Oakland, CA

The dense redwood forest of the aptly named Redwood Regional Park is where Jenn and I went for our January hike. Neither of us had been there before, but it was close by and looked like it offered some decent hiking trails. The walk along the creek trail was quite easy, and even paved for part of the way.

This image of one of the many redwood trees standing against the sun creates a very surreal scene within the forest in the early afternoon. Even though the sun had been out for quite some time, it was at this moment when it finally pierced the veil of cloud and tree cover. Perfect timing as we had stopped to have a bit of a break after our descent from the ridge above. Continue reading

Pleasanton, California

The sheer joy of being out and about in autumn with all the colors of the foliage and the slight chill in the air is undeniable! Mid October was the perfect time for a drive east to the city of Pleasanton for some hill-top exploring and shooting. A bit longer of a drive than we were used to, as most of our trips within the bay area were centered around the peninsula.

We found a nice spot to park the car and hike along a farmer’s fence line until we could find an opening. A short walk through some oak trees and we found ourselves surrounded by lush vegetation that seemed to be springing to life despite the late season. Jenn, of course, seised the opportunity with a cheerful pose amongst the brush.

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Santa Cruz, California

Walking along the foot bridges and trails around the Natural Bridges State Park, just north of Santa Cruz, in early spring. The place is teeming with floral growth and Calla Lilys are in abundance.

This particular Calla Lily, however, managed to grow away from the rest of the pack in some dense foliage just off to the side of the path. And, even though the sun was shining, the light was filtered out quite a bit from the tree canopy above.

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San Leandro, CA

This past Friday was a great day for a little hike! I went out to Lake Chabot with Jenn around 9am and we explored a few of the trails around the lake. The weather was brisk in the morning with some low cloud cover that quickly thinned out to offer up some great lighting in the underbrush along the trail.

With the winter season fast approaching, the ground cover was rich with the vibrant colors of the fall leaves. And, despite the lengthy drought, there was a thick blanket of moss on the rocks and tree roots. One such spot along the trail offered up this view with the parting clouds letting through the bright sun behind the trees.

Nikon D300 w/Nikkor 18-70mm G: 18mm, f/3.5, 1/40sec, ISO 400

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Novato, California

The small cascade that makes up the middle portion of Pacheco Creek Falls is lined with brilliant emerald moss. As the water trickles down in the early spring the entire scene is sublime and peaceful. The small pool at the bottom not much bigger than a puddle at the moment.

The Pacheco Creek trailhead is located in south Novato at the terminus of Pacheco Creek Drive and offers a moderate but short hike to the base of the falls. A goat trail continues up the valley, but is quite steep and slips can happen easily.

Nikon D300 w/Nikkor 18-70mm G 18mm, f/11, 0.8sec, ISO 100

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Novato, California

Pacheco Valley, located on the southern end of Novato offers up a short nature hike at the terminus of Pacheco Creek Drive. The trail to the lower falls is well maintained and easy to navigate but becomes quite steep and narrow going above the lower falls.

This image was taken just above the lower falls, which had a bit too much overgrowth for a decent image after the heavy rainfall this past month. As with most of the Marin County waterfalls, Pacheco Creek Falls are heavily reliant on sustained rainfall and we’ve been lucky recently with a couple storm systems rolling through town.

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Novato, Califirnia

After getting some shots of the lower falls I made the first climb up to the top of the middle falls. I was hoping to get to the base of the middle falls, but found that the side of the hill I was climbing just didn’t provide access easy enough. Instead though, I managed to get into position in the middle of the creek for a shot looking down over the middle falls and into the valley below.

The creek here is quite narrow and the water flow wasn’t at its peak, wich worked out perfectly for this shot. The vantage point here is is somethere around 75 feet above the base of the lower falls, certainly not a drop I’d like to make myself. The upper falls are another quarter mile up the valley behind me.

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Novato, California

The lower cascade of Fairway Falls is known by another name, Arroyo de San Jose. While this is the proper name for this waterfall, most will just refer to it as the more common Fairway Falls due to the trailhead being at the end of Fairway Drive and near the Ignacio golf course.

I got a bit closer for this shot to really emphasize the ferns and moss growing on the rock face of the small waterfall. You can see how the moss directs the water and creates many drip spouts and the whole scene just explodes with vibrant green color. Certainly not what comes to mind when I typically think of Novato.

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Novato, California

Quite a ways up from the lower and middle falls is a third cascade under heavy tree cover. The climb up to this area is steep, and once you reach the falls you are left with the decision to climb down or view through the trees from the top. Of course, for getting a picture the only choice is to climb down from above. There is no trail, only the side of the canyon to clammer down.

Thanks to an abundance of trees, rocks, and roots; I was able to reach the mid-point of the falls and find a good position that wasn’t obstructed by tree branches. The falls flow right over a large crack in the rock face and continue to fall another 10 feet deep into the canyon below. Reaching the bottom, while possible, is not advised as the rocks are covered in moss and extremely slippery.

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Novato, California

Did a bit of climbing out at Fairway Falls earlier today. While the lower falls are quite litterally a walk in the park to get to, the middle and upper falls require some scrambling and steep climbing. The soft wet ground didn’t really help much, but some well placed tree roots sure made the climb up easier.

The middle cascade actually sits right above the lower falls, in fact for this shot my back was right at the edge of the drop that makes up the lower falls! I’m really glad nobody else came wandering up the trail making sudden loud noises. I took this one later in the trip, just before heading back to the car.

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