Lens on the Past

Fresnel Lens


I took this image back in 2009 at the Point Arena Lighthouse.  I thought it would be interesting to take another look at this shot of a segment of the lens that was used in the reconstructed lighthouse after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The Lens is called a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, and is over six feet in diameter and weighs more than six tons. The lens was made in France at a cost of $3.5 million and consists of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bullseyes. It was these bullseyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique “light signature” of two flashes every six seconds.

In June 1977 the installation of an automated aircraft-type beacon on the balcony tower retired the historic Fresnel Lens forever.

I’ve been looking through my images on my newly installed iMac and saw the original color version of this subject.  I thought it might be interesting to see it in an even more abstract B&W rendition.


Equipment: Nikon D300; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 len

Posted in Black and White, Lighthouse | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Meet the “Flockers”

Attitude The Dancer Stately Shy


Well it’s that time of year again when Sea Ranch’s local sheep flock makes its appearance in the meadow behind our house.  I just can’t pass up the opportunity to capture a few of these lovelies, especially right after lambing.  These images pretty much speak for themselves.  The flock continually moves through the Ranch munching unwanted fuel for fires.  It’s cheaper than mowing and it adds a little fertilizer back to the soil.

Equipment:  Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens, Monopod.

P. S. Those of you who routinely follow my blog are probably wondering where I’ve been for so long. Well, blame it on my really bad judgment in loading Windows 10 on my PC.  It totally destabilized my machine and made photo editing impossible.  I finally bit the bullet and switched to an iMac and haven’t looked back.  If you’re thinking about updating to Windows 10…don’t!

P.P.S.  Anyone want to buy a PC…cheap?

Posted in Coastal meadows, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Old Redwood Barn

Old Redwood Barn

I’ve posted a couple of other old barns and structures before and I guess I just love these aging structures.  This one is located a block north of River Road near the Russian River east of Guerneville, right in the Russian River wine country area.  I’ve been past this barn many times and always wanted to photograph it but never quite made it happen.  So a week or so ago I took a day trip through the Alexander Valley looking for the wild mustard blooms and came away a little disappointed.  Then I remembered that old barn.  It was late in the day and I got some nice lighting and shadows to enhance the scene.  The English daisies were also blooming close to the ground which added a nice carpet of color as well.  For me, these old weathered barns hearken back to a time when we worked the land by hand.  I’m just glad I finally got a chance to give this old barn a second look.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens (at 24mm); monopod.

Posted in History, Landscapes, Old Buildings, Sonoma County | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Petaluma: Its History Remains


I spent a few hours on my own walking through the back alleys of Petaluma a week or so ago.  From the main street Petaluma looks like most other northern California small towns with newish facades on older buildings.  But a trip through the back alleys along the Petaluma River reveals much of the older parts of Petaluma that was originally founded in 1859.  One of the oldest towns in California it was also the only town in proximity to San Francisco to survive the 1906 earthquake relatively intact.  This is evident from the remaining cobblestone alleys and abandoned rail tracks that run along the river bank.  Like so many other California towns with river frontage, the town backs to the river rather than fronting along the river as I am accustomed to having grown up in Long Island.

In these images I’ve tried to capture some of the textures that reflect the true age of this special city.  Petaluma seems to embrace its history by retaining the remnants of its past development, yet also tries to show a more modern face to its main street.  This day my interest was in the historic “Back” story as I think it’s what distinguishes it from many other more redeveloped cities in Northern California.  The abandoned train tracks, the back doors, the cobblestones, all tell a tale of resilience and pride in the history of this little town on the river.  I love hanging out here.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens

Posted in History, Old Buildings, Sonoma County, Street Photography | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Between Storms


Black Point reflected wave

Arch Rock Between Storms

I took a break from the shop a couple of days ago to head out to Black Point and Arch Rock to check out the scenery.  We’ve had a string of storms hit the coast here bringing some much needed rain, and now there was a nice albeit short break in the action.  The first image captures some nice shore waves reflecting back off the bluffs; you can also see a small waterfall flowing off the bluff from the meadow above.  The reflected wave makes for a nice focal point for the image and helps to carry the viewer’s eye into the image.

