Dr Marm never without my Nikon!

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Winter Frolic at Lake Tahoe

Last weekend had the wonderful trip to the North shore of Lake Tahoe, at Incline Village. In order to get there from Sacramento, there are a few mountain passes–there were chain requirements as I looked at the forecast–but decided to brave the elements. My new Ford Escape 4WD did great–no chains were needed!

With snowy passes, I hoped a shed I had photographed 6 years ago would still be standing–and it was!  You need to know where to look for it, as it is nestled in the trees and a bit off the road. Winter is the easiest time to view it.

1.8 miles from Northstar entrance

Passed these trees on the way to the lake and had to come back for a closer look.

A little holiday cheer!

Frozen in Time

The best thing about storms are when they are coming and going.  This image was taken on the highway to Mt. Rose, almost 8,000 feet elevation.

Cloud height

Missed a day of shooting due to a migraine, but did venture outside to a place about a mile up the road from the condo.  Actually, the vantage point is the parking lot of the Ski resort, Diamond Peak. Found the creek the day before and knew I wanted to visit near sunset.

Quiet and still

This was the best surprise of the day. I turned around and there was an unexpected find…

Setting Sun

I had to make sure that my car was hidden behind the branches, cause I knew I didn’t have time to go move it!

One thing I know, I am really enjoying shooting snowy locations and winter is just starting, so I am hopeful to have more treks to the snow:)


Fall In Yosemite

Reflection View

Visiting Yosemite National Park is a treat.  This year, I have a National Park Pass that I plan on enjoying to the fullest–the inaugural trip was a one day trek with our local Meetup Group. 6a.m. to Midnight is worth it!

There were still patches of fall colors and the reflections were stunning.  Not a cloud in the sky–so had to be a little creative.

Spotlight of Sun

One of the secrets of Yosemite is Fern Springs, located in the Valley and just a small pullout area to park.  Photographers know where and what it is–the smallest waterfall in Yosemite–6 inches for each step.  This visit was before all the leaves filled the spring, so a reflection of the towering trees was visible.  Fall colors are delightful and in spring–the Dogwoods are blooming.  The next two photos were taken the next weekend–you can see the difference a few days and even 24 hours can make!

Surrounded by Trees

Filled with Fall

No reflections visible now!

And a bit of snow…this view was shared in my previous post as well.

Less than 24 hours later...a magical view!

A favorite spot of mine ( and many, I am sure!) is across the road from Fern Spring along the Merced River…

Framed by Fall

Merced River

Merced River Flowing

An advantage of being a passenger–is having your camera at the window.  Just seems like Fall flew by to me!

Window shooting!

A few trees are ready for winter…

Bare Trees


Yosemite–Winter Wonderland

Had the pleasure to spend two Saturdays in Yosemite the past 2 weekends.

These views are from the past weekend. Normally, my posts are in chronological order–but snow in such a majestic locale trumped the Fall pictures from the weekend before.

Folks say that if you want to get shots of snow in Yosemite, you need to be there when it snows, or it will melt.  I was fortunate to be in El Portal, about 2 miles from the entrance on Highway 140.  Didn’t plan on going back into the park on Sunday, but once I saw the snow dusted hills at 2,000 plus feet, I hoped there would be more at 4,000 plus feet, in Yosemite Valley. 20 minutes later, I was in awe of the beauty surrounding me.

For these shots of El Capitan, I trudged across a snow-covered field and tiptoed through slippery rocks in a creek. I planned on getting wet, because I knew the shot I wanted would require me being low to the ground. Had on rain boots and rain pants, so the rest of me stayed dry. (But cold!)  Kudos to Gary Hart and his daughter, Ashley–who let me follow in their snowy footprints. Going to a remote area with risky terrain alone, would not have been smart.  Would not have gotten these by myself!  To view amazing images, see Gary’s website: http://www.eloquentimages.com and his blog at http://www.eloquentnature.com.

Zooming with my 70-200mm

Sunshine appears

These two views, are similar–but I like them both and couldn’t decide which one to share!

Snowy rock floor

Little more clouds...

One of the most famous locations, is the shot from Tunnel View…a photographers paradise!

Few dedicated togs shooting Tunnel View

I stayed here for about 30 minutes. The valley would get covered in fog and then the skies would clear–just amazing to watch the transformations and the variations that appeared!

Rolling Fog

More blue skies

A favorite location for photographers and less populated than the more iconic views is Fern Spring.  This is the smallest waterfall in Yosemite–about 6 inches for each step.

Fall still present

One last view, showing the battle between the seasons…

Glimpse of Fall

This year, I invested in a National Park Pass. Have 11 more months to enjoy visiting our National beauties.  Hoping to visit Yosemite again in December:)  More winter scenes to share.


Morro Bay Visit

Having survived the boredom of I-5 on the way to LA, decided to opt for the coastal route on our return.  Much more scenic and we detoured to Morro Bay.  Morro Bay is know for a huge rock, just next to the coast, aptly named–Morro Rock.  This is actually a “volcanic plug” and reaches 581 feet in height–according to Wikipedia.

All is Calm

Much to do on the water to enjoy the bay.

Wanna go for a ride?

A sailboat sailing by…

Sailing

Bon Voyage

What is a blog for me–without a few views from my Lensbaby?  These were taken with the Sweet 35 Optic.

Small Blur

I couldn’t resist this iconic shot!

Wrapped Around

Look forward to sharing more in the future!


Huntington Beach and Sunset Views

Made a whirlwind trip to LA the first week in October to visit family.

Thanks to Andy Brooks for driving through the storm from heck!  Not fun to be deluged by pouring rain and then hit an area of construction on I-5 only to have mud splash across the windshield.  But we made it safely.

We were rewarded with a wonderful clear sky for sunset on Wednesday night and headed to Sunset Beach.  Although, not a sunset shot–this was my favorite from that evening. (Lensbaby view!)

After sunset via Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic

We did find a few minutes to visit Seal Beach…

Surf's Up and Head's Up

Leave only Footprints...

Soaring

The following evening, we met up with a friend from Facebook.  Have been enjoying Jeff Scott’s images and originally connected with him through his cousin, Pat–fondly known as Scooter from our Girl Scout Camp days at Camp Mountain Meadows.  It was a pleasure to meet and shoot in person!  Here are a few of the views.

I had put a request in for clouds–but none were to be found in this direction.

Arm in Arm

Still hitting the Waves at Dusk

Sunset View

Did have a good laugh at myself that evening when I saw the shots Jeff shared on Facebook.  We met at the Huntington Beach Pier…have seen many shots from Jeff near this locale.  Since the setting sun location was not in alignment from underneath the pier–I wanted it at the end…decided not to try and get the pier.  So, Andy and I were shooting the sunset on the North side of the pier.  Jeff—was shooting from the South side and got tremendous shots of the sunset with the pier in it! Clearly, just because the sun wasn’t where I wanted it to be–still made for a fabulous shot with great shadows!  Note to self–next time, get the pier in the sunset shot!!  May I always have the ability to laugh at myself and learn from others:)  Thanks for that moment, Jeff!


Twitter Friends—Muir Woods and Bird Views

Deep in Muir Woods

Learned the trick to getting into Muir Woods and good parking is to go early!

@Tuckertown @Torqueflite and @BirdGalAlcatraz and I got there so early, there was no one to take our entry fee.  We did arrive during open hours!

Even a puddle can have a grand view:)

View from a puddle!

Following Muir Woods, we went to the Las Gallinas Water Treatment Plant.  There are many ponds and the birds seem to love the area.

Enjoyed the antics of a pair of American Pelicans–they seemed to be moving in sync!

Fishing!

Bobbing for food!

Down the hatch!

Sipping and swallowing!

Black Phoebe perched near the water.

Just watching...

I did have the pleasure to see a Green Heron for a fleeting moment that landed on a dock in front of me.  I shot first and then asked what it was–good thing, because a quick exit followed my question!

Head shot!

Not quite as clear as I would like, but figured I would share, if other folks haven’t seen one yet!  This was a life bird for me:)

Familiar birds also included the Great Egret and a small flock of Canada Geese in flight!

Mid-flight

Canada Geese

I am learning more about birds and enjoy shooting them, but prefer a lighter lens and am still drawn to scenery shots.  Fortunately–my Lensbaby Composer Pro is very light and always at my side!

Lensbaby view of open space

This shot was shared previously on Twitpic, but one of my favorites from the day!

Liked the view!

 

Was really a pleasure to spend time with Twitter friends–look forward to more visits in the future!

 


San Francisco and Marin Views

SF side of Golden Gate

Had the
pleasure to meet friends visiting from Colorado, that I only knew
from Twitter.  What I do know, I am thankful for genuine
friends and friendships that have come from Twitter and Facebook.
 @Tuckertown, @Torqueflite were grand fun to shoot with!
 Thanks to @BirdGalAlcatraz for sharing the sights and driving
all over the region:) A few images from a time spent that I only
wish were longer:) We went toward Muir Woods, only to find out
early on a Saturday, all the lots were full and the shuttle was
already running.  The trick is to go early! Continued past
Muir Woods and onto a coastal visit toward Pt. Reyes. We then
went to the Visitor Center at Point Reyes…a wealth of information
and tons of trails to explore.

