Vintage Views: Mount Diablo – Walnut Creek, Then and Now

Tinkering around with some of the raw vintage imagery that forms the backbone of my wife, photographer Sarah Anne Bettelheim, and my ongoing Vintage Views: Mount Diablo series, I stumbled into creating a sort of frozen-in-time machine, blended (mash-up?) view of Mount Diablo overlooking Walnut Creek that spans a century, capturing the growth of our East Bay Area at the toe of the mountain’s slopes.

Framed below a contemporary dusting of snow on Mount Diablo’s summit, this composite photograph reveals how the comparatively open (and undeveloped) oak savannah grasslands and farmland of 1909 (left) give up the ghost in little more than a century to the present-day (2012) urban residential redoubt of Walnut Creek (right) where the city sprawls guarded beneath a canopy of ornamental trees. Though Walnut Creek has clearly grown, the urban growth surrounding Mount Diablo’s foothills has nevertheless been held at bay due in no small part to the hard work of groups like Save Mount Diablo.

This is a departure from the Vintage Views: Mount Diablo series, but an interesting exercise in telling Mount Diablo’s story.

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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