Dr Marm never without my Nikon!


Our Winter with Lensbaby

It gives me great pleasure to share some of my favorite images celebrating the winter season.   As with the previous posts featuring the seasons, these pictures are also taken with either a Lensbaby lens or optic allowing me to create in camera with my eye to the viewfinder a world of fun via artistic blur of just a magical digital scene.


Some folks may wonder why there are flowers, new growth, and hints of fall colors in a post focusing on winter weather.  Northern California, as most of the west coast states are in year 4 of a drought.  We were fortunate to see some rain and snow in the mountains late in 2015, but 2016 has been very dry.  Hopefully, spring will be another season with rain, so we can make a dent in the drought.


My family is in southern California and I have been spending time with my Mother who just turned 92 on February 27 and is recovering from a broken hip.  Many of the uncharacteristic winter scenes with spring like qualities are taken here, near Los Angeles.


It isn’t easy to decide upon my favorites, as they tend to change!  However, here are a view I selected to share.  Favorites, of the moment.


My current “go-to” Lensbaby products are:  Velvet 56, Sweet 50 optic, and an old favorite, the Muse.  It was not until I pulled these pictures into my post that I saw my name DrMarm and either 2015 or 2016 on every one.  Rookie mistake, I just need to get back to writing more posts and remembering what I should do with my images.  Forgive the name, but at least you will know whether it was taken in 2015 or 2016.  <grin>


American River

American River, Velvet 56


Green Trail

Green Trail, Velvet 56


Rocky Road

Rocky Road, Velvet 56


Jessie Girl

Jessie Girl, Velvet 56


Bee Headstand

Bee Headstand, Velvet 56


Elm Sunset

Elm Sunset, Velvet 56


Bright Bud and Blooms

Bright Buds & Blooms, Velvet 56


Blowin' in the Wind

Blowin in the Wind, Velvet 56


LB Sun Fun

Sun Fun, Sweet 50


Muse Fun

Muse Fun, Muse with Creative Aperture


Window Dressing

Window Dressing, Muse with Creative Aperture


Going Up?

Going Up, Muse with Creative Aperture


The Wish Tree

The Wish Tree, Muse with Creative Aperture


LB Shed

Lensbaby Shed Visit, Sweet 50


CMM Memories

Camp Mountain Meadows, Sweet 50


Driving By

Driving By, Sweet 50


Golden Hour

Golden Hour, Sweet 50


Foggy Frost

Foggy Frost, Velvet 56


Frozen Reflections

Frozen Reflections, Velvet 56


Left Alone

Left Alone, Sweet 50


Looking At Life

Looking At Life, Sweet 50


All That Glitters

All That Glitters, Sweet 50


Jessie Intrigued

Intrigued Jessie, Sweet 50


Hazy Blues

Hazy Blues, Sweet 50


And if I could only pick one picture, it would be this last image! Of course, that just means I haven’t taken a new favorite…today. <grin–and grabs her Nikon & Lensbaby>


Tulip Dance

Tulip Dance, Velvet 56


To continue enjoying “Our Winter with Lensbaby” images, be sure to connect with Pauline Putt.  A continued inspiration to me, I am happy to send you her way:   http://oaktreeshutterbug.squarespace.com/oaktreeshutterbug/2016/2/28/our-winter-with-lensbaby  I will continue to enjoy Pauline’s magical talents with her daily mobile Lensbaby lens images.



Celebrating Fall with my Lensbaby

It is time to celebrate the wonderful fall images with our “Circle Blog”  Please visit the talented and creative Janet Douglas with her post http://jandouglas.weebly.com/hearts-lensbaby-love-hearts/our-fall-with-lensbaby

As a photographer, I am thankful to catch the small nuances of a season over time.  For me, with the fun and joy of using a Lensbaby lens or optic to help capture that magic, changes in color are even better!

My images were captured with my Nikon D800E and I will confess, this is the best “workhorse” of a camera I have ever had.  I started bringing it with me wherever I went.  Usually, most of my trips were to either physical therapy or a doctor’s appointment.  However, bringing my camera and having it “at the ready,” I found many great subjects in parking lots between the car and my appointment.   Great practice to look around wherever you are at the moment!

Special thanks and gratitude for joining an incredible group of women photographers on this venture.  Ana Maria Rosenberg, Pauline Putt, Nicola Stewart Janet Douglas, and Anja Williams.  One of the best aspects of photography and social media has been the community across the globe.  May we always be able to connect through our visions and the arts.

While searching for autumn color early in the season, I drove from one parking lot to another and as luck would have it, found an amazing dragon-fly.  Previously, I never had more than a quick shot with one.  I enjoyed the chameleon aspects and felt part of the magic was due to the Velvet 56 Lens.  What a delightful surprise!

Dragon Fly Hovering



Dragon Fly Iridescent Wings

Iridescent Wings


Dragon Fly Pink

In the Pink


My “go-to” optic for these fall images ended up being the Sweet 50 Optic.  It is light weight and a perfect match as a walk around lens.  This clearly became my “Nifty Fifty!”


Setting Show

Setting Show


Sister on the Side

Sister on the Side


Bokeh Bee

Bokeh Bee


Morning Light Later

Morning Light Later


Fallen Color

Fallen Color


Mosaic Fall Leaf Pattern 3

Mosaic Fall Leaf Pattern 3


Mosaic Leaf Pattern 2

Mosaic Fall Leaf Pattern 2


Mosaic Fall Leaf Pattern

Mosaic Fall Leaf Pattern


Down the Lane_

Down the Lane


Down the Lane 2

Down the Lane 2


Abstract Fall Colors

Abstract Fall Color





Lavender Vase

Lavender Vase



LB Country Road

Country Road


Double Exposure (in camera) a fun change.

