Friday, January 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflection: Lundy Lake

October 23, 2009, it was the first day of our photo trip to Eastern Sierra, we woke up early to first photographed the sunrise over the Mono Lake, we were than at the ghost town of Bodie. Grace was tired and wasn't feeling too well, we thus went back to Bridgeport and had sandwich from the local butcher. In the afternoon, we joined again with the rest of the group at Lundy Lake.

Lundy Lake is formed by one of the many tributaries that originally feed into the Mono Lake. It was damed in 1911. We first went further upstream to photograph the pond formed by a beaver dam. In the first two pictures, you can see the perfect blue sky reflected from the pond filled with trees fallen by the beavers.

The main purpose for us coming to the lake is to photograph the Fall Colors. Unlike the Northeast, the Fall Colors of the Sierra Mountain is mostly yellow. This tree at the bank of the lake was showing off its Fall Color at its best.

Now we see the Lundy Lake proper and the Aspen tree turing yellow along the lake.

Here we were looking toward the west from the dam with view of the whole lake and the Sierra Mountain at the back drop. The lake is famous for trout fishing.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ABC Wednesday: B is for Bridgeport, CA or Beef?!

Bridgeport, California is at Eastern Sierra on the Highway 395 between its junction with Rt. 108 and Rt. 120. Both routes cross the Sierra Mountain to the West Coast. Rt. 108 is also know as Sonora Pass Highway and the part of Rt. 120 that cross the Sierra Mountain alone the Yosemite National Park is also known as Tioga Road. Both roads close during the winter snow season. We were fortunate that we were able to pass both highways during our photograph tours to Yosemite National Park and Eastern Sierra last october.

The Highway 395 provides easy access to the north (Lake Tahoe-Reno), south (Death Valley, Las Vegas, Los Angles), east (Salt Lake City) and west (Yosemite, Sonora). In addition to the easy access to all directions, Bridgeport has its own attractions of trout fishing, hunting and winter sports.

In reality, the town is just houses along a segment of Highway 395, less than a mile long with several motels, one supermarket/grocery store, a butcher, several sandwich shops and restaurants. The most important structure in the town is the Bridgeport courthouse, an impressive Victorian building completed in 1881. It is featured in the first three pictures.

After our visit to Yosemite National Park, we took the Tioga road to cross the Sierra Mountain and used Bridgeport as a base to visit many surrounding attractions such as Bodie, Twin Lake, Mono Lake, South Tufa, etc.

This is the outside terrace of Bridgeport Inn, built in 1877, one of the better hotel/motel/restaurant in town. You can see Grace's reflection on the stool.

Here is the entrance of Bridgeport Inn, we went there for lunch sandwich the first day, we went for steak dinner the next and we went bak for prime-rib dinner the last day. All around Bridgeport are cattle farms. I was at the local butcher for a fresh made roast beef sandwich one lunch time, a couple of cowboys walked in. "Relatives are coming, we need some meat", they said. The steaks were 1 1/2-inch thick, the size of a large dinner plate, the pork chops were 2-inch thick. I have never seen so much meat for a dinner party before. By the way, if you bring your own deer (presumably dead one that you hunted down that morning), the butcher will skin, clean, cut for you at a cost of $100.

After all that beef, very delicious beef I must say, where are the leftover. They are high up in the air.

This one is a real long-horned cattle. The aspen tree was in perfect yellow Fall color in the background.

Well, Bridgeport is such centrally located for the travel in Eastern Sierra, of cause it has a garage. I like the symmetry of this photo.

Click here to see several of our past blogs of our photographic trip at Eastern Sierra, or here for our photos of the Eastern Sierra.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Granddaughter's Toy

Saturday morning, I was sent to the basement to stay with our granddaughter while she was playing in her playroom. I did not have to engage in her playing a lot, thus took my Nikon D700 with the 135mm DC lens off from the shelf and sat comfortably on the chair to find some interesting subjects.

Children's toys are the most colorful things to photograph. This turtle hides itself high up near the ceiling.

This yellow school bus, which my granddaughter calls it YAYOU BUS was ready to drive to school when it backed into a basket.

This lonely white tiger given by her grandma apparently has lost the favorite of its master. Do you think he looks a little bit sad?

Here is my granddaughter's favorite ride. It sings.

I really think this is a rechargeable battery for the car.

All the characters of the circus are ready for action whenever the duty calls come.

Except this chic little elephant,who is hiding itself under the table.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Reflection: Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Tenaya Lake, Tioga Road, Yosemite

On October 21, 2009, we drove through Tioga Road from Yosemite National Park to Mono Lake at Eastern Sierra. There are many mountain lakes along the way. After the the Olmested Point, which we have the last view to the Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, we had the first glimpse of the Tenaya Lake, so crystal blue and so calm in the distance.

The road took us directly along the lake shore. On the left side, it is the Polly Dome, on the right, it is the Tenaya Peak. The lake has an elevation of 8,150 feet.

Too see more entries of Weekend Reflection click here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

My sister and her family went to Hawaii for the New Year this year. This is the second time they went to these beautiful islands. The first time was in March 2001, our whole family gathered at Oahu for our father's 80-year old birthday. Everybody loves the trip.

A few years later, our daughter went to the Big Island of Hawaii with her friend, and after that she was married on the island of Kauai in 2006. Last week, during my visit to her for the birth of her second child, I found some photos that we took at Kauai in 2006. The day after our daughter's wedding, Grace and I took a helicopter ride to fly through the famous Waimea Canyon.

We were not very sophisticated with our camera equipment at the time. I was using my old Nikon D70 with 24-85 mm lens, and she had her Panasonic point-and-shoot.