California State
Flower

Traveling
along the Marin Headlands there are many sights to enjoy.
 Considering the time of year–dry grass is a main show!
Before
the day ended–we were able to enjoy another view of the Golden
Gate Bridge from the Marin County side. Special thanks to
@Tuckertown and @Torqueflite for sharing their trip to
California.  Look forward to more visits:)

Marin
County Side View of the Golden Gate Bridge


Bodie State Park, CA #Lensbaby too!

Ghost Town...

Visited Bodie State Park this summer and after 13 miles on the dirt rutted road from heck arrived in a ghost town that was well worth the trip.

This area is so rich in history.  I did not know this was the first place in California that got electricity!

Mono Lake was used to shuttle cargo and materials into and out of Bodie.

Taken from the Bodie State Park Website, a brief description…

“Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozen to a boomtown.”*

The most magical moment for me is thinking about how many thousands of souls have travelled these same dirt roads for different purposes…work, trade, food, history, and just enjoying Bodie as it was…or is…

These images are from two different visits for me.  The photos with clouds in the background were mid July and the clear skies were from Labor Day Weekend.  If you know me, you know that my Lensbaby travelled with me for both trips!

Hope you enjoy the ghost town.  Must say…the highlight of my visit on Labor Day Weekend was that the first 10 miles of the nastiest dirt road I have travelled on and not 4-wheeled on, is now paved:) I spent the entire time driving marveling at the wonderful access road to Bodie.

The Mill is a main staple still in this ghost town view of history.

Work Source in Bodie

Although the bulidings are so rich in history–I need to do more research to learn about who resided where and when…one of my favorite locations was this old deserted truck!

Need some gas!

Another view...non Lensbaby

This is my favorite view from that visit–the colors just seemed to celebrate this piece of history:)

Viewing in or out!

Old cargo

Rearview Mirror

Want some water?

Worship Window

Just a view

Little Lensbaby Blur...

Think we will be back for another Bodie Blog…

The park hours are very strict, so be certain you have enough time for the road to get into the park to pay your nominal entrance fees and really explore.

A real treasure full of rich history that I will enjoy reading about before sharing more images in the near future:)

One last view via Lensbaby!

Little Historical Blur

* http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509



More Mono Lake

Just Beyond

Over Labor Day Weekend, I made a trek back to the Eastern Sierra region of California.  I was just there 6 weeks prior, but couldn’t believe the rich gold and yellow colors surrounding Mono Lake.  Time passes differently in nature, doesn’t it!

Here are a few ready to share…

Afternoon Delight

A few clouds...

Another view, but this time with my Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic.  I am now thankful to have 2 cameras at the ready–one with Lensbaby and one without.  So much easier to gain access to the moments I want to capture and share!

A touch of blur...

We waited around for sunset and it actually wasn’t as impressive color-wise as my July visit. Just being able to enjoy the seas of goldenrod still made it worth it!

Stolen Moment

There will be more to come from this trip:)


June Lake Loop

During a recent trip to the Eastern Sierra I took a trip on the “June Lake Loop”.  Expected to find June Lake, but enjoyed so many other sights as well.  One in particular was Silver Lake.

First image processed using Photoshop!

I was in the area to attend a workshop on Photoshop for Photographers with Moose Peterson.  Was a wonderful class, although must admit  a bit over my head at the time!  Have since then spent countless hours in Photoshop and also have ventured in Lightroom with much success.  Thanks to Doug Sahlin and Knapp Hudson am able to process my RAW images now and post from Lightroom!!  Special thanks to Andy Brooks for helping me with my class homework via “Go to Meeting” and advising me to create the image above.  (Yes, I did say I had help with my homework!  Seriously, as an educator had to admit did not do without help!  I did the work, but with guidance.)

Back to the loop…

View in the distance

I could find no access to the wonderful falls above, so chose my 70-200mm for a closer view.

One of my Lensbaby optics that doesn’t get much use is my Fisheye.  Enjoyed the majestic views with a twist.  So still and calm, figured the Fisheye could help me show the fullness of beauty.  This is June Lake and the richness of colors matches my experience with Sand Harbor, located in the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.  A must visit, if in the area!!

Some Lensbaby fun!

Part of the splendor of the Highway 395 corridor for me was there were so many breath-taking views.  Took me 11 and a half hours to get from 395 back to Davis, CA to show my easy ADHD–or just the ability to pull over and enjoy visions of grandeur!

Just one little patch of fence left!

I especially enjoyed views that are not the norm down in the “flatlands” I enjoy and call home!

Leading the way to beauty!

I would love to just follow this road all day and just enjoy where it might lead!  For now, I will let my imagination fill that trip until I return one day and can really go where this road leads.

