Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Mt. Diablo Snow (Day 1) - Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve - San Ramon, CA

It is very rare to see snow in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the weather recently has been very weird. It snowed like crazy in the San Francisco Bay Area. On February 23 and 24, 2023, my mom and I went to several locations in San Ramon, CA and Danville, CA to go see snow on Mt. Diablo, Mission Peak, Mt. Allison, and more. The places we visited are Forest Home Farms Historic Park (I went to this park mainly to see the sheep and use the bathroom 😅), Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, Memorial Park, and Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve. I took photos with my cellphones and mirrorless camera. The photos are split into 3 blog posts. I hope you enjoy viewing my photos!

Full Resolution Photos: If you want to see full resolution photos of any of the photos you see here, use the following links. If you wish to purchase prints of any of the photos, please contact me here. To see all of my photos from this trip, use this link.

Parts: Cellphone Photos | Olympus Photos (Day 1) | Olympus Photos (Day 2)

These are photos I shot on my Olympus mirrorless camera on Day 1 (February 23, 2023). The photos were shot at Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve in San Ramon, CA. There wasn't too much snow on Mt. Diablo on Day 1. I think the first round of snow and rainstorms mostly hit the peninsula and the south bay. We really didn't get much here in the Tri-Valley area. We were hit during the second round of snow and rainstorms. I mostly knew what I was getting myself into as I did some scouting around via online webcams (a list of websites at the end of this blog post if you're interested).

A scenery photo of San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, clouds, mountains, trees, and green hills. The photo was shot near Grey Fox Trail.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 44' 53" N 121° 57' 57" W

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, cows, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Grey Fox Trail. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 44' 54" N 121° 58' 03" W

A black and white process of the photo above.

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, cows, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Grey Fox Trail. 
Photo shot at the same spot as above.


A scenery photo of San Ramon, mountains, clouds, trees, and green hills. The photo was shot towards Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 44' 59" N 121° 58' 44" W

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google): 37° 44' 53" N 121° 58' 30" W

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Photo shot near the same spot as above.


A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Photo shot near the same spot as above.

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Photo shot near the same spot as above.

A scenery photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, San Ramon, trees, green hills, and clouds. The photo was shot on Redtail Hawk Trail.
Photo shot near the same spot as above.

This is all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed viewing the photos! Please don't forget to share the blog post with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Online Webcams I Use:

Parts: Cellphone Photos | Olympus Photos (Day 1) | Olympus Photos (Day 2)

Sunday, February 26, 2023

New Lanterns For Travels!

Recently, I have been stress shopping just a little bit, but I bought 2 lanterns for my travels with my parents. They are the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern and the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern. My parents and I frequently end up eating dinner (whether it is instant ramen or burritos I bought at a restaurant earlier in the day) in parking lots out in the middle of nowhere or at turnouts on the side of the road. It is usually very dark at night out in the wilderness. I occasionally might take a small walk, depending on how big the turnout or parking lot is, if I finish dinner before my parents. Also sometimes we might stop on the side of the road for a break at night. These lanterns will help light up the immediate area, and inside our vehicle as well (our vehicle is really old so some of the internal lights don't work properly anymore). Since I don't have the best vision at night due to visual snow syndrome (I'm still half night blind), I'm sure these lanterns will come in very handy in the future.

The first lantern I'm showing is the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern. This light runs on three D batteries, and they can be either Alkaline or NiMH. I have not been able to find any good rechargeable NiMH D batteries. You might think the Energizer Rechargeable NiMH D Batteries are good, but pay attention to the capacity, they are practically a NiMH AA cell in a D battery housing. You might as well use some Eneloop D Battery Adapters and Eneloop AA Batteries you have lying at home (if you are a photographer like me, you'll have lots).

This lantern has a built-in carabiner on the top and bottom along with the handle. The diffuser at the top can also be removed. The lantern floats and is also IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter submersion while the diffuser is attached.

A photo of the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern while turned off.

The Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern has 3 white modes and 2 red modes (for preserving night vision).
In white mode, it can run on high (540 lumens) for 30 hours, on medium (275 lumens) for 70 hours, and low (55 lumens) for 295 hours. The lumen ratings for white mode is with the cover removed.
In red mode, it can run on steady light mode (10 lumens) for 235 hours, and flashing SOS mode for 430 hours).

A photo of the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern on white mode turned up to the highest setting.

The Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern also has a power level indicator on the power switch that can change between green, yellow, red, and flashing red.

A photo of the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern on red mode.

I plan on just using single-use alkaline batteries in this lantern. I have rechargeable lanterns with both built-in Li-ion batteries and ones that accept 18650 Li-ion cells, but they aren't as bright as this lantern. Since I'm only using this lantern for brief periods, the alkaline D batteries are fine. The other benefit of a lantern running on replaceable batteries is that when I'm out in the middle of nowhere in pitch darkness, I don't have to mess around with cables, chargers, and recharging.

