We follow no map to reach our destination: Apple Hill

Tuesdays with seniors is fun because while we have a destination in mind, with Greg as our guide, we take back roads to get there. And, with photographers, you just have to stop and take photographs as you drive along. The joke is that it takes us twice as long to get anywhere!

The trip up to Apple Hill was no exception. We detoured to visit the American River and the Sailor Bar boat launch. The American and Sacramento rivers wrap around Sacramento and outlying communities. That’s why I love this area. It was amazing that we drove, more or less, straight to Apple Hill after leaving Sailor Bar.

Apple Hill is a seasonal treat where growers have stands, activities for kids, crafting booths and more. You can’t leave the area without eating something made from apples. You can get anything apple. I enjoyed dipping my apple slices in caramel. Yum! Oh, there’s another favorite of mine–kettle corn. Richard is still enjoying his apple pie (I froze slices). And, lastly, there is wine tasting.

But the real attraction for a photographer is the countryside and nearby towns. Take a look!

A photo a day keeps Anne busy: images here and there!

I’ve learned a lot this year. More than I did in my first two years of shooting. Why did it take me so long? I know the answer. I psyched myself into believing that learning was too difficult. Why did I do that?

I had just closed down my business of writing marketing text and articles, and coaching business owners who wanted to sell their business by speaking engagements. That I knew well and had expertise in. But photography?

When I bought my D3100 and read the manual (I always read manuals!), I was amazed at how complicated digital photography seemed to be. And, that’s how I started out. From there I took baby steps with urging from photographers I met on meetups. Some even challenged me. I took on Jayne’s HDR challenge and was amazed at how easy the software was to use. Why did I wait so long. Shooting RAW instead of JPEG–that took 1 1/2 years! Mary pushed me towards the manual setting. I’ve been shooting manual since January 1st. I procrastinated because of fear. It’s easy and gives you the most control.

Taking on the 365 challenge has helped propel me forward. I now help new photographers on occasion and have started a photography club within Toastmasters International, District 39. Next year, I want to tackle processing. I do minimal editing in Lightroom, and want to do more.

I love photography, and it won’t take me as long to move forward. Here are some reasons I love it so much.

Why did I wake up so early? To do this blog?: Lake Tahoe, part 2.

There are some mornings like this. You wake up about 4 a.m. and just can’t get back to sleep. Rather than tossing and turning, it’s better to put the extra morning hours to good use–like writing this blog before I go on a photo outing.

Speaking of photo outings, let’s return to Lake Tahoe and the second day. We got a slow start, but that was okay because we weren’t in a rush. Our goal was to visit Fallen Leaf Lake, meeting our hosts there. Since we left before them, we stopped at the Tallac Historic Site. The Baldwin Estate was a rustic home set on the beach. The house was closed that morning, but I think they give tours during the summer season. Then we went on to Fallen Leaf Lake.

To get to the lake, you need to drive a narrow, curvy road with many single lanes. I was amazed that there were so many homes up there. Marlene did an excellent piloting job. However we didn’t realize that there were two lakes and our hosts went to the upper lake. No cell service. No getting in touch with them.

After deciding we didn’t want to share our lunch with wasps, we drove back down the hill to the Emerald Bay overlook named Inspiration Point. There we were entertained by a gentleman who was “singing for his supper” or so his sign said. In Emerald Bay you could still see the deep blue color of the water. Because of the drought, the lake’s water level was down. Fortunately, because Lake Tahoe is deep, its beauty shines on.

You can see for yourself!

Da Bear: Lake Tahoe, California

It took 30 years of camping before Richard and I saw a bear in the wild. And, it took our first day in Lake Tahoe for us to see one fishing! Yes, I did get pictures, but with just an 18 – 140 mm lens, I wasn’t too happy with the results. But, it was exciting.

Marlene and I were there because another photo buddy Jayne had reserved a 3-bedroom time share condo and invited members of the photography community to join her. Unfortunately, Marlene and I were the only ones who were able to take advantage of her generosity. I remember last year I couldn’t go. We were to be there three nights.  However our trip was caught short a day.

The bear and Taylor Creek was our first stop during our visit. We got there late in the afternoon and walked the path to the Profile Chamber where visitors could view salmon. However, once we got there we had 5 minutes before closing and there weren’t many salmon. It was on our way back to the car that we saw the bear. It was a good thing that it was concentrating on fishing and didn’t care that a crowd of people were close and shooting pictures.

In this post, I’ll show you the bear, the rest of Taylor Creek and a cloudless sunset at Nevada Beach. It’s just amazing to me that you wait 30 years to sight a bear and within hours at Tahoe, you sight one.