I did pass wildflowers alongside the road during much of my trip–a pleasure to behold and catch with my camera.  These so struck my fancy as they are surrounded by weeds and surviving on their own!  Will have a dedicated blog to the flowers that caused part of my wonderful lengthy return to the Sacramento area!  Spent much of that time with my macro lens!

Wildflowers

One last view of June Lake…and yes, I do in fact have a “rock fettish”  Love the way you can see the wear and tear on this one rock.  Wonder how many years it has endured harsh weather and the fabulous view of June Lake!

Crystal Clear

I learned on this trip to enjoy the unexpected!  I went on my way to Mammoth with no reservations for a Thursday evening in the middle of July.  I figured–with this economy…I could get a room for one night.  Mind you, I have never gone anywhere without a reservation…I would strongly recommend you plan ahead and reserve a room in Lee Vining.  It is the “portal” to Yosemite via Tioga Pass and does fill up.  However–if I didn’t have to drive another 10 plus miles down the road, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this sunset view across June Lake from my very economical hotel room!!

The end of the day...

I so look forward to more visits along this golden span of California!


Mono Lake in Eastern Sierras of CA

Tufa View in Rough Water

Recently, I had the pleasure to visit the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.  Highway 395 rolls along at elevations over 7000 feet, even in summer there are snow-capped mountains.  The vistas are stunning and just breath-taking.

Mono Lake is a State Natural Preserve located outside of the town of Lee Vining, CA.  Lee Vining is one of the portals to Yosemite National Park via Tioga Pass.  The preserve is home to millions of migrating birds, in particular huge colonies of Gulls.  Wilson’s Phalarope’s are also native to Mono Lake and feed on the Brine Flies which are abundant in the lake environment.

Class Act of Balance!

Mono Lake, known mostly by the odd mineral formations, called Tufa Towers is a vast wilderness covering about 65-70 square miles.  The Tufa Towers are made of Calcium-Carbonate.  One of the reasons this lake is so different, is that there is “no outlet”.  Water run off from the surrounding streams enter the lake and then the fresh water evaporates generating a significantly high count of salt and alkalinity. (More than twice the salt in the sea.)

Tufa Formation almost Dusk

Depending upon your whereabouts decades ago, you may know the controversy that surrounded Mono Lake…water was diverted to Southern California by the LA Department of Water and Power for over 50 years.  This significant loss of water caused the lake level to drop a vertical 45 feet at it’s lowest point.  The animals, vegetation, and ecosystems were greatly effected. In 1994, a settlement was reached with the agreement of a minimum water level for Mono Lake of 6392 feet above sea level.

Today, we see Mono Lake in the news and this time the ecosystem may be fine–only not viewed by the public.  This historic gem, believed to be over one million years of age is going to be closed as a California State Park, due to our devastating budget crisis.  No specifics about how the park will be closed or which access points will close has been shared publicly.  The time listed on the State Park website states October as a closing date for numerous parks, but no concrete plan is published.  I for one–will make another trip there before the sun sets on my access to this treasure.

Location/Directions
Highway 395, 13 miles east of Yosemite National Park, near the town of Lee Vining, California.

Resources:

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Preserve:                        http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=514
Mono Lake.org                                                               http://www.monolake.org/about/


Birds of the Eastern Sierra

Last week at this time I was enjoying the Eastern Sierras of California on my way to a Photoshop Class in Mammoth.  Along the way, I got to visit such majestic places as Bodie, Mono Lake, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, and Yosemite.  There will be numerous blogs that share the images from this trip. My original intent was to share them chronologically, but a magic moment in Yosemite has caused me to rethink that and share nature’s magic first!

One of my most memorable highlights was in Yosemite, just inside the Tioga Pass entrance.  I pulled over to photograph the amazing snow-capped mountains and still lake along side a meadow.

Glory abounds

Another view framed by trees as I approached the edge of the lake.

Closer view

This actually was my second trip to Yosemite in less than 24 hours.  The previous day, one of my classmates from our Photoshop for Photographers Class headed up Tioga Pass and down to Tuolumne Meadow.  I reviewed my images that night and they stank.  I had been so caught up the beauty and wonders everywhere I looked, I got lazy and didn’t use a tripod…this trip, I was a “Tripod Queen” and vowed to only really take pictures that were well thought out.

It could have been the tripod that scared this female Mallard out of her spot in the bushes.  I am still not sure which one of us was startled more.  (Probably me!) Once my heart rate got closer to normal, I began to shoot her photo.  She never got far from the shore and I soon realized there was a reason for this!  I had unknowingly flushed her off her nest…

Well hidden in the shrubs

Once I knew what had happened, I moved out of the area and changed to my 70-200mm lens.  The nest image was at 200mm from a safe distance.