A photo of the three Duracell Alkaline D Batteries I'm currently using with the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern.

I'm not too happy to be using single-use alkaline D batteries with the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern, but until a reputable manufacturer starts making a good rechargeable NiMH D battery, I don't really have another choice.


The other lantern I'm showing is the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern. This light runs on 4 AA batteries, and they can be either Alkaline or NiMH. This lantern's diffuser is collapsible. This lantern has a built-in carabiner at the top and a light at the bottom (which can be used as a flashlight in flashlight mode, or shine light out the bottom when this light is hung up).

This lantern is IPX4 water resistant. 

A photo of the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern while turned off and collapsed.

A photo of the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern while turned off and expanded.

A photo of the bottom light on the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern while turned off and expanded.


The Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern has 4 modes: high, low, combined, and flashlight mode (only the bottom lights up).

The high mode (200 lumens) can run 7 hours. The low mode (50 lumens) can run 16 hours 30 minutes. The combined mode (100 lumens) can run 8 hours 50 minutes. The flashlight mode (180 lumens) can run 8 hours 30 minutes.

A photo of the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern in high mode.

A photo of the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern in combined mode.

A photo of the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern in flashlight mode.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post on my 2 new lanterns, the Streamlight Siege 540 Lumen Lantern and the Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern. Please don't forget to share the blog post with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Mt. Diablo & Mission Peak Snow (San Ramon/Danville) - Cellphone Photos

It is very rare to see snow in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the weather recently has been very weird. It snowed like crazy in the San Francisco Bay Area. On February 23 and 24, 2023, my mom and I went to several locations in San Ramon, CA and Danville, CA to go see snow on Mt. Diablo, Mission Peak, Mt. Allison, and more. The places we visited are Forest Home Farms Historic Park (I went to this park mainly to see the sheep and use the bathroom 😅), Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, Memorial Park, and Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve. I took photos with my cellphones and mirrorless camera. The photos are split into 3 blog posts. I hope you enjoy viewing my photos!

Parts: Cellphone Photos | Olympus Photos (Day 1) | Olympus Photos (Day 2)

These photos were shot on my cellphones.

I first start off with the cellphone photos I took on February 23, 2023.

The first location we went to was Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA (19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583). I knew I wouldn't be able to see Mt. Diablo from this location. I mostly came here to see the Tractor Museum (which was closed unfortunately), the sheep, and also to use the bathroom.

A photo of sheep, houses, high voltage lines, and clouds.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.

A photo of historic farm equipment near the Tractor Museum, high voltage lines and clouds.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.

A photo of sheep, houses, high voltage lines, and clouds.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.


A photo of sheep, houses, high voltage lines, a church, and clouds.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.

A photo of sheep, houses, high voltage lines, a church, and clouds.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.

A photo of a sheep.
The photo is from Forest Home Farms Historic Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.


The second location we went to was Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve in San Ramon, CA.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of Mt. Diablo with a light dusting of snow, and clouds.
The photo is from Redtail Hawk Trail in Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 23 February, 2023.

Up next, are the cellphone photos I took on February 24, 2023. Yes, I know I'm mixing my date formats. I grew up in China, where we used a different format (YYYY/MM/DD | 年/月/日), and then I was taught British date format (DD/MM/YYYY) along with British English. Some habits are hard to break. 😂 In fact, my British accent occasionally comes back into play. I also have an easier time understanding British English than American English.

The first location we went to was Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve in San Ramon, CA. The trail was way too muddy and steep for me to make the climb again (unlike the day before). I attempted a small part of it, but gave up trying to hike Bishop Ranch just a tiny bit past the gate. It would have been too dangerous to hike that steep hill. The reason I was able to hike up Bishop Ranch the previous day was because the first round of rainstorms and snowstorms mainly hit the Peninsula and the South Bay. The Tri-Valley Area didn't get too severe of storms during the first round. Once the second round of storms came in, many of the hiking trails here became very muddy. After abandoning the Bishop Ranch hike, I took a photo near the entrance to the preserve on Morgan Drive.

A scenery photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo, San Ramon, houses, trees, and clouds.
The photo is from Morgan Drive in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

The second location we went to was Memorial Park in San Ramon, CA. After hearing how loud that rainstorm was the previous night, I kind of expected not being able to hike Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, so I had several backup locations on hand.

A scenery photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo, San Ramon, houses, trees, and clouds.
The photo is from Memorial Park in San Ramon, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.


The third location we went to was Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The trails were extremely muddy and it was one of the most challenging hikes I have ever done. I would not recommend you attempt this even with hiking poles. You will see later in the blog post just how muddy it was, and how caked up in mud my shoes, my hiking poles, and my camera tripod was. Those rainstorms and snowstorms the previous night were really severe.

