Hey, you said this trail was flat! Auburn Quarry Trail, Auburn, California

He really didn’t lie; but when my dear photo buddy Richard promised us a flat trail with one or two hills, he under exaggerated.  You see, Richard is an experienced hiker. We are not! The hills were a huge mountain for us. Now, am I exaggerating?

I do like to complain and Richard gives it right back. We, in our little Camera Totin’ Tuesday group, have a lot of fun. Through all the griping (I wasn’t the only one!), we had fun. After all, it’s the interaction of the group that makes a photo outing great.

We followed the Auburn Quarry Trail, part of the California State Park system, along the American River, and when we reached the top (as far as we were going to go), we were fortunate to come upon a few mountain climbers practicing. The sun was powerful that day in Auburn, so I had to deal with exposure issues. I shot mostly handheld HDR, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So I basically edited one of the three shots in Lightroom. In the end, I was satisfied. Take a look. No captions needed.

Searching for fall colors: Markleeville

It seems that with each season Sacramento photographers rush to photograph the Milky Way, wildlife including the Sandhill Crane, snow and Fall colors. I’m no exception which is why my Camera Totin Tuesday group treked up to Markleeville, Alpine County, to capture delightful images.

There were five of us, and we squeezed into one car. Fortunately Marlene drove and her Suby Blue accomodated us easily. It’s a 2-hour ride up to the colorful aspens. Thank you Marlene for driving us. We stopped along the way to photograph the changing colors and had lunch in Markleeville. After lunch and taking pictures of the small town, population of 210 in the last census, we continued looking for color.

While editing the pictures of this outing, I tried to get out of my comfort zone with some creative help from Nik software. I’ve been liking the soft look lately and wanted to do some of my own. So, here’s the California colors of Fall.

 

Finishing up: Maple Rock Gardens, part 2

Finishing up is not exactly correct since there is so much to see at Maple Rock Gardens in Newcastle. But, I’ll focus this post on the small touches and sculptures. If you missed the first post on this fantastic place, here’s a summary.

The garden is a private residence associated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. When you visit, you’ll walk from one themed garden into another. It also has acreage that supplies flowers to the nursery. It’s only open to the public twice a year and is available as an event venue for special occasion parties, like weddings, the rest of the time.

Look back at my last post to view the grounds, and now for the rest!

Just enjoying it: Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

We just wanted to go shooting for enjoyment, and not too far. So we found the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park in Volcano, California. This land preserves a large amount of marbleized limestone with about 1185 mortar holes–the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. Women would gather together and visit as they ground their grains in the mortar holes.

There’s also the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum and a reconstructed Miwok village on the grounds. The one building I had fun photographing was the Ceremonial Roundhouse which is used for various social gatherings and ceremonial events. Since it is used currently for those purposes, we couldn’t go in.

My challenge during this outing was the brilliant sunshine and the shade. This drove the camera sensor crazy–me too. I tried some handheld HDR (tripod wasn’t with me), and focusing on the shade and then raising the camera which blew out the sunny area. The best I could do was to focus on the sunny area and move the camera. Fortunately Lightroom has a graduated ND filter and a shadow slider. Both came in handy during post processing!

But, it was a perfect outing, and we did enjoy it. Sometimes you just have to get out!

 

Now a yearly trek: Lotus blossoms

They are so beautiful, but only bloom once a year. But, that’s also what makes the Lotus flowers so special. The flowers in this post are from the Vedanta Society of Sacramento in Fair Oaks (Where last year’s images were shot.) and my chiropractor’s farm in Auburn. Who would have thought that a small Lotus pond would be on a farm!

At the Vedanta Society, the mature Lotus were more inside the pond and the buds surrounded them on the outside. That made shooting them a little tricky, but with the lens extended all the way out to 140 mm and creative cropping, I managed.

At the farm, it was just the opposite.  The featured image is a black and white from the farm. No matter, they are beautiful no matter where they are. And, pictures are a way of enjoying them all year round.

Getting a little country: A farm visit, Auburn, California

I suggested it and she said, “Yes!” Heather, my chiropractor has a farm in the Auburn Hills. After doing her newsletter for at least 10 years, which is sent out electronically, I asked if she’d like to invite patients to visit her farm. I received a positive response and the date was set. To be honest, I was anxious to see her farm after all these years.

Since this was a “Family Fun Day at the Farm,” I brought my two young grandkids and my friend Linda came also. It was worth the trip up the winding road to Rosenberg’s Green Acres farm in Auburn, Placer County. The property is just beautiful, complete with a small lake. We were introduced to chickens and goats by name.

The chickens provide eggs, and the goats provide milk, cheese and ice cream. We also met some recently born kids (baby goats). The males had their horns taken off, which is necessary to have them compete or sell them. Ryan and Olivia enjoyed interacting with the goats, feeding them grass.

