Archive for the ‘RANDOM IMAGES’ Category
Ascending from the valley floor in Tucson to the top of Mt. Lemmon is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada — in terms of the biological diversity and the number of ecological zones one passes through.
These high elevation mountain zones are called Sky Islands:
Weldon Heald coined the term “sky islands” in 1967 to denote mountain ranges that are isolated from each other by intervening valleys of grassland or desert. The valleys of this basin and range country act as barriers to the movement of certain woodland and forest species, somewhat like saltwater seas isolate plants and animals on oceanic islands – hence the common association with the archipelago phenomenon. Other species, such as mountain lions and black bears, depend on movement corridors between mountain islands to maintain genetic diversity and population size. (from The Sky Island Alliance website)
In Tucson summer is still hanging around with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80’s, but up at 8,000 feet in the Santa Catalina Mountains Autumn is in full swing.
The Aspen Loop from Marshall Gulch is alive with color this week.
Full disclosure: I didn’t bike all the way up Mt. Lemmon — I took an automobile — but there is precedent for me posting a holiday (e.g. Haloween, Xmas, Solstice) photograph, whether or not there was any riding involved. And now that the weather is cooling down, I plan to revisit the idea of bicycling to the top……really I do!
Many of the pictures posted over the last few months were created with the iPhone’s built-in camera.
The image quality is inferior to my Lumix LX-3, but the LX-3 was itself a compromise. I used it mainly because it was smaller and more convenient to carry on my bicycle than the alternatives.
Now, size and convenience are winning out again — hence the increased use of the iPhone.
Since these images are primarily intended for the web (and never larger than 650 pixels wide) I have some margin for error in terms of image quality. That’s why I can still produce acceptable results even when facing tricky lighting situations like those seen in these desert vistas. (However, for the first shot I had to combine two exposures in order to retain marginal detail in the foreground shadow areas.)
The biggest drawback is that printing larger images for a gallery show or portfolio may not be achievable. For this, I could really use a larger sensor, but still compact, Olympus EP-3 or Fuji X-100 — which are the cameras I’m drooling over currently.
However, at this point, I should remind myself of the unlimited nature of material desire and the profound teachings of the Buddha — especially his “Second Noble Truth.”
The word monsoon is derived from the Arabic word mausim, which means season. Traders plying the waters off the Arabian and Indian coasts noted for centuries that dry northeast winds in the winter suddenly turn to the southwest during the summer, and bring beneficial yet torrential rains to the Asian subcontinent.
Supposedly, it’s so hot in this desert that moist air from the distant Sea of Cortez is sucked inland and becomes rain here in Tucson.
The National Weather Service reports 1.6 inches of rainfall so far this month.
I estimate that this evening’s storm dumped another 0.25 to 0.50 inches (I just avoided getting caught in the deluge bicycling back from the grocery store) bringing July’s total to around 2 inches.
The wettest July on record: 6.24 inches in 1921.
Gracias, St. John!
An image that really has nothing much to do with bicycles (like many of my other “Random Images“), but it feels very autumnal and fitting for the holiday.
This was made on the way up the Cataract trail toward Mt. Tam.
In months past, I’ve written extensively about the area around Cataract.
I found this beautiful, nearly 6 inch long, praying mantis in a container plant on my back patio.
Since reading Laurens van der Post’s A Mantis Carol, and learning the Bushmen of the Kalahari regard them as manifestations of God, I always approach these creatures with a special reverence. In the Islamic world, they are also important religious symbols. Plus, their subtle movements evoke meditation and mindfulness.
I like to think this little creature’s visit was a reminder to have more subtle awareness of my life and to not get too caught up in the day’s chaos.
What does this have to do with bicycling?
Well…for me riding a bike is good mindfulness practice: It helps me to regain peace of mind after a hard day and helps me to observe my everyday world with a somewhat greater sense of clarity.
Since my previous post highlighted this marsh, I thought I’d share a B&W image made with an old Fuji S2 digital camera. The view is from deep in the marsh looking west toward Mt. Tam across tussocks of Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana). Over the course of a couple weeks, I made a series of images in this area last spring. This was one of my favorites.
August Sander, Forester’s Child, Westerwald, 1931. Gelatin silver print, 10-3/16 x 7-1/2 inches. Copyright © SK-Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn. Deborah Bell Photographs
August Sander is one of the most esteemed portrait photographers the medium has produced. I did not know of this image, however, until discovering it in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine.
The geo-link below the photo is only accurate at the level of the town (it would be interesting to track down the exact location).
Since I’ve already digressed so greatly from the Angel Island ride report and photos I keep wanting to post, I may as well list some other (mostly contemporary) photographers that interest me (in no particular order):
- Pirkle Jones
- Joel Sternfeld
- Clyde Butcher
- Saul Leiter
- Christopher Burkett
- Michael Kenna
- Edward Burtynsky
- Stephen Shore
- Edward Weston
- Mathew Chase-Daniel
- William Eggleston
- Chris Jordon
- Clark Little
- Jim Balog
And then there’s my current favorite photographer, Laura Mcphee.
One more picture from the fair last weekend.
To celebrate the Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year and the exact moment — 11:28am PST yesterday — when the earth’s axial tilt is most inclined to the Sun) a gallery of images of Spring flora made on various bicycle rides over the last couple months:
From upper left-to-right and from top-to-bottom:
- Daisies of some kind;
- Sticky Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus);
- native California Black Oak (Quercus kellogii);
- native Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata);
- a native Pacific Coast Iris;
- native California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica);
- another Pacific Coast Iris,
- a Rose; and finally,
- Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) a troublesome invasive species supposedly wreaking havoc upon on native wildlife ecosystems.
Another random image made on my back porch. Like this picture also from my porch (or this Christmas Day image), it really has nothing to do with bicycles — just an interesting photograph I thought I’d share.
The above image was made with my new (used) camera: a Fuji S5. The lens is a Nikon 18-55mm picked up for $25 on craigslist. The autofocus motor on the lens is broken (which is why it was so cheap), but I like it because it forces me to slow down and focus the lens by hand.
You wouldn’t know it, but this is a picture of three wild turkeys (if you squint and use a little imagination you might see them). I was on my bicycle and it was dusk so all I got was this colorful blur.
Still, I think the picture kind of works as an abstract.
Riding around at sundown is usually a good time to see wildlife. I saw three deer and six wild turkeys.
Pacific Ocean, Christmas Day 2009