Ghost Statue

Ghost Statue


Sunny Bloom Above

Sunny Bloom Above


Fall Celebration ICM

Fall Celebration ICM (Intentional Camera Movement)


Autumn Arrival

Autumn Arrival


Clouds and Fall Magic

Clouds and Fall Magic


Puzzle Pieces

Puzzle Pieces


Poppin' Yellow

Poppin’ Yellow

In northern California, we are due for many more moments celebrating the fall season.  We have an amazing snow covering for the Thanksgiving week


100 Days of Summer Lensbaby Circle

Thought it would be easy to select a few of my favorite images that were part of the 100 Days of Summer celebrating my love and passion for all things Lensbaby.  Not as easy as I imagined, but here are a few that made my first favorite bunch.  If I had to guess, I would see updates to this post for sure!

Spirit TreeSpirit Tree Day 96

This is a tree in the parking lot of the church I attended while growing up near Pasadena, CA.  (San Gabriel, Church of Our Savior)  My parents, the Twining’s met one another at this church…ironically, my Aunt Carol (Dad’s sister) and my Godmother (Mother’s BFF) had been telling each of my parents they needed to meet a “friend” of theirs.  Nah, they met one another without that awkward blind date kinda thing.  Small world since Mother was born and raised in Lahaina, Maui and Dad predominantly on the East Coast.  Gonna have to go with “some things are just meant to be.”

My Mother was recently sharing their story and I never knew that my Dad fell asleep in the movie on their second date.  Mother said, “Well, I will never see him again…”  Nope, she was wrong on that account as he told her how he felt on date 3.”  He proposed at 6 weeks and they were married over 50 years.

Lady Bathing

Lady Bathing Day 100

I was fortunate to be able to attend my nephew Matt’s wedding to Hali.  Many advantages to having the newest DSLR lens, Velvet 56 on my Nikon, especially the 1.6 aperture.  I watched the candle melt during the reception and when I could clearly see a woman bathing–snap and a sentimental memory of a magical day and evening.

If anyone were to describe me as one who shoots flowers, I would have disagreed before the 100 images for Summer…yes, most were flowers and close to home.  Many were actually in parking lots of the various doctor locations I visit for treating my back and neck injury.  Once I switched to focusing on the “Lensbaby Love” and had lighter lens/optics on my camera it was easy to find subjects to share.

Floral Wallpaper

Floral Wallpaper Day 79


Sunshine Day 77

Violet Beauty

Violet Beauty.jpg Day 68

On Stage

On Stage. Day 65 jpg

Sunshine Spotlight

Sunshine Spotlight Day 66

Tulip via Velvet 56

Tulip Via Velvet 56 Day 59

Partial Petals via Velvet 56

Partial Petals Via Velvet 56 Day 61

Secret Garden via Velvet 56

Secret Garden Via Velvet 56 Day 60

Some non blooming sights…

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line

Traveling Minstrel

Traveling Minstrel

Indoor Display

Indoor Display Day 46

Finder’s Keepers

Finders Keepers

Classic Words

Classic Words Day 42

Sharing the Beauty

Sharing the Beauty

Out the Window

Out the Window Day 73

And the most visited location…my neighbor 3 doors away with a magical yard…

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I Wanna Hold Your Hand Day 54

Closer Inspection

Closer Inspection Day 58

Next in Line

Next in Line Day 56

World Below

World Below Day 56

Dehazed Daisy Pops

Dehazed Dasiy Pops

Jessie Girl Attentive

Jessie Attentive Day 78

Hi Riley!

Hi Riley!

Spreading the Lensbaby Love during the summer…one day at a time!

The talented and creative ladies with the LB100DaysofSummer:

Thank you Ana, Pauline, Nicola, Sonia, Kelly, and Justyna for allowing me to join you with an “amazing” 100 Days of Summer.

#LB100daysofsummer #100summerdays_Lensbaby

To continue with our closing circle of 100 Days of Summer with Lensbaby, visit the very talented Kelly Jacobi, just click on the link below!

Kelly – Kelly Jacobi Photography

Special thanks to Lensbaby for creating such fun (and addictive) lenses and optics!  The folks I have had the pleasure to meet in real life as well as those with email or social media, you guys totally rock and are appreciated much!

100 Summer Days with my Lensbaby Week 7-10

Mid-way through our Summer and more Lensbaby Joy to share!

Kitchen Decades Old Day 43

Kitchen Decades Ago Day 43

Garden View Day 44

Garden View Day 44

Ornate Gate Day 45

Ornate Gate Day 45

Indoor Display Day 46

Indoor Display Day 46

Mid-Day Sun Fun Day 47

Mid-Day Sun Fun Day 47

Beauty Spot Day 48

Botanical gardens our Sac Meetup group visited.

Botanical gardens our Sac Meetup group visited.

Spider Feast Day 49

This guy was so quick, I wish I would have turned on the video!

This guy was so quick, I wish I would have turned on the video!

Speck of Moon Day 50

Night time summer views

Night time summer views

Manzanita Sculpture Day 51

Manzanita Sculpture Day 51

Nature…Language of Love Day 52

Nature...Language of Love Day 52

Making Memories Day 53

Making Memories Day 53

I Wanna Hold Your Hand Day 54

I Wanna Hold Your Hand Day 54

Love on the Line Day 55

Love on the Vine Day 55

World Below Day 56

World Below Day 56

Next in Line Day 57

Next in Line Day 56

Closer Inspection Day 58

Closer Inspection Day 58

Tulip Via Velvet 56 Day 59

Tulip Via Velvet 56 Day 59

Secret Garden Day 60

Secret Garden Via Velvet 56 Day 60

Partial Petals via Velvet 56 Day 61

Partial Petals Via Velvet 56 Day 61

Hello Hibiscus! Day 62

Hello Hibiscus! Day 62

Tourists Day 63

Tourists Day 64

Small As A Dime Day 64

Small As A Dime Day 63

On Stage Day 65

On Stage. Day 65 jpg

Sunshine Spotlight Day 66

Sunshine Spotlight Day 66

Velvet Poppies Day 67

Velvet Poppies.jpg Day 67

Violet Beauties Day 68

Violet Beauty.jpg Day 68

Homestead HDR Day 69

Homestead Day 69

Wheelbarrow HDR Day 70

Wheelbarrow Day 70

Mill On The Hill HDR Day 71

Mill on the Hill Day 71

Shining Light HDR Day 72

Shining Light Day 72


100 Days of Summer with my Lensbaby Week 6

Week 6–Northern California has enjoyed a “cool down” from over 100 degrees to 80’s and 90’s.  A welcome change!

