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Darvin Atkeson / 12 items

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When you think about it, every sunset is technically nuclear powered so the title would fit almost any sunset. Granted this is a fission reaction and the sun fusion reaction. Without nuclear power, the Earth wouldn't be the paradise we currently enjoy.

We were returning from a shoot in the Sierra when I first glimpsed the towers. We were miles away but they were still massive in the sky and towered above the rolling hills of ranchland and vineyards. Few manmade objects really get my attention but there is something a little more than unnerving about the ominous towering structures that clearly define a nuclear reactor. Especially when one of the first things you notice is the massive World War II era air raid sirens you encounter long before even seeing the famous Rancho Seco reactor site. As we approached the road took a turn directly toward the site and I realized we would pass right next to the cooling towers. The towers loomed ever larger with each mile till the road once again turned right along the base of the towers. When you look at the safety rail across the walkway atop the towers it reveals the true height.

In March of 1978 the plant experienced a very serious power outage that disabled much of its instrumentation resulting in the steam generator running dry. This would be the third most serious safety related event in the United States just behind Three Mile Island. Though there was no release of radiation from the plant, the event sparked protests and the place was eventually shut down by SMUD following a vote to shut down the facility. To cope with the loss in power for the city of Sacramento, SMUD planted over half a million trees that now blanket Sacramento in shade. SMUD also has built a modern solar plant on the Rancho Seco site. The surrounding area became a recreational park, vineyards and ranchland. Though the facility still retains its low energy fuel rods under tight security, the plant is much more open to the public than similar site. The massive cleanup cost of nearly half a billion dollars hopefully will make us think before we decide on how we wish to generate the energy we consume and hopefully consume it more wisely.

Personally I have always been fascinated by nuclear power. It may someday be made fully safe and cost effective but when you consider the massive cost of cleaning up such a site, you realize there is little room for nuclear power with our current technical levels. We can even agree on what to do with the spent fuel rods. For now it acts as a landmark to remind us that we need to use our energy with care and knowledge about the long term effects and costs involved.

But the old plant, the only one decommissioned in the US, sure makes for a beautiful photo op with a glowing Sierra Nevada sunset as the backdrop.

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© Darvin Atkeson
LiquidMoonlight Studios
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Tags:   Nuclear Power Plant California Sacramento Accident Disaster Future Storage Fuel Sun Solar Fusion Fission Hearald Towers Cooling Seabiscuit Emergency Air Raid Sirens Nature Trail Capitol Tree Planting Energy SMUD Environmental Movement Half Billion Dollar Site Cleanup Radioactive Radiation Reactor Critical Meltdown Toxic Superfund Darv Darvin Atkeson LiquidMoonlight.com

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A spectacular sunset appears over the city of Concord California as seen from the grass covered slopes of Mulligan Hill. This is possibly my largest panorama is massive.

The sun sets through the Carquinez Straight on the far right with the Oakland Hills on the horizon to the left. In the valley lies the largest town in Contra Coasta County named Concord.

Had it not been for prohibition, this might very well be the Napa Valley of California but as a result of prohibition many of the grape vines were removed and other more valuable crops planted. Ironically after prohibition, California's vineyards would once again become highly valued but by then much of the farmland had been replanted with walnut trees and other crops.

In the foreground lies a remnants of the World War II era Concord Naval Weapons Station which was devastated by a massive explosion as the result of a massive accident that occurred while loading ships during the war. If not for the Naval Station, this area would likely be covered with homes which have been slowly covering the hills to the south and the view obstructed.

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© Darvin Atkeson
LiquidMoonlight Studios
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Tags:   Sunset Panorama Concord Contra Costa County Landscape Delta Sacramento River Gigapixel San Francisco Bay Area East Bay Bay Martinez Naval Weapons Vista City WWII Willow Pass Mountains Foothills Coastal Range California Darv Darvin Lynneal Atkeson LiquidMoonlight.com

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Over the previous week it looked as though summer had set in to Northern California with temperatures in San Francisco hitting the upper 80s but seemingly overnight the winds turned cool and thunderstorms rolled in off the Pacific. Looking for a good vantage point to view the sunset we headed up a little known road that crosses the foothills between Concord and the Sacramento River Delta. Near the top the rolling hills gave way to the Benicia Straight where the sun would set perfectly through the gap of the hills. From this vantage you can see Concord, Martinez, Benicia and even Vallejo where the delta turns in to the San Francisco Bay. The sunset was no wimp showing off yellows, deep oranges, lavenders with a sky of crystal blues. The grassy foothills of the Concord Naval center can be seen in the foreground, in the distance just below the sunset you can make out the Martinez refinery. At the full 36 Megapixel resolution you can even make out the Carquinez Suspension Bridge just to the left of the sunset.


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© Darvin Atkeson
LiquidMoonlight Studios
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Tags:   Sunset Landscape Concord Martinez Bailey California Delta Benicia Vallejo Sun Horizon Sacramento River San Francisco Bay Carquinez Suspension Bridge Darv Darvin Atkeson LiquidMoonlight.com

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Okay, a break between firework shots before the 4th is upon us. I still have many good images of the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary celebration but it's time to mix it up a bit and keep it fun.

It was one of those days that most photographers dread. Working around the house doing necessary and usually neglected chores. In my case, mowing the lawn. As the light to the west started to fade I looked up to see the colors were starting to look incredible on the skies over the Sacramento River just a mile or so from my house. I grabbed the camera bag which was fortunately ready to go and headed down to a little hidden park just off Railroad Ave.

I found this tree that seemed to be confused as to if it was Spring or Fall. The recent cool spell had caused it to start to display some Fall color even though it was still early spring. The colorful leaves compliment the bright oranges and yellows in the storm clouds that had blown in and the reflections in the river.

© Darvin Atkeson
LiquidMoonlight Studios

Tags:   Sacramento River Delta Park Sunset Landscape Nature Preserve Marina Reflections Storm Skies Fall Colors Hues Sunrise Tree Bark Local California San Francisco Bay Area Pittsburg Hidden City Windmills Rio Vista Darv Darvin Lynneal Atkeson LiquidMoonlight.com

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Cattails bloom in the Sacramento River Delta Area as the afternoon sun sets in the distance. When the wind picks up the seeds blow though the delta like a billion dandelions blooms. Cattails cover the Central Valley of California and act as shelters protecting the wetlands and many species of birds that feed and nest throughout the vast fields of Cattails.

Image inspired by Joni Niemelä

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© Darvin Atkeson
LiquidMoonlight Studios
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Tags:   Cattails Bloom Summer Sunset Autumn Fall Winter Sun Bokeh River Delta Sacramento California Darv Darvin Atkeson LiquidMoonlight.com


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