Categories
Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Max Libraries Monochrome Photography Photography

Start ‘em up!…at Pillar Point Harbor

Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay

This morning I was at one of my favorite spots along the Pacific coast in Half Moon Bay for today’s high tide. This was supposed to be an unusually high tide and I was hoping for some dramatic wave photographs – but, alas, there was no wind and the wave action was minimal.

So instead of making ocean wave photographs, I was walking back to my car and came across this fisherman launching his small boat out into the harbor. He had just finished mounting a small outboard motor on the stern and was plugging the start cord as I made this photograph. I liked the monochrome treatment of the image and is really shows off the dramatic contrast between the sun’s glow on the water in the harbor and the boatman and his board getting ready to go.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want a lovely place to walk (or cycle) be sure to head for Pillar Point Harbor and take a walk on the paved pathway that heads south to Surfer Beach. It’s a bit over a mile walk down and back with some of the most beautiful beachfront along this section of the Pacific coast!

If you’re looking for more outdoor adventure, head a few miles north to Moss Beach along Highway 1 and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The Reserve’s combination of high cliffs along the ocean and some dramatic forest makes for another great walk. Or, if you’re more in the mood for a coffee or a nice meal, head south along Highway 1 and then on to Main Street in Half Moon Bay where you’ll find that kind of thing along with more places to explore. And if you just want some quiet time, the Half Moon Bay Library is a delightful place to just “hang”, read and relax quietly. This combination of outdoor, exercise, or quiet time doesn’t get much better than in Half Moon Bay!

Here’s another tip: Sam’s Chowder House is just above the pathway along Pillar Point Harbor. Sam’s operates two webcams (SamCams) from the top of the restaurant which provide a quick way to see what’s happening along the beachfront that can help you make a decision about visiting.

Categories
Living Productivity Work Work/Life Balance

Take Back a Day per Week

Non-conformist #3 Non-conformist – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

Update: I first wrote about this back in 2012. The lessons remain powerful – even in retirement! Suggest you give these techniques a try if you have the freedom to do them! With the New Year, I’ve been looking back at some of my older posts – and this was one I re-discovered with a couple of important lessons!

Back when I was a senior executive in a big company, I had an amazing executive assistant who made a big difference in how my work flowed day to day. She could read me like a book – as they say – and could tell when my frustrations started to build. She guarded my calendar carefully (back in the days before meetings could somehow just pop up on your online calendar) – but most days I was almost zombie-like moving from meeting to meeting.

One particularly frustrating day – one of back to back seemingly endless meetings – she caught me at the end of the day. She’d noticed that one hour meetings on my calendar seemed to take all that time – and that I’d often have no time in between one meeting and the next. A day of this kind of back to back meeting schedule was particularly grating on me.

She had a very simple suggestion: saying to me “Let’s change your minimum meeting time block to 90 minutes instead of an hour.”

So simple. I agreed to give it a try – and a few weeks later noticed the difference it had made in my work day. Most of the time, my meetings ended after an hour or a bit more. Her insight was that, by blocking 90 minutes on my calendar, I’d actually have a bit of “recovery time” in between meetings. It was sorta magical – I had “think time” during the day – a time to reflect, recover and prepare.

Sometimes these simple things make a big difference – in your personal productivity and, perhaps more importantly, how you feel about your work – and, ultimately, your life.

Back when I was still working, I decided that I wanted to try to apply a similar idea to my work week. I’m fortunate – being no longer hostage to back to back meetings in a corporate setting – and I usually had quite a bit of flexibility in terms of balancing meetings, calls with clients and prospects, actually working, doing email, etc. But I always noticed the toll that interruptions and, importantly, the context switches that come with them actually took on my ability to focus and get things done.

So, I began to block each Friday as a day when I would not schedule meetings, conference calls, etc. I’d just try to protect each Friday as a day for me to get my work done. Obviously, I can’t guarantee being able to do so – clients sometimes want to schedule meetings on Fridays, important internal work requires Friday work sessions, etc. And, of course, there’s always email, Twitter, etc. But I was surprisingly successful in protecting many Fridays – so that I could focus on the work at hand. I’ve come to think of Fridays as my “crank day” – that’s about cranking on work, not being cranky! And avoiding those externally-imposed context switches which seem to add such a burden and create a hit to productivity. Flow – it’s all about creating a zone where you can focus.