Think Mama had been on her nest for quite some time.  Not a single other duck visible to me the entire trek through upper Yosemite.  She soon began to stretch on top of a rock along the shore.

Stretch

...and hold it...

When she was done, she still stood guard.

She kept me in eyesight

I waited for quite some time for her to return to her nest.  I kept my distance as I certainly did not want to flush her off her nest again!  I did not crop this image–as I wanted to share how well hidden she and her eggs really are.

Nest is located between the two trees--look for a lighter spot

This was such a magical moment and think even more so–because it was just me and Mama Mallard.  Will revisit this area again next time I can visit the park.  Really found I preferred the outskirts of the popular areas–where it was really isolated and no one else around!

Mono Lake is also located in the Eastern Sierras, about 1 hour north of Mammoth Lakes–look for a future posting dedicated to the history with numerous views of the Tufas (formations) in this grand salt lake.  For now, a few bird images.

The lake is known for the vast Gull habitat it is.  Here is one on top of a rock–to view other gulls and the tourists!

From a distance--cropped or closer view

One thing I so appreciate about birders (and photographers too)–is the willingness to share knowledge.  I was sitting on the shore trying hard to photograph little birds that kept swimming in circles and going into the shadows from the Tufas on the lake.

A young man and a group of three friends joined me in watching…I noticed his binoculars hanging from his neck and asked if he was a birder? Yes, and he identified the birds and explained their antics.  Wonderful!  They are Wilson’s Phalaropes and a (Lifer for me)–they swim in circles to stir up the food in the water and then snack away.  Took numerous pictures and with the fading light didn’t have much luck–but still loved every minute!

Shadows of a Bird

A little better view–backside, but at least in the light!

In fading light

More trip highlights to come!

Hope your day is wonderful:)


Lensbaby Metal and Petals

One of the benefits of living in the Sacramento Area is visiting Old Town.  Old Town has Cobblestone roads, wooden plank sidewalks, and horse and buggy carriages–quite quaint and takes you back in time for a moment!  Equally enjoyable are the Railroad Museum, numerous shops–a bit touristy and some great restaurants.

This also makes a perfect outing for the Lensbaby to enjoy a little blur–up close!

Heavy Metal

Special thanks to Tim Voss–I posted this on Facebook and his comment was “Heavy Metal,” had to borrow his comment!

Out or In?

At your own risk...

One of the lovely restaurants–snuck in for a quick photo opportunity as we went by:)

Elegant Dining

This next image is taken from the entrance to the State Capital building at night.  Pretty certain I would not be allowed to lie down in the entrance during the day!

It's Your Move!

A view from the Capital Building shooting back to Old Town…

Did you know buildings could smile?

Another favorite photo option for me is looking at flowers via my Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 Optic.  Does wonders for flowers, and even weeds!

Beauty in Nature

Bright and Sunny

I wish for World Peace

Up Close

A Rock and A Hard Place

Center Stage

A gate to the garden…

Enter

Have a wonderful week!


PetaPalooza 2011

Two weeks ago I got a little time to visit the Petapalooza in Citrus Heights (near Sacramento).  This event was free to the public and welcomed dogs, birds, horses (pony ride…) bunnies (for adoption) and people.

There is something about getting animal lovers together.  Here are just a few views of the “dog watching” that I did…

Two by Two...

Not all dogs had to walk–some health reasons, but love involved no matter what–IMHO!

Going for a ride

Clearly gives new meaning to the term, “Wanna go for a ride?”

Papoose

Think I am cool!

One of my favorite events were the “Splash Dogs” having attended last year, I knew where the pool was and took off as soon as we entered the park.  I learned that The Splash Dogs were actually competing in Reno, NV.  So, the Citrus Heights Canine Unit was showing their leaps and bounds and the general public could pay $30 for their dog to leap off and into the water.

This first dog was a star and absolutely fearless–into the air…got ball…and found own exit out of the pool–no interest in using the ramp that was available.

In the air!

Mine!

Don't need the ramp!

Am not certain what the refund policy was or what fundraiser the dollars were going to…but some dogs were NOT going in.  No matter how much persuading or taunting with the beloved ball

No, thanks--YOU go in!

Here's your ball...

An important part of taking your dog to events is making certain they are well cared for and have lots of water.

The Hydration Station was popular…

Smiling Goldie

When out of the water…dogs do what they do…shake!

Goldie at Hydration Station

A favorite moment we have recreated at home is the kiddie pool–full of ice.  Got to see the dogs love it at the event, so have done it at home to help get through 105 degree days.

Waiting for the ice...patiently!

