Kensington and a couple of Botanical Gardens

Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkeley, CA

I knew that on of my clients was looking for photos of Contra Costa Parks so I opted to make a visit to Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Since there’s lots of color elsewhere in the Bay Area at the moment, I assumed there would be there too. Alas, as so often is the case, I was wrong. The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is a native plants garden, and I’m guessing those are on another schedule.

Not far away was the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. I remembered that my reciprocal NARM membership should get me in for free, and so it did. Visually, this garden offered much more. The stock photographer in me kept photographing the signs.

University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

I remembered a visit I made to the Medicinal Herb Garden in Seattle a couple years ago- this seems even more medicinal. There was a Chinese section that claimed to have herbs for cancer to pretty much everything else. But ironically, there were signs all over the place stating “Many Plants Here are Toxic, DO NOT EAT THEM!” Well so much for Chinese medicine!

University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

I’ve also been seeking out fountains recently that seem to work particularly well with my slightly aerial view setup. And I managed to check one fountain off my list: Berkeley’s “The Fountain at The Circle”.

The Fountain at The Circle

My next stop was Kensington. I stopped and got a coffee and almond halva at Country Cheese Co. Coffee Market. I have a knack for inserting my foot in my mouth, and while paying the pretty young woman at the cash register noted that she had a shirt just like mine (a dark green plaid) – I said I can’t picture that. What I meant was that she seemed far to chic to wear anything that resembled what I wear, but I’m sure she was left with the impression of what’s wrong with that guy! Not that this has anything to do with my stock photo blog, just getting this off my chest. Sorry miss!

Kensington

I’ve been a fan of Semifreddy’s croutons for some time. And I think they got their start in Kensington, though they now have a big bakery in my town of Alameda. Semifreddy’s has a retail location in Kensington and I stopped in and puzzled what to order. The young lady at the counter asked if I liked olives, (of course I do!) because they accidentally just made a vegetarian Muffaletta – so they made the decision for me (and it was good!)

Kensington

Cornerstone Sonoma

We were on a recon mission for VeryHighDPI.com looking for sweeping Wine Country scenes for Gigapixel photos we’re making. But first there was a pit stop at Cornerstone in Sonoma.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Cornerstone is one of those cutesy Whine Country places. There’s a bunch of shops and restaurants and some beautifully manicured landscape architecture. There are also a number of interesting sculptures and the like.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

More recently, Sunset Magazine moved their test kitchen and Garden to Cornerstone. They used to be headquartered in Menlo Park, but I’m assuming the dot-con craziness got to them. Or at least it’s hard to justify sticking around in a building that’s worth $50 million when you could more easily work out of a $2 million office two hours away.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

In writing this I remembered that my grandfather had a recipe for salad dressing in one of the Sunset cookbooks or magazines or something back in the 1950’s. So I thought it would be fun if I could find it via Google Books. No luck regarding the recipe, but a couple of hits came up for photo credits. Unfortunately they are in snippet view, so I have no idea what the photos were.

Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Stock Photo: Sunset Test Garden, Cornerstone, Sonoma, California (Michael Halberstadt)

The next stop was Point Reyes and I’ll add another entry for that part of the trip as soon as I can!

 

I Promise You a Rose Garden

I Promise You a Rose Garden.

San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Well, actually San Jose promises you a rose garden. They have several- this is the Heritage Rose Garden in the path of San Jose International Airport (yes, it really is International as opposed to back in the day when there were just a few flights to Mexico!) I’m assuming due to the heat and the ongoing drought the garden isn’t looking too great at the moment.

Historic Orchard, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Historic Orchard, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I also promise you other gardens, parks and agriculture related stock photos. First stop was actually to get a quick snap over the Guadalupe Community Garden right across the street from the Heritage Rose Garden. It was closed but I can easily see above the fence and the sunflowers caught my eye 😉

San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Community Garden – San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

After a few shots of the HRG I swung by the Historic Orchard next door. All of this is somehow tied into the Guadalupe River Park. My favorite part of the park I did not photograph this time is the mound that’s right at the base of the approach to SJC. You can see all the planes stacked up on their way in on a busy day, and they get so close it’s scary!