It’s proven to be a very useful personal productivity technique for me. If you’re in a situation when you can apply it, give this simple idea a try!

Would love to hear if it makes a difference for you!

Categories
iPhone 11 Pro Max Photography San Francisco/California

Walking New Year 2020

Here are a couple of iPhone 11 Pro Max images from yesterday’s first photo walk of 2020 San Francisco.

The glow of the sun on the columns of the Union Bank building on California Street made a compelling subject. We stood across the street and waited. This woman seemed to see me and started to run as I was taking her photo!

Runaway

In Chinatown there’s a seemingly endless project for the new subway station. These workers were up on a wall of re-bar making for an interesting subject!

Trio

Before heading home, we had lunch at one of our favorite spots in San Francisco – Tadich Grill on California Street. The ahi tuna salad special was a treat for me today!

Ahi Tuna Salad at Tadich Grill

So much for our first day in 2020 back on the streets of San Francisco. I had a larger camera along in my shoulder bag but didn’t pull it out – increasingly the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera system is meeting my needs for street photography. I recently got the newly released Smart Battery Case for it – which includes a nifty new recessed button for quickly accessing the Camera app making it an even better street photography camera!

Categories
Living San Francisco/California

Ice Skating along San Francisco’s Embarcadero

Ice skating in San Francisco – 2020

While heading to the Ferry Building this morning I came across this practice session at the temporary ice rink at Justin Herman Plaza along San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Fun to watch them drill! Shot with iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Categories
Photography

Solo at Russian River’s End

Russian River – California

We enjoyed watching the last sunset of 2019 from the deck of River’s End in Jenner, California as this solo kayaker rowed slowly by.

Categories
Instagram Photography

My “Best Nine” of 2019 on Instagram

The results of the “like” voting for my images on Instagram are in for 2019 – and the nine winning images are:

Best Nine of 2019 – @sjl on Instagram

The images from top to bottom, left to right are: Columbia, SC; Hong Kong (from 2018); Provence, France (from 2006 but re-processed and posted in 2019); Apple Store Stanford; Pier 3, San Francisco; Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach, CA; Hong Kong escalator (from 2018); Paris, France; Cantor Art Center, Stanford.

Follow my photography on Instagram: @sjl

Categories
Cuba Living Musings Photography

It’s 2020 Already!

Skyline at Iron Horse Vineyards – Sonoma County, California

Wow that seemed quick! In a flash 2019 was over and we were on to the new 2020.

Let’s hope 2020 is indeed a new year for clarity of vision, new learnings, much joy and prosperity for all.

I was reminded last night of another Happy New Year photo that my friend Doug Kaye and I both made while walking the streets of Havana seven years ago this month. It highlights the contrast between decay and hope with the simple Happy New Year message painted in English on this decayed building on a Havana street.

Happy New Year – Havana 2013

For some thoughts on what this new decade might bring in terms of technology see Kara Swisher’s New York Times column: No More Phones and Other Tech Predictions for the Next Decade. I especially like this: “There will be an internet in the future that stops screaming at us.”

For another look ahead, see Fred Wilson’s post about What Will Happen in the 2020s. I like his optimism:

I am an optimist and believe in society’s ability to find the will to face our challenges and the intelligence to find solutions to them.

And don’t miss Life in 2030 by Frank Chen of Andreessen Horowitz. He should take up science fiction writing!

I also recommend Om Malik’s recommendations for A Decade of Self-Control – although my strong recommendation for a daily journaling app is Day One. I’ve been using Day One since I had a surgery back in 2012 and wanted to capture my recovery. It’s become a regular daily habit for me since then – the literal scratchpad of my life! For another recommendation for Day One see Why a Digital Diary Will Change Your Life.

Over the long holiday weekend I read a few books – especially enjoyed Mike Isaac’s SuperPumped about Uber. Quite a story and a very enjoyable read!

In other news I continue to find it somewhat amusing that the most popular article here on my blog remains the one from many years ago about my rotator cuff surgery! Somehow that article ended up high enough in search engine rankings to generate many pages views every day!

Categories
History New Mexico Travel

Visiting the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

While I was in Santa Fe in July, I took the opportunity on my way back to Albuquerque to catch my flight to stop by the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History again. This was my second visit – having initially made a quick visit to the museum in July 2018.

Roughly speaking, the museum is divided into three sections – two indoor (nuclear weapons and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy) and the aircraft and missile display area outside. The weapons section is the first part you walk through at the beginning of touring the museum. It describes the history of the development of nuclear weapons – including the race America was against countries like Germany and Japan to develop this technology. It also includes discussion of the famous letter from Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt that led to the creation of the US national effort that became the Manhattan Project.

There’s an interesting exhibit that creatively recreates the scene at the Los Alamos Laboratory as this work was underway. I was particularly struck by the several old mechanical desktop calculators in the display – as the math involved in designing these weapons wasn’t perfected using computers but, rather, slide rules and these old calculators.

The rest of the weapons section includes examples a many nuclear weapons – including facsimiles of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan that led to the end of World War II with that country. As you walk through this display of weapons, it’s striking how they start out being relatively large but then shrink down in size to much smaller dimensions.

Outdoors in the aircraft and missile display area are examples of the Boeing B-29 used over Japan along with a beautifully preserved Boeing B-52 and also a Boeing B-47. There are a number of smaller aircraft as well – along with a replica to the tower used at the Trinity test site in New Mexico where the first test of an atomic weapon was conducted.

I’ve visited this museum twice and learned new things each time. On my recent visit, they were showing a film about the B-52 bomber which was quite interesting. I didn’t know that back in the 1950’s General Curtis LeMay (heading up the Strategic Air Command) had B-52’s in the air constantly that were armed with nuclear weapons and flew toward the Soviet Union only to then turn back and return. Only after a couple of nasty accidents involving aircraft crashes with nuclear weapons on-board did this practice moderate.

The other thing I learned about Albuquerque is what a nuclear city it is. Just a few miles from the museum site is one of the largest storage sites for nuclear weapons in the world – something called the Kirtland Underground Munitions Maintenance and Storage Complex (KUMMSC) where the US stores nuclear weapons – most waiting to be removed from service and disassembled.

Categories
Blogs/Weblogs Photography

Reading Om

From Om Malik:

…my blog is about technology, a little about life, some photography, some analysis, and some personal interests, which range from fashion to baseball to travel and food.

His recent post about the camera business was particularly interesting. It’s an industry undergoing fundamental shifts – as cameras have become universal, in each of our pockets included with our cell phones.

He quoted Scott McNealy:

A long time ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy quipped, “Technology has the shelf life of a banana. By the time you buy it, implement it and train people on it, it’s obsolete.” He was talking about servers, but I can’t help but think that his words are just as true for cameras.

Om recently shared some beautiful photos of Catalina Island made with his iPhone 11 Pro. Like me, he’s enjoying the camera system in this latest iPhone Pro!

Categories
Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Living Photography

Local Treasures: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (San Mateo County)

When I’m looking for an hour of peace and quiet one of my favorite places to visit is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve along the shoreline of the Paciifc Ocean north of Half Moon Bay.

This morning I took a walk through my favorite part of the Reserve – a grove of old trees along a pathway that leads from Moss Beach to the ocean. I took a few photos along the way with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. I’m loving the three lens/camera system in this new phone!

Walking Loop at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

The entrance to a section of the California Coastal Trail is off Cypress Avenue. Just a short walk leads to this:

A few steps to the left through the tree line leads to this view:

Walking up the trail it’s worth taking a look back at that same fallen tree!

Here’s another from further along on the path:

I then headed over to the coastline trail where the ocean was alive with the waves from the storm.

And my final view before heading back up Cypress Street to my car:

A lovely hour or so away from it all! I encountered one other human along the trail. Otherwise it was a delightful morning stroll in one of my favorite spots along the Pacific coastline!