch the weather reports, they aren't always very accurate, but it's the best you got. So I've gotten pretty good at watching, and predicting, to some degree.)

...and made it to the 5th floor breezeway facing west in time to catch the sunlight from over the horizon hitting the undersides of the clouds. Niiiice.


  The very warm light also hit a monster thunderhead,
somewhere to the east.

within a few minutes, it got lit by sunset light too.

And here's a few miscellaneous others, taken I'm not sure when,
but definitely recent, Enjoy all!

Now here's some energy goin' on, fer sure.

But this (below) is peaceful, mellow.

It's only Dec 2, I'm sure there will be more to come.
I plan on takin' it in :-)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where is winter?

Winter is comin' our way, but so far it seems to be coming slowly, gently.
Just some nice cirrus, some interesting fog over the hills. Looking forward to more, much more, here.

C'mon Mother Nature, bring it on! Something with power, like these
storm clouds getting compressed going over the mountains, headed east.
(Photo taken just north of Mojave, Ca. a few years ago.)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Time for some more fog.

San Francisco in the summer time can be downright depressing, it can be foggy/socked in for weeks at a time.

But many times, all ya need to do is cross the G.G. Bridge, and it's a different world.
Here's a view from the Marin Headlands - clear blue skies above?... the city is probably socked in.

I like planning to go to the Headlands when the fog is burning off, I like to be on the sunny side of the stuff, interesting things happen as it burns off...




The crows like it, too -
here's one having a great time with the updrafts from the burn off:

Now I live in San Rafael, just 15 minutes drive north of the GG Bridge, and this is my view (below) of fog, struggling to get over the hills, and not getting there.

I like watching the constant struggle and interplay between the elements - air, water, barometric pressure. 
It's like mother earth is throwing a party, we are all invited.
Are we treating 'Mom' well??... probably not.
I won't even get started on the whole global warming thing.
This planet has changed incredibly, over hundreds of millions of years. And it will change more than we could possibly imagine, before the sun melts down, and bakes Earth in about...1.75 billion years.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Fog

The next few posts will be... foggy. Literally. Summertime on the California coast is a very interesting time, fog rolls in off the ocean, hits the land, and very interesting things happen, never the same way twice, it's always a battle of sorts w/ the air mass over the land. Weather forecasts can be monotonous - "60's at the coast, 70's and 80's around the bay, 90's inland. Fog moves inland overnite, clearing to the coast by midday" - 30 degrees difference in less than 30 miles. Here's a webcam view from the east bay:

Yes that's the top of one tower of the GG Bridge in the center.

And a satellite image:




"Lani's fog blog" - how amusing, the fog inspires a blog!
By Lani Chin, San Francisco resident, Ohio State alum, aspiring 10-pin bowler, cheap eats foodie and film lover with a memory elephants would envy:


I've found the Marin Headlands to be one of the most interesting places to observe and photograph fog.

Without further ado, here's the views.


Every once in a great while, you find yourself in the *purr-fect* place at the right time.

That's what keeps me coming back.

If you interpret the 'sky' to be 'anything above your head' this one qualifies.

Otherworldly Photos Capture Mysterious Phenomena in Upper Atmosphere
In the blink of an eye, an enormous bright red light flashes above a thundercloud, spreading energetic branches that extend five times taller than Mount Everest and look like jellyfish tendrils and angel's wings.

These mysterious phenomena are known as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), and are usually invisible to the naked eye because they happen on millisecond timescales, too fast to be seen. They occur between 50 to 100 kilometers above the ground, a long-ignored area of the atmosphere that is too high for aircraft but too low for satellites to investigate. There, the thin air interacts with strong electrical fields to ionize molecules and create arcing plasmas."

If you haven't seen this one yet, you really should:


It's not all 'western' but it's too good to not mention.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summer's here in California - Skies are boring.

Maybe you've heard the song w/ the lyric "it never rains in southern california..."?
True, during the summer. Not true during the winter. But it's summer now, there's nothin' but big fat hi-pressure systems in the eastern Pacific, the weather is like... 'no weather', blue skies from horizon to horizon, day in and day out, i could paint you a picture with a Photoshop file, using a simple gradient tool.
The one interesting thing going on is fog at the coast, there will be future posts about this, I've taken in alot of it over the years. But before I get to the fog, for a few moments, since winter has not receded from memory quite yet, here's a few photos of stormy clouds, winter, in all it's furious glory. Hope you enjoy.
Please return, the next post will be..uh.. foggy, definitely!

 Looking east, from Limantour Spit, Pt Reyes.

 Looking west from Limantour Spit, Pt. Reyes.

These next four are all at Limantour Spit, Pt. Reyes

 Above and below, taken outside Las Vegas, NV.

 Super fat 'cumulus'... i think.

 "Mammatus" is the scientific name - taken in San Rafael, CA.