Home, home, on the ranch: practice again at Gibson Ranch

It’s one of my favorite places to practice. I’ve learned how to shoot sunsets, sunbursts, animals, water fowl, events and buildings there. And, best of all it’s close to home! Gibson Ranch is a park where people board and care for their horses. They also train them there. It’s a place to hold large events like the Civil War Re-enactment. Most of all, it’s peaceful.

When you visit you may see children feeding the ducks and geese, or a father and son fishing. With two playgrounds, it’s also a wonderful place for a family to picnic and play.

For me, it’s a great place to practice photography. On a recent visit, that’s what Marlene and I did. We walked through the horse grounds, caught peacocks high and low with our cameras and tried to have as much patience as the egret had as it was trying to fish.

Here’s our visit to Gibson Ranch and my practice session.

What the eye doesn’t see, the camera does: Grandson’s soccer

I was amazed after I looked at the pictures and cropped them in. My younger grandson plays soccer with determination and aggressively goes after the ball. As one of the youngest and smallest on the team, he sits out at least a quarter or sometimes half the game. His playing has improved since he began on the smaller field. Now he’s playing on a larger field.

Another aspect that the camera showed me is his speed. He’s usually in the lead when he runs after the ball with an opposing team member. Am I proud–of course! I’m his grandmother!

I’m so glad I was at two of his games and brought my camera because it showed me what my eyes couldn’t–he’s going to be a great soccer player. And, if he takes that spirit into his life ethic, he’ll do fine.

Ryan is number 25.

Taking a different course: Plymouth and Fiddletown, California, part 2

Oh, sorry to leave you right in the middle of Fiddletown, (Where we left off in my last post.) but we will leave once I tell you how it got its name.

Founded in 1849, the town mainly served as a trading camp for the many mines in the area. A popular mining technique, placer mining, was heavily dependent on water. Dry Creek, the local water source, ran dry in the summer months, meaning the miners couldn’t work. It is said that the miners would fiddle around, and the town became known as Fiddletown. Not happy with his town’s name, a local resident lobbied to have the name changed to Oleta (his daughter’s name). This name stood until his death in 1932 when the name Fiddletown was restored.

Embracing the name, residents are not idle. They have fund raisers to support renovations for historic landmark buildings, a Living History Day and a Fiddlers Jam. I’m hoping that some day they will put in a proper public restroom!

Now we will leave Fiddletown and head down to D-Agoustini Reservoir enjoy your journey!

Taking a different course: Plymouth and Fiddletown, California

It was Tuesday with seniors. I was still hobbling. it was the three of us me, Marlene and Greg. But, we took a different course into Plymouth and Fiddletown.

I’ve been to Plymouth, but not to photograph the sights. We used to square dance and went to a yearly festival there. And, just the name Fiddletown was attraction enough for me. So off we went, with Greg taking us down every back road he knew! I was still in the back seat with my foot up.

Plymouth is a city in Amador County, and the 2010 census shows a population of 1,005. This is a very small town with the downtown area maybe three blocks long. It looks like they are trying to create an upscale yet old look with new construction on the main street.

This is in contrast to Fiddletown where the main drag shows buildings empty and almost falling down. A census designated community in Amador County, Fiddletown’s population was 235 as of the 2010 census. It  is registered as a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. But, it has a charm to it.

Our guide, Greg, also took us to D-Agonstini Reservoir which I thought was a large pond! And we had crossed the county line into El Dorado County. I’m sure I mentioned in a previous post that you never know where you’ll end up when Greg is driving!

So that’s where our course took us last week. See for yourself in this two-part post.

Minor surgery, my foot! Woodland, California

You don’t tell a type “A” wanna be “B” person that they will be walking and driving after three days. On day four after surgery on my right foot’s big toe joint, I was already frustrated. The truth was, I didn’t truly walk or drive until a week after  the September 8th surgery, and I’m still having trouble doing both today–October 1st.

Both Gem and I are yearning for a nice walk. And, I’m yearning to get out and shoot. Thank heavens I have wonderful friends who understand my limitations and help feed my soul. I’m able to driving shoots. We go to towns, park, shoot, get back in the car, drive, park and shoot. Even at that, I get tired and wait in the car. I know I’m whining. But, I believe I’m entitled to!

It has affected my images also. I try to concentrate, but have a difficult time doing so. With this in mind, Marlene and I went to Woodland for a short visit. We were out about three hours, including lunch, and found enough to shoot in that small town. It’s Yolo County’s seat and has some fun stores and a beautiful old Courthouse which is now closed. We will go back, because there was more to photograph and it is close to Sacramento. Maybe by then I won’t need to whine about foot surgery. I may also have made the transformation to a type “B” person!