Milpitas Camera Club Field Trip
Field Trip: Tilden Botanic Garden
Trip Date: June 6, 2009
Report Author: Scott Hinrichs
Report Date: June 18, 2009

About five or six persons showed up for the problematic Tilden Botanic Garden fieldtrip on Saturday, June 6.

The troubles began in Berkeley in the morning at the Guerilla Cafe-a tie-dyed, veganish, hippy-dippy kind of underground hash house with very little seating, but a great smell issuing forth from its kitchen! My mouth was watering profusely in spite of the odd-looking clientele and the lack of table space to park our plump foodie posteriors. (Granted, the diners probably thought an overweight, balding, middle-aged man with a camera slung around his neck was an intruder of the worst ilk!) But this was Berkeley and I was on their turf. So, in spite of our great desire to chew into a slab of fresh baked bread slathered with organic butter and preserves, we had to go to the restaurant a few doors down and have a more conventional breakfast there. It proved to be just okay. We had to compromise this time, but I'm going back to the Guerilla Cafe again-and I'm gonna put on a dashiki and bring my tambourine!

At breakfast, Keith and Susan gave me a copy of their driving directions to the "garden" and we got in our respective car pools to meet up at the garden gate. I began following the directions and noticed that I was climbing the hill above the University of California, Berkeley. This was not the way to Tilden! Instead, we were going to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. By the time I caught up with them and yelled out the window: "This is the wrong place!" they waved their non-refundable tickets at me. Not having the admission price in cash, I decided to part ways with the other party and go, as originally intended, to Tilden (which has free admission).

By the time I got to Tilden, another camera club member had come and gone, and I saw no familiar faces. (Sorry I was late.) Tilden was okay, but the glow of spring had already worn off the California native plant collection, replaced by the dry look of summer. (As you know, summer is the least comely of seasons in our California paradise.) There were very few shooting choices, save for some very nice cactus flowers and a few other late-popping blossoms. Nevertheless, Tilden was still a pleasant place in which to stroll. It didn't take long to put the lid on this trip and our badly fragmented party returned home in random fashion with nothing too spectacular to brag about.

Kieth later reported that his experience at the University of California Botanic Gardens was okay, but, similar to Tilden, the garden offered no spectacular blossoms for his viewfinder. The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden is much larger than Tilden, so probably a better place to shoot.

Lessons learned: Do Tilden, UC Berkeley Botanic Garden and the Berkeley Rose Garden (on the way to Tilden) on the same day in early March! And go to the Guerilla Cafe early in the morning so you can get a table!

© 2009 S.R. Hinrichs