Monthly Archives: June 2010

Clogging at Old Borges Ranch

DMC at Old Borges Ranch

Diablo Mountain Cloggers at Old Borges Ranch

My group, the Diablo Mountain Cloggers, had a fun time at this historic ranch yesterday. Old Borges Ranch was settled over 100 years ago between Walnut Creek and Mt. Diablo. It is now part of Open Space and they have preseved many of the old buildings and equipment used on the farm. Each year there is a special Heritage Day celebration with vendors from all sorts of local groups and organizations. It’s especially fun for kids as well as the kid in all of us.

The Diablo Mountain Cloggers first danced at Old Borges Ranch in 1982, when my daughter was just a few months old. I remember it well because it was not one of my better days… taking care of a baby and trying to direct a group of dancers and costume changes at the same time! That was quite a while ago and things are much better and easier these days. We haven’t danced every year since, but have been there quite a few times and it’s always fun. The audience sits on hay bales right next to the dance floor so it’s pretty intimate.

Clogging at Old Borges Ranch

Audience dancing with the Diablo Mountain Cloggers at Old Borges Ranch

The best part was having some folks up from the audience to try a little clogging. Kids especially love this, but we had adults as well. After doing a little stomping our feet to a rhythm we also moved around a circle and did some very simple figures.

Bob Michaud has been using my camera to snap pictures of us at performances for the last few years. His wife is in the group and last fall Bob finally started clogging, too. This limits his availability for being a photographer, but he still managed to get quite a few nice pictures of us dancing yesterday. More can be seen on my SmugMug gallery.

By the way, in the top photos, that’s yours truly in the front row, second from right.

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Night on the Mountain

highway lights

Highway 24 and 680 Interchange in Walnut Creek from Mt. Diablo (and Mt. Tam in the background)

Back on May 15 I had the chance to spend an evening on Mt. Diablo with the San Jose Night Photography Meetup Group and the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society. Besides just being on the mountain there were a few things that made it a special night.

Venus and the moon were both out and gorgeous.

Pleasant Hill

Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill with the moon and Venus

We saw the International Space Station flyover. I’ve seen satellites in the past, but this one is special. It came from the west and travelled quickly through the sky, then blinked out as it entered the earth’s shadow. It’s very cool to see it, especially when you know what you’re looking at!

ISS Flyover

ISS flyover with the moon and Venus

To show the trail of the ISS, I used a 30-second exposure. That’s why the moon and Venus look smeared and there are very short star trails, which may be hard to see in this size. The ISS travelled from the west to east, or up in this photo. A few minutes later we also watched the Space Shuttle Atlantis flyover. It blinked out, then on, then out again. The momentary return was probably due to clouds on the horizon.

Here’s one more shot from the evening. There’s a lot of light pollution in the Bay Area and it made for some interesting sky colors.

colorful sky

Colorful sky

It was also a treat to be able to look through some really nice telescopes that evening. I saw Saturn’s rings edge on. When it was late enough, the society led cars down the mountain and out the gate so we didn’t have to spend the night there. Spending the night on Mt. Diablo can be a good thing as long as you’re prepared, and I wasn’t.

Thanks to Steven and Bradley of the Night Photography Group and to the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society for the opportunity and a great evening.

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Bee Swarm

bee swarm

Bee swarm in Walnut Creek

This comes under the category of “Something Interesting I Saw Recently.” Wednesday I was in the Broadway Shopping Center in Walnut Creek. On the way back to my car I noticed something large and brown up in the tree. Looking up I realized it was a swarm of bees in the tree. I knew that bees would move to a new location this way, taking the queen with them. Reading more in Wikipedia I learned that bees will usually swarm in the spring but occasionally at other times, too. I’d never seen a bee swarm so I thought it was really cool. I’m not that happy with the quality of the few pictures I took but I hope they give you an idea of how it looked. I didn’t have a long lens to bring me any closer than this and I wasn’t about to climb the tree for a better shot.

Once again… you never know what you’re going to come across when out walking. There’s always something to discover.

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Nagging Blog

Me at work
My blog nags at me. At least that’s what it seems like. I keep having these thoughts that I haven’t been spending enough time with it. Bad girl! Poor lonely little blog… it gets no attention. How hard would it be to spend a few minutes just three times a week with my blog? It couldn’t be that hard, could it?

It’s not, but I think it is. I remember when I was taking piano lessons as a kid. My parents had a tough time getting me to practice regularly. I dragged my feet about it but when I finally got to the piano I enjoyed playing and would often stay longer than the required time. So why did I drag my feet? I still haven’t figured that one out.

The original idea of this blog was to share my photos and thoughts. I have lots of photos, so it should be easy to share something once in a while. However, there’s always a worry that maybe my pictures aren’t good or interesting enough to share. Oh well… the heck with it! From now on, if I like the picture or think there’s something interesting about it, I’ll share it and not worry about it being “great.” That’s my goal, anyway.

As for thoughts… I’ve discovered that although I have all sorts of random thoughts and ideas running through my head (especially while driving), once I get to the computer and a keyboard it’s not that easy to get them out  of my head and into something readable. Well, perhaps I’ll try writing down some of these random thoughts more often and then save and edit the text until I’m ready to go public.

About the picture above: That’s a self-portrait taken at work over a year ago. We had a large sheet of mylar-coated paper that we taped to our door. I liked the way it distorted the image and had fun snapping photos one day. We’ve since taken it down.

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