Another awesome event was watching The Relay Races–these dogs were so focused, I couldn’t believe it.  The noise from the crowds was loud–but they were on a mission.  Run down, jump over the hurdles–get the ball and come on back doing the same thing.  One thing that surprised me was that there was a larger dog that was able to compete and did well!

Up and...

Not just for Terriers!

Release and Off!

With ball in mouth

A few other events I was able to enjoy in addition to the many pet friendly vendors and food.  Another view coming soon:)


Sacramento Zoo

First Stop for Photos!

Have been fortunate to visit the local Sacramento Zoo a few times since January.  My staff gave me a year pass to visit and I intend to enjoy every visit and meeting of these amazing animals!

The first exhibit I wanted to capture with my new camera and tripod was the orangutan’s. Main reason being I knew there is no fence or glass between us, so it’d be easy to shoot.  Had to laugh, my friend overheard someone say, “They are so human like!”  Well, yes that is true!

Momma always said, "Don't show your food!"

Resting in the sun, far away from the observation area…

Afternoon Relaxation

The friend above is a Bongo Antelope–never heard of that before.  Native of Africa.

My previous visit, I did not have a long lens with me–so it was wonderful to use my 70-200 when viewing the Flamingos…

Looking at you!

What fascinated me the most about being able to view them up close–is the way they were eating their food in the water.  Their beaks are submerged and upside down as they scoop up morsels.

Wonder if they get a headache if they eat/drink too fast?

Another wonder of the zoo is visiting the large cats.  A head shot of a Lion…

What nice fur you have!

The trick in shooting the lion images were to focus on the animal far away and not on the large fence that separated us from one another.  This was with my new camera and if I wasn’t careful in auto-focus, I got this instead of the majestic lion.  Happy to share my Non-examples to help anyone else learn.  Good thing to be humbled by my camera–makes me want to learn more!

Wrong focal point! Lion in the far background.

The Giraffes were a bit reluctant to come out for their moment of fame.

Just checking out what is outside my "home."

Another view…

Portrait View

A moment of posing for a non-zoo resident!

Relaxed and Ready to move!

Check out Andy’s work at http://www.blueturban.net

"Let sleeping cats...lie."

A bit of flowers as well to enjoy our very late blooms of spring.

Just one bloom

Pink and white blooms, finally!


Dixon May Fair

You are entering The Dixon May Fair

Back in May, I had the chance to visit a small local fair.  The Dixon May Fair is held in Dixon, CA, not far from my new locale, Davis.

I was sporting a new camera, the Nikon D7000 with the kit lens.  Need to be a little lighter lately, due to a back injury–so this works well:)

There is always something so humbling for me with new technology, or should I just say, new to me.  The D7000 is my fourth Nikon DSLR and I was feeling quite smug…not reviewing the manual and thinking I could just “wing it”.  One of my favorite lens, is my Lensbaby.  I liked this shot, because it reminds me I have much to learn–plus it has a trace of the Lensbaby Blur I so enjoy.  This image was created by operator error!

Operator Error

I did do a bit better navigating settings on my camera and had a super time on our maiden voyage.

Do calories really count from the fair?

The best part of the fair–aside from the food, is being there at night to shoot The Midway.  So, here we go!

Let the fun begin!

Sometimes, life just seems to pass by in a blur and time moves quickly.

Just a Trace

What goes up...must come down!

For me, some of my favorite shots are longer exposures and the blend of lights.

Swinging Around

Fun Games

And of course, the favorite…the Ferris Wheel!

Colors are plenty!

Also took a moment to enjoy the reflection on the windows of a nearby trailor.

Midway Lines

I am really excited for the California State Fair which starts on July 14th.  Will look forward to sharing more fair images in July!


Rio Vista

Feels Science Fiction!

A few weekends ago, took a short jaunt to a neighboring town that seems like hundreds of miles removed from the city and suburbia of Sacramento.  Rio Vista–on the way there is a source of alternate energy–windmills.  These windmills are HUGE!  Not only was I shocked at the size–the most amazing thing was they are quiet.  Not a whisper of sound as you stand near by and take pictures!  Reminded me of the scene of a Sci-Fi movie.

Side by side

The weather was also a perfect day for shooting.  Stormy clouds and then beautiful Cumulus clouds in blue sky.

Spring Flowers in Front Lensbaby

Same view…but not with my Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic…

Spring Flowers

Another stop with a bit of  a view…

Leading Pathway

Also something I do not see every day are grazing beauties.  Horses and cattle enjoying the grass and hanging out.  Yes, these are “California Cows”  for folks who have heard the Milk advertisements!

Looking at you!

Got my eyes on you

All in all the animals, were very interested in us–might have been close to feeding time.  I prefer to think they know I meant them no harm:)

Not quite certain

Another fun view for us city folk is the resident truck and tractor in the middle of the field…

Parked

With a Pasture View

The most exceptional sight were these shoes in the middle of the fence–clearly, they have been here for a long time!

