Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Murphy and I hunkered down in the wind last weekend to hike one of the Tahoe Basin's more scenic peaks, Mount Tallac.  It's not the highest mountain around Tahoe, but it's closer to the lake than the other big ones, so its view of the lake is exceptional.  We made good time, hiding from the wind as best we could as we ascended from about 6400' to 9735'.

Suck it, Instagram

Once on top, we were met by the official welcoming committee in the form of several dozen chipmunks and woodchucks.  They do well up there on crumbs and handouts.

High five!

Instead of the obligatory summit shot, I decided to do a little more work for my seven faithful readers and put together a panorama of sorts.  It's a view that encompasses nearly the entire lake, as well as Fallen Leaf Lake, Angora Lake, Emerald Bay, Heavenly, Mt. Rose, Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and a good chunk of Desolation Wilderness including Lake Aloha.

Pano from top of Tallac (click for hi-res) [geeks- 16 stitched verticals at 90mm]

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be on top of Tallac on the right winter day, which afforded me the opportunity to ski the prominent Cross.  It's worth pointing out that I'm terrified to look into that (fairly rowdy) line in the summertime without my board strapped to my feet; what a difference the right equipment makes...

We capped off our day with a choppy swim in Tahoe, but a choppy swim is eminently better than no swim!

Hilariously, I can ride my bike all day and be totally fine, but a recreational 5-hour hike leaves me hobbled and sore for the next couple days; I'm a total mess.  About that bike thing...I've got more to write about that, so stay tuned.  Let's just say that the pano shows a lot of sickeningly familiar territory...  :)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Brick House

Here are a few photos of perhaps the most remodeled-per-cubic-foot home you'll ever see, tucked away into a quiet Reno neighborhood.  Its modest exterior gives only the faintest of clues of the nuggets of handiwork hidden within...let's start outside with a tour of the grounds.

The front

Garage lurker

Patio and pizza oven

Lush canopy

While the exterior is inviting and understated, it's only got a hint of the attention to detail that's to be found once inside.  The typical reaction upon entrance is "whoaaaaa," well-deserved as there's simply no way to anticipate how thoroughly four brick walls in Old Reno could be overhauled.  Example:  the basement was hand-excavated 4+ feet in order to make it livable space...  Here are my favorites from inside.

Handcrafted stairs

Guarding the basement

The basement holds the master bedroom and bath (a spectacle in its own right), as well as an audiophile's dream lounge.  Upstairs is home to the kitchen, dining room, living room, kid's room (including custom terrarium), office, and a listening loft tucked snugly against the ~14' ceiling.

Back door

Kitchen and front door

Throughout, no detail has been left unnoticed, and for all the steel, the spaces feel remarkably inviting.  I count myself lucky to have a close relationship with the owner; his world is a fascinating one and his home is an extension of his personality.  'Til next time!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Lunar Love Affair

OK, I promise I'll keep my camera pointed more level for a while.  I've got a monster lens in my possession for a bit and I'm rather enjoying taking advantage of it.

Here are a couple recent photos of the moon in various phases.


A couple days shy of full

I swear I'm gonna end up with a crick in my neck from staring up too much.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Quick post here.  This is a photo from the pre-dawn hours in Virginia City last weekend.  We're looking east over several layers of low-lying hills.

Dawn encroaches upon the foothills east of VC

For the geeks: 200mm, handheld, 1/15s, f/4, ISO 3200.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Reno-Tahoe Odyssey

Last weekend, I spent a little bit of time chasing Ethel and her Patagonia team as they navigated the 178-mile relay run called the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey.  It's a big production, with 250 teams converging upon Reno from all corners of the US.  Each member of a 12-person team runs three times over the course of roughly 18-30 hours, and it's a study in sleep deprivation, caffeine intake, and odor control.

For my part, though, I suppose I should clarify: by "chasing," I mean that I saw them at the start Friday morning, then as dawn broke in Virginia City Saturday, and then at the finish Saturday afternoon.  Here are a few photos.

The team does their best tough guy impression at the start in downtown Reno

The assembled crowd at the exchange point in front of the storied Bucket of Blood

Some teams are rightfully serious (they're in contention for the win), and many others are really only out there to have fun (Team Sparkle Ponies, you know who you are).  Yet other teams are a wee too serious (thankfully not Murphy's team), and that leads to inevitable infighting, tantrums, and meltdowns, all for something like 80th place.  Really, guys, it'd be more fun without all that!

