If I remember – which I frequently don’t – I take my polarizer with me when I am going to photographing scenery. With our trip up into the Cascades, we went to the overlook of Diablo Lake and the sun was reflecting off the surface of the lake waters. I took two shots – one with the polarizer rotated to remove the glare and one with the glare in full effect. I was interested to see which of the shots I preferred when I got home. The color of the lake is very nice but sometimes the reflections are more interesting. I include both here to show just how much of a difference the polarizer makes and for you to decide which is to your taste.
My sister was visiting so we took a trip up into the Cascades across the North Cascades Highway. Having traveled this way before, I had photographed some of the dams already. This time, we got a closer look at Diablo Dam. You can drive down to the dam and across the top of it to get to the facilities on the other side. The dam is wide enough for two vehicles to pass although that might not be obvious given the way some of the drivers behaved.
The spillways on either side of the dam look a lot bigger when you get close to it than is the case when looking from a distance. The chance to see it up close, given that so many of the dams in the mountains are rather inaccessible, was pretty cool.
The hills to the east of Oakland provide a great opportunity to build reservoirs. Supplying the Bay Area with water is a big deal so the reservoirs are in important pat of the local infrastructure. Damming a valley is no simple feat but, once done, a substantial quantity of water can be held. Of course, this also makes a nice spot to hang out.
We took a trip to the Lafayette reservoir. It has trails and picnic areas around the water. Originally we had intended to walk around the whole thing. However, they had a facility for renting pedalos and rowing boats so we decided to go out on the water instead. Off we went in our pedalo. The rules were quite amusing. Absolutely no way we were to touch the water. I know the water will be used for public consumption but I don’t think the local wildlife is so bothered about what it does in the water. The water quantity is huge so there is no risk but you would think we were going to have some sort of toxic impact if we touched the water with a hand. Oh well.
They obviously don’t want you getting too close to the water inlets but you can get pretty close to the dam structure in the boat. (You park on top of the dam so you are really close then!). The dam looks a lot more impressive from the surface of the water. Given what a lovely day it was when we there, I was surprised how few people were there. I’m not complaining since it meant it was quiet for us.
Head south from Livermore and you get into some hilly territory beyond the vineyards. Climb over one of the ridges and you drop down into a valley flooded by a reservoir. The water is surrounded by a park that has lots of options for hiking, biking, boating and just hanging out. This is Del Valle Regional Park. We were keen to try and get some hiking in before the temperatures got too high so planned out a route that would take us up around the hills and back down to the lake.
While the park is very popular and a lot of people were along the water having picnics and swimming, it didn’t take long to get well away from everyone. To be fair, it wasn’t hard to see why. The route we took involved a very steep climb to start things off. Without having warmed up much, we were both suddenly very aware of how quickly (or not) we were going up. However, once we had reached the high point, we then had a far more relaxing path to take along the ridge. The view was fantastic and we were almost totally alone for the entire route.
Finally we dropped down to the water and had a gentle stroll back to our starting point. Meanwhile, plenty of people were enjoying the water. Kayaks and powered boats were all over the water. The edge of the water had a lot of people fishing. All in all, it seemed the image of relaxed sunny day.
A short drive from Dublin can take you in to the hills and some pretty queit places. There is a reservoir that is just across the county line known as the Los Vaqueros Watershed. We thought it would be a good place for a hike while the temperatures are still cool. When things warm up, I suspect this will be a pretty hot part of the area. As it was, the temperatures were nice and the recent rains meant the hillsides were very green.
The purpose of the visit was to have a hike so I decided not to take my cameras with me. However, the phone is always with me so there is a camera if the view warrants it. The shots here are all from the camera. It was amazingly quiet while we were there. Plenty of people were fishing down at the water’s edge but on the trails we were almost alone for much of the time. As we were heading back to the car, a few more groups showed up but most of the time we were nowhere near anyone. The exception was a bobcat that appeared on the trail below us. Nancy spotted it about the time it spotted us. We stared at each other for a while before it got bored and wandered off. Needless to say, the wide angle lens on the phone was not up to getting a shot so you will have to take my word for it.