San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Bridge over Guadalupe River Park – San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Monopoly in the Park, San Jose, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Monopoly in the Park, San Jose, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Moving on I stopped by another branch of the Guadalupe River Park- I think it’s called “The Meadows” where there’s the world’s largest Monopoly board, a nice modern pedestrian bridge over the “river” (usually it’s more of a creek looking area.) There’s also the Children’s Disco Museum. One thing that’s nice this time of year is the unique light purple color of the museum is matched by the blooming Jacaranda trees blumes…

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose (Michael Halberstadt)
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose (Michael Halberstadt)

I’d been reading that there’s a shortage of material of East San Jose (where I grew up) and figured I’d explore some to-me uncharted territory. I don’t know how I managed to never visit the Emma Prusch Farm Park in the decades I lived within walking distance. But I did. It’s kinda interesting- but weird too. I heard a weird noise from underneath the brush in the Rare Fruit Orchard and looked in the shadows to see what I think was a homeless guy camping. There was some other weird activity in the parking lot which made me feel this was a bit sketchy. To add insult to injury I got the feeling I was being watched by staff while photographing. While especially due to the unusual nature of my gear it’s not uncommon to get a second look- I usually get a smile or a thumbs up.

San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

After bailing out of Emma Prusch I stumbled upon a sign of something interesting and unexpected. A little sign in a nearby neighborhood pointed to the home of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez. I passed it several times before going to my phone to find the actual address. To put it politely it’s a very modest place. I guess that’s kind of what you’d expect from a migrant farm worker in the 1960’s but I figured it would have at least been kept up a bit better. How do you say Ces’t la vie in Spanish?

San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

For a decade or so in my life, the Berryessa Flea Market was a big thing. I lived very briefly a couple blocks away. My (still good friends) Jeong and Seong lived nearby for decades and gave a good excuse to visit the flea market (and a free parking space.)  Part of it is now home to the new Berryessa BART station that’s presently under construction. The fleamarket website claims to be the US’s largest outdoor market- but I’m dubious given what I saw. It looked more like a ghost town- though admittedly this was on a Wednesday afternoon.

San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
San Jose Flea Market, San Jose,  CA (Michael Halberstadt)

More research on interesting goings on in San Jose brought me to the Taylor Street Farm. This was another hard-to-find place- and there was nothing but what I could see from the gate to photograph. And photograph I did.

Taylor Street Farm, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Taylor Street Farm, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

After a while I got hungry. For those who know me, where I went out of my way- even passing a truck promising Mexico City style Al Pastor for a big chain…. But there was a reason. In my research, the Evil Arches, (a.k.a. McDonald’s) was experimenting with “Gilroy Garlic Fries.” There are only four restaurants serving them, three in San Jose. I went to the “Midtown” McDonalds. It looks pretty nice and modern from the outside, but was a little gross up close – as you might expect from Micky-D’s (sticky floor inside, sticky tables and remnants of old drinks outside.) The garlic fries, ostensibly made with “bounty of the county” garlic from Gilroy minutes away were pretty good however. Hard to imagine McDonald’s cooking anything with olive oil- but I guess they’re struggling to find a new customer base.

limited-time McDonald's Gilroy Garlic Fries in San Jose McDonald's (Michael Halberstadt)
limited-time McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries in San Jose McDonald’s (Michael Halberstadt)

Heading back downtown I found a good parking space and meandered. I ended up at San Jose State. The light was nice. Frankly I’m not too keen on those gates they have at the entrances aesthetically but I photographed one. Further in I was reminded of another subject I was supposed to be working on. My step-mother April is working on a book about Germans in Silicon Valley. On the list (I’m not sure how it’s connected) is the historic Scheller house on campus. Check that off my list 😉 The light was nice on the front of the Event Center Arena too- so why not add that to the library?

Event Center Arena Complex, SJSU, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Event Center Arena Complex, SJSU, San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

The last shots I got were a few of the Team San Jose venues before I gave in, called it a night, and grabbed a beer. Actually I was pretty peeved because I wanted to grab that beer AND get some shots from Scott’s Seafood outdoor patio but there was some tech event that bought up all the seating! Argh!