I’d like to remind you guys that the Oakland Museum is hosting the John Muir Exhibition through January 22. Suggest you carve out some time over your Christmas break and make it up there. BART is easy or I just drive. They have a safe underground parking garage.
I read a nice blog on it by Scott Williams of the “Martinez Patch.” I guess this is everything you ever wanted to know about the city of Martinez. So, with credit to Scott – enjoy – and see the exhibit!!
We completed our loop of the lake at the Oakland Museum of California, a place worth visiting for its permanent collection, but we were here to see the John Muir Exhibit. It closes on Jan 22, 2011, and is worth the drive or Bart out to see. Beginning with gorgeous wraparound photos of the places Muir is most associated with, you can smell the forest scents, listen to its sounds, touch the roughness of its rock and look into it in a way not possible with a flat photo. These huge curved landscapes seem to expand in front of you, extending through your full field of vision. Lisa commented that this was what it really looks like in the wild and what we could never quite capture in our own photos.
These great landscapes, and many more throughout the exhibit, are the work of renowned, local nature photographer, Stephen Joseph. His photos at the exhibit are reason enough for coming. He’s been photographing our East Bay hills for decades. The Muir Exhibit is particularly lovely in its use of Joseph’s photographic blowups of plants Muir collected and dried, which are displayed next to the actual specimens themselves. Often these are tiny brown weeds that when looked at large, and in exquisite focus, become works of art in themselves. Muir’s science turns to beauty in the hands of a photographer as gifted as Joseph. These are the plants and photographs that were the subject of a major exhibit in Walnut Creek last year, and are presented in the book, Nature’s Beloved Son, Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy. It too is a beautiful book worth owning if you have any love of nature or Muir’s legacy.
The Muir Exhibit needs half a day at least. It includes a mock up of his cabin in Yosemite with skylights and windows giving views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, and has many of his illustrated journals. Some are almost like Persian Miniatures, minute detailing of the places he was exploring, all surrounded by his tiny, chicken scratch hand writing.
One of my favorite displays was a digital, animated picture of the High Sierra which lets you follow his explorations and read from the actual journals he wrote at each of his camp sites. It takes you up Mt. Whitney and Ritter and other great peaks. At the click of a link the computer superimposes his actual drawing of a landscape on the digital image. I could have spent all day on that screen. It gives a breathtaking ride up the great, glacial canyons and over the peaks of the Sierra.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Hi everybody. I’m Archie Bell of the Drells. From Houston, Texas. We don’t only sing but we dance just as good as we walk. In Houston we just started a new dance called the Tighten Up.”
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com
One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome