Monday, August 18, 2014

Golden Gate Under Low Clouds

Golden Gate shrouded in low-hanging summer clouds

The best laid plans....

It was supposed to be an evening with great night photography at the Golden Gate during the blue hour, Palace of Fine Art and later at the Bay Bridge to see the moon rising in the late evening.  I had made these plans for an out-of-town visitors to whom I already explained that the city experiences more of a winter cold wind and fog during our summer days.  As I drove up on 280, the ominous clouds were unmistakable in the early afternoon pushing in from the ocean over the sunset district of the city.  From the high point at Divisadero, the business district was bathed in sunshine with only puffy clouds making it that far into the Bay.  As the afternoon proceeded the low cloud overcast pushed more and more over the city and into the Bay.

View through the North Tower from Battery Spencer

I hadn't been on Hawks Hill on a Saturday late afternoon in August - and the vista points along the road were not just packed but there was chaos on the road with the parking lots overloaded.  Walking up to Spencer Battery, we were greeting by fierce wind funneling into the Bay.  The tip of the Golden Gate towers previously still visible were progressively swallowed in clouds with more fog rolling in.  Timing our arrival before sunset, any hopes to catch the blue hour with the light coming on were blown in the wind or swallowed in fog!

It was time for alternative options!  By now the cloud cover extended pretty much all the way into the bay and maybe Fort Baker on the East side of the bridge would give us a better view.  Sandwiches, hot tea and granola bars bridged the time until the light fell.

Golden Gate shrouded under a low cloud ceiling

With all the moisture in the air, the warm colors of the night were reflected in the water.

Next alternate stop was the Palace of Fine Art with its reflection pond that invites any night photographer to stop and linger.

Palace of Fine Art

Forgetting moon rise at the Bay Bridge (!) our next stop was at the Legion of Honors.  I had photographed there in the past and experienced a nice reflection in the pond, but tonight the fountain was going giving us a different experience.

Legion of Honor

Horse and Rider Sculpture at the Legion of Honor

As midnight approached, I bid good bye to my friends.  Although I had planned quite a different evening the city of course offers many wonderful sights during the day and the night, and  I was happy that we captured some nice images at these alternate locations.

By now, Bill and Russ are back in the Midwest, but I am sure they will come back during the winter time when the skies are clear and we again can go out, and this time hopefully can capture the Golden Gate in 'better light" during the blue hour and into the night.

Until then, happy travel wherever your journey takes you!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wild Horse Roundup

Wild Horse and Mustang Roundup by BLM

Here is the latest news in the struggle to keep the wild horses and mustangs on the open public land in the West.  In the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada, BLM just rounded up 124 wild horses in one day.  Once it is all over, more than 400 wild horses and mustangs will be removed and this is the end of wild horses in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.  Please read the report below published by Return to Freedom, a wild horse and mustang refuge in California.

Here is how the US Fish and Wildlife Services summarize the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge as follows:  []

The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada, protects more than half a million acres of high desert habitat for large wintering herds of pronghorn antelope, scattered bands of bighorn sheep, and a rich assortment of other wildlife. The landscape is vast, rugged, and punctuated with waterfalls, narrow gorges, and lush springs among rolling hills and expansive tablelands of sagebrush and mountain mahogany. Elevations on the refuge range from 4,100 to 7,200 feet. Annual precipitation rarely amounts to more than a dozen inches, creating a harsh environment where a wide variety of wildlife manages to thrive. Although established for the protection of wildlife and habitat, the refuge encompasses other interesting features. The remains of old homesteads and ranches intrigue visitors. The lure of fire opals draws miners and rock collectors to the Virgin Valley mining district. Geothermal hot springs create a refreshing oasis in the heart of the refuge. The refuge's mosaic of resources and public interests generates significant management challenges.

Latest update: July 14, 2014  -
I wonder whether the update already took out the wild horses in anticipation of this cruel roundup?

          photo: Steve Paige                                      

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"This wild horse was put down at the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge on Aug 11, 2014 after being rounded from beyond the distant horizon. It was then pushed for miles by a team of helicopters on a injured leg."
- Steve Paige, reporting from the Sheldon Roundup
August 14, 2014
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Ranger Steve Paige is on site to bear witness to the Sheldon Roundup. The end of an era is ushered out by the deafening sound of the helicopter and the thundering hooves of panicked horses.
​In the first two days, 124 horses were rounded up and chased into traps to be sorted and separated, the beginning of the end of for these horses. Before its over, over 400 wild horses -- all that remain on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge -- will be gone. 
"Sheldon FWS managers have for years experimented with permanent sterilization on the horses there - they could have let those horses live out their lives on the Refuge. At one point they had decided to manage 150 horses there. Now none . . . all gone, another vital link to our living history wiped out" laments Return to Freedom Founder Neda DeMayo. "I look at our Sheldon herd - the 50 horses we took from the 2000 roundup - and I know that they are safe because of our work, but their wild relatives are not and that breaks my heart" DeMayo continues.
Here we see a noble bay stallion on the outside, trying to keep his family in tact in the midstof the chaos. His effort will be futile in the end. And though we worked to make sure that unscrupulous horse traders would not get their hands on the Sheldon horses, we cannot be certain of their fate. 
This cruel disposal of our wildlife has to end! Please stand with us and help us fight these senseless roundups. 
Support Our Advocacy Work and help us fight to keep wild horses IN THE WILD!
Become a Member and help us feed and care for the horses we've rescued from past roundups.
Our voice is being heard in Wyoming! The BLM has delayed its Wyoming Roundup due to pressure from our lawsuit. We await the court's decision in this precedent setting case!

Return to Freedom is dedicated to protecting the freedom, diversity and habitat of America's wild horses through sanctuary, education, and conservation while enriching the human spirit through direct connection with the natural world.

It saddens me to file this report and to see the demise of the beautiful wild horses 
in yet another area of the West.


Here is a way to visit wild horses at Return to Freedom: