Escape #2: Anne and Richard’s adventure!

Richard was getting cabin fever so we decided to take a ride up to Sugar Pine Lake in Placer County. Sounds easy and simple! Sure, until you miss your exit off the Interstate and one of you is working on erroneous information. Right now, I’ll admit that one was me! I just didn’t know there was a difference between Sugar Pine Lake and Reservoir. So, I suggested we follow the GPS to the Dam and Reservoir. (Now, as I’m writing this post, I’m learning there isn’t a difference! Now I’m more confused.)

Oh no! Well, trouble didn’t begin that soon. We found ourselves on Iowa Hill Road. Never heard of it! In fact, we never heard of Iowa Hill, but we found it. On our way up the paved, curvy mountain road, we found a neat specimen from long ago. Why it was on the roadside, we don’t know. Maybe just to be an indicator of things to come!

Further up the road, we crossed a river (not sure which one), but were encouraged by the canoes we saw on the bank. We also saw the old Iowa Bridge.

Driving on a narrow twisted road we soon reached the small town of Iowa Hill still not aware of what was ahead.

Once out of the small town, we driving where snow was still on the ground and over another river. We did find the lake and dam.

Now to get home! Again we followed the GPS which took us almost the same way we came.The dirt road began to narrow to one lane and what was probably snow left the road a little muddy!

Now, each time we made a turn, the GPS said stay on the route for 5 or 6 miles. I stopped counting the turns as the road had more and more debris on the sides. I would have gotten out to take a picture, but the road was just wide enough for our car! Richard said, “What will we do if someone was coming from the other direction?”

We both said at the same time, “No one else would be stupid enough to go this way!” Got to have a sense of humor in a situation like this. I estimate that we drove about 15 miles on that road. Close to civilization, we came upon two small waterfalls. There was enough room at each for me to step out of the car and shoot pictures!

As we were churning up mud, I thought if anything happened, nobody would know where we were. We didn’t have cell service and didn’t tell anybody we were going for a ride. Lesson learned. Now, we will definitely tell family where we’re going!

As long as we’re under lock-down, we will be taking rides. After all, it’s the safe thing to do if you don’t miss your turn off!

Escaping: A car ride to the snow

You know how restless you can get being house bound, especially in a small house! Most of us can relate since the world seems to be in lock down due to the Corona Virus. After a week, Richard and I took a short ride north on the Interstate 80 to the snow.

It was a beautiful day, sunny with temperatures requiring wearing a light jacket. Although it hadn’t snowed in about a week, the white puffy frozen rain was still on rooftops and on the ground. Passing by Auburn and Colfax, we took an exit about an hour up the road where I could do some photography.

It was just enough to lift up my spirit and camera. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and short time shooting. Maybe this weekend we’ll go scout out an area for my astronomer husband. And, yes, we did practice social distancing when we came upon people. A family was playing in the snow right off the road and a homeowner and his black lab came out to talk with us.

Our new normal: Posting beauty

We may not like our new normal, that of being under lock down, but right now it’s a necessity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that seeing something beautiful brings a smile to my face, hearing/seeing something funny makes me laugh and reading of a good deed fills my soul. I need all these feelings to get through the next few weeks or months.

So, I’m urging all bloggers to post beauty, funny stories or jokes or feel good adventures. Taking my own advice, I’m posting floral shots of a trip to Ironstone Vineyards in April, 2017.

It’s a small world! The Sacramento Zoo

A lot has changed since my last post. There’s nothing like a pandemic to show how small our world has become. Here in the Sacramento, California area things have changed rapidly. Many businesses have closed, events were cancelled and schools announced closures through March! Oh, yes, the stores are totally out of toilet paper!

Our Federal Government did little at first, with our president saying the Coronavirus wasn’t anything to worry about. Now the action is hot and heavy. So here I am sitting for my grandkids this past week (and enjoying it) while their parents were on vacation. They their way home now. The kids will be out of school for at least 3 weeks so I expect my photography time will be curtailed. That’s okay, time to finally get started on learning Photoshop!

A few of us did take off on Tuesday to visit the Sacramento Zoo. Again! Yes, again!! First, I enjoy it, and, second, they have added a training session with the Lions. This is from the zoo’s website:

Watch animal keepers perform daily training sessions with the African lions at the mesh of their exhibit. This positive-reinforcement training is to encourage natural behaviors that allow the zookeepers to perform voluntary health checks on the lions and build trust. Please note that this is a voluntary training for the lions, and they may decide not to participate on some days.

The zoo is now closed until March 31st or longer because of the Coronavirus. I’m so glad we got there before they did. Here are pictures from the Lion Training.

Stay well everyone!

Almond trees and more! Capay Valley, California

Beautiful Almond trees in Capay Valley were calling to my small photo group. Every year we make that trek to capture the beautiful blossoms. We were a two-car caravan and stopped along the way for pictures. If we were a larger caravan, I’m not sure that would have worked.

Starting out in the small town of Esparto, we drove along the main road through the valley. To our dismay, some of the orchards were surrounded by chain link fencing. Unfortunately, some visitors and photographers have been going into the orchards, causing problems. We make sure to stay on the side of the road, not trespassing. We did manage to stick our lenses through the chain link. It made taking pictures difficult but not impossible. Thank heavens for telephoto lenses which allowed us to get some close ups.

When we reached Rumsey, we found yard full of treasures. Fortunately, the owner Don Hayes was there and gave us permission to take photos wherever we wanted. I think I must have been getting tired, because I missed some of the smaller items that my photo buddies shot. Well, there may be another chance!