Summer Fun Day 36

Summer Fun

Day 37  Two versions

Daisy Pops

Daisy Pops

Using Lightroom CC 2015

New Slider in “Effects” bottom slider “Dehaze”  Modified Daisy Pops with +65

Dehazed Dasiy Pops

Flower Family Reunion Day 38

Flower Family Reunion

Luscious Green Bokeh Day 39

Reworked No Dehaze

Repeating Bokeh Day 40


Repetitive Patterns w- Bokeh Day 40_

Under Day 41


Under Day 41


Classic Words Day 42

Classic Words Day 42

Week 4 is over…28 days of Lensbaby Summer Views

Time is marching on and I so appreciate the joy of sharing my Lensbaby passion with you!  Thanks much!

Each of these pictures were shot with the Composer Pro and Sweet 50 Optic @ f/2.5

Day 28

Splash of Color

Splash of Color

Day 27

Right Lights

Right Lights-2

Day 26

Curly Camouflage

Curly Camouflage

Day 25

Sweltering in Sacramento (104 degrees today)Sweltering Hot @ 104 degrees

Day 24

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up

Day 23

Blowing in the Wind

Blowing in the Wind

Day 22

Hanging Lantern

Hanging Lantern

Day 21

Father’s Day

Father's Day

Where Does Time Go? Weeks 2 and 3

Wow, we are officially in the “Summer Season” in the USA, and in particular—California, “The Sunshine State.”  For our hot current temps in Sacramento, the capital of California, we are well above 100 degrees.  104 yesterday and I believe, due to repeat today.  I was out walking the dogs at 6:30 this morning.  WAY TOO hot within a very little amount of time!


The 100 Days of Summer with Lensbaby was started and created by an amazing talented group of women.  Check out their pages to see their passion and talent with their Lensbaby(babies)


Ana – Ana Rosenburg Photography
Nicola – Nicola Stewart Photography
Pauline- Oak Tree Shutterbug
Sonia- Sonia Marfatia-Goode Photography https://www.facebook.com/soniamarfatiagoodephotography
Kelly – Kelly Jacobi Photography
Justyna – Justyna E Butler Photography


Here is a recap of my images for the second and third weeks, we are actually due to end week 4 in two days.  Time is flying–that is for sure.


Day 8

Seasonal Color

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5

Seasonal Color

Day 9

Bright Future

Velvet 56


Bursting with Joy

Bursting with Joy


Day 10

Finders Keepers

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5

Finders Keepers


Day 11

Sharing the Beauty

Sweet 50 Optic

Sharing the Beauty


Day 12

Plentiful Velvet Poppies

Velvet 56

Plentiful Velvet Poppies


Day 13

Peek A Boo

Velvet 56

Peek a Boo


Day 14

Traveling Minstrel

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5
Traveling Minstrel


Day 15

Crossing the Line

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5

Crossing the Line



Day 16

Rosebud in Bokeh

Sweet 50 Optic

Rose in Bokeh


Day 17

Pollen Powderpuff

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5

Pollen Powderpuff


Day 18

Secret Oasis

Soft Focus Optic

Secret Oasis

Day 19

Waiting to Pop

Soft Focus Optic 2.5

Waiting to Pop


Day 20

Half and Half

Velvet 56

Half and Half


Day 21

Father’s Day

Sweet 50 Optic 2.5

Father's Day





Lensbaby 100 Days of Summer!

I am so thankful for the connectivity of Facebook, especially within the Lensbaby pages. (Lensbaby Addicts and Lensbaby Artistry)  Through these groups, I have met an incredible group of talented folks and greatly enjoy their wonderful images they share.  Recently, while perusing, “liking”, and commenting,  I happened to notice the tags “100DaysofLensbaby” and contacted Pauline Putt.  Pauline said that she and a couple other ladies started this venture and they…as you might have guessed are posting a Lensbaby image daily for the summer.

I am humbled and honored to join them in sharing the “Lensbaby Love” through the quest for #LB100DaysofSummer.  Thank you to the Velvet 56 release for allowing me to “meet” them and begin drooling at the images they were creating!  Dually noted is that their photography magic is not limited to the beloved Velvet 56 images.  As a former educator, for the “math” peeps out there–I know that starting my posts on June 9 means I “technically” won’t have “100 days”  So, I will do my homework and catch up a bit today!

For an amazing journey this summer, join me in following these exceptional ladies through their photography pages–be sure to add them:  (Um, you may need to “copy and paste” them today, while I work on my linking skills.  It will be worth it, I promise!)


For now, my #Lensbaby100DaysofSummer  #LB100DaysofSummer #seeinanewway #Lensbaby #LBVelvet56 #LensbabySweet50 “LensbabyComposerPro will be shared on my Facebook page:

Laura: https://facebook.com/laura.twining?fref=ts

Day 9

Bursting with Joy

Bursting with Joy





A Look via Lytro, Light Field Camera

As most of you know, I am dealing with a back and neck injury.  Difficulty with carrying weight and DSLR and gear do not mix well.  My current lens of choice, anything Lensbaby.  Muse with Double Glass Optic, for those fellow Lensbaby fans is a blast with my Nikon D800E and has been  on it for weeks!

About a year ago at the annual Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, I saw a weird box of a camera…I wish I could remember the name of our walk leader, as the camera was his, he was kind and shared it with others.

Little and Fun

Little and Fun

It is best known as a camera you can set the focus point after you take an image.  Can also have multiple versions via focus from one image.

The only downside for me is the lack of processing in other programs than the very limited “Lytro Filters”.  I can use the images anywhere and share on Facebook with ease, but can not send image to say, Lightroom 5 and then post in Facebook and be able to focus after the fact.  I lose that capacity.  My photographer persona is having a tough time with this.  On the good side, it forces me to be really selective in my shooting and what image I get to start with.  Slow down and really take in the scene.  Good time to reflect and learn better habits–that is a win-win.