Kudos to Andy for his sight…and quick pullover.

Size 8?

All by myself!

Lensbaby Loves Boot

A bit of spring with a flower shot…

Blow and share your dreams!

One thing I know for certain…is I will be back!

See ya later!

Looking forward to some day trips this summer and more “car shooting” so nice to not carry gear and just change lens in the car and go shoot!


Lake Lagunitas

Water Rushing

Last Month, got to enjoy a short trip to Lake Lagunitas, located in Marin County.  Fortunate, to have a day without rain!

The waterfall above was actually at the end of a spillway–but still beautiful to enjoy!

No swimming for people

 

One of the most unusual things–is visiting a lake that doesn’t allow swimming for people.  Fishing is OK, though.

Shady Steps

 

The views are wonderful on this very short trail.

View to the water's edge

 

Surrounding Views

 

One of the benefits of our vast rainfall this year is the lush grass.  This won’t be a benefit once fire season sets in…and the grasses are tall and dead.  So–just enjoying while I can and hoping for an uneventful fire season.

Caught in the Rays

 

Patch of Clouds

 

Another wonder of this area are the tall Redwood Trees.  Felt so small standing there taking this shot.  Quite humbling.

How tall am I?

 

Looking forward to just spending time outdoors and watching our spring pass and summer set in!


Marin Flowers and such via Lensbaby

The spring is such a rich time in Northern California.  We never know what the weather may bring.  Last week, we were almost in 3-digits and today, back in the 70’s and windy.

During my spring break, had a chance to really enjoy my Lensbaby and the lovely flowers I found in Marin County.  Names are more than welcome and credit will be given!!  These images were taken with my Composer and Double-Glass Optic with a macro filter of +4.

Wild and Wooly

 

Lensbaby View

 
 
 

Sunshine

 

In the Center

 

Pt. Reyes Lighthouse Grounds

 

Make a Wish

 

Center in Focus

 

 

Leaf in the Center

These next two images, are certainly not wildflowers, but were taken with my Lensbaby and are in Marin County!

 

Drops and Blur

 

The final image is actually one of my favorites–a bit creepy…and very quiet!

Tree Branch Tunnel

 
 
 

Las Gallinas Pond

Wildflowers on Water Edge Blur

 
My Lensbaby came out for a quick peek, when @RachidH @BirdGalalcatraz and I visited Las Gallinas Pond.  The shot above was with my Composer and the Sweet 35 Optic.
 
My two companions were using longer lenses and focused on the birds–while I enjoyed the sights and a view bird shots as well.
 

Barn Swallows and Flowers

 

Great Egret Landing

I so enjoy the beauty of the Great Egrets and can watch their antics for long stretches of time.  The one above moved locations and came in for a timely landing.
 
While the weather was less than cooperative for our day of shooting, did enjoy the magic of cloudy skies and shooting scenery.
 

Lone Tree Reflected

 

Beauty below the hills

 
I couldn’t resist sharing this shot.  Reminds of the game for rainy school days, “Heads Up, Seven Up”.   This must just be Heads up, Three Up!  Or, 3 butts and a head!

Heads Up...Seven Up

 
 

Wildflowers and Water View

 
Truth be told…while this looks like lovely ponds–they are part of a water treatment plant in Marin County–but do make for a wonderful visit with nature.  Just don’t drink the water!
 
Thanks for a super day of shooting! 

Muir Woods

 
Circle of Light

 

Had the pleasure to spend the day shooting with Twitter friends @BirdGalAlcatraz and @RachidH in Marin County. 

The weather was a bit dreary–but we didn’t let that stop us for one minute.

This is National Parks Week which allowed visitors free entry into Muir Woods.  We got their early and had most of the park to ourselves and cameras.

With the overcast sky and Majestic Redwood trees over 100 feet in height, it was a bit dark as well as drizzly, but still revelled in the beauty all around us.

                                                                                                   Redwoods Standing Tall

                                                                                Tree trunks with a story…

                                                                   Splash of Spring Green

And of course, what would a trip anywhere be without a little view from the Lensbaby perspective?

                                                                             A bit of Lensbaby Blur
 
It was such a pleasure to meet @RachidH in person–so continue to be amazed by the connectivity of our Twitter world and thankful to have made such incredible friends. 
 
When are you visiting No. Cal?  Will be ready to play:)

Lensbaby Love Sweet Optic 35

Many of you know I am a big fan of the Lensbaby system.  I have the Composer and recently got the new, Sweet Optic 35.  It is the first optic in the line of Lensbaby gear that has the aperture in the optic itself that can be changed by simply rotating the optic.

