Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The San Joaquin River: Water Wasted

Dale Matson

I have heard lots of folks who argue against the value of creating additional water storage and for increased water conservation. These same folks advocate for yards that require less water and artificial turf. Often they will blame the lack of available water on ‘Climate Change’. They argue against increased storage capacity saying that in average years, there is adequate capacity and that a new dam at Temperance Flat would not be cost effective. Being cost effective is based on the supply of any particular resource.
However, increased storage is water conservation. We have an existing storage infrastructure designed for a much smaller population than the 40 million people who now inhabit California. When hiking and backpacking, I have been able to view most of the length of California’s 2nd longest river beginning with the north, middle and south forks with headwaters in the high Sierra. The three forks merge before entering Mammoth Pool Reservoir, which is currently only at 43% capacity.
The problem is that much of the water at Millerton Lake is now being discharged back into the San Joaquin to make room for anticipated runoff because of above average rainfall and anticipated large snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Millerton Lake is currently only at 73% capacity and not being allowed to fill fearing that the excess would spill over the top and overwhelm the banks of the San Joaquin. This happened in the last decade and washed out the bridge below the dam on the road heading to Bass Lake out of Friant. The remains of the bridge can still be seen as stark evidence of the force of too much water overwhelming the dam at Millerton Lake. One of the reasons Friant Dam was built was for flood control. Unfortunately because of lack of funds the dam was downsized when built. The runoff is water that could also be stored at the potential Temperance Dam site instead of flowing into the ocean.
I live in Fresno CA near the San Joaquin and in wet years while walking in Woodward Park, have grieved the sheer waste of water being allowed to flow to the ocean as if the river were a giant storm drain. This year, I photographed and videoed this event in hopes that a picture would be worth a thousand words. Some who oppose the new proposed reservoir may see themselves as ‘environmental activists’ and ‘River Preservationists’ but, in fact, they are not “Friends of the River”.  True conservationists would not allow the loss of such a great water resource.   Click On Photographs To Enlarge

For My YouTube Video Of This Water Click On Link Below

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bald Eagles In The Rain At Millerton Lake

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge 
Millerton Lake

There is an old saying, “A blind pig will find an acorn if he hunts long enough.”
I know where the eagles are supposed to hang out at Millerton and have seen them off and on for 25 years. Most of the time I was running the route that leads from the historic courthouse to a trail that leads to Winchell Cove where the bald eagles had a nest along the trail portion.
Eagles like high vantage points and I recently had one land in the top of a nearby tree while I was taking landscape photos in the early morning. Millerton Lake is a half million acre-foot reservoir only 20 minutes from my home in Fresno CA. I have never fished in the lake but my wife, friends and I swim there once a week during the warmer 6 months of the year. And of course mountain biked and ran the trails also.
I drove there Saturday in a seasonal rainstorm hoping the eagles would show up. As I drove up toward the tall tree, I could see a large dark bird on a limb and assumed it was a juvenile eagle. The eagle was cooperative and allowed me to leave my truck and approach for closer photographs. In the low light and in the “shade” of the inner branches, the photographs were not optimal. I had a 70-300mm lens on my Sony Camera and of course more magnification would have been nice but…such is life.
After about 15 minutes a pair of bald eagles arrived and landed in the top of the tree. What a treat! They remained there until I grew arm weary taking photographs. The photos show that the birds are obviously soaked from the rain. It was one more moment in time where persistence and patience shook hands with good fortune.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Leica M Elmarit 28mm f2.8 and Sony A7R2

Dale Matson
Click Photographs To Enlarge

I really like the small size, handling, build quality, sheer beauty of the lens and photographs this lens produces. There is some vignetting which can be dealt with in Photoshop. Some of the helping features of the A7R2 like focus magnification and peaking assist in fine-tuning the focus. An additional Sony feature I recently discovered is “Clear Zoom” which can double the image size.. My eyes aren’t that good but I believe the quality is not that diminished when using it. I programmed one of the buttons for this feature. After using the native manual focus Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2, I found that I enjoyed the process. The adapter I used does not convey any information to the camera. the photographs of the camera and lens were taken with a Sony RX1R using the macro feature on the Zeiss f2 lens.

Clear Zoom

 Clear Zoom

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What I Too Easily Took For Granted: ADLs

Dale Matson

One comes to reluctantly accept life’s personal limitations and physical ability. As family and friends decline and even some, sadly pass on, there is a sense of survivor guilt. My best friend of over fifty years recently died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack.
Whether we admit it or not, we sometimes try and strike a deal with God to perform this or that meaningful deed before our life comes to an end. It reminds me of the actor in The Seventh Seal pleading with death that he still had a contract to perform.
My recent treadmill stress test led to a definitive angiogram, which led to stents in an artery blocked by plaque. The blood thinner (Plavix) “exposed” longstanding but undiagnosed ulcers in my stomach with resultant serious bleeding. This led to another hospitalization with the difficult choice of stopping the Plavix, which keeps blood from clotting in the stents or continuing the Plavix and needing a transfusion with all the risks that entailed. A Gastroenterologist was called in to cauterize the ulcers and I was released with the hope that things were stabilized.
The three days were filled with anxiety, lonely, enforced, seemingly endless and restrictive and that is the point of this account. It is only too easy to take the activities of daily living (ADL) for granted. These ADLs, the ordinary things of life are taken for granted until they are taken away. For example, the chores of brushing one’s teeth or showering at home, when performed in a hospital, become a privilege and can push aside the dehumanization of hospitalization. For convenience and efficiency you are not even processed as a number. Your wrist contains a band with a bar code that is frequently scanned, making you an ‘inventory’ item.
IV lines installed in your wrist and arm to infuse medication limit your movement. All too often a slight arm movement will trigger a loud beep on a machine that needs to be reset by a person not immediately available.
Procedures and protocols dictate treatment as staff moves by endlessly this way and then that way. Doctors of course, are the final arbiters of meds and treatment decisions. They also say when you can leave. Using the bathroom is an advanced stage of treatment along with walking unaccompanied down the hall. Sitting in a chair, standing up, walking make you feel human again. So and so will see you soon but waiting is more like waiting for Godot.
I understand this process and realize that what I experienced was minimal and of short duration. I don’t resent this experience or the well intended staff and treatment I underwent. What is shameful and difficult to express is the anxiety and uncertainty, which dominated my thinking during this time. I should have appreciated and trusted in the many caring brothers and sisters holding me aloft and their prayers for God’s guidance of the treatment efforts. This experience ‘rehumanizes’. It makes me pose the questions once again. “What have I done with this day?” “At the end of this day, if I am granted a tomorrow will I be a good steward of that time?” “Will I appreciate more fully the simple ADLs of daily life daily?
Thank You Lord,
Your unprofitable servant Dale