Another manner to share images outside of the Lytro Program is by copying the embedded code for the image.  For my techie friends, you know circles and circles of knowledge, this will be my first attempt at copying and pasting a code…

A month or so, I was in the Bay Area and joined up with a fellow Nikon shooter, Ben Tang.  We went to Berkeley Marina and I had time to bring out my Lytro.  Just sitting and looking at the boats bobbing in the water.

These are the first Lytro images I printed and I love the results…only used the Lytro filters and was quite surprised at the end products.


Tilted Mast


Film Noir Effect


Line Art

In order for the focusing after option, you need to make certain you are shooting with that setting.  Easy to know–blue line around your image.  Another plus is having a distinct  foreground, middle, and background.  If just 2 points–that can still work.

This is from a local park along the American River.  Click on the plant/flower and watch the morphing image…click on the background for change in view.  The second image is not one I would have shared, aside from the transformation of the changing focus…but grew to like it!


Along the American River


Eye of the Beholder

I did the Old way of copy, cut, and paste…then noticed an icon that I could click and choices were Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Embed.

Awesome and easy!!  (OMG, easy to do!!)

This is with the “glass” filter–reminds me of ice.  In actuality, this image was a tree in a parking lot where I had an appointment.  Arrive early and take pics!

As of today…can get Lytro on many websites, including Lytro.com and Target (only place for pink color) Best Buy, Apple Stores, and a few more spots.  Search for prices.  I got the 750 image for 100 less than advertised.  (Amazon has since changed the price…)  Happy shopping and shooting!

Found! Old Pictures of Shiner, my first dog

You know that moment…when you open a box you don’t remember packing and find beloved old and tattered images?  Or, in the year 2013—find an old Memory stick you have and open it to find lost images.  Well, my moment was the later and I found a file of images I put together for my parents 45th anniversary digital picture frame.  I organized the images around the early 90’s and they go back for a couple of decades.

My first dog was Shiner P. Midnight.  I got her when I was in college.  One of my friends got a puppy and it was adorable, we got one from the same litter, so–enter Shiner.  The breeder told us she was a purebred Cocker Spaniel and I had naive thoughts of breeding her and making money.  One of my professors had a REAL Cocker Spaniel, and he did not believe she was really a cocker…

Ears Flopping

Ears Flopping

I attended Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington.  Shiner was the first dog that was mine and not a family dog.  She traveled well in the car, on planes, camp bus, you name it!  After graduation, I moved to Indiana to direct an Outdoor Education School and Shiner came along.  My Mother sent her a dog sweater, since it was so cold and she spent time outside–wherever I went, she went.  If she got miles for her plane trips, she certainly would have earned a nice trip!

One time, I returned to Indianapolis after spending the holidays in California–and went to the special baggage claim and there was no Shiner!  I must admit to going from 0 to hysterical in a matter of seconds…the flight we were on was continuing on to Boston, Massachusetts, which is where she ended up.  Then, she was flown back to Indianapolis and put in an Airline Van and delivered to me in Bloomington, Indiana.  After that adventure, I didn’t fly again with her.  Also, if I knew then what I know–would not have shipped her so many times!

On for the moment

On for the moment

Shiner didn’t like wearing her sweater.  I would let her outside and she would return a few minutes later–usually without her sweater.  She figured out that going into the briar patch caught her sweater on the branches and she could get it off!

My job in Indiana was seasonal, so we would return to California for summers and I would direct a summer camp–then, she became the “Camp Dog”.  She loved to play fetch with rocks or a ball, not really particular.  When she was a puppy at camp, the kitchen staff would take their breaks and try to hit the camp bell with a rock.  This is where Shiner got her fetish.  They would throw it and she would bring it back…

This image was taken by a photographer that would come up once a week to take pictures.  I decided I wanted to get one taken with Shiner.  Apologies to the original photographer…have no information…or, would give proper acknowledgement.

Not going anywhere

Not going anywhere

What is not visible in this picture were the moments preceding the shot.  As soon as I got Shiner on the swing, she leapt off my lap and took off for the lake…I caught her before she went swimming and hiked back up to get our picture taken.  You may note how much my fingers are holding her–no more leaps!!



There were a few occasions when I went somewhere and couldn’t bring her.  She was properly spoiled…under a blanket with my Mother.

She even made her own doggy door by shredding the screen on their sliding glass door…so she could go in and out as she pleased…

One thing my parents and I never got along with was politics.  I canceled one of their votes and have continued to do so.  Decided I couldn’t resist this plastic dog toy of President Bush…and then, made sure to pack it for visiting her “grandparents”.  My Dad thought it was entertaining, Shiner was happy, and got quite a few laughs.

Democrat Dog

Democrat Dog

Bay Window View

Bay Window View

This picture was from Christmas in Northern California.  The San Francisco Bay was visible from the Bay Window in my kitchen, loved this little one room house on the hills of San Leandro.  Good times and memories.

One morning, I was getting ready to go out to visit camps–my real job as a Professional Girl Scout.  Normally, Shiner would wait at the door to ensure she was going.  I noticed she wasn’t as excited and her urine wasn’t the right color, so I dropped her off at the vet and went to visit the closest camp.  I talked with the vet, only to find out what she had was life threatening.  Autoimmune Hemoletic Anemia, it took 21 days for her to get better, including 4 days on life support at UC Davis and a splenectomy.  My parents helped a little with her bills and we had 6 more years together.  As Shiner aged, her eating waned, so I started making her Doggy Meatloaf.  She loved it.  I fed her on a towel, as her legs could go out from under her on the vinyl flooring.  My cat, Tucker also enjoyed the meatloaf and would happily help Shiner with her meal.  Included ground turkey, chicken hot dogs, frozen veggies, bread crumbs and eggs.  Although it was all food I would eat, I chose to not taste the dog food!

Homemade Dog Meatloaf

Homemade Dog Meatloaf

It has almost been 20 years since she went over the Rainbow Bridge.  I still have her collar hanging from my rear view mirror and have to smile when her tags jingle when I hit a bump or a sharp curve:)

One of my favorite memories is driving to camp with the top off my Suzuki Sidekick and her ears flapping in the breeze as she sat in the passenger seat!  She would even stay in the car when the top was off and I went into the market.  Many more stories and beautiful memories!

