Nostalgic Vintage Tricycle by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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Coffee Lover by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from the roasted or baked seeds of several species of an evergreen shrub of the genus Coffea. The two most common sources of coffee beans are the highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the “robusta” form of the hardier Coffea canephora. The latter is resistant to the coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix), but has a more bitter taste. Coffee plants are cultivated in more than 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee “berries” are picked, processed and dried to yield the seeds inside. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee. -Wikipedia

 

 

Napa Sonoma County California Wine Country by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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The Wine Country is an area of Northern California in the United States known world-wide as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century. There are over 400 wineries in the area north of San Francisco, mostly located in the area’s valleys, including Napa Valley in Napa County, and the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, and Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. Wine grapes are also grown at higher elevations, such as Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder AVAs. The region is defined not only in terms of viticulture, but also its ecology, geology, architecture, cuisine, and culture. The majority of the grape harvest, in terms of both area and value, derives from Sonoma County.

Cities and towns associated with the Wine Country include Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Windsor, Geyserville, and Cloverdale in Sonoma County; Napa, Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga in Napa County; and Hopland and Ukiah in Mendocino County.

Napa Wine Country

Napa Valley is widely considered one of the top American Viticultural Areas in California, and all of the United States, with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Of those original wineries several still exist in the valley today including Charles Krug Winery, Schramsberg, Chateau Montelena, Nichelini and Beringer. Viticulture in Napa suffered a setback when prohibition was enacted across the country in 1920. Furthering the damage was an infestation of the phylloxera root louse which killed many of the vines through the valley. These two events caused many wineries to shut down and stalled the growth of the wine industry in Napa County for years. But for many Italian and Swiss families as farm labor in the vineyards, Prohibition offered the unique opportunity for the growing and shipping of grapes to immigrant homewinemakers across the country. Charles Forni, who received a gold coin as his first U.S. dollar upon arriving, rose to be a large shipper. The Mondavi family came West from the Minnesota ore-country to Lodi to ship grapes to the “Italian Club” miners. When Prohibition stopped in 1933, the price of grapes crashed to below $24 per ton. Then A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of America at San Francisco, started to promote to rebuild the commerce of wine and viticulture. Following the Second World War, the wine industry in Napa again began to grow. But cattle and prunes were king.

In 1965, Napa Valley icon Robert Mondavi broke away from his family’s Charles Krug estate to found his own. This was the first new large scale winery to be established in the valley since before prohibition. Following the establishment of the Mondavi estate, the number of wineries in the valley continued to grow, as did the region’s reputation. Consumer trends followed the 60s free lifestyle for experimentation. The old “paesano” customers of “dego red” gallon jug wines changed to young women who considered white wine, not beer, as their new drink of choice for romance. Robert Mondavi Winery attracted new wine aficionados by introducing the larger, 1.5 wine bottle for an image of affordable quality.
In addition to large scale wineries, Napa Valley’s boutique wineries produce some of the world’s best wines. The producers of these wines include but are not limited to: Araujo, Bryant Family, Chimney Rock Winery, Colgin Cellars, Dalla Valle Maya, Diamond Creek, Dominus Estate, Duckhorn Vineyards, Dunn Howell Mountain, Grace Family Vineyards, Harlan Estate, Husic, Kistler, Jericho Canyon Vineyards, Marcassin, Rutherford Hill Winery, Screaming Eagle, Sequoia Grove, Shafer Hillside Select, Spencer-Roloson Winery, Steltzner Vineyards and Bouchaine Vineyards.

Today Napa Valley features more than four hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other popular varietals. Napa Valley is visited by as many as five million people each year.

Sonoma Wine Country

Winemaking—both the growing of the grapes and their vinting—is an important part of the economic and cultural life of Sonoma County. In 2004, growers harvested 165,783 tons (150,396 tonnes) of wine grapes worth US$310 million. In 2006 the Sonoma County grape harvest amounted to over 185,000 tons, exceeding Napa County’s harvest by over 30 percent. About 80 percent of non-pasture agricultural land in the county is for growing wine grapes—59,973 acres (242.70 km²) of vineyards, with over 1100 growers. The most common varieties planted are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot noir, though the area is also known for its Merlot and Zinfandel.

Sonoma County is home to more than 250 wineries with eleven distinct and two shared American Viticultural Areas, including the Sonoma Valley AVA, Russian River Valley AVA, Alexander Valley AVA, Bennett Valley AVA and Dry Creek Valley AVA, the last of which is known for the production of high-quality Zinfandels.

