For the past two years I have been exploring all the peaks, ridges, summits and hills of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, hiking and photographing some of the amazing wildlands in the region (and some not-so-wild lands). We live in a part of the world surrounded by marvelous natural beauty and much of it has been preserved thanks to dedicated conservation efforts of so many people. Yet many of the people who live here are unaware of so many of the natural wonders that surround us. There are over 500 hills peaks ridges and mountains in the San Francisco Bay area.
www.bayareapeaks.com is now live with an initial presentation of many of the summits with notes on photography, conservation efforts, hiking and history. Additional summits are being added on an ongoing basis. A book will follow with a wider selection of Bay Area peaks and more extensive text commentary.
This Sunday June 7 a segment on my Bay Peaks project is featured on Open Road with Doug McConnell on NBC Bay Area Channel 11.
Welcome to new visitors. There’s lots more about the project on my Facebook and Instagram pages and I’ll be gradually posting more here as the project proceeds.
note: this image is from Boggs Mountain State Forest in Lake County, a seldom visited, previously logged pine forest north of Cobb Mountain.
Even in the middle of the Bay Area it is amazing how easily one can get away from it all. One of the hidden gems of the Mid Peninsula Open Space District is this trail through the redwoods to the top of Bald Knob, a wooded summit off Tunitas Creek Road. When I visited I was keen to try out the new #iPhone6 camera with improved closeups and better focus control.
Using “The camera I have with me” is an important part of this project, but it’s always a help when the technology improves. So far I have not been disappointed.
Of all the summits I think this was the quietest so far, no auto noise, no airplanes, not even any wind, just silence…..
The vast Diablo range stretches south from the Bay Area between the Central Valley and the coastal ranges. On this 13-mile hike deep in the interior the land was rugged with little sign of human habitation, far from the main roads, ineffably quiet and spectacularly beautiful. These gnarled trees were high on a ridgetop and shrouded in fog as we approached.
California seems at times a crowded metropolis, but in truth most of the state is wild land, sparsely occupied. I think it’s these wildernesses and forests that keep us sane.
After a 4-mile hike up a dry forested trail, and another half hour of bushwhacking, I finally reached the obscure summit of peak 1380 on Inverness Ridge in Point Reyes National Seashore. There was no view at all, just trees, bushes and overgrown vegetation. On the way down however I crossed a stream (still running despite the drought) and found a lovely presentation of leaves and stones in a shaded dell.
“Last summer, Albany resident David Sanger decided he wanted to find a new challenge — one that would combine his love of the outdoors, his joy upon discovering new places, his hiking and climbing skills and his talents as a photographer. He found it on the many peaks in the Bay Area, climbing as many as he can, as often as he can…….”
Writer Susan Alcorn covered my Peaks Project in a story for the The Bay Are News Group newspapers last Sunday. The story also included images from a photo shoot by Oakland Tribune photographer Ray Chavez covering me working the peaks in Sunol Regional Park.
In July 2014 I began a landscape photography project on summits, peaks and high points of the greater Bay Area. For 121 days between July and November I climbed at least one new peak every day, a total of 196 summits, over 650 miles and over 150,000 vertical feet. Rather than use my standard Nikon gear I decided to shoot with the camera at hand, my iPhone 6. It has been quite a challenge, without long lenses or ancillary lighting, relying only on composition and natural light. Since then I have continued to find new peaks, climbing several times a week, and the photo project has turned into a book project, tentatively titles “Bay Area Peaks”
So far I have been posting images and some commentary on Instagram and Facebook. Now I’ll be reposting some of the best, plus new images here.
The image above is morning above the South San Jose Valley. This lone oak is yet to get its leaves this year. I loved the green grass on the hills in the original images but decided the sepia filter emphasized the intricate form of the oak branches – form and light.
Yet another fogbound peak, this time out in Griswold Hills in the eastern foothills of the Diablo Range. After a long climb up a steep rocky path shrouded in mist we emerged into the light…..
Just outside the vineyard where my son lives with his wife and two kids is Okell Hill, a tall oak-covered grassy hill overlooking the vineyards of Wooden Valley near Fairfield. I have often wanted to climb it, so when we got the opportunity we all hiked up to the top in the late afternoon light. Little Samantha (2 1/2) ran ahead while William (9 months) rode in the backpack. The summit did not disappoint, with clear views as far as San Francisco Bay, and bright backlight on these California Oaks.
This was from Day 90 of the consecutive peaks string. When I started this adventure I had no ideas I’d still be going strong after 90 consecutive days climbing peaks hills summits and high points in California. This hike was a return trip to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in the East Bay to a small, unnamed peak called 919 above an old abandoned mine called Star Mine.
It was a steep short scramble through brush and up grassy slopes once I left the trail, and then suddenly the top, with a late afternoon view north across the valley. On the way back I saw a lone coyote crossing the meadow. As I hastened back towards the parking lot while the hills glowed bronze in the deepening light.