Bodega Bay Head

Just because I realized long ago that I am never going to be able to capture the way I feel looking out into the ocean doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop trying to capture that feeling. Certainly our latest trip to Bodega Head was no exception, especially with brilliant sunshine.

Here’s the view looking South,

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Northwest,

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and North, up the coastline.

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Reminder to myself for the future: don’t bother trying to shoot HDR where waves are involved — way too much blur to deal with.

Luckily, when landscape photography proves too difficult, I can always fall back on wildlife photography.

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Slow Birding at Spring Lake

I may have become slightly spoiled by past birding at Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake because I wasn’t impressed by how few birds I saw on this visit, though it is the first time I’ver ever seen a Cedar Waxwing there.

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I did see a single Night Heron,

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which seemed determined to hide from the huge number of people who were out walking Labor Day.

In fact, it wasn’t until my second walk, mid-week, that I saw anything vaguely interesting. This might have been the first time I’ve ever gotten a shot of a White Breasted Nuthatch.

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I really wasn’t sure what the heck this brown and white pile was, particularly since it seemed to be guarded by a Snowy Egret. If you click to enlarge the photo you can barely make out the immature Swans.

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I’d never seen them with brown feathers before, much less without a parent nearby.

For some reason, though, all the adults were at the other end of the lake gliding elegantly by.

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The real thrill of this visit, though, came when I heard what sounded like a jet right behind me and looked around to see the small flock of Swans launching themselves.

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Not sure what caused them to take off, but it was a thrill hearing those powerful wings overtake me. They were so loud that I almost ducked instead of turning around and snapping several shots.

Santa Rosa’s National Heirloom Exposition

Although we planned on spending a half a day at the Santa Rosa National Heirloom Exposition, the 94-degree heat cut our visit much shorter than that. Still, I managed to get to see the main events that I was interested in.

I really wanted to see the Chalk exhibit, and I wasn’t disappointed by what I saw.

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There’s something special about art that has to be seen as it’s created or it can’t be seen at all.

The biggest attraction for me, though, was the dahlia exhibit. There were a couple of prize-winning dahlias on display that I would have bought on sight if they had been for sale. My favorite was this one,

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but this unusual red and white one was a close runner-up.

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Really, though, the exhibit made me appreciate the little dahlia garden down the street from me even more than I have before. The varieties found there certainly rivaled the varieties found at this dahlia show.

At first I didn’t really think I would be impressed by heirloom vegetables, but I’ll have to admit that I was blown away by the tremendous number of varieties represented by the “Squash Tower” in the main hall.

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If I had something more than a postage-sized yard here in Tacoma, I would have spent a lot more time looking at all the new technology offered at the show, particularly the drip irrigation innovations and the biodynamic aspect of gardening.

The “Urban Folk Art” of Patrick Amiot

Did I mention that my latest trip, unlike some trips in the past, didn’t focus exclusively on bird watching? I meant to mention it, and I have a lot more photographs of flowers and “artwork” than I do birds, though this shot did remind me a little of some birders that I know.

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We spent a morning in Sebastopol exploring the “urban folk art” of Patrick Amiot. All of these shots came from his neighborhood where virtually every yard contains at least one piece of his artwork. I took so many shots that I found it difficult to decide which ones to show here. As usual, though, I’m featuring those that most appealed to me, not necessarily his best work.

Heck, if one of the people here was a woman, and not a man, this piece

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could serve as a virtual shot of Leslie and I camping.

It’s hard not to recognize this auto salesman

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as someone you’ve met somewhere in the past. To fully appreciate Amiot’s work, you need to enlarge the photo by double clicking on it and look at his teeth, or the emblems on his shirt.

For me, though, his best pieces are those that portray characters like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

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or The Wicked Witch

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from The Wizard of Oz.

I would love to have one of his sculptures in my backyard, but his studio was closed the day we went to visit it. Maybe we’ll get back on a later trip.