Montaña de Oro State Park

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From our trip to Montaña de Oro State Park: Friends, fire, food, sea, stars, sand, songs, and time made it an awesome Thanksgiving.

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I took this shot last weekend in Yosemite National Park at Tunnel View. El Capitan is on the left, Half Dome in the back, and you can probably make out Bridalveil Fall as a very faint streak in the dark side on the right. At this time of the year most waterfalls look a bit geriatric in Yosemite, but Bridalveil Fall’s stream was still going quite strong.

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Last Saturday we went to Santa Cruz to shoot at the Natural Bridge State Beach and were rewarded with a great sunset, as well as great many pelicans, who traveled in large groups along the shore. This group was the largest we saw and it passed us at exactly the right time.

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We took this shot on Highway 190, on our way out of Death Valley. The misty and dusty morning air made the hills look quite like paper cut-outs.

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Alien world

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This is my view from Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. Death Valley has such a high variety of landscape forms and such extreme conditions that it offers both, a great palette for photographers, and a sense of rarity and outlandishness that quite a few people, bands, philosophers, and movie makers seem to look for. Check out Zabriskie Point’s Wikipedia site :).

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Death Valley

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After Red Rock Canyon State Park we made our way into Death Valley. This exposure was taken close to the Golden Canyon in Badwater Basin, which, at its lowest point, is about 85 meters below sea level, and it is both the lowest and hottest spot in the States. At Furnace Creek we experienced 110 °F/43 °C at noon, and even at night standing outside felt like having a hair dryer blow into our faces. People have adapted to this by putting water fountains everywhere and by advising visitors to drink about one liter per hour, as well as to eat a lot of salty things. It is an amazing place to visit, but I would not want to live there permanently.

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On our trip to Death Valley we camped one night in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park. Just after we arrived, the bright, full moon came up. You can see how bright it became in this shot of our campsite on flickr.

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Anderson Lake

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The south of San Jose and Anderson Lake seen from the road that leads up to Henry W. Coe State Park. It’s awesome that this treasure is so close to home.

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River of Wood

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I spent a wonderful Sunday at the Sunol Regional Wilderness and hiked to the Little Yosemite Area, a rocky riverbed close to the boundary of the park. Scrambling down between the boulders was quite a relief, as the park quickly warmed up to a temperature of 106 ºF/41 ºC. Even though the heat and the lack of rain during the past couple of months had reduced the stream to a tiny trickle, there were some deeper pools that still contained water. These puddles served as refuge spots for frogs and small fish, and hot feet of hikers. The low water-level also exposed the roots in this exposure and I liked that they looked very much like a stream that swirled around the rocks.

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A funnel weaver, taken today at Henry W. Coe State Park. Yesterday we spotted two tarantulas while driving up the narrow road to the state park: one sitting on the street, the other one right next to it. I therefore had high hopes to see some more today, but no luck: the only spiders we saw were these, somewhat smaller, funnel weavers. The total size of the funnel webs ranged from about 10 cm to about 70 cm and this guy’s funnel was about 50 cm in diameter. The center hole, in which this spider is waiting for its prey, was about 2 cm wide.

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