Monday, July 25, 2011

Golden Gate Bridge

I had business in San Francisco and was on the fence about bringing my camera gear, mainly because the weather called for two straight days of pouring rain.  Well, it did rain for two straight days, however, the day before showed the storm coming in just before dusk.  Since I was arriving in the afternoon, I took a chance and spent the late afternoon all around the Golden Gate Bridge.  Perfect timing I might add as the storm clouds rolled in but not before a great day hiking the beautiful park.  By dusk, it began to pour and I was drenched waiting for a taxi to pick me up.  Some of the best times for a photographer are just before and right after a big storm.  Of course, you have to expect to get a little wet.... People in Arizona don't live in the rain and typically run inside at the onset of any possible weather (if you did that in Portland, you would never go outside!)  I did this most of my life.... Not anymore....Live a little!

Sometimes the best locations for photographs are known to the locals... I asked a guy at the cafe near the bridge for any cool spots and he walked me past the public area to a restricted area away from the crowds....

These last two photos were tough to take as it was pouring rain and as much as I tried to shield my lens, there was so much water on it.  I would clean it and have time for one photo before it would be wet again...Ugh!

Lugging my 30+ pound camera gear on the plane for a chance to shoot for a couple hours paid off!  The joy of this almost-lost adventure carried me through the next two days of gloomy weather spent in a conference room.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tucson Mountain Park

On Wednesday, I took an early morning hike on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountain Park that started right outside my hotel in Tucson (Star Pass Resort).  The Desert was drenched from the previous night's thunderstorm.  About 1 1/2 miles from the hotel, I came across the Bowen House, a 1930's stone house built on pristine desert wilderness by an editor for the Arizona Daily Star newspaper (for more, see Bowen House information at bottom).  Now I had been here before and was a little impressed with it.  However, this day was unlike the others as the clouds were rolling in and the rainwater had littered the floor creating a reflecting pool.  As I sat there resting and eating my breakfast, I started to realize that the beauty of the stone house and surrounding landscape was magnified tenfold by the reflection in the water.  Time to pull out my camera!

A hiker (ok, that's me) takes in a thunderstorm-drenched desert view from the Bowen House on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountain Park 

100% reflection of chimney!

Some sort of insect (still researching) gathering nectar on a wildflower.

The END of the great Saguaro....

Woodpecker feeding her baby in giant saguaro...

Javelina crosses my path...

Crown of Thorns!

Bowen House
The Old Stone House is located just off of the David Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountains. Sherry Bowen, a typesetter and later city editor for the Arizona Daily Star, built it of native stone in the early 1930s. The Bowens had lived in Rockford, Illinois but moved to Tucson in the late twenties with the hope that the change in climate would help Ruby Bowen’s serious heart condition. The Bowens first lived in Tucson but soon decided to homestead in the Tucson Mountains. They moved to the homestead in 1931 and lived in a cabin while the house was being built. The Bowens eventually expanded their claim to 2000 acres.

Ruby Bowen kept a diary of her first year in the Tucson Mountains. The diary makes several references to the wildlife that existed in the area including javelina, deer, wild horses and sheep that would come down from the cliffs every evening to graze in the valley. She even mentions a mountain lion that would come near the house when she was cooking meat and that one time attempted to get in a window.

The Bowens left Tucson in 1944 and moved to New York City where Sherry Bowen worked for the Associated Press. The valley and their homestead became part of Tucson Mountain Park in 1983.
This Summary was prepared from the Tucson Hiking Guide written by Betty Leavengood.