CALIFORNIA COASTAL ZEBRA? It was a strange sight, travelling along California Highway 1— the beautiful coastal road. There, standing amid a herd of cattle was a zebra! I wondered for some time why a rancher would keep a zebra among cattle. A little on-line research provided the answer. It seems that cattle grazing with zebra actually gain more weight. In the wet season, grass grows fast. It gets tall, fibrous and unappetizing to the cows. The zebras eat these top shoots on the tall grass. That, in turn, causes regrowth of shoots at the base of the plant, nearest the ground. The fresh shoots are tasty to the cattle and they eat more, causing them to gain weight more quickly than fields without zebras. And, apparently, the cattle and zebra get along with each other quite well.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, 70-300 DX zoom lens at 70mm, f4.9, 1/250 sec, f25, ISO 1000 Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography.
BODIE, CALIFORNIA, A GENUINE CALIFORNIA GHOST TOWN: A trip to this high Sierra Mountains town is a trip back in time to the California Gold Rush era. There were over 2,000 buildings in Bodie’s heyday and up to 10,000 residents. But boom became bust with mere hundreds living there in the early part of the 20th century. Bodie became a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s and has been a photographer’s dream ever since. Read my story and see more pictures here, about Bodie, a genuine California Ghost Town. Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, 10-24 DX VR lens at 15mm, f/22, 1/200 sec., ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SAN FRANCISCO: The huge cables that pass over the 746 foot main towers act as hangers for the suspender cables. The Suspender cables hold the roadway. Those main cables are over 36 inches in diameter. Each cable is 7,650 feet long. The wire inside those main cables total more than 80,000 miles. This shot was taken from the San Francisco side, along a pathway that is full of wildflowers. You can see that cyclists use one side of the bridge and pedestrians the other. The Golden Gate is a toll bridge. Tolls are only collected on the lanes heading into San Francisco. More interesting facts on the Golden Gate Bridge website. And here’s another perspective of the bridge: Golden Gate Bridge
Shot handheld with Nikon D300, with a Nikkor AF-S 18-200 lens at 200mm, f9, 1/1000 sec., ISO 640. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SAN FRANCISCO: When most people think of the Golden Gate Bridge, the image that most likely comes to mind is the view from a distance, taking in the full span of this beautiful structure. What is not much appreciated is that while the bridge handles thousands of vehicles each day, it is also a pedestrian, hiker and cyclist Mecca. It’s easy to get up close to the bridge and photograph it from interesting angles. The bridge first opened to pedestrians on May 27th, 1937. Vehicular traffic followed the next day. There are numerous cycling and walking paths all around the bridge. One side of the bridge is reserved for walkers and runners. The other side is strictly for cyclists. Maintaining the bridge is a constant project. 38 painters work on the bridge, as do 17 iron workers who replace rusting rivets. More interesting facts on the Golden Gate Bridge website.
Shot handheld with Nikon D300, with a Nikkor AF-S 16-85 lens at 16mm, f20, 1/200 sec., ISO 640. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
CLIFF HOUSE FROM PACIFIC BEACH: Pacific Beach is a great spot for a walk along the beach. When the waves come crashing in, the sound is deafening. This shot look up to the Cliff House. Click here to see my photo of Pacific Beach from the Cliff House. This is one of my favourite parts of San Francisco. It’s near the Land’s Trail and a short distance to Golden Gate Park. And, while some dismiss the Cliff House as touristy or expensive, I disagree. The food is really quite good. They do an amazing green and white asparagus soup! See the rocks to the left in the photo? They are call the Seal Rocks. The white stuff? Bird guano.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm at 18mm, f22, 1/320 sec., ISO 1250, Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
“PAINTED LADIES” VICTORIAN HOMES, SAN FRANCISCO: This photo is posted in response to questions about other shots I might have of these famous homes after a post a couple of weeks ago. The houses are on Steiner Street. Some call it “Postcard Row.” And yes, “Full House” fans, these are the houses in the opening credits of that series and Alamo Square (or Park) is where they are having a picnic.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor 70-300 AF-S lens at 112mm, f25, 1/400 sec., ISO 1250. Photos by John Ecker | Pantheon
CABLE CAR, SAN FRANCISCO: When you think of San Francisco, the cable car quickly comes to mind as a strong symbol of the City by the Bay. The first cable car went into service in 1873. Andrew Hallidie is credited with the invention of the cable car after he witnessed a heavy carriage roll down a steep San Francisco street. Cable cars have no engine. They only move with the help of cables on a pulley system beneath the street. The speed is a constant 9.5 mph. To stop a car, the conductor disengages the ‘gripper’ to unlatch the car from the cable, apply a brake and bring the car to a stop. This cable car was photographed on California Street, just uphill from the Omni Hotel– one of the nicest hotels in the city. At many intersections, like this one, the cable cars pop into the sunlight briefly as they emerge from the shadows cast by buildings along the street. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AFS-S 70-300mm lens at 300mm, 1/800 sec., f22, ISO 800.
Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon
PACIFIC COAST, CALIFORNIA: The drive up the California coast from San Francisco is one of the most exhilarating journeys you can take in a car. The highway twists and turns. It barely hugs the cliffs, giving the sensation of almost soaring above the rugged coast. As a photographer, the temptation is always strong to stop and take a shot. But on this highway, doing so can be fatal. With twists, turns and switchbacks, there are few straightaways with views down the road. The shoulders are narrow and often rock-strewn. This photo was taken at one of the coastal lookouts. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85 mm lens at 60 mm, f25, 1/1/250 sec, ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography