Monday, January 23, 2012
At the visitor’s center I was captured by an ethereal nighttime photograph taken of a weathered ancient bristlecone pine tree in the foreground and in the background was the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. This stunning image was taken with a Nikon D700 camera with a 300mm f/2.8 lens, set at f/4, ISO 5000, for a three-minute exposure. It went on to win photograph of the day at the website astronomy.com. The photographer’s name: Tony Rowell.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
It’s mind-boggling to grasp the extremes in this unusual part of California. If there were a contest for bragging rights Inyo County would win in the "wonders of the natural world" department. To start, Inyo is the second largest county in the United States, with 10,142 square miles, yet only two percent of this land is populated by people. It has the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney at 14,497 feet; the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level; the largest National Park in the continental Unites States, again Death Valley; the oldest living tree on earth, Methuselah at over 4,000 years old; and the southernmost glacier in North America, at Palisade Glacier.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I was introduced to Dario who at six foot four is a commanding presence. He is in his 70s—tall, rugged, handsome and still virile. We were at V. Sattui’s annual Crush Party, an event that allowed the public to step behind the scenes of a working winery to watch grapes being crushed; meet the winemakers; measure acid, sugar, pH and sulfurs; see the bottle line in operation; dip Madeira bottles in hot sealing wax; and of course eat and drink to our heart’s delight.
“This is Ingrid, she’s writing a book on California,” said Claudette Shatto, the public relations woman for the winery. I brought along my 19-year-old son Jordan, who attends nearby U.C. Davis, world-renown for its viticulture school that has produced some of the best vintners in the Napa Valley.
“You don’t look old enough to have a son this age,” he said with a twinkle in his eye—a charmer. “I have a little place up the road called Castilo di Amaraso, if you want to tour it, let me know.” He reached into his wallet and pulled out an odd-sized business card and handed it to me. “Have a great time at the Crush party.”
Later I would learn that Dario’s “little place up the road” was a recreation of a medieval castle with 200 acres of prime real estate in St. Helena that Dario completed in 2007 after fourteen years of laborious construction.