On a mission to find one: The Santa Clara Mission, Santa Clara, California

Imagine living in a place for 12 years and not knowing one of California’s Missions was nearby! I’m no longer unaware, but the Santa Clara Mission was difficult to find. It is hidden within the campus of Santa Clara University. Well, not really hidden. It’s the centerpiece of the campus. However there is no sign saying, “Hey, Anne, look here for the mission!”

Fortunately, students were at the Starbucks where I stopped and told me how to find the Mission. It’s location and lack of signage got me wondering: I know the mission came first, but how did Santa Clara University manage to build around it?

Here’s the answer from the University website.

Historic Mission Santa Clara is a beautiful icon that sits at the center of our campus.  First established in 1777, the Franciscan Order handed the Mission over to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1851, who then started Santa Clara College, the first institution of higher education in California.  Today, the Mission serves as the student chapel for Santa Clara University.

If you’re not familiar with the California Missions, they are a series of 21 missions founded by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, in an effort to expand Christianity among the Native Americans along the California coast. I’ve visited many, but not all, of the Missions. This one blends so well with the College architecture.

I did get inside the chapel, but wasn’t prepared with my tripod. I did the best I could with a high ISO and Lightroom. The images are little grainy, but you can still see the simple beauty.

The surrounding campus is also beautiful. It must be nice to be a student there. Enjoy your Mission and campus tour. I did, once I found it!

Rain, and I’m liking it: Tower Theater, Sacramento

What do photographers do when it’s raining or rain is unpredictable? Some go out in the rain anyway, some do studio work, some go through old images and edit or re-edit them, and then others run out when the weather breaks for however long.

I’m one of those who run out during rain breaks. Today would have been the perfect day to do that, but unfortunately my scheduled did not permit it. However, I am wanting to try shooting in the rain after seeing many rain shots in the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group. We’ll see. Apparently, the rain is here to stay for a while.

With this post, I’m wrapping up our visit to the Tower Theater. When we moved to the Sacramento area in 2001, we heard about the theater, but never made it down to visit it. Opening in 1938 as a single screen theater, the Tower was converted to a triplex in 1972. Tower Cut-Rate Drugs, a drugstore named after its next door neighbor, opened and starting selling records in 1941 and was the beginning of Tower Records. It eventually moved across the street.

By the 1980s, Tower Records sold records, books and videos.  succumbed to the digital age and closed in 2006. I remember the news coverage showing devoted fans mourning their loss at the record store’s closing.

Now Dimple Records is in that same place, the Tower Cafe, which opened in 1990, feeds movie goers and the Tower Theater stands above the tree line with it’s art-deco design.

Maybe during the next rain break, Marlene and I will go down to take more photos of the theater and enjoy lunch at the cafe; but, only if the weather permits during the week so we can avoid crowds at the cafe.




Sunday is funday: Roaming Sacramento City

Photography is definitely a stress reducer. That’s what brought Marlene and I out on a Sunday morning. Concentrating on shooting takes your mind off various stressors and allows a couple of buddies to talk it out.

Fortunately, Marlene knows Sacramento City because I took the wrong freeway and truly didn’t know where we were when I exited. All I knew was that this wasn’t where we were headed! We decided to just drive and find neat things to shoot. We eventually found our way to the iconic Tower Theater, out last stop for the day. I’m saving that for another post because I want to focus on it.

This Sunday morning was fun, sometimes challenging because of harsh lighting or total clouds, but fun. I think for both of us, photography is an escape. Whether for just a couple of hours or a full day, it takes us away, gets us concentrating on the process of shooting, and challenges our minds. It’s also taught me what wonderful places we have right here.

Yes, this past Sunday was funday.


A new look for the New Year: Discovery Park

I’ve reached a plateau. After a year of taking a picture each day, I believe my photography has reached another level of competency. To celebrate, I wanted a new look for my blog–something clean and crisp that would show off my images. So here it is.

Of course nothing is perfect! Wouldn’t it be nice if it were? The one and only thing I don’t like about this template is that you have to scroll down to the bottom to get to the archived posts. And, as my photography level has grown, my technical capabilities have not. What does CSS mean anyway! I mean, it isn’t going to change. So, I hope you don’t mind scrolling down. Let me know what you think.

Now on to Discovery Park in Sacramento. Lately we’ve been concentrating on short, local outings. It’s amazing what photographic opportunities Sacramento City and County have to offer. This park is at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, is 302 acres, and is the beginning of a 32-mile bike trail that runs along the river. We were there about 3:30 and the park was still hosting runners, bicyclists and boating enthusiasts.

I had never walked on the I-Street Bridge that links West Sacramento (which is in Yolo County) to Sacramento. There we found homeless returning to their camp and workers returning to their homes on either side of the river.

It was a beautiful evening and set the stage for a New Year and this new look.



Finding new in the old: Michigan Bar Road, Sacramento County

Did you ever get the idea that you’ve been some place before? I didn’t just get an idea, I know I’ve been on Michigan Bar Road before–two times. My outing with Laura made the third time.

