Road Trip: Levee Road

It was time to venture out with my friend Jean for a short road trip. California is beginning to open up, but I’m still cautious. News: I thought my photography had reached a level where I needed a better camera. Because of my age, I needed something light (not full frame). Mirrorless was an obvious choice.

I bought a Fujifilm XT3 and was anxious to try it out. It was just the two of us, both healthy and not exposed to anyone with COVID 19 so off we went. It was great to be on a road trip with no destination in mind.

We drove for a short time up the Levee Road north of Sacramento when I saw these terrific reflections in the rice paddies.

As we drove on, I spotted a sign that directed us to a boat ramp. Jean said she wanted to shoot near water so wouldn’t a boat ramp be perfect? It was a great stop. We came upon pelicans, fishermen and a beautiful section of the Sacramento River.

We made some more quick stops along the way: to shoot a farm across the road, some thistles going to seed, and another house. I was doing okay with my Fugi, having to change the lens a couple of times and shooting on manual. Typically with my Nikon 7100 I use an 18 – 200 lens so I don’t need to switch lenses in the field, but Fuji doesn’t make that lens.

We ended up in Yuba City in Sutter County where I took pictures of the Hall of Records building built in 1831. What a beautiful building.

I had a great time and was happy with my new camera. At least until my next outing which will be the subject of my next post. Be careful and stay safe everyone!

A lonely park: Rush Park

I knew that there wouldn’t be children playing on the three playgrounds, skate boarders enjoying the skate park, swimmers in the pool, kids playing baseball at the diamonds, adults using the tennis and pickle ball courts but I thought we’d be able to get on the grounds of the historic Rush Home and Gardens. At least that’s what one of the Sunrise Department of Recreation told me the day before. He said the house was closed, but that we could take pictures of the grounds. He didn’t tell me that we’d be shooting through the fence!

So off three of us went to this large park in Citrus Heights. Just looking at my images will show the lack of activity in an otherwise jammed park. It was sad. We didn’t walk the entire park. What we saw was enough.

The Historic Rush Home is normally used for weddings, meetings and other special events. The gardens, at least what we could view through the fence, didn’t seem spectacular.

Some pretty flowers and water in the park.

The unused fun areas that are now empty.

I’m hoping the next time we visit Rush Park it will be full of laughter, families and people enjoying their sports.

Getting out on a dismal day: Old Town Fair Oaks

It was a dark stormy night–not really, but it was a cloudy, almost raining day when a small group of us decided we needed to get out and take some photos. So, we followed the chickens to the small old town of Fair Oaks in Sacramento County. Yes, chickens are plentiful there. The roosters are bold and noisy, but have great color. They are the attraction, and don’t have to wear masks or stay 6 feet apart!

The small area was desolate. There were a few people roaming around. The stores were closed except for a cafe where people were eating and enjoying coffee outside. It felt strange, experiencing Fair Oaks during lock down.

We did stop for coffee at the cafe and sat outside before heading our separate ways. (We don’t carpool anymore. We drive separately.) On the way home, I stopped at Marlene‘s to meet her new puppy Charlie, an Australian Labradoodle. We met outside and observed the correct social distancing. The reality was that Charlie didn’t want to come to me! He finally got to the point of coming close, but that was about it.

During our stay, the sun peaked out at times but quickly hid behind the clouds. It was a fun time though with the chickens and photo buddies!

Escape #4: Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Something familiar, comfortable and close by; that’s what I wanted for my first photo outing that didn’t involve a car ride. Yes, I had to drive to get to Effie Yeaw in Carmichael, but I loaded my camera on my sling and walked the Nature Center. And, I wasn’t alone. Marlene, Jean and Ray joined me. I guess I wasn’t the only one who needed to escape!

This time was very different. We each drove our own cars, wore our masks and kept a reasonable distance from each other. And worst of all, we didn’t follow our adventure with lunch!

Because I had a morning Toastmaster meeting, we met at Effie Yeaw at 10 a.m. It was too late to see the deer, but we did see a lot of people. Some wore masks, some stepped aside when they saw us walking the path and some just passed us on the path. I guess everyone has their own level of concern about this pandemic.

I find breathing with a face mask on difficult. There’s something about breathing your own air that affects my heart. I’m probably not getting enough oxygen. So, with that hindrance, I got tired sooner. But, it was all worthwhile.

Here are some flower images from that morning.

I love the trees at Effie Yeaw. They are so expressive.

And then there’s the American River.

And, let’s not forget about the other things that catch a photographer’s eye.

The last image was created with a Photoshop filter that distorts. It was a piece of green netting!

It was a great escape, but a little different. Maybe next week there will be another adventure!

 

Escape #3: A California poppy hunt

I’m not normally the jealous type, but being in lock-down has us feeling things we usually don’t. Richard was gone star gazing for 3 days and nights, and photographers on various sites were posting pictures of poppy (our State flower) fields, so I became jealous. I needed to get out–safely!

I gave Richard the option of taking Highway 49 (a twisty mountain road) to near Jackson, California with me; but, I was willing to travel on my own. He came with me. About an hour into our drive, we found a mountain full of poppies just south of the town. It was stunning!

I would have liked to explore further, but hunger and awareness of Richard’s nap schedule had us turn around for the trek back home. We ordered sub sandwiches and ate them in the car–again being safe! On the way home we stopped in Drytown, a small town in Amador County so I could photograph a bunch of poppies on the roadside.

We were gone about 2 1/2 hours; not like our previous adventure! It was a great get-a-way outing. And best of all, I’m no longer jealous!

Our new normal: My camera took me for a walk!

You know you’re addicted when your right index finger wants to press the shutter button and your left hand wants to steady the lens barrel. It was more than a week since our adventurous ride and I needed to get out and take some pictures.

So…. I my camera took me for a short walk around the neighborhood. The long 2-mile walks are reserved for dog walking. First, there are many front yard gardens with beautiful flowers. I made sure I didn’t go on property and just shot what I could from the road’s edge.

We have a lot of wild turkeys here, and the males are telling us it’s the season to show off. These two actually started to move when I lifted my camera, but stood still when I yelled at them not to move!

Last, are our current Canada goose family. These are the only geese to have goslings so far at our small lake. There will be more. And when there are, the dads will guard their families with fierce hissing and may actually run after you if they think you’re coming close to the goslings.

That was yesterday’s walk. My camera is calling me again. I think there’s more neighborhood and more pictures to take!

Our new normal: I can’t get motivated today!

I don’t think it’s the fact that we are under lock-down, I think I can’t get motivated because it’s raining or just damp outside. Yesterday we endured a large, wind blowing and rainy storm complete with lightening and thunder. California needed that storm, but I didn’t need the ceiling tiles in my sun-room ruined and having it rain in the room!

But that didn’t get me down. Neither did my experience with ordering groceries through a local market’s E-Cart service which ended up a disaster. Okay, I’ll tell you about it since you insist. I put my order in online and waited three days to pick it up. On the right day and time, we go to the store and call them to let them know we (Richard and I) were out in the parking lot. They tell me they’ll be right out with my order. Two cars drive up and get their order. I call them again and was told they’d be right out. You can see where this is going! It seems they gave my order to the wrong person. With all the apologies they could muster, they finally brought out my order which wasn’t complete! I’m now waiting for my refund to show up. So we ended up going inside another market to get the rest of the list. We wore our masks and gloves, and practiced social distancing.

Well, I was upset, but that didn’t get me down. Neither did the fact that I had to get a urine sample from my male dog Gem. Have you ever tried that? After several failed attempts with unique ideas, Richard followed the vets advice. He attached the cup to the end of a cane! My neighbor promised to help so off we went on the dog walk of a lifetime. I held the leash and she operated the cane. We were successful. Fortunately, we only had one witness!

We laughed a lot at the absurdity of the task, and it didn’t get me down either! Actually, we laughed a lot and that felt good. Laughter is the best medicine.

I truly believe the weather is my downer. And, I can’t do anything about that, can I! I think I’ll have some fun looking through past photos to post here. After all, this is a photo blog. Maybe it will motivate me to take some images of things around the house for some of the local camera club challenges.

Here are some photos from a night outing in 2014. We were shooting a full moon with silos as a background. This was early on in my photography adventure, and I learned a lot about night photography.

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.