Beyond Comfort Level–Portraits

For anyone who knows me, I am thrilled to be outside shooting with my Nikon.  My preference has been exploring the outdoors which, I believe goes to my Girl Scout roots at summer camp!  My experience with models is limited, so I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and shoot some portraits, with people as my subject.

Here are a few shots from extending beyond my comfort zone.

I have learned how much value comes from having specialists for Hair and Make Up…sometimes this is an option, and other times, we depend on our models.  The first two shots are an example of being able to admire the talents of great artists and their results.  This was a photo shoot with a “Meetup.com” group.

Meetup Event


Niki is a dedicated Body Builder and shares her hard work in steep competitions.  Thanks to Andy Brooks for setting up this outdoor shoot and the lights.  Always fun to learn from a talented friend!  For more of his work visit his website at:  http://www.blueturban.net/

Dedication and Results

One of the Sponsors for Niki as she works towards her dream

Another shoot, but indoors with models that have tattoos.  A special “shout out and thanks” to Tommy and his artists from “Fat Cat Tattoo” located in Carmichael, CA.

Backlit with a flash mounted in a Hotshoe

Being on location and getting creative is certainly an important skill to have.  Kudos to Andy for seeing this shot and the models willing to hop on up in the window of the tattooing station.

Details and Art

Two views to bring attention to the tattoo art on their arms.

Art and Eyes

What I enjoy about the world of photography  is there is always something to learn and expand your ability level.  I was able to attend the Look Fabulous Tour with Lou Freeman and Lindsay Adler.  Such a wealth of information on working with lighting and models.

I chose this day to use my D800E and the 50mm 1.8 so I wouldn’t have much weight while shooting.  Here are shots of the 3 models we worked with.  I will share another post with additional pictures.  Truly a fabulous experience!

Such a wonderful model with tons of initiative!

Such a wonderful model with tons of initiative!

She has a reflector in front of her to bounce the light on her face.

Bounced light on such a beauty!

Bounced light on such a beauty!

You can see the reflection of the two softboxes in her eyes.  Barely much room between the two boxes for my camera, but made for brilliant light.

Head shot

Head shot

Look forward to continuing to learn more and expand my comfort zone!  One piece of course is that I now have new items on my “wish list”  lights, pocket wizard, beauty dish…to name just a few thoughts to start the wishing process.  Willing to accept donations at anytime:)

Pelican Synchronized Swimming

In Sync

In Sync

Amazing to watch these American White Pelicans in sync.  I have seen four pelicans in synchronized movement, but never this many!  They were full of grace and many cars pulled over to see them gliding through the water.

As a child, I was not very athletic and not that coordinated.  So, of course I found my attention on the one pelican that was out of sync.  What a character! It was entertaining to watch him up when all the others were down and vice versa.



Down or Up?

Down or Up?

The one did manage to get into the groove as they continued to amaze their audience!

In Sync


Fun and so stunning to see these large birds be so graceful!

There was another…that got out of sync, still a beautiful scene to enjoy!

We were on the car loop of the Yolo Bypass, certainly an enjoyable outing and I can not wait to return.  Such a treat to see amazing birds.

Another Challenge

Another Challenge

Lensbaby Spark Fun

Winter Blues

Winter Blues

According to  the groundhog, “Punxsutawney Phil” we are due for an early spring…however, many states have endured horrific winter weather over the past week.  In the Sacramento, California area our snow level dropped to 900 feet which is insane for us!  Of course, the next day no clouds were in the sky and nothing but beautiful blue overhead.  What these images can not share is the temperature–our morning lows have been 30 degrees or so with our day high nearing 60.

I decided to take my Lensbaby Spark out for a jaunt in the backyard to celebrate our chilly, but dry weather.  The Spark lens is the lightest Lensbaby in my collection and easy to manage on my D600.  The challenge and fun aspect of this lens  (in my humble opinion)  is that you do not secure your composition–hands need to maintain constant pressure on the Spark to keep the effect you desire.

My favorite aspect of using a Lensbaby is the fact you can achieve so many different results with the same tool.  Creativity is unlimited.  The next two images are of the same Oak Tree which towers over the backyard and yet appear so different, because of the lens flexibility.

Over Head

Over Head

Love the look of swirls–especially with fall color but still creates a fun abstract result with bare branches.

Just a Twist

Just a Twist

Some flowering varieties, one in various shades of green and the other with a splash of color.

Abstract Beauty

Abstract Beauty

The light in this shot allowed the creative aperture of the “sun” to show through a bit.

Backyard Blooms

Backyard Blooms

Anyone else ready for spring???

ICM–Intentional Camera Movement

Wow! It has been SO long since I have done a blog that WordPress has quite a few changes. Mostly, I have just been sharing my limited images via Facebook–but decided to keep a theme and share my recent new shooting technique. (New to me, not anything I invented!)

Have you ever had an image where you moved when your shutter was still open and it blurred your photo? Maybe–strong winds with your camera on a tri-pod without using a cord?  I certainly have had my fair share of blurry photos due to unintentionally moving something I should not have while I was shooting.

Recently, I was reading an e-book, “SLOW The Magic of Long-Exposure Photography” by Andrew S. Gibson. I learned that there is a technique to intentionally create movement in camera and it is called–wait for it…Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). I had seen the results of images posted by others, especially with fall shots and didn’t know how to achieve it, but now I do! As Mr. Gibson suggests–you can look it up on Flickr and see some talented shots.

The technique is basically panning your camera as you shoot in Shutter priority with a long enough exposure–half a second or longer to create the movement, with abstract results.  I found the coastal region of Northern California to be an ideal spot for this venture. Pacific Ocean below a bluff

Pacific Ocean below a bluff
Silky Appearance

Silky Appearance

Liked the angle of the water

Liked the angle of the water

Black and White

Black and White

Saturated Colors

Saturated Colors

The advantage of this shoot being at sunset was that I could get quite a few different color options as the sunset faded and the light show began.  The above images were processed using Lightroom 4.3 and started as RAW files, so I would have more choices refining what I captured and wanted to share.