I thank and blame Doug and Roxanne for my latest purchase…once I saw what this optic could do, I had to have it!  View their amazing images at http://www.dougplusrox.com 

There is nothing better than the first real voyage with a new lens or optic–unless of course, a new camera!!

University of California at Davis has a small Arboretum that runs along a little creek–there were flowers just waiting to be photographed.

These images were with the aperture at 5.6.

Field of Poppies

 

One of the advantages of the Composer is the ability to have part of your image in focus–The “Sweet Spot” and other areas with a bit or a lot of blur.

Sweet Spot in the Middle

Did find this to be a favorite with Poppies.  They are so rich this time of year in California…here are a few views…

No Flowers were picked!

 

Love the Blur!

 

Also fun to celebrate the abstract nature of the blur…

Abstract Pine

 

Couldnt resist--they were eye level!

 

A majestic Oak Tree..

A bit of Oak Blur

Looking forward to more shooting with this optic!

Should  probably warn you…am on the list for the new Composer Pro–so, yes more Lensbaby Joy to come!!

Happy Spring to you and yours:)


Liquid Fire and Exploding Glass

This year, Spring took a long time getting here!  Had plans to shoot outdoors with a friend, but the weather did not allow for that.

Instead, we decided to shoot fire indoors…

What you need for a successful shoot:

Isopropal Rubbing Alcohol–not for human consumption

Cheap glass–perhaps from your local “Dollar Store”

Lighter–with long tip

Tripod

Wool Blankets (2)

Stool or removable Table

Remote cable–or shoot in timer mode to avoid shaking.

Fire Plan!

Best to shoot with another person:)

First of all, set one of the blankets on the floor–if carpet or wood a good plan to have something under the table.  Wool blankets tend to be fire retardent…

Next place glass on the table

Set up tripod and camera and take a few test shots to determine settings and lock them in.

Practice shot to check your settings and lock them in

We shot with our 70-200 2.8 lenses–which were a treat to use indoors!  “Fast Glass” really does rock!

Poor Isopropal Alcohol into the glass–about 1-2 inches from the top.

Light liquid on fire with a “long” lighter–this is very combustible and the longer the distance from your hand and fire–the better!

Must have LONG Lighter!

Fire away–the flames will dance as you take numerous images.

If you have a Live View on your camera–preview glass and fire via your LCD Monitor

Use your remote cable or timer and just keep shooting!

Reminds me of a Tulip

Including the set up and aftermath of our explosion, I shot 100 frames–gave me so many designs to choose from –really looking at what the flame created:)  Here are a few examples…all are out of camera images.  Did crop a few–but no change to lighting or anything else.

See a man on fire

Think half the joy is looking at the flames and really interpreting what image is created…in my eyes and brain…

Devil on fire...

 

With this, I see tears…

Tears of Fire

As you continue to shoot–the flames will come and go…just like the waves on a beach…

A little flame

So, the most amazing image of the day was this…

Too Hot!

Since this was my first time “shooting fire” and being the Lifetime Girl Scout I am–asked my friend if we had a “fire plan”…yes–he would open the sliding glass door and take the stool outside–plus a Wool Blanket is Fire Retardent…

Smoking Wool Blanket

Confessions are good for the soul–the shot I captured of the glass breaking was totally lucky and related to using a remote cable.

As soon as the glass exploded–I got the dogs–so they wouldn’t be near and @aceebro took the stool outside with the balnket on top.  It was not until I reviewed my images–that I realized I caught the moment of explosion!

So–could you do it?  Absolutely…we used cheap glass from the local “Dollar Store” Andrew brooks shot first…50 frames, or so.   For his blog post…  http://www.blueturban.net/BlueTurban_Photography/BT_Blog/Entries/2011/3/27_Fire_In_A_Glass.html  He then doused the flames with a plate over them and showed me his work process–am so new to Photoshop–have much to learn.  So, the glass was taken away from fire for probably 20 minutes before we reignited and I shot…


Yolo Causeway Sunrise

Recent rains and flooding have brought an extraordinary amount of water to the Yolo Causeway.  While the birds have vanished for the time being, does make for a lovely sunrise!

Distant Downtown

 Have not seen another sunrise opportunity like this since then-these were taken on March 30th.  Cloud conditions were perfect for reflections and quite a show.  Hope you enjoy!

Swirl of Orange

 

Awakening Clouds

 

Bright Horizons

Back in November, I visited this location and enjoyed the bird refuge that runs along the side of Interstate 80 between Sacramento and Davis.  While Spring is appearing in the grass and trees, it will take a bit of time before the birds are able to return.  Look forward to visiting in the future.

Open when the waters recede!