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Time To Go Wine Tasting

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

It’s time to go wine tasting, as if you needed encouragement.

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Gene Miller reports that Wine Country is back with Near Peak to Peak color being seen along SR29 and The Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley.

He notes, “In addition to the colors, the smells of the various vintages and cuisine that wafted over the Valley were incredible.”

 

 

Boeschen Vineyards, Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

Boeschen Vineyards, Napa Valley (11/11/21) Gene Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Napa Valley (253′) – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!

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Just Ducky

Hooded Merganser, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

Ventura County is just ducky, right now. Its waterways are filled with migrant ducks, that have returned to overwinter in Southern California.

SoCal color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi describes Arroyo Simi, in the Simi Valley, as a wash that runs through the suburbs. Presently, it is a birding hotspot, attracting Hooded Mergansers, Lophodytes cucullatus and American Wigeons, Mareca americana.

Hooded Merganser, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

The mergansers favor secluded, sheltered or overgrown locations. They often opt for shady areas, so Kathy’s shots of them cruising in the sunlight across dappled waters are special. Male mergansers sport spectacular plumage which contrasts beautifully with irregular fall sunlight and makes the boys attractive to the girls who wear more demure and dusky dress, reports Lone Pine’s field guide, Birds of Northern California. “Mergansers are shallow divers, unlike dabbling ducks such as the mallard or wigeon,” Kathy writes.

American Wigeon, Arroyo Simi, Simi Valley (11/7/21) Kathy Jonokuchi

The male American wigeons have an irridescent green smear that runs from their eye arcing across their heads, with a cinnamon breast and black and white feathers. Their ladies have greyish heads and brown bodies.

Now, you’ve got us inspired, Kathy. We’re off to Colusa on our annual trek to enjoy the beauty of California’s migratory waterfowl. Now, isn’t that just ducky?
  • Wildlife viewing, Aroyo Simi, Simi Valley – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!

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San Ramon Sunrise

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

San Ramon is one of the Bay Area cities with boulevards of color, found also in its sunrise and brilliance following a storm, as captured by Anish Sidhan on a mobile phone.

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

San Ramon (11/7/21) Anish Sidhan

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • San Ramon (486′) – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!

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PAN

Panorama of Yosemite Valley including Merced River, El Capitan, Three Brothers, Royal Arches and Sentinel Rock (11/8/21) Elliot McGucken

Pan was the Greek god of the wild, of fields, groves, wooded glens, the nature of mountain wilds and of … sex. Well, true to the Greek god, Elliot McGucken’s “PANoramic” photograph of Yosemite Valley is just plain sexy.

To make the panorama involved 13 shots with a wide angle 17mm lens on the Fuji GFX100 (17mm on medium format = 14mm on full frame field of view).Elliot was able to break out several individual images from the panorma, one of which follows. (click to enlarge)

Elliot said “Great light and high (yet, still) water made the glorious autumn reflections possible today.” That, of course, and a great photographer.

Elliot, you did Pan proud.

Merced River, The Three Brothers, Yosemite Valley (11/8/21) Elliot McGucken

  • Yosemite Valley (4,000′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.
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Vintage Napa

Tubbs Lane, CA-29, Napa Valley (11/5/21) David Sharp

Hardly anyone agrees on Napa Valley wines, other than they are good. The same can be said for its fall color. David Sharp submitted these images, then remarked that the Napa Valley is a mixed bag of some great fall color, but also some things just developing.

Sounds like just the kind of remark made between friends the last time I was in a tasting room, there … “some great, some just developing.”

Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford (11/4/21) David Sharp

 

Chinese pistache and vines, Frogs Leap Winery, Rutherford (11/4/21) David Sharp

Napa Valley Wine Library Association, St. Helena (11/5/21) David Sharp

Petrified Forest Rd., Calistoga (11/5/21) David Sharp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hwy 29, Napa Valley (11/5/21) David Sharp

To our taste, however, the Napa Valley is vintage and now’s the time to head there. Not only has the crush of traffic lightened, following harvest and crush, but the autumn color is vibrant.

Napa Valley Wine Library, St. Helena (11/5/21) David Sharp

  • Napa Valley (253′) – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!

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Retro Sunnyvale

Ginkgo biloba, Sunnyvale (11/4/21) Lucas Yan

These photographs have a retro feel to them, and no wonder. Lucas Yan shot them on Fuji 400H and Portra 400 film. Even the retro Chevy truck seen below is pre-digital.

