Vintage Views: Mount Diablo – Walnut Creek IV

With Save Mount Diablo’s Moonlight on the Mountain auction fast approaching (September 8, 2012), I’ve once again taken up collaborating with my wife, photographer Sarah Anne Bettelheim, on the next in our ongoing Vintage Views: Mount Diablo series, which involves pairing historical imagery of the San Francisco Bay Area’s iconic Mount Diablo (Contra Costa County, CA.) with contemporary photographs taken from the same vantage point.

Our most recent collaboration – Vintage Views: Mount Diablo – Walnut Creek IV – recreates the view of a vintage postcard that gazes out over downtown Walnut Creek. Across the horizon (from right to left, beginning with the main mount) loom the peaks of Mount Diablo’s Summit, North Peak, Eagle Peak, and Mount Olympia. In Mount Diablo’s foothills can be seen Shell Ridge and the sentinel sandstone rock formations of Mount Diablo State Park’s “Rock City,” once known more familiarly as the “Garden of the Jungle Gods.” Rock City’s foundations are riddled with turrets, wind caves, and grottos carved by the elements, and include Sentinel Rock and Elephant Rock. Between 1909 – when the original vintage postcard was mailed – and the present, Walnut Creek’s growth is evident as it expanded into the outlying farmland. Also noticeable is the transition from the relatively open oak savannah grassland and farmland in 1909 to a present-day cover of urban residential communities overlain with ornamental trees. This urban growth has been stalled from advancing further upslope due in no small part to the hard work of groups like Save Mount Diablo, which alone has protected over 100,00 acres of open space surrounding the mountain since 1971.

In the coming months, we’ll be adding new views and new historical imagery to match. Stay tuned…

To help support the San Francisco Bay Area non-profit organization Save Mount Diablo, whose mission is “to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds”, every year Sarah Anne Photography donates a Vintage View to the annual “Moonlight on the Mountain” full-moon fete and auction. Visit to learn more about how you can help protect Mount Diablo.


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