Sunday, July 26, 2015

How dry I am

Beauty shot of Lake Nacimiento.

Lake Nacimiento is but a shadow of its former self. After three years of the much ballyhooed drought California it has become a forlorn symbol of the disappearing surface water that plagues the Golden State. Today the lake holds 24% of its deemed capacity, a paltry 90,313 acre feet of the robust 376,304 acre feet it once held. The shrinking lake looks like a bathtub with more and more rings being added with each passing month.

To my untrained eye the lake has fallen nearly 100 feet in depth and has withdrawn from its former shoreline by hundreds of feet. Herein are images to justify my estimates.

Look like a hundred feet to me.

The boat launch from the ever receding shoreline. Note the erstwhile floating docks left and right.

New water line.

From the new water line to the shore that once was.

This one adds no new information but the two women lend poignancy to the tan tableau

Yup. That's somebody's boat dock dangling above the shrinking lake

Locals have all their digits crossed that the El Niño winter happens as forecast. More to come from the tinder dry central valley.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The staff of life I'd say

Wood fired oven bread from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone, California

It occurs to me that there’s another gift to be found in bastions of farm to table fare and vineyards and that’s the great bakery. They’re the boulangeries of France, the panadarias of Spain and the artisan bakeries of Sonoma and West Marin. Even a tiny burg with 200 inhabitants may sport such an establishment. Such was the case when my host at Canvas Ranch said I had to visit the Tomales Bakery, open Thursday through Sunday morning, calling it the “best bakery in the world” and I quote.

Tomales Bakery in tiny Tomales, California

Fresh baked goodies including the raspberry chocolate concoction to right

Pie filling from scrumptious Sonoma peaches

Some kind of bun, undoubtedly delicious

I’m indicting the Tomales Bakery in Tomales, the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station and Wild Flour Bread in Freestone as co-conspirators in a four pound assault on my boyish figure in six days in Paso Robles and Sonoma and Marin Counties.

Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station with it's ever present line

Bovine Bakery pastries

Wild Flour Bread at the corner of Bohemian Highway and Route 1 in Freestone. This incredible place sits just across the street from the Joseph Phelps Tasting Room. How convenient.

Manning the woodfired oven at Wild Flour

Note the pile of fresh bread behind the blonde lass. I devoured the best bread I've eaten since pain ancienne in in Riez, France in 2011.

Previously I’ve made the case that where wine grapes grow other marvellous foodstuffs flourish and good restaurants abound. You can add really good bakeries making really good bread to these markers of good living.

Awhile back Peggy were making a list of attributes that any new place we’d chose to live would have to have. A good bread bakery was high on the list. Fresh produce, too. Let’s just say that the Sonoma and Marin Coasts score 100s on the Immel Good Living Index.

Some of these images are on the smallish public domain side. It wasn't till I got home that I concluded that good bread may just be the soul of good eating and of a truly advanced culinary community. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the case.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The verdant and the dessicated

All along l-40 in New Mexico the colors were saturated and the sky scrubbed clean by rain, some of it torrential. California not to much.

This is the kind of photography a guy produces through windshields and side windows at 80 mph. That is to say, not very good and the best is yet to come. Can't get worse.

A salad of Cowgirl Creamery Burrata and Exeter, California Elberta Freestone Peaches tossed with Blackwell's Corner Almonds and accompanied by a bracing Tablas Creek Rosé from Paso Robles is in the offing. All of this and much, much more to be enjoyed in my trim little cabin on the Canvas Ranch just east of the village of Tomales between Petaluma and the Pacific.

Without my external monitor the values and colors of these shots are very much a crap shoot. Be gentle with me.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Downright Upright

There’s been considerable discussion around here about the days of film and chemicals in dark confined spaces and I’m not talking about adults only theaters. It’s just that some of us of a certain age are getting all misty about those eight hour bouts with a single negative and how that process must have rendered a superior image.

Then again the transition from celluloid to pixels hasn’t been all that damnable looking back.

Here are some shots that track that evolution and that, I submit, make the switch downright upright according to me.

From my 1941 8x10 Kodak 2D using a 4x5 back almost 45 years ago

With the 5MP Nikon Coolpix 5000 in maybe 1999

And the 10MP Canon 1Ds that cost me $7,700.
This one's from the same 10MP unit with a 48" softbox and lens 15" away from Mizahn's face

In the village of  Monieux with the 21MP Canon 5D Mkll