Doing it while there’s time! Mare Island Museum & more.

The next two days look busy, but that’s nothing new for a retired lifestyle. Ask any retiree! They’ll probably say they are busier now than before. That’s because active people need to fill their time. I’m no different. So, what better use of my free time right now than to show you the pictures from the Mare Island Museum in Vallejo as promised in yesterday’s post.

Even though I’d been to Mare Island a few times before, I never visited the museum. I guess I was too busy taking photos. But since I’ve gained experience taking photos indoors without flash and tripod, this seemed like a good time to investigate what was in this large building.

What a surprise! Not only does the museum house Mare Island’s history, it also serves as a meeting place and banquet hall. Here are some images:

Additional photos from Mare Island.

That’s it for now! Time to relax!

No horse on this island: Mare Island, Vallejo

It’s been a few years, and I wondered how much this former naval shipyard may have changed. Mare Island, in Vallejo,was America’s first such military post on the West Coast. Established in 1854, it was closed in 1996.

When I first visited, the transformation to a multi-use of commercial, residential and other uses had begun. During one visit, we caught the sunset as it gleamed through broken windows. The old buildings were already decaying. I also visited the island to view Osprey as they nested. (Of course, I can’t find those pictures. I did notice from the pictures I did find that my shooting and editing abilities have progressed!)

So, at our recent visit, I wasn’t surprised to find small changes. Some of the buildings that were behind chain-link fencing were re-opened and turned into businesses. Some older buildings remained as was.

Window reflections told stories:

We toured the USS LCS (L) (3) 102: “A Mighty Midget.” This Landing Craft Support ship was a shallow craft vessel designed to provide close-in fire support for our troops going ashore in the amphibious landings in the Pacific during WWII. Dedicated volunteers are restoring the ship and giving tours:

We also toured the Mare Island Museum, and I’ll show you those images in my next post. Stay tuned for part two!

A zoo morning: Sacramento Zoo

It wasn’t our first outing of 2020, but it was a great zoo morning. In my January 13 post, I told you that Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for our first outing of 2020, but I left my D7100 at my kid’s house. So we went on January 14 instead, and had a great time.

I left the F/4 300 mm lens at home and just carried my walk around 18 – 200 mm lens instead. It was lighter and much more manageable. To capture a group of flamingos, I didn’t have to stand a block away! Best, there were no school tours!

I’m still getting used to shooting through glass enclosures. It’s a challenges with reflections, but the animals come right up to you, hence no need for a prime 300 mm lens.

To add to my excitement, I was able to photograph one of the two jaguars. They are difficult to capture via the camera because when they are out, they are in constant motion, but this morning one stopped for a few seconds!

The lions were out enjoying their larger enclosure. The docents told us that once in the new estate, Kamu, the male lion, has been roaring more often. We heard him several times. Here are both our lions in their new habitat. Do you think Kamu is trying to tell me something?

Next are one of my favorites, the Wolfs Guenon. They are so cute.

And speaking of cute, we have the Meerkats!

Fairly new at the zoo are two males Okapi. These are normally solitary animals, but the zoo docents told us that these two have formed a friendship and visit over the fence.

And we also saw:

I’ll end this zoo visit with images of one of the snow leopards. I think this may be the male, Blizzard, but I’m not sure.

Four in a row: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and 3 more!

Honestly, I’m not much of a birder, that is a photographer who loves to photograph birds. But I do like to get out during the season and do my best to capture some of our feathered friends. A great birding day, for me, is when I can photograph our amazing bald eagle. I recently went on an all day outing with Laura, who is an amazing nature photographer, to four wildlife areas within 2 hours from home.

First stop was the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows. Wow, just one drive around and we saw eagles, hawks, and sandhill cranes. Here are some of my images:

From there we went to Llano Seco Wildlife Area near Chico. We had never been there and were surprised to see just one viewing platform. I took the opportunity to do some landscape photography:

From here things get blurry in my brain. I should post these blogs when I’m fresh from the activity! We were out on January 11! I think these birds are from Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. It’s much smaller than Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, but there were photographic opportunities:

Our final stop was Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gridley. The sun was beginning to set and we caught a golden glow on the birds and landscapes. The mountains in some of the landscapes are the Sutter Buttes. For sunset, we went to our favorite spot in the area to photograph a spectacular sunset:

So this was the beautiful end to our fantastic day! Could it get any better?

The end and the beginning: The Fountains & About Town

The beginning:

I’m sure you all know that things don’t always turn out as scheduled. For instance, Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for the first photo outing of 2020; however, I left my camera case (full of gear) at my kid’s house. I didn’t think my Nikon D3100 and an 18 – 55 mm lens would do well at the zoo. So where to go?

Marlene said that she had three things to take pictures of, but never got to it. This seemed perfect! A short but sweet shoot and all in Sacramento. We just wanted to get out with our cameras. The first on her list was a horse statue, but it had galloped away. Where, we didn’t know. So, on to the next, a bigger than life sized lumber jack statue outside a Lumberjacks restaurant He hadn’t stomped away!

Next was the bigger than life size chicken. I tried to get various angles, but it was fenced in. But, it was unusual!

The end:

For the last shoot of 2019, Marlene and I decided to tempt the possibility and do some street photography at The Fountains, in Roseville, an outdoor mall featured in this blog many times. I thought on December 26 there would be a lot of bargain shoppers, but I was wrong. One store owner allowed us to take photos of his beautiful inventory, and a lot of it was on sale. Here’s what we found.

There you have it. The beginning and the end. A little backwards, but then………