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Sonoma Coast 5/28
Sonoma Coast 6/1
Sonoma Coast 6/2
Kibbie Lake Backpack 6/12

2021 Trip Chronicles:  Page 5

Sonoma Coast 5/28

With my last redwoods subject complete along Howland Road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, a bit before 5pm, I drove back down to Crescent City then headed south on US101. By dusk 175 miles south at Leggett turned off on Highway 1 and then stopped for the night at a wide pullout on that lightly travelled section of the highway.


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At dawn Friday May 28, 2021, was on my way southwest across the Coast Range and down to Westport along the shore. An hour later had reached Fort Bragg and at two hours reached Sonoma County coast areas where at 9am I stopped at a familiar location. A bit of spotty upwelling coastal fog was along the coast backed up against the modest forested mounted ridge inland. By 10am began working the above subject with a long level foreground of wind stunted coastal bluff wildflowers and a rugged section of the coast in the distance. Maybe a week or two past peak, and noticeably less green during this drought year, California poppy, eschscholtzia californica, goldfields, lasthenia chrysotoma, sea thrift aka sea pink, armeria maritima, multicolored lupine, lupinus varicolor. Easily the greenest section of coastal bluff flowers along the coast south of Point Mendocino, due to frequent fog. Note how many of the sea pink flower heads are brown already gone to seed. In wetter springs, all these flowers peak at about the same time.

I did find one subject that despite the drought was about as good as it ever gets. The image at page top was actually from a 3 column stitch set with another frame to the left. The 3 frame composition is strong, however this 2 column composition is simply exceptional putting the focus on the superb aqua blue late morning sea color along a most rugged section of coastline. In the foreground in addition to species noted above are Wight's paintbrush, castelleja wightii. These paintbrush are perennials that grow in these locations every spring. In the past I recall some ugly bare patches of soil that made the foregrounds unusable. This sea color only occurs near mid day when sun rays can illuminate relatively clear sea water from a more perpendicular angle. The coast here is silicaseous sandstone little of which erodes into the sea with open areas of white sands.


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This third image shows an interesting mix of goldfields, lasthenia chrysotoma, that made a significant difference in aesthetics. Most of the goldfields are just drying round brown disc flower centers with ray flower petals fallen off. But then also were fragrant just risen bright yellow flowers a result of the small storm that I experienced in Del Norte that apparently also watered these shore areas just enough to push out flowers on plants that had been long waiting for even a small rain event that never came from April and May. After a normal spring, these flowers would all be bright yellow with all species a bit taller.

I worked a few other subjects am not showing herein as landscapes were aesthetically weak versus material, mainly 4x5 view camera work, I'd shot years before. It was now Memorial Day weekend so the rest of the day would be driving against significant traffic in the opposite direction as I drove the final 150 miles homeward.


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Sonoma Coast 6/1

Given an uncommon weather forecast of light coastal winds, I decided to return to the same Sonoma County coastal areas after the holiday weekend crowds left. Although the larger wildflower landscapes were less than optimal, I had seen plenty of close-up wildflower subjects I might work. Thus sunrise Tuesday June 1, 2021, drove the 130+ miles north to Sonoma coastlines where I was disappointed to find too much fog up against the coast. I waited till later morning for some of that to burn off by exploring a trail inland. This above subject was down on a shore with geology that offers a wide mix of rock colors from eroded out conglomerate. To capture better rock color requires mid day sunlight and here I managed shooting when the overcast deck was thin. With stone subjects, I prefer damp to dry stones left by receding waves in a sand matrix versus just piles of stones and results look significantly better at full detail image sizes. Although wet stones freshly washed by waves offer higher saturation, the highlights tend to be a negative.


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The rest of the foggy day I explored some areas to the north, including coastal areas I had worked May 28 that was indeed a bit drier though more fresh goldfields had developed. The fog was still too dense for landscapes though I did work a couple subjects with mediocre results. One subject that did work was the above graphic of dried seaweed on sandstone looking like myriad ghosts. At day's end had secured a $30 camp spot for the night at a section normally closed with no others within eyesight.


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Above is a close-up of a dense clump of johnny nip, castelleja ambigua, along with a multicolored lupine, lupinus varicolor.


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The next morning Wednesday June 2, 2021, was mostly sunny, a light breeze, with much dew on vegetation. My fourth subject was a close-up of a bright prostrate Heerman's lotus, acmispon heermannii, against sandstone.


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This next image above shows a coastal bluff dense with wildflowers and a rugged headlands sea. Coastal stratus pushed up against the forested ridge. I had shot this same spot years before when flowers were more lush with a 4x5 view camera.


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A spectacular seashore of hard sandstone sedimentary layers with taffoni.


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This shot required an adventurous position atop a boulder exposed to possible large crashing waves. Low tide muscles, barnacles, and a starfish on sandstone with anemone in the tidepool.


50% crop of foreground from TH07733-07789-2x1v third image above

Kibbie Lake Backpack 6/12

On the afternoon of Friday June 11, J and I drove out to the Groveland area. The next morning went on a 3 day warm-up backpack to Kibbie Lake at 6650 feet, with about 950 feet of vertical rise and 4.5 miles of distance. We got a late start on the trail and by afternoon reached a camp spot mid way up above the west shore.


I did not bring along my A6000 gear along to this destination I've visited several times over the years so my carrying weight was below 50 pounds. I did bring along the small Canon ELPH190 as this would be a fishing trip. The above is a view of my tent on a gruss flat with the lake behind. The glacial granitoid flats along the west shore are dominated by Jeffrey pines and chinquapin. Lots of wildflowers on granite sand flats, especially monkeyflowers and gilia, mountain pride penstemon in granite, plus fragrant western azalea along the shore. On the trail in, a long list of species at early summer peak showing the area apparently received thunderstorms within a couple weeks of our visit.


The next morning Saturday June 12, 2021, we were up before sunrise hiking around the lake to the north end through areas of old burned logs and dense lodgepole pine forest ferns. This image is looking south. Shortly afterward I caught a nice 12 inch female rainbow trout a bit further along this shore. J caught 3 fish later at the other end of the lake so we made a couple of our usual cooked fish dinners that was delicious. Below J fishing on the shore below our camp. We enjoyed pleasant sunny warm weather and the lake surface water had already warmed up nicely. Mosquitoes were absent most of the day about our camp area but came out late afternoon and remained out into early morning until the many damselflies and dragonflies along the shore came out.


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   David Senesac
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