California Trip

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It's late morning, and the sun has begun to peak through the clouds. The day is crisp and clear. This is the northernmost end of Ocean Beach, San Francisco. See map Site 7.
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Along the waterfront at the north end of Ocean Beach is a terraced highway, and abundant parking. I parked on the terrace and leaned over the railing to take this photo of the beach below.
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From the same position, this beach has very fine sand and looks like a good spot to swim.
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Again, from the same position, I took this photo facing south, looking the length of Ocean Beach.
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The aforementioned terrace.
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And again.
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I drove about half a mile south, to the entrance of Golden Gate Park (henceforth known as GGP). See map Site 8.
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I'm not sure what this building is for. It's probably a public restroom and general information source for Ocean Beach and GGP.
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This is a shot of Great Highway, facing north-northwest from Site 8.
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Hey look, it's an interceptor! The Interceptor appears to be used by the city of San Francisco to monitor traffic/parking violations. It's narrow enough to fit on the sidewalk, and I'm pretty sure it's electric powered, because it doesn't make any noise. Perhaps it's a hybrid.
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This track and field is located at the heart of GGP at Site 9. I'm not sure who uses it. It was quite deserted on this day.
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These bleachers are quite small considering the size of the field.
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The vertical shot.
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West of the track and field, I discovered Stow Lake (see map Site 10.) Although beautifully maintained, the design seems almost contrived. My guess is that the lake basin isn't a natural formation -- that it is actually manmade. Of course I could be wrong, but the entire park is so precisely landscaped that it's a little hard to tell.
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Nature shot! (Zoom!)
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I drove to Wolf Camera (a subsidiary of Ritz) on Van Ness Street, SF and bought a new digital camera on 11/2 (same day that Shrubby Jr. was elected for a second term in office), so that I could take these photographs. Initially, I kind of assumed that the camera's digital zoom would be good enough that I wouldn't have to use the optical zoom lense to get high resolution close-ups (5 megapixels is supposed to be a lot). However, these duck shots (taken from my Pentax Optio S50 without using the 3X optical zoom) could have been sharper. Moral: optical zoom is still a great compliment to digital zoom. I wrote a brief review for prospective digital camera buyers.
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This tranquil oasis is in sharp contrast to the congested city only a couple hundred yards away.
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Quite pastoral.
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This middle-aged Taiwanese (Vietnamese, Korean? -- I am supremely unable to identify the doubtless nuances of eastern-asian creed) woman and her husband (to her left; out of the picture) gave me a dubious look as they were passing, just before I took this picture. In retrospect, I wish I'd had the courage to take bolder shots -- people tend to be more interesting as the subject of photos than nature scenes do.
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In the distance is the Stow Lake paddle boat dock. I should have gotten a close up of the paddle boats, but they weren't particularly uncommon -- made of fiberglass, two-seats, a bicycle-like pedal apparatus connected to the paddle.
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The vertical shot.
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These San Francisco'ers take their municipal duties seriously. They've even listed proposed lake maintenance projects like the addition of an aeration system, and improved circulation. Take a look at Stow Lake relative to the rest of GGP at map Site 9.
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"Boating & Refreshments" is what you'll find here. This side of the building isn't particularly remarkable, but there are paddle boats on the far side.
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The water may be a little too murky to swim in, but a motorboat ride around the lake is a fine substitute.
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The sign says, "Please do not feed the birds within 100 feet of the boathouse." Yeah, I guess that would be a bad idea. As you'll recall, this day was Tuesday, November 3rd. It was almost 1:00 pm and yet the boathouse was deserted. Maybe they should have been easier on the birds.
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Here, the foot path continues around the northern edge of Stow Lake.
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Sweet; it's a turquoise Honda Civic DX. Kind of a random shot...
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Pigeons, lots of pigeons. Oddly enough, they let me stride imposingly towards them and take their picture, but only as I left, did they fly away in an indignant storm.
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The same flock of pigeons...before they stormed off. Oh, and here's another photography lesson. See how this photo is darker than the last, yet it's taken from nearly the same position? That's because I didn't hold the shutter release down partially, to calibrate the exposure (or whatever the digital equivalent is) before taking the shot. I'm gonna' have to work on that if I plan to satisfy my lifelong dream of becoming a professional photographer... ;-)
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This photo came out well. The trees and vegetation here in California are very "mature" (to quote the manager at the culdesac where I live, who advertises our plant matter that way). Though temperate, even northern California's temperatures were in the mid 60's, on average, through the first two weeks of November. Vegetation tends to proliferate when it's never dormant.