You can always find something new to shoot: new composition, new things to find and new challenges on what you’ve already shot. Since my other two visits involved HDR, I decided not to bracket my shots. I also looked for small details to shoot. And, believe it or not, I found new things to shoot.

We did get off Michigan Bar Road and onto Latrobe Road, but not the road we know with the same name. The Latrobe Road we know is a curvy, paved highway. This road was dirt, and after a few rainy days it was full of puddles and ruts. Laura did a great job of navigating until we came to a puddle too large to navigate. Back we went. In addition to photography, adventure is part of the fun!

We did try to catch a sunset on Scott Road before heading home, but that was not very satisfying. All in all, it was a fun day of exploring and shooting even though I had the feeling that I’d been there before!

An ending and beginning: Christmas lights

Happy New Year. We ended 2015 shooting Christmas Lights, after the holiday but better late than not getting there at all. Going during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we thought there would be less crowds. Wrong! It was crowded on Dovewood Court. I guess everyone had the same idea. This court is one where all the houses are lit up beautifully. We went there last year also, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures. I tried to shoot differently for variety. And, this year, I felt more comfortable with my ability to shoot correctly.

Also ending is the 365 photography challenge. This being January 1, 2016, I didn’t have to shoot a picture, I could walk the dog without bringing a camera and both husband and dog are breathing easier now that they don’t have to be models. I’ll talk more about the 365 soon. It was an amazing experience.

Beginning is my attempt to learn more photography software. I’m going to do the 52, meaning I’ll post a photo once a week. My twist on it: I’m going to post a before and after image, showing a new editing skill I’ve learned. And, I don’t think I want to be tied to assigned themes. I just want to learn.

This year, I’m even more enthusiastic about shooting and learning new editing techniques to bring my photography to the next level.  Does that sound like a resolution? Maybe I’m just looking forward to a new beginning.

Here are some of the Christmas lights. (No captions necessary.)



When it rains; shoot indoors: Fairmont Hotel, San Jose

When it rained in San Jose, it poured. Dedicated photographers never give up, especially when you don’t often get to shoot together. So photo buddy Nicci, of niccicarreraromance.com, and I went to to lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.

The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas; and, as an added bonus, we were able to photograph Christmas In The Park directly across from the hotel. I had a wonderful time talking with Nicci. This was the first time we went on a photo outing since Leanne Cole’s visit in September.

The only problem was our visit was way too short, and the welcomed rain!




Who moved my chairs? Back to Volcano

My red chairs. The simple, inexpensive patio chairs I shot, during a prior visit, as they were positioned in front of a Volcano, California store were moved. And, I was moved. I don’t know why, but when I saw that they were not in the same photographic set up, I was taken aback! Did I want to shoot them again? Did I want to make a good shot even better? Probably not, but I did look at the composition–no, not as good.

I did take a shot from a totally different angle. Of course you’re thinking, “Why didn’t she just move the chairs back?” Good question, I’m going to have to start setting the scene when I can. I’m sorry that I don’t have the original on my laptop here in San Jose. If you want to see it. It’s archived in this blog. Anyway, here’s the shot I took.


This was my second and Marlene’s first trip to this small town. Except for the red chairs it hadn’t changed! It is full of historic buildings that have been re-purposed and still used.

Volcano was a cultural center in this gold fever valley. It was the first to have a lending library and many other civic and private offerings. I love the look of stone on Main Street’s buildings.

We had just come from the Black Chasm Cavern tour and were hungry. We were directed to the General Store and had burgers. We then walked beyond Main Street and saw more of the town.

I may go back to Volcano in the future, and I’ll definitely move some chairs!



It’s a long way down: Black Chasm Cavern, Volcano CA

You don’t notice how far down you travel until it’s time to walk back out of the cavern. Black Chasm was so interesting, I didn’t notice how far down we climbed. We joined a group of children for a 45 minute tour at the last minute.

The tour guide was wonderful, placing us in the back of the tour so we could stay back and take as many pictures as we wanted. In fact, the entire group accommodated our picture taking. However, we were listening as the guide explained the dramatic features of the cavern.

The most important feature of the Black Chasm Cavern are the rare and delicate helictite crystals that adorn the cavern walls along with the traditional stalactites and stalagmites. I’ve been in other caves and caverns, but have never seen helictite crystals.

The cavern has three main chambers. Although we thought the last one at the bottom was the largest, it wasn’t. At the end of our tour, we climbed the same stairs, but this time going up, and up and up! I said to Marlene, “Did we go down this far?”

Here are some images from this amazing cavern. No captions this time.



Great feedback: Back to Jackson, part 2

Wow, I am so grateful for all the feedback I received from my last post. Most of it was on Facebook. It really helped me shape the next part of my journey.

I began this blog as a way to talk about my new hobby and document my chosen paths. I chose not to take classes, but study tutorials, practice and join Meetup groups. And, it’s worked. It took about 3 years, but I am confident now and ready for the next step–learning more about processing and putting my work out there. I’m not looking to sell anything, but to get more feedback. Most of all, I’m having fun and have met new friends and wonderful, helpful people.

In the meantime, I promised you the images from Jackson and here they are. I will always be open to feedback, and I’m willing to listen and try new things.