Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Sunrise of 2011 - San Quentin Promontory - 12/31/11

          After tossing and turning a bit in bed I decided to get up early and go watch sunrise at the San Quentin Promontory near the Richmond Bridge in San Rafael.
          I walked down to the beach just as the first color was cast on the clouds at the horizon. It was still dark out, but a nearby street lamp cast enough light to illuminate the foreground with an eerie glow.

First Sign of a Neon Sunrise

          A layer of fog blanketed the water surface near the bridge and rolled across the bay like giant waves with actual rip curls.

San Quentin Sunrise

Fog Rip Curls at Sunrise

          The clouds went from a vibrant red to a psychedelic pink that was so neon it was surreal.

Neon Dawn

Psychedelic Sunrise

          After the sun rose, a harbor seal poked its head out of the water a few times as it swam around the calm waters. Seals aren't that common in the vicinity according to one of the nearby residents I spoke with. I know I've seen the seals hanging out frequently on the rocks beneath the bridge closer to the eastern terminus but I guess they rarely make their way to the western end.
Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse - Marin Headlands - 12/10/11

Lunar Eclipse from Rodeo Beach

          I stepped out of my house well before sunrise and was excited to see the partially eclipsed moon still fairly high in the sky. My destination was the iconic sea stacks on Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. I pulled up to the Bunker Hill Tunnel and followed several cars through. Any other morning at this early of an hour I would have had the place to myself, but with a full lunar eclipse set to occur just before sunrise, the headlands became an early morning hot spot.
          I walked down to the south end of Rodeo Beach where the tide was just low enough to allow passage to the sea stacks.
          There were already three photographers near the rock and two more arrived after I got there. As dawn grew closer the eclipse progressed leaving the moon a glowing orange color.

Lunar Eclipse Rodeo Beach

          Unfortunately the moon disappeared behind a layer of distant marine fog before reaching the horizon line where the moon would appear the largest.
          I then walked over to Rodeo Lagoon and watched a few clouds turn pink during sunrise.

Dawn at Rodeo Beach

Sunrise Color at Rodeo Beach

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Muir Beach and Slide Ranch - A Coastal Exploration

          I decided to spend the afternoon doing some hiking and scampering along the Marin Coast. I started off by driving to Muir Beach and managed to nab one of the few remaining spots in the large lot. I crossed the footbridge over Redwood Creek where large restoration efforts have been put forth to rehabilitate the watershed by reducing sediment and improving the Coho and Steelhead runs.
          Being a weekend I knew it was going to be busy so once on the beach I veered off away from the crowds. The tide was low and I took advantage by exploring some of the rugged coastline south of Muir Beach. I climbed over a couple of steep eroding embankments leaving the masses behind. Walking over jumbles of kelp strewn boulders, enjoying vistas of the plethora of sea stacks, it was just myself and the fisherman. In fact, because I did not bother to check the tides before I left home, I was glad to have a few fisherman act as a warning sign of when the tides will shift. I know it is not always safe to assume that other people know what they are doing, in fact I somewhat despise that sheepish mentality, however, there were enough different groups of fisherman that my odds were pretty good one of them knew when to go before the ebb turned to flood.

Craggy Coast South of Muir Beach

          I traveled a ways down the coast before picking a place to relax and watch the waves roll in.

Sea Stack

          I contemplated waiting for sunset, but I was a little too anxious to sit still that long so I hiked back to the car and drove north on Hwy 1 to Slide Ranch for another short hike.
          There were only a couple of cars in the lot when I set off along the trail leading through the Ranch area and then descending to the rocky shoreline. There's a few places to access the shoreline from Slide Ranch and I took the northerly most trail which let me out on a deserted beach consisting of polished stones and craggy boulders. There was a great sensation of serenity and any feelings of anxiousness were soon dissolved. I set down my pack and walked up and down the shoreline looking for treasures. I did my best to explore the few exposed tide pools, but without the proper footwear I was careful not to push my luck.

Textured Rock and Rising Moon

          I ended up staying for sunset which was as peaceful as ever regardless of the lack of clouds and color.

Slide Ranch Sunset

Sunset Silhouettes


Seagull Sunset

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sunrise along Berkeley Shores - 12/2/2011

          On my way to work I noticed the clouds lighting up something crazy with color so I couldn't resist pulling off near the race tracks in Berkeley to snap off some photos with my point and shoot. From where I was the most intensely lit clouds were situated in the sky above some ugly chain link fences so I waited and made due by taking advantage of the lichen covered landfill on a small peninsula.

Berkeley Sunrise

Sunrise from Berkeley Shores