 

– All descriptions courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

Fort Point and Crissy Field in The Presidio . A San Francisco Bay Area Through The Eyes of a Local Artist and Photographer Series by Wingsdomain

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Fort Point Under The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in The Presidio

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Fort Point and Crissy Field in The Presidio is a spectacular open public space recreation area with a long stretch of green grass where it once housed a number of temporary buildings for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition during World War I, and where seaplanes such as Pan American Airways’ historic China Clippers were known to land along the shore.  Crissy Field later became an aviation field for the US Army military airplanes to protect the San Francisco Bay which closed after 1974, and is now operated and managed by the National Park Service for all to enjoy.  Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification, it’s construction began soon after the Mexican-American War in 1853 and was later used during the Civil War.  The Fort is a fabulously preserved part of San Francisco military history and is registered as a National Historic Site.  Nestled literally under the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fort is open to the public and depending on what day you visit, you may find Civil War reenactments or even find yourself playing a roll in the reenactment.   Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of the scenes from his movie “Vertigo” at the edge of the Fort with the Golden Gate Bridge as the back drop, and with some Hollywood artistic licensing, steps were added into the water allowing Jimmy Steward as John Ferguson to more easily jump into the frigid water and rescue his costar Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster.

 

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3 Photographs From Inside Fort Point and One From Outside Corner of Fort Point where Hitchcock filmed one of the scenes from “Vertigo”

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The fort is open to the public and for better or worse, it commands large crowds, some coming in tour buses.  But as with most San Francisco destinations, it is less crowded on weekdays.  Parking is limited unless you park further East along Crissy Field and walk back to the Fort which is not a bad idea since you will want to explore every inch of this entire area.  And walking is the best way to take in the beauty of this park where you will be amazed by the inspiring views looking from the West to East, the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sausalito, Marin and Tiburon areas in the distance, to the isolation of both Angel Island and its history in West Coast immigration, and the infamous historical Alcatraz Island often celebrated in movies and folklore, and with the not too shabby backdrop of the East Bay.  All this visual delight brings you directly to the Financial District and the Transamerica Pyramid Tower and the Bank of America Building in the background, with the Marina District in the foreground and if you peek really hard beyond the Financial District, you might even catch a glimpse of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.  Coming back into view, from Crissy Field, you can clearly see the splendors of the Marina District and the spectacular classical architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts which was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.  Until recently, the Palace of Fine Arts housed the Discovery Museum, it is now still the home of a grand theatre, and is the back drop of a splendid and tranquil Classical European garden and pond.

 

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Artist Rendition of Crissy Field Looking Towards the Marina District, and a quiet tranquil scene at the Palace of Fine Arts

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Take a break from your hike and explorations of peaceful Crissy Field at the Warming Hut Café with a cup of java and some pastries, sip your coffee at the large open Torpedo Pier right outside the Café.  You will find local families and their friends enjoying the Pier, fishing and crabbing with big huge crabbing nets.  But watch your pastries, or you might find the local thieves in the form of both seagulls and pelicans taking off with your snack.  It’s a common sight to see a recreational fisherman or crabber chasing after a gull who’s just snatched a price catch from their bucket!

 

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And of course, Crissy Field is one of the grand stages for The Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet Supersonic Jets air show during Fleet Week in San Francisco in October.  After taking a break in 2013 due to budget cuts, the Blue Angels will once again zoom through the skies coming through the Golden Gate Bridge crossing the bay along Crissy Field in no more than a few seconds, and onwards between downtown highrise office buildings.  Working in the downtown area during their death defying practice runs, I can honestly say they get so close to the buildings that you can almost touch them as they literally scream through.  You actually hear them before you see them, having a top speed of over mach 1.7.  Crissy Field is a perfect place to see these amazing supersonic jets, it offers “enough” parking during this event, but you still have to arrive early to stake your space as they fill up fast as it gets closer to show time.  The venue is also large enough to allow everyone a good view of the jets as they perform their death defying acrobatics at speeds close to the speed of sound, and if you’re lucky, they may even entertain you with a vapor cone at transonic speed just before booming through the speed of sound.  Literally with a loud audible boom!  If you want to view The Blue Angels air show in San Francisco during Fleet Week from Crissy field, plan on getting out there around 11:30am to stake a comfortable claim on the field, spread out your towels, food, drinks, and assorted toys like a football or baseball or frisbee to keep you busy.  Lay down, enjoy a nap, enjoy a book, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and enjoy the unmatched San Francisco views while you wait for the air show to begin.  A number of other airplanes like the Team Oracle biplane and The Patriots Jet Team participating in the show will start to fly around 12:30pm.  Just before the Blue Angels start to fly, you may be entertained by a United Airlines Boeing 747 flying so low to the Golden Gate Bridge you might even get an urge to call Homeland Security.  But rest assured, it’s part of the show, at least for the many years I’ve attended.  And just moments before the Blue Angels start to appear from the Sausalito and Tiburon skies, the Navy Aircraft C-130 affectionately known as “Fat Albert” will put on a dazzling show of acrobatics, flying at a 90 degree angle straight up towards the sky which is no small feat considering the husky build of the plane.  My family and I have enjoyed watching the Blue Angels since my son was 2 years old, minus year 2013 when the Blue Angels were absent, my son is now 9 years old and the show is still one of the big events he looks forward to every year.

 

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Home Sweet Home 20130713 Fractal Heart v1 by Wingsdomain

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This artwork would look terrific on a large canvas,and a print on any other media would look just as stunning!

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