A team shepherds their runner in after the atrocious climb through Gold Hill

Johnno aka DJ Rhino wakes the locals with decibels

Ethel makes short work of the long slog out of VC

Personally, these relay runs aren't really my cup o' tea.  If I want to run 15 miles, then by god I'll just leave from my front door after a good breakfast and not have to stay awake for 30 hours bouncing around in a van!  Team Patagonia finished in good spirits, though, and they're all still friends, too.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interstellar Transit Authority

For the second time in as many months, we (and by "we" I mean earth-dwellers) were treated to a display of the intricate dance of nearby heavenly bodies.  This time was the twice-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus across the Sun.  Last occurrence was in 2004, and if you missed that one and this one, you better hope that modern medicine gets you all the way to 2117.

Near the entry point

The Venus transit doesn't have nearly the aplomb of a solar eclipse; Venus is just a wee dot in front of the sun.  However, I think it's cool for the exact opposite reason a solar eclipse is cool.  A solar eclipse is awesome because of the near-exact match between the apparent sizes of the Sun and the Moon.  This match is due to the actual sizes of both, paired with the distance of each from Earth.  The result is that total eclipses just barely happen, and even annular eclipses like we had last month (Moon was a little bit further away from Earth at the moment and thus didn't totally smush out the Sun) are still pretty spectacular.  Really, it's an extraordinary coincidence (yep, throw your Bibles at me) with extraordinary consequences.

So the reason that the Venus transit is cool is that Venus is strikingly close to the same size as Earth - within a few hundred miles.  To see something so akin to our home as nothing but a dot in front of a massive ball of roiling fusion gives me a poignant reminder of our place in the Universe.  We're only 32 million miles past Venus, so imagine being 32 million miles past Earth and seeing it silhouetted against the Sun...

Midway, with telephone pole for Earthly grounding :)

As cool as the clean photo of the transit was, I wanted to give it a little bit of context, too.  I happened to be on another photoshoot while this was going on, but I found a nearby telephone pole to add something different.  This, of course, is only because I'm SUPER jealous of those bastards at the Solar Dynamics Observatory, who are now totally blowing my mind on a regular basis (link to their main gallery was in my eclipse posting, and is easy to navigate to).  If I had their shit, I wouldn't need to enlist telephone poles to make my lowly visible-light photos marginally cooler.  Their images are amazing, but OMG (sorry), watch the videos.

Anyhow, enjoy your trip on this little rock hurtling through spacetime, and have fun falling asleep tonight thinking about what's out there!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Terminal Boredom

Murphy and I traveled to Austin, TX a few weeks back to spend a few days with Riley and Erin, photograph a wedding, and explore the oft-lauded...shall I say...oasis...of Texas (ellipsis alert! [parentheses alert]).

Turns out, our free time in Austin didn't lend itself to many photos, as we were too busy eatin' and drinkin', but when all else fails, there are airports from which to draw inspiration.  By the time I hit an airport, I'm usually ready to leave the camera tucked away.  This time, however, I found myself reveling in burning up our flight time and layover time with it attached to my hand.

Upper atmosphere

Of note, I love seeing the Sierra from the air.  Perhaps my favorite route of all time is the RNO-LAX route, which skirts this amazing range nearly the whole way.  This time, from AUS-OAK, we merely crossed it, but got to do so at a most notable spot.

Yosemite (Route 120, Tenaya, Half Dome, and many other landmarks visible)

Puttering along

OAK glass art


I think it's a shame that current regulations and policies place photography in airports somewhere between "please don't" and "give me that camera," as they're fascinating structures filled with all sorts of eye candy ranging from architecture to art to airplanes to people.  Yes, I've been hassled before (for seemingly innocuous photos), and yes, it pissed me off, so now I'm just vindictive and stealthy.

Anyhow, life seems very busy again all of a sudden, and while that's just fine, it's gonna be quite the ride.  In the meantime, if you'd like to waste a little time, drop by this site to see current winds in the US (click to zoom, click'n'drag to move).  It's fascinating and mesmerizing and far cooler than it sounds...


Past Detritus