En route to the sunset location there was a grove of trees in their winter glory–no leaves and darker bark with sunlight hitting them just as I wished. so, here is actually my first attempt at ICM.

Quite Squiggly

Quite Squiggly

Got a good chuckle, and decided I was pleased with my result. Clearly, there is indeed movement during this shot! Soon, I discovered it was much easier to pan horizontally than vertically! Hold camera and tuck in elbows to your body for a cleaner pan.

There was a field with such luscious green grass a herd of White-Tail Deers were munching away in the distance. The road was a good 50 yards or more from where they were located, and we were separated by a barbed wire enclosure. Here are a few shots of the pasture.  The first two shots are from the same file–only difference is with the “Clarity Slider” in Lightroom.  Same exact image with clarity at -100 for the second view–no other differences, but certainly changed the result!

Boosted Clarity to about 60

Boosted Clarity to about 60

All clarity removed…

Lighter colors and details

Lighter colors and details

One last view of the deer in the distance with a nice tree to provide a change in scenery!

Tree and Deers

Tree and Deers

Continuing with the theme of movement…here are two images that were not ICM, but I kept them due to their abstract result.  If you know me, I am a great fan of Lensbaby Optics and love the abstract results you can create with them, so no wonder why I couldn’t part with these shots. To clarify–neither is a Lensbaby image!

Drawing of a Sun

Drawing of a Sun

What came to my mind as I first saw this image was that it reminded me of pictures that children draw with a sun in the sky with rays coming off of the center. OK–I still draw mine that way, am certainly NOT an artist in that respect!

This was taken at dusk…my intended shot was to get the hawks that were swooping down and making a meal of the bats that were coming out from under the specially designed bridge (designed for the bats, the previous one was lost in a flood). I used a WAY too long of an exposure to hand hold and the speed at which the bats were exiting and hawks swooping and snacking were much faster than the settings on my camera were!



Look forward to working on my panning and ICM skills and writing more blogs to share with you!

Thanks much, for viewing–it is greatly appreciated:D

American River Stormy Views

I am an avid reader and enjoy reading photography books, blogs, e-books–anything I can gain knowledge from and enjoy the wonderful images others have created.  Many times I have read that the best photos come from your location–knowing when the weather and conditions will get you an amazing view.  Usually, this is written by someone who lives near Yosemite, in Hawaii, and other vacation destinations I’d love to live near.

This week in Northern California we went from 100 degree weather down to the high 70s–that was a delightful shift and much welcomed!  There was also a threat of rain.  I was watching the sky and the clouds and noticed they were getting very inviting for a photo outing.  So, I went to the American River–one of my favorite locations and a 5-minute drive.  Have been dealing with severe back and neck challenges due to an injury, so am very limited in what I can do and for how long.  (This outing was less than 20-minutes and SO worth it.)

My Nikon 18mm is a wide angle prime and very light weight and has become my go-to lens.  Do love the continuing “learning curves” of photography! When I got home, realized I had a very slight vignette in every corner of my images.  (Have now taken the rubber hood off of my lens!)  So, decided to embrace the vignette concept..having never tried it before–had a fun time with it:)

The first teasing drops of rain began as soon as I sat down to take a few snaps, so didn’t stay long, but did enjoy the ever-changing clouds!

A few green spots near the river

Played a bit with white vignettes to match the clouds

A small area near the shore with slower moving water, a haven for ducks

Took advantage of a full frame camera and just cropped these, so the vignette was not apparent.  Know too much of a good thing can become boring, so no vignettes on these views!

View down the river

A patch of blue

Ironically, this is not a time I usually visit the river–in the middle of the day and during summer.  Had to take these shots in between folks going down the river on rafts.  Was reminded of this when I drove through the gate, to find limited parking. Am glad I went, though–certainly does validate the concept of finding great views in your own neighborhood:D

Poppies Popping

The state flower of California is the Golden Poppy.
 In spring, they are abundant and can be found many places–on
freeway hillsides, in neighborhood yards and along the American
River, to name a few locales.  Actually, my header on my blog
is from a few years ago.  I had hoped to find both Poppies and
Lupine in bloom and took me quite a few trips before I found what I
was searching for.  These are a few shots I got to enjoy when
hunting for them this year.

Front and

Early Morning

On the

Among New

Couldn’t decide whether I preferred a portrait or
landscape shot, so decided to enjoy both options!  Do you have
a preference?

Multicolored River


The clarity of the water seemed to make this
vision even more impressive!

Catch Your

This photo was not at the American River, but I
made certain I got to enjoy this amazing view.  Taken on
Mother’s Day.  Well worth fighting the traffic to get it.


I was not alone!  Numerous cars pulled up and
stopped along this 2 lane highway to capture the beauty.

Who Wouldn’t Want
This View?

The last two photos were taken with my new
camera, the Nikon D800E.  Have been waiting for a fullframe
camera for quite some time.  The wait was worth it!  Look
forward to sharing more photos with you taken with this amazing

Sacramento Zoo Visit Highlights

Have you ever done a blog and saved it as a draft and then posted something else?  And then, your next blog is more current and it posts…well. I have some photos to share of our local animal talent!

My zoo visit was last year before the holidays, thus the 2011 on my photos–but decided to share them anyway.  Hope you enjoy the critter visit:)

Last year, my staff gave me a membership to the Sacramento Zoo–seemed time to visit once again.  Was a beautiful, but colder day here–highs in the low 50s, but plenty of sunshine!

The Sacramento Zoo has a wonderful crew of dedicated docents and hosts events through out the year.  Unbeknownst to me–today was an event–where special treats were made and given to the animals.  Remember now the joys and challenges of shooting through plexiglass and wire mesh!

Here are some of my views from today…

Anteater–they are much bigger than I ever remembered!

Walking around...

Next door–there was a lonely Spotted Hyena that spent much of the time pacing back and forth.

Hanging out

The old adage..of let sleeping dogs lie–think that also applies to napping cats, such as this beautiful Snow Leopard relaxing away on top of a rock!