Chinese pistache, Sunnyvale (11/4/21) Lucas Yan

Ginkgo biloba, Sunnyvale (11/4/21) Lucas Yan

Retro Chevrolet, Ginkgo biloba, Sunnyvale (11/4/21) Lucas Yan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas reports that most of the street trees in Sunnyvale (Ginkgo biloba and Chinese pistache) are patchy.

  • Sunnyvale (125′) – Patchy (10 – 50%)

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Secret Sedona

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ (11/1/21) Mark Harding

A lot of the superlatives said about Sedona, Arizona begin with “S” … secret, spiritual, spicy, sacred, starry and that’s just for “starters.”

So, when color spotter Mark Harding said he’d just returned from there and wondered if we would post them, our reply was, “Send them.”

We’re glad he did.

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ (11/1/21) Mark Harding

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ (11/1/21) Mark Harding

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ (11/1/21) Mark Harding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sedona isn’t what you imagine when Arizona comes to mind. It’s high desert with pine forests, canyons, red rock, water and wonder.

  • Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ (4,350′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.

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Preferred Seating

Indian grinding holes, American River (11/7/21) Steve Arita

Walk along the American River and on any rocky shelf, you’re likely to find preferred seating .., the grinding holes of native Maidu women who, for centuries, would sit, chat, sing and grind black oak acorns into flour.

The deepest of the grinding holes often had the best view, were most comfortable and were reserved for the most venerable women who’d earned this preferred seating through years of labor.

Sycamore, American River (11/7/21) Steve Arita

American River (11/7/21) Steve Arita

Black oak, American River (11/7/21) Steve Arita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacramento area color spotter Steve Arita hiked the American River this weekend, stopping to photograph fall color; he came upon grinding holes whose disuse has caused them to become filled with dirt and grasses.

American River below Nimbus Dam (11/7/21) Steve Arita

Steve noted that autumn color is almost gone, with sycamore Peak to Past Peak and Frèmont cottonwood from patchy to Near Peak.

  • American River, Rancho Cordova (89′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.

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Jumping for Joy

King salmon, Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Rancho Cordova (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Rancho Cordova (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Rancho Cordova (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

Spawning king salmon, Nimbus Fish Hatchery (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King salmon were jumping for joy at the new Nimbus Fish Hatchery fish ladder today, and the public was loving it.

A new fish ladder is the reason. It is longer and less abrupt an ascent than the former fish ladder. To keep the hatchery from becoming overwhelmed with salmon, a gate at the entrance to the ladder at the American River near Nimbus Dam is shut causing the salmon to wait impatiently for their run up the ladder and into the hatchery.

With the new viewing area being near where the ladder meets the river, visitors are able to to see just how massive and athletic the salmon are, up close. Spawning salmon will jump nearly five feet into the air at the closed gate out of their ardor to climb the rapid.

Nearby in Folsom, foliage along the Humbug-Willow Creek Bike Trail was peaking and Fremont cottonwood at Mormon Island Wetlands Preserve were Patchy, though approaching Near Peak.

Humbug-Willow Creek Trail (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

Mormon Island Wetlands (11/7/21) John Poimiroo

  • Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Rancho Cordova – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!
  • Humbug-Willow Creek Bike Trail, Folsom – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!
  • Mormon Island Wetlands Preserve, Folsom – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!
  • American River Parkway – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.

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The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour, Tunnel View, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

Elliot McGucken gives new meaning to The Golden Hour with these fresh images from Yosemite Valley. The golden hour is the hour following sunrise and preceding sunset, each day. It is when light is warmest.

The Golden Hour, Tunnel View, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

He and John Chen were in Yosemite Valley at closing time, as John said, to down these “last call” shots.

Merced River, Upper Yosemite Fall reflection, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

Yosemite Valley’s black oak will continue to hold autumn color for another week or so, though much of the luster seen in these shots diminishes each day. (click to enlarge)

El Capitan, Yosemite Valley (11/5/21) John Chen

Gates of the Valley, Yosemite Valley (11/5/21) John Chen

Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/5/21) John Chen

Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Valley (11/5/21) John Chen

Merced River, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite Valley (11/5/21) John Chen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southside Drive, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

Upper Yosemite Fall reflection, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

El Capitan, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Three Brothers, Upper Yosemite Fall reflection, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

El Capitan, Upper Yosemite Fall reflection, Yosemite Valley (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Hour, Tunnel View (11/6/21) Elliot McGucken

  • Yosemite Valley (4,000′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It.