Friday, August 16, 2013

Thirty Two Years Ago...

Debbie and I were married on this day in 1981 – 32 years ago.  Despite years of experience, she's still putting up with me :)

Today we celebrated in a very low-key way.  First we journeyed over our local back roads to Pine Valley, where we had a fish sandwich and fries at Frosty Burger (best fast food in the known universe).  The fries were absolutely perfect.  Then we drove up a Forest Service road that leads from just west of Pine Valley up to the Sunrise Highway north of Mt. Laguna.  The first part of this road is paved, but we turned off the pavement onto a 4WD road that stays downhill and west of the Mt. Laguna massif (which runs roughly north/south). 

There wasn't a lot of wildlife to see there today, though we did get a brief glimpse of a male Western tanager – just his back as he flew across the road below us.  We don't often come out this way in the summertime, as it's very hot and dry – and the wildflowers are long gone.  Except there was one wildflower there in abundance, a new one to me even after all these years (first photo below).  The mountain mahogany were prime, and very abundant.  And in one particular spot we ran across lots of a plant we don't know bearing red berries. 

Despite the lack of exciting scenery, it was still a very pleasant drive.  When we hit the Sunrise Highway, we looped back around to Cuyamaca Park and into the Stonewall Mine road, hoping for some deer – and we did see one.  Just one :)

Now we're back home, did the chores, and we're just chilling out for the rest of the day...

BTW, the photos below were all taken with a tiny little pocket camera: a Nikon CoolPix S4300.  I got this camera for my mom, and I'm learning how to use it – so that I can show her while I'm visiting next week.  It's been quite a few years since I've last used a pocket camera.  They've come a long, long way – both in capability and in ease of use.  Also, the automation is remarkably good.  I'm deliberately using only the full auto mode, as I'm pretty sure my mom will use only them.  I'm finding that the camera nearly always does exactly what I want it to do. 

The touch screen on the back allows a feature I've never used before, but have already fallen in love with: while you're viewing the scene you want to take a photo of, you can touch the part you want exposed correctly and focused on – and the camera just does it.  For example, you might compose a photo with someone's face in the lower left corner, and a distant scene in the rest of the frame.  By simply touching the person's face on the screen, you're telling the camera to focus there, adjust the exposure to suit the face's illumination, and take the photo.  One touch does all that.  Nice!

The mystery flower that we've never seen before because we don't venture onto Mt. Laguna in the summer.  The flowers are about dime-sized.

Mountain mahogany seeds.

Close up of the mountain mahogany seeds (zoomed to telephoto, shooting from about 3 feet away).

The obligatory FJ shot!

Mystery berries...

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