First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunrise 6:42: Not regular Saturday

The Dawn Joggers frequently talk about things being "not regular" - which usually implies more than just the meaning of the words. By any definition, the female Dawn Jogger found her Saturday Dish run "not regular." Her axis was already a bit off kilter with the male DJ off at a conference for photojournalists (at a Bible college near Fort Worth of all places). But there was nothing else to suggest things would be anything askew on the run. Her first hint was the way the Dish was facing - south. Undoubtedly in the 19 years the DJs have used the Dish area for exercise, it's been pointed that way before but rarely (or so she thinks). Next there were the three infantrymen who were jogging towards her with full pack and boots. (Guess jogging shoes aren't part of the uniform.) Finally, there was the very pretty cat that was intently watching the field for the sign of a mouse or other small rodent. A just "not regular"outing...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sunrise 6:43: Just the boat, no ducks

The schedule mandated a quick run around the lake this morning rather than the usual Friday route and the female Dawn Jogger was hopeful that she'd be able to capture the good scene with ducks and boats that she missed yesterday morning. Alas, the duck were swimming in the other of the two large puddles that so far constitute Lake Lagunita this winter. A big storm is due this weekend or the boat would soon be on land again...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunrise 6:44: The one that got away

It had rained overnight but the clouds were moving out by the time the female Dawn Jogger headed for her Thursday run around the lake. She noticed a trickle of water running in the channel towards the lake, but when she got closer, it was still just a series of big puddles rather than a body of water. It seemed the ducks were looking for the lake as well. About two dozen had gathered around one of the boats that last week was floating in the water. It was a great photo and the female DJ took out Lumio to take the shot. Whoops - Lumio's battery was still in the wall charge. It's the photo that got away...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunrise 6:46: Three rainbow morning amid the gloom

The female Dawn Jogger always goes out to get the morning papers before taking off for her predawn jog. She'd heard the Chronicle was up for sale - and might close - sad news for "newspaper people" like herself but as the male DJ said: "21st century newspapers don't have a business model" referring to the disappearance of both classified (to online) and display advertising. The Chronicle was still at the end of her walkway this morning fully packed, as are all papers, with financial doom and gloom. There was one other sad note in today's edition: the Tonga Room - located in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel - is likely to close. The female DJ loved going there as a child because of the 'tropical storms' that occur a couple of times an hour. It was fun introducing John to the scene when he was about eight (you never tell a child it's going to rain inside, that's part of the surprise), and she was looking forward to taking Grace in a couple of years. So she was thankful to chase all the bad news away with a three rainbow morning during her Wednesday Dish run. They just seemed to be everywhere she looked...


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunrise 6:47: Where did the water go?

Given all the rain, the female Dawn Jogger took off for Lake Lagunita expecting to see even more water than there was a week ago. Instead most of the main sources of water into the lake had stopped flowing and the lake was lower. She was blessed with a pretty sunrise but vexed at trying to capture it photographically. It was just one of those mornings...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunrise 6:48: Birds fly over the rainbow

Rainbows are cheery. The female Dawn Jogger thinks that's partially because they're appear somewhat unexpectedly. She was treated to a nicely arcing rainbow these morning near the senior housing complex adjacent to San Francisquito Creek (which continues to roar). With the birds overhead, too, she could hear Judy Garland singing: "Birds fly over the rainbow, why oh why can't I." The rain continues off and on...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunrise 6:51: Celebration of wild and precious living

It was a different kind of Saturday morning for the Dawn Joggers. After the female Dawn Jogger took a quick 'clear the cobwebs' jog around the neighborhood (passing the fiery red six-foot high hedge that's in full bloom), they headed to the memorial Mass for their friend Donn. Those in attendance stayed in the pews following the Mass to listen to family, friends and colleagues share - speaking broadly - "fish stories" as Donn was a committed sports fisherman. Donn's wife Marilyn, who the female DJ has known since kindergarten spoke eloquently of "60 years of wild and precious living" and Donn's connection to other living things, especially cats, dogs and fish." It was Donn who was an early influencer on Kitty's socialization. The female DJ is inspired by Marilyn's bravery, courage and love...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sunrise 5:52: Two treats this morning

The female Dawn Jogger had a pretty good idea that it was going to be a pretty sunrise this morning and she raced (or what substitutes for that term in the case of the slow-paced female DJ) across the first and second fairways of the golf course to get to the Dish in time to see it. No time to get to the top - but she did get an unobstructed view from the bottom of the Dish area. Once she was up and over, she got another treat. One of the young herd had decided to scratch himself on a post and even stood still long enough to pose for a photo. Usually the cattle on the Dish land are a bit more skittish...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunrise 6:54: Less than cooperative ducks

The female Dawn Joggers saw and heard the many ducks that immediately found the water at half full Lake Lagunita on Tuesday but she didn't get a photo of them. Because the lake is low and Lumio doesn't have a long telephoto lens, it requires some walking through the wet reeds to get close enough to them. On this lovely spring like morning, she decided to make the effort. The ducks were less than cooperative, moving rapidly away from her it whatever direction she approached them. Her feet got wetter and colder; her determination didn't waiver. The result was a recording of the morning's activities but less than successful as a photograph. Earlier she'd stirred up the warren of jack rabbits that live along the golf course. They never pose...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunrise 6:55: Regular schedule brings shared experiences

Since the female Dawn Jogger began her regular Wednesday Big Dish run in 2007, she is pretty regular about when she leaves the house - around 6:20. This becomes crucial in the summer months when she needs to get across the first fairway in advance of golfers who are teeing off early. Running at a regular time means a week can make a big difference, especially when the sun is rising earlier daily. This morning the Dig Dish and her favorite oak where in full sunshine while last week they shared the predawn light with the moon. Regular run times also mean sharing adventures with other Dawn Community members, like the four cyclists she sees most Wednesday mornings either along Alpine Road or closer to home on Sand Hill. They're always good for a shout out as the peddle by on their prework ride. (She thinks their Stanford MDs.) Today they all encountered the same obstacle - a down tree across the jogging/bike path. It was hard enough making your way on foot; carrying a bike over the bramble was more difficult. Should she have immediately tweeted, "Down tree interrupts morning exercise..."


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunrise 6:56: A lake comes to Lake Lagunita

The female Dawn Jogger almost called her predawn outing off this morning, awaking as she did to pounding rain on the skylight in the bathroom for the third day ina row. But 20 minutes later, it had diminished to a light patter, so she really had no excuse but to get up and go. Her effort was rewarded - there was a semblance of a lake at Lake Lagunita and some ducks had already discovered their new watering hole and much quacking was occuring. For the first time this year, water was steadily flowing from higher ground toward the lake (pictured). This event was always cause for joy to the Dawn Joggers and Cassie the Australian Shepherd - for the DJs because it increased the likelihood of a full lake and ducklings in the spring; for Cassie a chance to bound up and down the stream. Using the foot bridge was never an option for her...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunrise 6:57: Really raining

The female Dawn Jogger thought she was virtuous running the rain yesterday. But it was just a drizzle compared to this morning steady torrent, and her wetness factor at the end quadrupled. She got soaked. And now San Francisquito Creek is really starting to show some action, moving faster and getting wider (as viewed from the San Mateo Dr. bike bridge). Yea, yea, yea - we all know we need the rain but...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunrise 6:58: First of the season creek shot

The female Dawn Jogger took off for an infrequent early Sunday morning run - in the rain. While there was a series of storms in December, January was particularly dry and the rain over the past week has been sporadic, although heavy at times. A steady ran started last night and it seemed like - finally - there would be an opportunity for a "creek shot," one of the favorite things for the Dawn Joggers to photograph over the years. San Francisquito Creek was as full as she's seen it this year but still wimpy compared to past seasons. The creek has been as high as the golf course when viewed from the bridge between the second and third hole (top photo) and well up the side of the reinforcing wall under the bike bridge at the end of San Mateo Drive. It was strong enough for the ducks to have taken cover...


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sunrise 7:00: Wyeth like on the coast

The female Dawn Jogger isn't quite sure but she's been on a sort of Wyeth like - or more accurately a Christina's World - photo kick for the past couple of weeks. Moody shots that juxtaposition a human figure and something else. This morning on a coastal walk together just south of Half Moon Bay (a Valentine adventure!), both Dawn Joggers saw the same shot, a curving path and a fabulous slate sky. The male DJ stopped to shoot the female figure ahead of him (with his Leica - the results should be intriguing) while the female DJ waited so that the male DJ would be alone in the shot. After breakfast, they went to watch some kitesurfers and got caught in pummeling rain...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sunrise 7:01: Micro climates on the dish

The female Dawn Jogger thinks the Big Dish is representative of the Bay Area's micro climates. Today she got a little of everything in one up and over run - sun, showers, breezes. The cloud patterns produced some great early morning light. Running the Dish today opens up time for an adventure tomorrow...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sunrise 7:02: A barn in the neighborhood

The female Dawn Jogger grew up thinking that an artisan guild and luncheon/tea room were part of any suburban neighborhood thanks to the fact that Allied Arts Guild, located on Arbor Road, was a frequent visiting spot, often with aunts or great aunts. As a girl, she loved the old barns the most. These had been preserved when wealthy art patrons, Delight and Garfield Merner, bought 3.5 acres of what was once Spanish land grant property. One barn shed remains a favorite of hers. When she runs in the dark it's often a beacon of light - the craftsman evidently starting his day early. She also admires how the wood has weathered and the moss grown in a painterly fashion (yes, a theme lately). This morning the sides of the building were still wet from the rain...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sunrise 7:03: It's still all about the moon

The moonlight shown through the Dawn Joggers' bedroom window all night long and was still big and bright when the female Dawn Jogger went out in the predawn darkness to get the mornings papers (yes, two - they are newspaper people as quaint as that concept has come to be). The moon stayed relatively high in the western sky and came along with her as she did the Wednesday Big Dish run. She just missed the actual sunrise - she was already up and over the hill. Early morning weekday crowds on the Dish remain light...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunrise 7:04: Got the sun, the moon and the frost