We had to take the pictures through the glass window of the helicopter. The scenery was incredible. However, our photos right out from the camera did not do justification to the majestic canyon.

Well, five years later, I am a little bit better with Photoshop. A few trick with the "curve" removed the haze, increased the contrast and brought out the true color of the Waimea Canyon.

To see more sky from around the world click here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ABC Wednesday: A is for Ahwahnee Hotel

Ahwahnee hotel in the Yosemite National Park is a National Historical Landmark and one of the most distinct resort hotels in the North America. It has been opened for business since 1927.

The wood structures at the outside of the hotel was actually made of stained concrete poured into a mold to make it wood-like. The purpose of it is for the fire prevention. The hotel has 99 rooms and 25 cottages with rates from over $400 to over $1000 per night.

One of the most impressive interior of the hotel is its great dining hall. We went to have breakfast during our visit to Yosemite last October.

This is another view of the dining room with windows open to the garden.

The outside garden is park-like with views to all the major landmarks of Yosemite valley. We met deers wondering casually in surroundings.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflection, Today's Flower: Yosemite Fall

It was the second day of our Yosemite trip. Dave Wymen and Ken Rockwell took us to walk around the Merced river in the very early morning. The frost from the night was just start melting. We could see the morning dew on the spider web of the half frozen wild flowers. Can you see the image inside of the water droplet? It is the Yosemite Fall.

Here is how the Yosemite Fall looks like, not through the water droplet but from the reflection of the water pool of the Merced river.

Here is how the whole scenery looks like, the real thing and the reflection.

We could see Yosemite Fall from most part of the Valley. The early mist was now gone and the sky was crystal blue, the day turned out to be a very fine day.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Sunrise at Falls church, VA

Yesterday morning, I was putting my granddaughter into the car to take her to the nursery and saw this amazing sunrise. It was even mentioned on the Washington, DC area morning radio.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Z for Zzzzzz

Today, Maxime, our grandson is officially two weeks old. Everyday, every two hours, he wakes up and be fed for one hour then goes to Zzzzzz. Such a comfortable life, no wonder he is so happy. He is happy, we are happy.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Today's Flowers #74: Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park

Siesta Lake is not down at the valley of the Yosemite National Park. It is on the Route 120/Tioga Road at the northern side of the park. We took the Tioga Road to drive from Yosemite to Lee Vining at the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain to continue our photographic tour with Dave Wymen and Ken Rockwell last October. The road was closed for several days due to snow and was only just opened for traffic the morning that we took the trip. Dave reminded us to look out for this small lake for its beautiful Fall scenery.

Ansel Adams took a picture of the lake in 1958 and captured the peace and serenity of the lake in black and white. Over 50 years later we took advantage of the modern color digital photography to capture the multiple Fall color of the foliage around the lake. If he had the same technical advantage as we have, would he still use the black and white film or he would also try to explore the scenery with color?

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Reflection: Bodie

Bodie is a ghost town located at Mono County, California, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountain. It is the best preserved original gold mining town. No one has lived in the town for many years. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark and administrated by the California State Park. With the financial crises, the park was scheduled to be closed by the California State Government. Eventually a compromise was reached and Bodie still open for the 2009-2010 season. When we were there, it was guarded by one lone State Park ranger with much shorter opening time.

Bodie started as a mining camp when gold was discovered in 1859. At the peak of its boom in 1879, it has a population of 5000-7000 people with over 2000 buildings. Now less than 10% of the buildings still stand. It is a photographers' paradise, the old buildings gave very rich and saturated color.

Here you can see Grace's reflection from the old shop windows.

The field is littered with various mining equipments and wagons.

Some of the interior of the buildings are still preserved, make us felt some ghosts were still hung around the room and having a drink with their mining buddies.

One of the building of Bodie was moved to the near by town of Bridgeport and has been used as a small motel. Apparently it is in a better conditions than those left behind. Here you can see the reflection of Bridgeport courthouse from its very elegant window.

To see more entries of the Weekend Reflection click here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Skywatch Friday & ABC Wednesday: Y is for Yosemite

Some of our blogging friends know that we made a photographic tour to the Yosemite National Park last Fall with Dave Wyman and Ken Rockwell. It's thus obvious that we have been waiting for the letter "Y" to showcase a few of our photos at Yosemite. From a tourist point of view, there are two vista points to take in the whole Yosemite Valley. One is at "Valley View" and the other is at "Tunnel View". Valley View is by the Merced River, at the bottom of the Valley, close to the exit. The day started with a misty morning but by the afternoon when we reached the Valley View, it was pouring rain, only occasionally, the clouds broke to let in some sunshine.

At the Valley View looking back into the valley, on the left hand side is the giant boulder of "El Captan", which we have shown previously.

At the right hand side we can see the "Cathedral Rocks" with the "Bridalveil Fall" barely visible in the distance.

"Tunnel View" has nothing to do with the tunnel vision. It is on the Route 41 just east of Wawona Tunnel. It looks down into the Yosemite Valley. Whenever we see a mountain scene covered with misty clouds, we often say that it looks like a Chinese painting. The view of Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall from the Tunnel View indeed looks like a Chinese brush painting.

We were down at the valley when we saw the clouds broke, we had to rush up to the Tunnel View and just in time to have a few minutes of the magnificent view of the valley.

The clouds moved very fast with light changing every minute. A few minutes after we arrived, the whole valley was covered with clouds again. However, we appreciate that the clouds make the view much more dramatic than it would be on a bright sunny day.

We supposed to be able to see the Half Dome in the distance, but we would have to wait till the next day at the Glacial Point where we had a view of the famous rock up close during the sunset. You can see the pictures here in our previous blog.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

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