Heather and her daughter Gabby took us on a tour around the property. When you live on a farm, there is work to be done. Milking the goats and gathering eggs is a daily chore. No sleeping in here!

After the tour, the kids were treated to a paddle boat ride on the lake. While the adults waited, Heather offered us two kinds of goat cheese–one creamy and one more solid. They were both delicious. When the kids got back, we were treated to goat milk chocolate ice cream. This was beyond delicious.

Of course, Linda and I were taking pictures all this time. Linda disappeared for a short time. She went back down the road to take pictures of the farm entrance. The photo credit on the featured image belongs to Linda Distler.

Do you think I could suggest that Heather share her amazing farm again next year?

What, still no pizza! Downieville, California

I was looking forward to going back to Downieville and having the pizza that my dear departed photo buddy Greg Morris promised Marlene and I a few years ago. Located at the North Fork of the Yuba River, Downieville is a small town with a population of about 300.

When we were there last, no restaurant was open, especially the pizza place Greg bragged about on our way up. Fortunately, the grocery store was open and we were able to buy our usual lunch there. Well, the term lunch is being generous. I had a cup of noodles, Greg had beef jerky and chips and Marlene ate her emergency peanut butter sandwich.

So, I was not altogether surprised that there was only one sandwich shop, Jadaa’s Kitchen, open in town the day we were there, but I was disappointed. Even though it was almost tourist season, the stores were open only on the weekends. I guess we’d have to go during the summer to see if Greg was right about the pizza.

This time our visit to the small town was cut short due to a thunder storm. We stayed as long as we could, shooting as much as we could. Will I ever taste that pizza?

Lost and found: Finishing up the Sedona trip

Great news, I found my rice cooker and some other things!! But, now where is the other speaker for my stereo? I know I saw it sitting apart from the other speaker and stereo, but where? This is the game Richard and I have been playing while trying to get things back to normal activity.

I did go out with my Tuesday group last Tuesday, and I’m still processing those pictures. I finally finished processing the Sedona trip. Time for shooting and processing has been minimal; plus I managed to catch a cold. I really wasn’t chasing after it.

So let’s look back at my fun time at the Blazin’ M Ranch in Cottonwood, Arizona. We went for the dinner show, and it was a blast. I, of course, ate way too much. The chicken was excellent and so were the ribs. The entertainment was even better. If you’re ever in Sedona, this is a must.

 

On the way home, when I wasn’t driving, I shared my seat with my D7100. I was able to capture some drive by shots somewhere between Utah,Nevada and California. 

 

Home again: Sedona, AZ

After a 2-week respite from our move, I’m back to finish up–or try to complete unpacking boxes, etc. The house is mostly set up now; things still need to be moved around and set up. We are still trying to find things. Do you know where my rice cooker is??

Now, back to Sedona. This visit was more of a relaxing visit with a bit of photography mixed in. We stayed at Sedona Pines where the 2-bedrooms were separate cabin-like structures. This suited our lifestyle since Alyse is up late and wakes up late while I’m the opposite. I’d get up in the morning, have breakfast, walk, work on photos, etc. By the time I was hungry for lunch, Alyse was up having breakfast. We would spend the day roaming around Sedona. In the evening, we’d come back and enjoy watching TV.

I’ll be honest, as much as I wanted to take Alyse’s car and go shooting, I really needed the rest. Anyway, here is a glimpse of the red rocks of Sedona in Arizona, just in case you haven’t seen it already.

 

 

Not today: Michigan Bar Road Adventure

Not packing or unpacking! Yes, today is a day off. Since we decided to move, I’ve gone on two photo outings, and, even then, I packed at night. Then, the next day, I unpacked at the other house. We are painting, putting in new floors and taking care of other things at our small home. The kitchen is almost set up. The rest of the move is easy.

Today, is a rest and blogging day. Last weekend I needed to take a break, drive somewhere and shoot. So, I rounded up photo buddies Laura and Linda and away I drove to Michigan Bar Road. This road is located in a rural area of Sacramento County. To get there, you drive on Highway 16 or Jackson Hwy through beautiful scenery, and in the summer, you can buy the best corn ever at the Davis Ranch produce stand. I’ve posted images from this road before, so I tried to get different angles, etc. Then we had the bright idea to go beyond the paved road and get home a different way. I do need to tell you it’s been raining here off and on for two weeks, and I was hoping that with a few dry days, the dirt roads would be more or less dry.

Not!! Going 7 – 10 mph can take about 45 minutes to go 4 miles! I made it through three shallow large puddles with the help of my valiant crew, but was stopped by this pool. We had to turn around.

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On the way back to the paved road, I had to set down the law because my pals were still wanting to stop to take pictures. No more pictures, we needed to get home. This was a fun adventure, and it rained the next few days so my car got cleaned outside. (I looked for every puddle to go through to get the underside clean.)

Each of us had a reason to get out and experience a bit of photography, so we all enjoyed our adventure. The next day it was back to moving for me, but my break was great!