Photography, Cycling and the Internets

Flowers & Plants

Poison Oak

Poison Oak

Poison oak is dangerously seductive.  Good thing the photos of it are safe.


Weathered Twig & Berries

Weathered Twig & Berries

A hike in San Jose’s Quicksilver park has several trees with these nice little clusters of red berries.  This one worked rather nice with the soft bokeh.





There were a few almond (amond for those of you without your “l’s” 🙂 ) trees on the photowalk.  I am not sure if they were wild or not.  These are not quite ripe yet, but when they are, I’m sure they will be tasty.

Dried Thistles

Dried Thistles

There were lots and lots of dry things on our walk.  It is after all, California in the summer.  Thistles in general are pretty interesting to look at regardless if they are green or brown.  The sun was high overhead which made these pretty challenging to shoot and get the interesting detail out of.  This is a three exposure HDR image to bring out some of the detail in the center of the front thistle.

Salsify, Revisited

Lets take a break from the California coast and once again revisit our (well maybe just my) favorite gigantic dandelion, the Salsify plant and its softball-sized seed ball.  Before this year, I had never heard or seen one before.  Now they are all over the place.  It must have something to do with the abnormally cold weather we’ve been subject to.

To get these images, attempted to pick the seed head off the plant to give it a proper backdrop.  Unlike a regular dandelion where this is a trivial task, salsify required me to resort to more aggressive tactics like such as employing a pair of scissors because breaking the fibrous stem by hand was difficult and risked disrupting the seeds.

Salsify Seeds on Head

Salsify Seeds


Yellow Wildflowers Over Lake Anderson

Yellow Wildflowers Over Lake Anderson

On the hike last Sunday with the togalongs, I noticed these little yellow flowers growing on the high bank of the lake.  I didn’t stop to shoot them on the way out, but I knew on the way back they would end up a target.  It took some work to get something that I liked, but in the end, I like the yellow against the blue water and seeing both sides of the lake.  Also, I tried the recommended technique of underexposing the shot to bring out the detail in the yellow.  Overall I think it worked quite nice.  The brightness of the yellow is still a bit lacking, but I think the detail more than makes up for it.

Grass & Thistle Over Morgan Hill

Grass & Thistle Over Morgan Hill

The kids and I went hiking around Anderson Lake in Morgan Hill on Sunday.  The sky was playing very nice and the views were gorgeous.  I really liked how the brown grass interacted with the blue sky, orchards, mountain and puffy white clouds.  I took this at 28mm f13 to get the background just slightly out of focus.    It was a bit breezy so it was really tough to get this with a super-sharp grass in the foreground.

California Wildflower


What are these little iridescent pearl flower buds?  I have no idea.  I found them in the local hills on a bush and are very cool.  I have no idea what they look like in bloom.  If you know what they are, let me know, I was unable to identify them online.

Salsify Seeds II

Salsify Seeds II

What do you do when you don’t have a macro lens and you want to get on the Dandelion Bandwagon (1, 2, 3)?  Get a bigger dandelion!   Again, we have Salsify seeds setup in my ‘studio’.  In the afternoon, the sun comes through a window in my house and has served as my back-lighting system for awhile.  I think it worked well here.  The one thing I don’t have and need is a black backdrop to make something like this stand out even better.

The details in the fibers are wonderful.  Click through to see them in good detail.

Broom Bush

Broom Bush

Broom bush from the front yard.  These things smell wonderful when in bloom.  Sadly this is almost done blooming for the year.