Friday, July 6, 2012
On the Road: Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles (July 2-4)
Most interesting, to me, however, was the Munras Family Heritage Museum at the Mission--a section I've never noticed before. Of particular interest was a photograph of one of the most important family members, Maria Antonia Field, taken at San Francisco's 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, at the French pavillion, according to the inscription in the box. I have a strong interest in photography and the history of photography, but have never come across an image quite like this one. It was mounted in a gilded, velvet-lined box (much like those used to protect Daguerreotypes but about twice that size) hinged on the inside so that the image, apparently a positive color slide (on what looks like ground glass), is raised to receive light at an angle above a mirror mounted below it. To view the image, you look into the mirror. The photograph is beautiful, as is the woman pictured in it. I wasn't aware of an early color process of this type. A little research is in order....
Autochrome-Lumière). That makes perfect sense chronologically. It would likely have been a novelty in San Francisco in 1915.
About 40 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1 is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. I've stopped there before in the hope of seeing some of the few California Condors still alive, but I've never been lucky enough to see one. This time, however, a pair appeared soaring high over a distant ridge not long before I was about to give up. They were too distant to photograph meaningfully, but close enough to see well with binoculars--apparently an adult and a younger bird. On the adult bird, the pale wing linings underneath and pale areas at the trailing edge of the tops of the wings were both visible. The California Condor is life bird number 352 for me.
Before leaving the area, I stopped by Morro Bay State Park, hoping to see some birds, but there wasn't much around, although a quick stop at Morro Rock was worth the detour as Peregrine Falcons are nesting high on the cliffs there, occasionally harassing gulls in spectacular dives. At lower elevations (sea level), several immature Brown Pelicans consented lazily to having their portraits made, and three or four sea otters clung to a small bed of kelp close to the shore.
On the way home, I briefly got to look at two other missions--San Miguel Arcangel and Nuestra Señora de La Soledad. Most of Highway 101 follows the Camino Real here.