This is the first in a series of blog entries I am going to make in which I post my 5 favorite images of a property that Save Mount Diablo has acquired. The selection of what is my “favorite” changes from time to time and I often revisit properties and capture new images, so consider these to be “snapshots” at a particular point in time. In addition, “favorite” doesn’t always equate to “best” – often my favorite images are those that I think best represent the nature of the property, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are technically my best.
I will start this series with SMDs latest acquisition – Viera North Peak.
Viera North Peak
As the property name implies, Viera North Peak is located on the eastern slope of Mount Diablo’s North Peak. This 165-acre property is rugged, spectacular, and difficult-to-access, and was a top acquisition priority for the organization for many years due to its location, high resource values, and high visibility on the slopes of North Peak.
All of these photos were captured during May of 2009.
This image was taken in the early morning light on my third visit to Viera. I hiked in to a spectacular rock outcrop on the property that is a great vantage point to view the surrounding landscape – including the summit of Mount Diablo (and summit museum) shown in this image.
The Mount Diablo Jewel Flower (Streptanthus hispidus)
This image was taken on my second visit to Viera. We hiked to the property in the late afternoon and found this rare wildflower – a Mount Diablo endemic – on the same rock outcrop from which Image #1 was taken. I hiked back to this location a few days later and found that most of the flowers had gone to seed.
The Viera North Peak property has many small, beautiful, rocky meadows. We speculate that the rocks in these meadows prevent wild pigs from “rototilling” them, so they remain filled with wildflowers like these Ithuriel’s Spear.
Although much of Viera North Peak is composed of steep rocky hillsides covered in chaparral, it also has two beautiful tributary streams that were still running strong late in the spring. Along these streams the chaparral gives way to lush streamside vegetation like this Big-leaf Maple.
Pink Spineflower (Chorizanthe membranacea)
Another cool wildflower found on Viera North Peak. I photographed this specimen against the lichen-covered rocks of the outcrop mentioned above.
All of these images were taken with a Nikon D300 digital SLR. The landscape images were taken with my primary “hiking” lens – a 16-85mm DX-format Nikkor zoom lens. The macro photos of flowers were taken with either my trusty 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor zoom (possibly my favorite lens of all time) on a tripod, or the 105mm VR Micro-Nikkor hand held.
© 2009 – 2011, Scott Hein. All rights reserved.