Rather than going to the Kingdom Hall three times a week, what I've actually gone to three times in the past week is the American River. I took photographs at three different places along it, and I intend to post the first set this evening. But first - hey, remember me speculating about why Negro Bar is called that? I just found out it used to be an African-American gold-mining camp. Or rather, an area that's now underwater used to be, so they named a nearby place that's not underwater after the old gold-mining camp. I love how the old letters and journal entries written by the gold miners there sometimes sound almost as if they were written just yesterday - the price of real estate is once again falling sharply, and it once again costs about $25 per person to travel from Sacramento to San Francisco by mass transit. And then of course there's the familiar Sacramento weather:
July twenty-first. The heat is almost unbearable. I am satisfied if it is only 100 degrees; but usually it is 100 to 118 degrees in the shade, and in this heat we have to work without even a refreshing drink. . . . August second. This burning heat continues constantly. For several weeks the thermometer has registered 108 degrees from 12 till 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Not a drop of rain has fallen for several months and none can be expected for three months to come.That's my Sacramento!
And prairie_city, I also found more information about our ghost town called Prairie City, of which nothing is left at all but a street named after it and a Vehicular Recreation Area named after it.
But let's get on with the photographs! The first place I went to this past week, and the only one that I'm ready to post photographs of right now, is Goethe Park (pronounced "Getty" and named after a local scary eugenicist, not the famous German writer whose name is pronounced differently). I photographed Goethe Park once before, almost two years ago now; it was the very first spot along the American River that I photographed at all.
One of the main things I was hoping to do at the park this time around was to identify some native plants. I only managed to confidently identify the exact species of one of them, but it was one I like a lot, so I was not disappointed. The tree covered with purple flowers is a Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis), near the entrance to Goethe Park. There were quite a few of them, and I managed to arrive right when they were all in full bloom.
A lot of the other deciduous trees were still leafless.
The very short yellow-brown grass growing on the rocks made for an interesting look.
The not-so-natural, conventionally landscaped section of the park is hidden behind those trees. But I didn't photograph that, because it looked boringly identical to every other park in the United States.
Here is the river. If you look closely, you may notice some strange hut-like formations on the bank, one in the foreground and one halfway down the shoreline. I would really like to know how those get made. They look awfully advanced for any animal to make, awfully pointless and time-consuming for any human to make, and awfully animal-shelter-like for plants to have somehow created such formations on their own.
This is the view to the east. On the opposite side of the river, rich people live in expensive houses all along the shore.
And this is the view to the west, from the same spot. For the record, I went photographing at sunset in search of interesting colors, but actually every single one of the pictures in this Goethe Park set originally came out looking almost black and white. A lot of you might well have liked them better that way, but since I'm a color addict and I'm the one posting the photographs, I multiplied each picture by itself to drastically increase its color saturation, and then I restored the original light/dark values so that nothing other than the color saturation was changed. Consequently, the photo set that was originally my most colorless photo set ever is now one of my most colorful instead. In some cases, when the above technique still failed to provide as much color as I wanted, I even manually colorized the sky and the water with blue-to-orange gradients. Far more often than you'd probably guess, the pictures that I pass off as being "photographs" in all my photo posts are really a sort of photo-assisted computer art.
The log here looked as if it had birds perched on it, but it turned out to be just a very oddly shaped log.
Looking east some more.
I had been photographing ducks here, but a man came up behind me on a bicycle and scattered bread for the ducks, so all the ducks waddled out of the water and up the riverbank, out of the photograph. He apologized for taking the ducks out of my photographs, but really it was just as well, because I don't think this one would work as well with ducks in it.
Here is one I took before he stole my ducks.
I really like this one. It wasn't half as interesting in the original version, when it looked almost completely black and white. But multiplying the color saturation made the glow around the sun really rather amazing. Finally my bad habit of wanting to photograph the sun all the time paid off with something pretty!