Tom’s Garden

Growing by the Bay

Month: August 2009

Friday roundup

Travels in virtual NoCal

Photo Wednesday: Muir Woods

Today’s image of shafts of sunlight cutting through tall redwoods along a Muir Woods hiking trail comes from vgm8383’s photostream. This is an HDR (high dynamic range) photo — a technique that combines multiple exposures to give a greater range of tonal detail. It worked pretty well in this instance because Muir Woods is surprisingly dark (test it with a light meter if you don’t believe me), and the light is very green.

San Francisco Presidio in 1887

This image of the presidio in 1887 comes from the public library’s historical photographs collection. Of interest are the small trees (today a large grove or forest) that punctuate the landscape. It is easy from this photo to picture how spare the sandy Pacific reaches of the city once were. The photograph is attributed to the U.S.Army Signal Corps; on the back is written the following:

PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO, 1887. This photograph was taken facing west and shows the Presidio Boulevard approach to the Post. The trees, planted in 1882 when Major General Irwin McDowell was Commander of the Western Department, today cover the hillsides.

Friday roundup

Travels in virtual NoCal

An obscenity

We’ve all read the stories about the University of California’s budget problems. High adminstrator salaries. Tightening the screws on the grunt laborers who do all the actual work. Furlough days for teachers. Raising student fees. Etc.

Okay, now guess how much just one of the schools in the system is paying to just one athletic coach. The coach in question is Jeff Tedford, who coaches men’s football on the Berkeley campus.

Okay, I won’t make you guess. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tedford is paid $1,850,000 per year. If I know Cal, and football, he probably gets a bunch of perks on top of that.

If that’s not obscene I don’t know what is.

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Image from by Tracy O’s photostream

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Treacherous waterways of the Bay Area

Recently we were out canoeing on the Napa-Sonoma Marsh. The tide was very strong, however, and we got a good workout paddling against it. In fact, as we navigated one slough we saw signs that other boaters before us had been overpowered by the tides and succumbed, never to regain civilization. Above a ghostlike figure restlessly haunts a wrecked craft.

Of course, boaters have been washing up stranded and meeting grizzly ends all over the greater Bay Area — the captain of the vessel below, if he surveyed at all, must have been forced to wade out through the muck. Why are our waterways so treacherous?

Friday roundup

Travels in virtual NoCal

Photo Wednesday: Golden Gate Bridge in fog

Photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog are a genre unto themselves. This fine example comes from jrodmanjr’s photostream

San Francisco skyline

This photo of the San Francisco skyline was taken from a rooftop on Potrero Hill.

Friday roundup

Virtual NoCal

Fratricide by the bay

There was a time when San Francisco’s Mitchell brothers were considered by many to be hip, heroes of the counterculture. Today, as a result of the direction their lives took, they are more likely to be perceived as examples of the degradations of porn.

But I’ve seen worse. Just the past weekend. In my own backyard.

I mean, the Mitchells weren’t cannibals, as far as I know. Apparently the same can’t be said for Cooper’s hawks. Four of the birds have been inhabiting my backyard this summer. They must have hatched from the same nest this spring. They got big fast, and our squirrels and finches have been looking nervous, keeping a wary lookout. These fierce birds squeeze their prey to death with their sharp viselike talons.

So this weekend I went out back and found that now we have three Cooper’s hawks — one of them was feasting on another. After I took the picture above it picked up the dead bird and flew away with it, as if it were but a single feather.

Not exactly a bambi moment.

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