Photography Explorations

Post image for Betsy Sergeant Snow captures the wildflower glory at Carrizo Plain on spring break trip

Followers of San Francisco Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra got tipped off about the great wildflower display going on at the Carrizo Plain National Monument in southeastern San Joaquin County in last Sunday’s paper.

The Los Angeles Times also weighed in: “The Valley floor has endless expanses of yellows and purples from coreopsis, tidy tips and phacelia, with smaller patches of dozens of other species…Not to be outdone, the Temblor Range is painted with swaths of orange, yellow and purple like something out of a storybook.”

Breathtaking is an understatement as InMenlo contributing photographer Betsy Sergeant Snow found out this week while on a spring break road trip. “As high school teachers we often put a lot of emphasis on what it is that will provide mental restoration over spring break,” she emails.

“With this year’s impending super bloom it seemed the perfect opportunity to get out and see something close to home. With my in-laws living in Cambria, my mother-in-law, Karen, suggested that rather than go all the way south to Antelope Valley, where I originally planned to go, that I check closer to home at Carrizo Plain. It turned out to be the perfect spot to see the golden hills and the lush green fields.

“With my seven-year-old son, Trevor in tow, we headed from Cambria over to Highway 58 and enjoyed a lovely morning of bright colors and contrasts near Soda Lake.

“I’m also in a time of my life when a photography trip has to be completely planned and separate from a family excursion, so this falls into the latter category. I would love to return with a full set of gear: a wide angle lens, a macro, and stay until sunset (or sunrise). In fact, the day we went happened to be a full moon, and  boy would I have loved to see that over the valley.

“Tips: head to the intersection of Seven Mile Rd. and HWY 58 for the best of the mustard bloom.”

According to the Bureau of Land Management, Carrizo Plain “is one of the best kept secrets in California…This remote monument, traversed by the San Andreas Fault which has carved valleys, created and moved mountains, and yet up close, is seen in subtle alignment of ridges, ravines and normally dry ponds. Prominent features on the monument include the white alkali flats of Soda Lake, Painted Rock, vast open grasslands, and a broad plain rimmed by mountains. When conditions are right, numerous wildflowers can carpet the valley floor; although short lived it can be breathtaking.”

We present a variety of Betsy’s photos here. The photo of Trevor (top) and the bottom photo were taken with an  iPhone; the rest were shot with a Song A7ii. More photos from her visit to Carrizo can be viewed on her website.

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Photographing the fish of San Francisco Bay

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InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most volunteers for Baykeeper, which has been advocating for the health of San Francisco Bay since 1989. The organization needed photos of fish, and Robb asked Pietro Parravano, who brings fish weekly to the Menlo Park Farmers Market, how he should go about getting the photos. Pietro suggest signing up for a trip […]

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Alan McGee’s photographs examine landscape as metaphor

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“Beauty and Terror: Landscape as Metaphor” by photographer Alan McGee of Portola Valley is the featured exhibit at Portola Art Gallery (75 Arbor Road) in March. A reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, March 18, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. The show features photographs from 35 years of Alan’s explorations on the beaches […]

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Need some winter cheer? Check out these rain-soaked blooms in Menlo Park

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What’s that? Blue sky and sunshine overhead? Yes, it does feel that it’s been raining forever in Menlo Park. In particular, that was some deluge that started mid-afternoon yesterday and lasted into the early evening. Then came the gusty winds overnight. Reported InMenlo weather watcher Bill Russ at 7:30 am this morning: “28.5” is my season total. That […]

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Rain turns Damiani Creek into a rolling, boiling torrent

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We may be blessed with several days of dry conditions, but InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most captured the result of the long rainy period when he ventured out to Portola Valley last Sunday and parked along Alpine Road, which runs adjacent to Damiani Creek. We feature a number of his photographs, including a very wet […]

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Barry Fleisher’s hospital construction photo is honored

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We got an update from Menlo Park-based photographer Barry Fleisher: “I’ve been photographing the construction progress of the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for almost three years. As part of that body of work, I submitted photographs to the 2016 annual construction photography contest sponsored by Engineering News-Record (ENR), a construction trade periodical. “This […]

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Capture winter scenes of Yosemite easily on an iPhone

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On a visit to Yosemite last week, I had some good photography fun. While I had packed my “big” camera (a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with an 18-55 mm zoom lens), it stayed in my camera bag the whole time we were there. I opted instead to go “nimble” and to take photos exclusively with the camera in […]

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More on the mushrooms popping up all over Menlo Park

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We heard from Menlo Park resident Eric Sabelman who discovered black mushrooms in his yard last year: “The black mushrooms of last February have not re-appeared as yet, but there seems to be a bounty of different fungi enjoying our recent wet weather. I haven’t had time to research what species these are. “The photo with […]

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Painterly-looking, golden leaves provide a spark of holiday tranquility

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InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most took a stroll around his west Menlo Park neighborhood yesterday, following Thursday’s storm, which pretty much stripped the remaining leaves off of trees. We liked, in particular, the gold leaves near a gate along with the same leaves mixed with pale rose (can’t quite describe the color!) ones sharing space atop […]

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Photographer Merrie Asimow takes her cameras on an African adventure

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Menlo Park-based photographer Merrie Asimow may be most-known for her horse photography, but a 10-day trip last August to Kenya and Tanzania yielded some equally wonderful wildlife photos. She’s a self-described “Nikon person,” and brought two bodies along on the trip — a D750 and D500, along with two lenses, a 24-70 mm and an 80-400 […]

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Big Dish area will be closed for five days in August

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The popular walking destination for Menlo Park residents, Stanford’s Big Dish area, will be closed Monday, August 15 through Friday, August 19. We’re using that announcement to showcase some of InMenlo contributing photographer Irene Searles photos of the area’s creatures. The closure will allow for coordinated maintenance activities in and around the area. According to a […]

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