Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hasta be Shasta

Today was what steamship companies call a "positioning cruise": I need to be in San Francisco tomorrow, so rather than making lots of local stops and not venturing far from my starting point, I made a long run without many stops at all, ending up at my home base for tomorrow's shorter jaunts.

I've squeezed off a lot of shots in the past few days, but I don't feel I've really captured the feel of fall in the Siskiyous. It's a rich season, with lots of saturated browns and oranges and reds and yellows in the trees, offset by dark evergreens, brightly lit by autumn's intense sunlight.

Every time I come across the Siskiyou summit, I try to get a picture of this sign. Sometimes I miss it completely. Sometimes I get a good, clean shot. It marks the number of times I've been up and down this road. It also reminds me what weather I had on a particular trip. Today was crisp and clear. I saw a roadside thermometer that said 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

I always tell myself I won't take bazillions of shots of Mount Shasta as I come down the highway, just because it's there and it's captivating. I already have bazillions of shots from every other trip I've taken up and down this road. And every time, no matter what I tell myself, I take bazillions of shots anyhow.

Above is the formal, posed shot, from the main vista point off the highway just north of Yreka. This captures the whole scene from the north, with Shasta on the left, a double peak formed by the main mountain and Shastina, a lower peak that's part of the same structure. On the right, but still really part of the same complex, is Black Butte, a much smaller cinder cone.

Shasta showing off her fall colors, before the first snowfall. Look how bare the mountain is, compared with winter and spring shots where it's entirely white. Also note the smudge of smoke in the sky to the left (northeast) of the mountain. Not sure exactly where that came from, but it's not an illusion.

Black Butte from closer up.

As Shasta fell behind me to my left, the sun sank out of sight on my right. Here's the silhouette of the boat docks at the marina on Lake Shasta, behind Shasta Dam.

Many hours later (too many hours), I was on my way through the tunnel in the middle of the Bay Bridge, heading in to San Francisco. My vision at this point was considerably better than the camera's. The camera had a long day, and needed some coffee and a good rest.

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