Holiday Berries behind!

Right across from the “cats” was an enclosure with some very friendly River Otters.  Friendly would not have been something I would aquaint with otters–but they knew how to ham it up for sure!

Hi there!

For anyone who has dogs…you know those smudges on your car windows?

Favorite Spot--will come back here!

About ready for a nap!

Was fortunate that the giraffes came out for a bit on nuzzling together.

A Tender Moment

More Visits with the Giraffes!  It is not uncommon to visit and they don’t even come out of there barn.  Certainly depends on the weather and what special treat are being presented!

Not sure why I am looking at you...but here is my wondrous face and neck!

Some friends with wings and feathers…


Curled up tight

Disagreement About Something!

Challenge with these two…was the backlighting.  Chose to blow out the background, so their wonderful colors could be viewed.

Awww, so cute!

A new use for your old phone books–probably one you never thought of…for these Hornbills, the phone book was filled with crunchy bugs.  They had fun “flipping through the pages” and were rewarded with a tasty morsel. Bugs and more bugs…pages and pages with “snacks” hiding out!  Check to see if your local zoo can use your old phone books!

I'll Have One of Those!

This was one of my favorites…his “whooping” and calls announced his presence long before he was in sight.  Spent most of the time swinging through the cage and putting on quite a show.

Who's Making All the Noise?

Some holiday cheer for the Red Pandas…so cute!

Hmm...a little holiday snack!

Framing a bit…

In the Center

Just remember there are many options to support projects we believe in and hope it will transcend time .  In my opinion, we need to look and identify needs now that we can impact and ensure they will be enjoyed and last for may centuries to come.

Is there a smaller zoo  or animal wildlife refuge area in or near your town or county?  The might be a great place to start what your animals need for comfort and growth.  Treat Days, Adoption–providing approved snacks and goodies.  Ask the merchants and store owners,, they should be able to offer you time and means for supporting their animal population!


I am one of those few folks that are actually happy to give up an hour in the spring–thrilled for more daylight!

Northern California is severely lacking in rain and we had some in the forecast today…sadly, to no avail as of 5:30 p.m.  What we got was a nice cloudy and overcast sky.  Perfect for catching some seasonal blooms at the Carmichael Botanical Garden.  So, off I went!

In addition to the Tulip blooms, the trees had lovely blossoms as well.  For this, I dusted off my macro 60mm lens (literally!) and caught some different views.  Must say, it has been a long time since I have tried to manual focus on any lens, except for my Lensbaby optics!

What is spring without budding blossoms?  Hopeful these will survive the week of predicted rain!

This is my favorite image from today…

Hope your spring is full of blooms and you enjoy each blossom!

Rooster Hokey Pokey and Attitudes!

Fair Oaks is a small town nestled between Carmichael and Citrus Heights, near Sacramento, CA.  The “Town Square” is a small park with local businesses surrounding two sides.  What is most unusual are the feathered friends that roam through out the entire town.  Roosters and Hens peck at the grass and root in the shrubbery and come near people–obviously, well fed!

I am sure many of you remember the song, “The Hokey Pokey”…one of those tunes that can get stuck in your head?  What I noticed as I was processing my numerous rooster shots was they were “doing the Hokey Pokey!”  So here goes a few views of these talented roosters and hens!

You put your Right Foot out!

What goes out…come in…

You put your right foot in!

And now, for the left…

You put your left foot out!

And you shake it all about!

You put your head in!

I must admit…did not capture anymore obvious views to the song…but I did notice some serious attitude as I got a little closer views. Some “head shots” with attitude and feeling…


Snacking on grass

I'm talkin' to you!

Not in the mood!

Eye to eye!

Black and White Hen

This one, just seemed a bit wiser and older–reminded me of a “wise soul!”

Wise old soul

Any identifications are welcome!  Of course, I “Googled” roosters and found a few identifications via Wikipedia…but none that looked familiar.  I was surprised to see that “Fair Oaks Roosters” has a Facebook page…a non profit, so of course, I “liked” them–happy to help:)

Hope your day is wonderful!

Return to Mono

Surrounding Hills

If you are tired of visiting Mono Lake through my blog, I understand.  Yes, this is the third post (in a row)…you may have guessed it–I am hooked on this amazing wonder.  Think only additional visits might cure me–happy to try again!

Life lessons can be easy or hard to learn.  My personal belief is that the harder ones to learn are those we remember.  I sure as heck hope so.  Because since my last post, I realized I shot every single photo from December 16-31 in jpeg–ONLY on my D300s.  Son of a gun.  How did I not figure it out sooner?  Didn’t try to view a different white balance on a photo I already shot and was making very few changes in Lightroom 3.

I am now taking a Photoshop course through BetterPhoto.com which gave me enough confidence to finally try to process my images in Photoshop…only to realize ALL my pics were jpeg, which is why I couldn’t get them to open in Adobe Camera Raw.  Originally, I figured I must have changed my setting by accident when I shot sunrise.  Figured one day was only in jpeg.  Nope–now recall the last day of work before vacation, I went to take a photo and didn’t want to waste space with RAW that I wouldn’t use.  That one moment has cost me much in opportunities with editing my trip.  BUT, I better remember to check my settings every time I put it away and pull it out of my camera bag. #lessonlearned  Must say, this on-line course is really well-organized.  Lewis Kemper is the instructor, it is a privilege to have a local accomplished photographer such as he!

So, I was viewing my photos with a new lens today and happened to find a few more worth sharing.  Think the threatening weather added much to the clouds and saturation to the colors.  Really so much more than I managed to capture.  Next time, I sure as hell will have my camera setting in Raw and not jpeg!

A few views before sunset at South Tufa, Mono Lake…

Water's Edge

Further Back

Across the Way

Lighting the Way

Mountain Glory

Tufa Window

As sunset begins the color change–many folks will leave and miss the real light show that begins when the golden hour starts.  30 minutes after sunset, in my limited experience is well worth staying for.

First changes

Another view from sunrise the next morning…

Early Sunrise


Of course I now realize I should have used my (c) from 2011 instead of 2012–another lesson for future learning:)



Mono Lake Revisited…again!