A scenery photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo, green hills, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Allison (left) & Mission Peak (right), green hills, forest, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.


A scenery photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo, Danville, green hills, trees, houses, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Allison (left) & Mission Peak (right), forest, high voltage power lines, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Allison (left) & Mission Peak (right), green hills, forest, high voltage power lines, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.


A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A scenery photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo, Danville, green hills, trees, houses, and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo shot through my monocular.
A photo of snow covered Mt. Diablo and clouds.
The photo is from Short Ridge Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.


After I finished taking photos of the snow covered mountain peaks, my mom and I started our slow and arduous hike back to Sycamore Valley Park where we parked. The last few photos I took was to show you exactly how muddy that trail was. I don't think the photos do it justice as the mud stuck to my shoes, my hiking poles, and my tripod blends right into the mud in the background.

A photo of my mud caked hiking shoes.
The photo is from Sand Hill Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo of my mud caked hiking shoes.
The photo is from Sand Hill Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

A photo of my mud caked hiking pole and camera tripod.
The photo is from Sand Hill Trail in Sycamore Valley Regional Preserve in Danville, CA. The photo was shot on 24 February, 2023.

This is all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed viewing the photos! Please don't forget to share the blog post with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Parts: Cellphone Photos | Olympus Photos (Day 1) | Olympus Photos (Day 2)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Round Valley Cows (Cellphone Photos) - Brentwood, CA

Yesterday, on 19 February 2023, my parents and I took a hike and walk in Round Valley Regional Preserve in Brentwood, CA. We saw lots of cows. You're probably wondering, "Didn't you just go on the 18th (the day before)?". Yes I did, but my dad saw the photos my mom and I took, and he wanted to go check out the preserve as well. My mom and I ended up going again taking him with us. I only took photos on my cellphone on this walk and hike. I hope you enjoy viewing my photos. 

My dad still haven't recovered from his leg injuries a year ago, so he's back on crutches again (after tearing the muscle again). He climbed over the "gatekeeper hills" near the parking lot with my mom and they both sat near the creek for a while. I went on a hike and walk myself going from Miwok Trail to Murphy Meadow Trail then to Miwok Trail again, hitting the gate to the Los Vaqueros Watershed (which was closed), before returning via the same route. 

Both photos I took are of cows, and they were both shot on Miwok trail.

A photo of cows and trees taken on Miwok Trail.


A photo of cows and trees taken on Miwok Trail.

My mom told me after sitting by the creek for a while, my dad wanted to go back to the car to take a nap. After, my mom took my dad back to the car, she came back to look for me. 

Since cellphone service in the preserve is patchy, my mom and I communicated via the Midland GXT1030 FRS Two-Way Radio and the Midland GXT1050 FRS Two-Way Radio. I did not expect the radio to be working too well in the preserve as the area is hilly and my communications with my mom would be partially obstructed, but the radios surprised me. I set both radios to transmit on "High". Our communication was somewhat broken and quite noisy at the 2 mile mark. I did off trail onto a slight hill on the side of Murphy Meadow Trail (GPS Coordinates: 37° 51' 04.6" N 121° 46' 56.4" W) to check-in with my mom twice. We were able to get the gist of what we were trying to communicate the first time (approximately 2 miles apart), and we had to repeat several times, but it was enough to get the message across. My mom said the radios completely stopped working at the 2.5 mile mark (second time I tried to check-in with her), but she thinks someone was using the same channel chatting in the parking lot (I heard patchy transmissions too and it seems a few kids were playing with their radios). As my mom came back to look for me, we used the radios to set a meet up point. Once we were within 1 to 1.5 miles, the communications were very clear despite the partial obstruction. We ended up meeting on Murphy Meadow Trail and started our walk back to the parking lot. I had a 3rd radio in the car because I knew my dad was going to go back for a nap. My dad used the extra radio I put in the car to communicate with us when we were around 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot. The communication was loud and clear despite the partial obstruction and the batteries in that radio running low (that radio switched itself to low power transmission due to the almost dead batteries). Overall, I was surprised at the performance of these 2 FRS radios from Midland!


The other story I wanted to tell was that around 1/2 a mile from the parking lot, my mom and I saw 2 Latino teenagers (probably around high school age) making attempts to tip calves and running. My mom said she saw them doing it earlier closer to the parking lot as well. We hiked as fast as we can toward the parking lot to put as much distance as we can between those 2 crazy teenagers and the cows they angered. As we were hiking away we heard several adult cows mooing very aggressively and they were running very fast toward those 2 crazy teens. If they got gored by a bull or headbutted by a heifer, they deserve it. 😂

This is all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed viewing the photos! Please don't forget to share the blog post with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.