The moon lit the way for the female Dawn Jogger on this frosty morning and was still visible shortly after dawn above the banks of Lake Lagunita (or at least where the lake should be at this time of year). The Lumix FX150 just doesn't have the shutter speed to get a photo of the moon when it's still dark. Too bad, because it's been pretty the last two mornings...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunrise 7:05: Construction continues

Some weeks back the female Dawn Jogger heard people in the community talking about Stanford's endowment taking such a hit that construction on campus was being halted. Her route only takes her by one major project, the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building, which will the the new home of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, "a non-partisan economic policy research organization designed to unite economists from a variety of entities within the university to analyze, discuss and debate current economic topics and issues." This morning it was light enough to see the building's progress, with construction continuing. It would have been ironic that the facilities for the people who are tasked with helping the nation's economy get out of this mess would have been further victims of it (even though they probably are in some way or another anyway).
Stanford's provost John Etchemendy later clarified the construction issue telling the Stanford Daily, "Any project that is currently underway is going to keep moving. Further, we will move forward with any project that is donor-supported project with a naming gift, because of donor's expectations." The new building is located where there was once a parking lot, notable in the Cassie and the the DJs used to cut across it...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sunrise 7:07: Good photo morning

The female Dawn Jogger was struck by the interesting light this morning during her Saturday Big Dish run. She stopped along Alpine Road due to a side stitch and looked across the road to see the leafless oaks silhouetted against the blue sky. Just five minutes later as she made her way to the top of the Dish, the light had changed and, combined the juxtaposition of the Dish itself, produced a bit of a other worldly scene.
Later she caught up with the male DJ who was doing his two miles to the stop sign on campus and back...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sunrise 7:08: Creek-side dream houses

A light rain was failing when the female Dawn Jogger set out this morning so she did her Menlo Park city street - less problematic in wet weather - coming home along San Francisquito Creek. She noticed new construction on her dream house, (bottom photo) which sits at the end of San Mateo Drive adjacent to the creek. She'd gotten to see the inside when it went on the market last year for $3.8 million and sold in three days for $3.3 million. Meanwhile another person's dream house takes final shape up the creek a bit...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sunrise 7:09: Wet after the rain

The female Dawn Jogger was reminded how a few clouds can darken a day. With rain coming in overnight and the clouds expected to produce showers all day, it was like the sun forget to come up this morning. It was still dark when she sprinted across the golf course, dodging puddles in the pathway adjacent to the first fairway. There was more puddle jumping around the lake. Good to have the moisture, although it's not enough rain to put a dent into the drought. Or make puddles big enough for ducks to swim in...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sunrise 7:10: Not as the eye sees

As the male Dawn Jogger notes in his blog post yesterday, his friend Scott brought over an old photography book called The Retina Way. Even though the female DJ had read the post, she missed that the Retina was a rangefinder camera that Kodak had produced for a couple of decades starting in the 30s. Rather, she had assumed that the book was about learning to use a camera so that the resulting photographs appeared as the eye had actually viewed the scene or person (unless, of course, manipulation was the objective from the beginning). It was just that frustration - not being able to capture what her eye saw - that she experienced this morning taking almost two dozen photos (way more than average) during her Dish run. The predawn light has always been a challenge for the Lumix cameras she has carried, though each generation gets a little bit better (Lumio is a FX150). This morning there were pretty scenes every where she looked: pinkish orange tendrils in the sky, an orange glow around Big Dish itself, cows silhouetted against the early morning light. But no photo she took came close to the wonderful and subtle shades of light she'd seen pre and post dawn. The cows dotting the ridge top say pastoral more than pretty...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sunrise 7:11: No water, just heavy tule

The female Dawn Jogger has pretty much given up hope that there will we water in Lake Lagunita - the rainfall has been too little. This morning a thick tule - maybe the densest she's ever seen - lined the lake bed. It was so dense that it was hard to photograph, sometimes she was in it even though the light water vapor wasn't visible up close. She shot looking west with the tule lapping the bank...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sunrise 7:12: Up with the chickens

For as long as the Dawn Joggers have lived in Menlo Park, a homeowner on San Mateo Drive near the bike bridge has kept a wide variety of chickens. They[re often better heard than seen but this morning the group was a bit closer to the fence than usual when the female Dawn Jogger ran by. She's also using a slightly stronger version of the Lumix camera that's been such a steady presence on her morning outings. This one is 14.7 megapixels with a 3.6x zoom. The male DJ suggests Lumio is a good name to follow Silvio (#1) and Clario (#2).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunrise 7:13: Sunny neighborhood walk

The Dawn Joggers set out in the warm sunshine for a walk in their neighborhood (prior to watching the game that no one can call the S!*#$# B&*$ other than those who've paid money to the NFL). Like many other areas in Menlo, they're blessed with mature trees - mainly liquid ambers. But as has been true with the Modesto ash that line Hillview Drive where the female DJ grew up, these tress are starting to reach the upper limits of life expectancy and need to be replaced. So they've watched as the trees get tagged for removal. The criteria is less clear (or hasn't been well reported)...