Well, yes–my last post was on Mono Lake–but I visited again and witnessed the most amazing sunset and sunrise moments in my life.

I do know that I need to do more research on what conditions make for a more vivid color show at sunset and sunrise…my hunch is that storm clouds and conditions calling for weather changes do make a huge difference!

Just over a week passed from the photos I took at Mono Lake the previous week, to these views.  It is a common spot to find photographers and many famous artists have captured the glory of this locale. I was joined by about 4 serious photographers on this night. The scene constantly changes with various flashes of color and the changes in the clouds.  There is not a single place in the 360 degree view that is not worthy of remembering. A good example–is watching a professional photographer from the Bay Area running with his tripod from one spot to another.  That is how much you want to be able to capture every moment. Here are a few of the more memorable shots from an amazing sunset session.

Changing Flashes

All glowing

Western View

Finishing off the show was the most fire ball of light on the Western horizon…

Last fire light

Following this show of light, I was on such a “high” in total amazement of what I had witnessed over the course of less than an hour.  Decided if there is such a thing as “Photographers’ High” I had the pleasure of experiencing it. Was wide awake until well after midnight and had my alarm set for sunrise.

Didn’t think I could see anything as wonderful as the night before–however, I was not disappointed by any stretch of the imagination by a spectacular sunrise.

First light

Calm waters

Spectacular reflections

Space Age View

Distant colors

The last part of the extraordinary sunrise is when the first rays of the sun hit the highest peak. The color is in fact red and glows for a few minutes. For the true meaning of the art of photography that is “all about the light” this is one of the few times it is so visible. After a few minutes, the color of the sierra peak returns to the normal wonderful color–but still you can remember what it looked like!

Golden Hour Moment

So thankful this wonderful treasure is no longer on the closure list for California State Parks. To be a supporter, you can join the Mono Lake Committee–it is over 16,000 members strong. I was able to visit the information center and bookstore, located in Lee Vining and will now proudly be sporting a “Long Live…Mono Lake” on my license.  www.monolake.org

My heartfelt thanks to all of the individuals that have dedicated their time and resources to keep this fabulous place for many generations to come!

Winter at Mono Lake

In order to celebrate the holidays with my family, I had to get to Southern California from Sacramento.  Although the Sacramento International Airport does have a brilliant new terminal with both Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue flying out of it–it took me 1.5 hours to get through security and to the gate, when I flew Veteran’s Day weekend.  This didn’t include having to park a car and take a tram.  So–let’s say, 2 hours to get to the gate, 1.5 hour flight–wait for baggage and get a rental car another hour easily–that is 4.5 hours.  So, I decided to drive:)  Renting a big car in LA–SUV, because I can’t stand having little bitty car is another expense I saved driving!

The most direct route is I-5 and I could make it in about 5 hours.  Easy…and very boring.

Last weekend, I saw a Tweet that said that Highway 120 was open. This is a highway that connects Yosemite National Park from the Valley at 4000 feet through Tioga Pass at 9953 feet to Highway 395.  Being able to access the High Country in Yosemite was inviting.  Plus, another benefit of driving Highway 395 is that I would have to go right past Mono Lake.  Since my destination was LA–I would also have to go through Lone Pine, which is the base of Whitney Portals and Alabama Hills.  That will be another post…

So, instead of taking 361 miles via I-5, I saw a sign as I reached highway 395 that said Los Angeles 399 miles–that was after I had already gone over 100 miles to get there. Reached my brother’s house with 471.7 showing on the mileage.

Mono Lake State Park was slated for closure, but fortunately came off the list a short while back!

Lee Vining is the town closest to the South Tufa viewing area.  This was my first winter visit, and not my last for sure!

My first shots are from sunset on Tuesday. Not much color to speak of and very few clouds in the sky to be found–but still such beauty and captivating!

Parking Lot View

Seeing double?

Off in the distance

The temperature on Wednesday morning as I drove back to get sunrise shots was 12 degrees. No wind, but quite chilly!  My first attempt at night photography…

In between night and day!

Mellow Morning

Winter Grass

Helpful headlights

Have a wonderful holiday season–may it be filled with joy, friends, and family–plus your camera!

Lensbaby Fun!

Haven’t really dedicated much time for my Lensbaby lately, so this week made a point of doing just that.

Visited the American River Parkway and caught a few views…

Road less traveled

In California, we are falling into Winter and signs are everywhere…

Piles of leaves

A Winter Tree with a majestic blue sky background

Empty Tree

Visited Old Town Sacramento this week and switched to my Composer with Double Glass and a Star Aperture.  This aperture makes single points of light into a “star” which seemed fitting for the holidays.  Yes, I do know too much of one thing can be overkill, but let’s just say I had a happy reunion with my Lensbaby!

One of my favorite aspects is how the mundane can be turned into magic…a view from the passenger side.


This is just the lights from cars on Interstate 80…kinda fun view, IMHO!

Actually a view from inside Joe's Crab Shack

Any point of lights will shift with this aperture.

A view from an Old Town window…

Reflecting Light

One last view of a more traditional source!

A bit in Focus

Hope your holidays are merry and bright and filled with those you love!

Fall Finds in Apple Hill

Just about an hour up the hill from Sacramento lies many apple orchards and vineyards, fondly known as “Apple Hill.”  Was thrilled to find some latent fall colors on a trip just before Thanksgiving.

Still needs time to change

Love to take the back roads and enjoy the views…stopped by to catch this row of colors…managed to get it without trespassing–so would have liked a closer view, but had to respect the gate. Figured, I wouldn’t want folks traipsing down my driveway.

In a line

Must confess–not a pano, just cropped from the original view…

Darn long driveway

This is the invitation to stop and take a moment to relax and enjoy!

Table for Four

Also stopped at Boeger Vineyard to enjoy their grounds. Lovely views of the last of fall.

Remnants of rain

The last few

Many folks just come to picnic and enjoy the views.


Love the sense of humor…although I didn’t see any puppies ready to be thrust upon unsuspecting parents. Maybe they are in the back?

Sign me up!

Looking forward already to the blossoms of spring!