The second image shows Arch Rock just to the north of Black Point with some nice waves lingering from the prior storms.  The sheep-stake fence in the foreground is also a reminder of the sheep ranching bygone days here in what is now Sea Ranch.  I used a 6-stop ND filter for both these images so I was able to shoot at 1 to 3 seconds to allow for a little blurring of the ocean.  Just a little.  Now, it’s back to the shop.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod; B&W 6-Stop ND filter

Posted in Beach, Black and White, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography, Seascapes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Storm’s Leading Edge

Bihler Point Barn

Bihler Point Looking North Storm off Bihler Point Bihler Point Barn

Right now there are five storms stacked up over the Pacific and heading towards the west coast.  The first storm moved in late last night, but before that I went down to Bihler Point directly off the Sea Ranch Lodge to capture the last light of the day.  I could see some really nice storm clouds building and the leading edge of the storm was moving in fast.  I managed to beat the rain and captured some nice images of the storm’s low ceiling, which also created a visual sense of foreboding.  I shot these images with a 3-stop ND filter which allowed for some slightly longer exposures adding some additional mood to the ocean shots.  But the clouds were the subject here, and they were perfect for capturing the mood that was part of being in that space at that moment.  I like this aspect of B&W, as it allows for more abstractness than color and provides more freedom to create a picture, or a mood.


Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod: B&W 3-stop ND filter

Posted in Beach, Black and White, Coastal meadows, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography, Seascapes, Sunsets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Winter Up in the Gualala Watershed

Oaks Against a Stormy Sky Lone Manzanita  against a backdrop of old Oaks Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River


We’ve been having some more traditional winter weather here on the North Coast and I wanted to head east up into the Gualala River watershed.  I wanted to find some nice tree specimens to photograph while the clouds remain.  In the first image the storm clouds provide a great backdrop to a stand of oaks barren of their foliage.   I shot this image looking up a ravine where these oaks stood, thus providing an interesting perspective for these looming oaks.

The second image shows a lone Manzanita against a backdrop of old, moss-covered oaks.  I shot this image looking downhill at this stand of trees.  The dark and bark less Manzanita still stands out against this heavily vegetated background.  This is an especially nice specimen of a mature Manzanita.

The last image was taken from the Annapolis Road Bridge looking downstream of the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River.  It was nice to see a robust flow in the river when only a few months ago this stretch of river was totally dry.  It’s great to see the rain again!


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod; Kirk ball head

Posted in Black and White, Forest, Landscapes, Sonoma County | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

December Fog

Redwood Forest along Timber Ridge _8101390shrp1400BW _8101387shrp1400BW

We’ve been having some stormy weather here at Sea Ranch and between the storms we’ve had a bit of fog push in to the ridge top.  I first headed up into the redwoods here along Timber Ridge and found the forest enveloped in a shroud of hazy fog in the late afternoon.   The first three images capture that deep forest feeling and the overall stillness I felt as I stood in the midst of this almost primeval forest.  You could actually hear the dew drops falling from the trees it was so quiet and still.

_8101400shrp1400a _8101432shrp1400W

The last two images were taken a little later on in the day down at the Monterey Cypress hedgerow along Black Point Reach.  I really couldn’t decide which of these images I liked better so I decided that I didn’t have to decide.  These hedgerows are an iconic piece of the Sea Ranch “Experience” and hearken back to the days of sheep ranching throughout these coastal meadows.  They were planted as a wind break.

The most compelling part of these images for me is that I was able to capture them all within about an hour or two without going more than a few miles from my house.  The north coast is a pretty magical place with all it diverse environments all within a short walk.  Life is good!


Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Oben tripod, Kirk Ball Head

Posted in Black and White, Coastal meadows, Fall, Forest, History, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography | Tagged , | 2 Comments