Dr Plokta (drplokta) wrote,
Dr Plokta

Holiday Photos

We got back yesterday from 2½ weeks in California, Nevada and Oregon. Apart from the week we spent in Reno for Renovation, we saw lots of scenery, and here are my best photos (out of over 300). I recommend viewing larger versions of any that you like.

Before the convention, we stopped in South Lake Tahoe. The Gondola cable car (which is a ski-lift in winter) goes to over 9,000 feet, and was too high for us to walk around much at the top. But there's an observation deck halfway up (though still over 9,000 feet) with some great views of the lake.

Lake Tahoe from the Gondola  observation deck

Then we took a DUKW tour of the lake—which didn't really use the DUKW to best advantage, since it just drove a couple of miles down to the marina, went into the water and round the south-west corner of the lake, then went back out at the marina and drove the same distance back.

Hot air balloon launch ship on Lake Tahoe

The next day we took another lake tour on a sailing ship, except that we were under power the whole way because there wasn't enough wind to get above 1 knot.

Cave Rock from Lake Tahoe

Note the face in the profile of this rock.

The "Lady of the Lake" from Lake Tahoe

Then to Reno for the convention, which was a good convention but not very scenic.

After the convention, we went north through the Cascades range of volcanoes. Our first stop was Lassen Volcanic National Park—over 8,000 feet, which is still pretty thin air.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Meadow in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Then it was the Lava Beds National Monument, which is a collection of around 70 lava tubes formed by relatively recent lava flows. Caves are a bit tricky to photograph, but here's one where the top of the tube has collapsed to let the light in.

Sunshine Cave at the Lava Beds National Monument

Our final volcano was Crater Lake in Oregon, which is what's left of a 13,000 foot mountain that blew its top off 7,700 years ago. The lake has no inlet or outlet—it maintains its level from each year's snowmelt. And it's quite unbelievably beautiful.

There's a small island in the lake called the Phantom Ship.

The "Phantom Ship" in Crater Lake

Here's the whole lake from one of the viewpoints—the colours are a little enhanced, but pretty much represent what it actually looks like.

Crater Lake

Another shot of the whole lake from a different vantage point.

Crater Lake

And a panorama from the same viewpoint (I really recommend full size for this one).

Crater Lake panorama

Finally, here's flick in front of the lake—it appears to be impossible to get a photo of someone standing in front of the lake that doesn't look blue-screened, but I promise that this is real.

Flick and Crater Lake

To demonstrate advances in digital camera technology, here's an old photo from the last time I visited Crater Lake, taken with a digital camera that was state-of-the-art in 1997 instead of 2010.

Crater Lake

From Crater Lake we headed down to the California coast and the redwood forests. First, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.


This one is called the Corkscrew Tree.

Corkscrew tree

And this one is simply called the Big Tree—it's not the tallest redwood, being only 304 feet high, but its diameter is an impressive 21 feet.

The "Big Tree"

Then further south is the Avenue of the Giants.


This is the Founder's Tree, which is about 350 feet high.

The Founder's Tree

The Dyerville Giant may have been the tallest tree in the world when it fell down in 1991, at somewhere between 362 and 370 feet. Here's the stump (with a flick for scale).

Stump of the Dyerville Giant

And the trunk. Apparently it takes about 400 years for a fallen redwood to completely decay.

The Dyerville Giant

Then further down the coast towards San Francisco and the Bay Area, stopping briefly to photograph seals near Goat Rock Beach.

Seals and birds near Goat Rock Beach

I also got some decent wildlife photos on Rodeo Beach, in the Marin Headlands area.

Egret taking off at Rodeo Beach

Great Blue Heron at Rodeo Beach

Great Blue Heron in flight at Rodeo Beach

The Pacific coast was foggy pretty much the entire time we were there, which I gather is normal for the summer, so here's part of the Golden Gate.

Bridge to Nowhere

And finally, here's a panorama of San Francisco Bay from Sausalito, stitched together from four photos taken on my iPhone and demonstrating the vast superiority of a proper camera for this kind of thing (c.f. the Crater Lake panorama above).

The Sunday sun shines down on San Francisco Bay

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