Juxtapositions of a Bay Area December

Yesterday's dark and dreary weather made it seem as if the sun never came out. The outside temperature never made it past 39F (3.9C) which is very unusual for this climate. But we were getting hit with one of the arctic blasts we get at least once a winter. The snow elevation dropped and there was snow on the higher hills around the San Francisco Bay Area. The rain was icy cold. The sky was dark. And the humid chill cut right to the bone.

So when today dawned bright and beautiful, I was glad I had an excuse to get out of the studio. I had an appointment for a routine mammogram this afternoon (I've rescheduled it twice over the past month). I toted my camera along so I could be on the lookout for pretty shots. I knew people would wonder why I had my rig around my neck as I headed into the Kaiser medical center, but frankly I didn't care.

I took a wrong turn trying to find the imaging center and ended up on the wrong floor down a dead-end hall with a beautiful floor-to-ceiling window at the end. This is the gorgeous view that I found...

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This is the quintessential shot to show the odd juxtapositions that exist in our wonderful (and weird) Bay Area climate. In the background, you can see the snow-capped tips of Mount Diablo peeking out. And in the foreground, you can see one of our rolling hills that turn green as soon as the winter rains come after spending a summer the color of spun gold.

The plantings around the Kaiser facility here in town are really beautiful. The gardeners have wisely chosen drought-tolerant plants that will subsist through our hot dry summers, while handling the occasional dip in temps during the winter. I was immediately drawn to this gorgeous salvia that is in full bloom today...

And then the gorgeous red of a geranium and the bold yellow of a marguerite both simply dazzling in the sunshine...

Yet, overhead most of the leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees with only just a few hanging on...

And then there was the snow-capped peak of Mount Diablo hovering on the horizon as I drove around running other errands after my appointment--a reminder that despite the beautiful flowers I found here and there, it really is winter.

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  1. We have snow on our hills too but I haven't had time to slow down and get a photo (no wrong turns or dead ends for me today). Maybe it will be warmed here tomorrow if your weather changed today. We're still cold and windy today.

  2. A very good example of your interesting and weird climate. Oh to be there now! gail

  3. Beautiful shots and what lovely color -- as I look out upon nothing but white. :)

  4. You and I think alike! We went up Mt D today and I took a shot of the snow in the foreground and the setting sun sparkling in the golden SF bay in the background. Not sure, yet, if it turned out. On the way home, there were a number of the intense purple salvias alongside the road with the snowy mountain looming up ahead and I was thinking what a unusual sight--it wasn't a good place to take a photo, though. The trip up was disappointing. We have been up there when there was snow on the road and snow falling--it was warm and sunny today, the road was dry as a bone and they wouldn't let us within two miles of the top. We got out and walked for quite a ways and found enough snow to make a few snowballs but all the snow is on the side of the mountain you have to hike to--not drive to. Totally bummed out! But, it was still fun (and very cold!)

  5. I miss those beautiful green hills. Lovely pictures.

  6. How beautiful. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and always loved having the snow capped mountains looming in the background.....

  7. Cindy, you know I always see your blog first on my Google reader. I laughed right out loud at your first photo with the arrows!! I love it!

    Isn't it wonderful to be at the age when you don't care what other people think if your carry your camera around your neck to your mammo? I'm such a smart-alec I would have come up with some line like: I wanted a second opinion, or I wanted to get photos for my scrapbook... LOL

    Beautiful photos of the plantings. It makes me miss my beautiful CA winters! (Except today Palmdale got 11" of snow and we only have 4" here in Utah!!)

    Love you,

  8. The contrasts you are showing seems so weird...

  9. Yet again you tempt me with a plant I can't grow in my climate. I love all things salvia and that Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' is beautiful! Love all the pictures. Flowers in winter. I wish!

  10. I remember coming home from my mission in Georgia to the brown hills of the East Bay. I had been so used to living around them my whole life but they really stood out to me after living in the lush, very green state of Georgia.

  11. Funny, I had a appointment for a mamo on Monday, but I did not want to bring my camera, I was not sure about the radiation. So I never chanced it.

    But there is this lovely old tree shrouded with tons of moss, and I was hoping to capture a shot of it. Actually a good thing that I did not take the camera, it was a wind chill of -18, and I walked. There is no way I could have stood still to get a shot. LOL. Even when I got inside it was still freezing.

    This is White Rock, which should be only a little different [ we feel ] than where you live. LOL.

  12. I love the mixture of seasons and flowers you have shown. I have had a few odd looks when I am taking phtotgraphs of shop decorations but so far no one has said anything.

  13. Hi Cindy, Mammogram day is always so much fun! The pictures are beautiful. By the way, my maiden name is Kaiser, but I'm not related to those Kaisers. Wouldn't that be nice!

  14. Wow! Gorgeous colors. It snowed all day and then stopped before school let out. I had about 4 inches on my car. Maybe more. I rushed home and checked flicker and found your wonderful yellow flowers. Thanks! Wildphototaker


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