A bit of country: Clarence Scott Ranch, Winters, California

All the comforts of suburbia are great and I love it, but it’s nice to visit the country once in a while. Thank goodness for the Yolo Art and Ag project which gets us out into the country and on farms and ranches that we would otherwise not gain entry.

This was the case during a recent Thursday when we went to visit the Clarence Scott Ranch in Winters. This Ranch has a bit of everything and lots of scenery for photographers and artists. Hay and cattle are their predominat income sources.

I’ve begun to rely on just one lens when I go on a photo outing. It challenges me, and it’s easier to carry. And, at this point, less weight is important to me since this year has given me a few health challenges. My gear consisted of my Nikon D7100 and the Nikon 18 – 140 mm lens. It’s hard for me to grasp that my camera is OLD now and reduced in price for less than half of what I paid! But it’s the same for a car. Once it’s off the lot…….

On the way home, we stopped to photograph sunflowers and zinnias in Woodland. You’ll see these in my next post. Right now let’s look at the Ranch. The clouds were spectacular!

Artists and photographers were busy too!

I was also fortunate to watch a woman shoeing her horse. A first for me!

A farm tour: Dr. Heather’s Goat Farm

It’s amazing how history repeats itself. Just a year ago, in June, my Chiropractor, Dr. Heather Rosenberg, Roseville Disc and Pain Center in Roseville, hosted an open house at her farm. I brought my young grandkids, Ryan and Olivia, and friend Linda. It was a fun morning visiting the animals, other guests and Dr. Heather’s family. We totally enjoyed the morning that was complete with samples of goat cheese and goat milk ice cream. You can re-visit that post here.

Now, back to the present, photo buddy and patient of Dr. Heather, Lucille suggested we take the photo group to visit the farm. Dr. Heather liked the idea and up to Auburn we went early one Saturday morning in May.

This was a different sort of visit. When we got there, Dr. Heather had just finished milking the goats and was cleaning out the machinery. We began by taking pictures of the goats in the barn. Trying to simplify her life, she sold her egg laying chickens. We were told to roam around and soon she would take us on a tour.

The tour consisted of a walk around the small lake, after which, we were free to roam with our cameras again. For me, this visit was totally different and more focused on photography. Are the pictures different? I think so. Take a look and let me know!

Wine & Lavender: Great Bear Vineyards

It was another Art & Ag opportunity, but not to a farm. This time we visited Great Bear Vineyards in Davis. How wonderful to find a treasure like this so close to Sacramento and within Yolo County.

Upon arrival, I was surprised by the difference in the grape vines. I’ve usually seen squatty knarled vines, but these were tall and mostly smooth. I’m sure it has to do with the type of grape grown.

The winery was simply beautiful from the doors to the patio.

Seeing lavender grown was a first for me. I’m allergic to the lavender scent (like when a scented candle is lit), but I wasn’t having any problems this visit.

Of course the artists were also enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

And, the grounds added an amazing touch, sort of like a farm atmosphere.

It was a fun and wonderful morning and I’m happy to share it with you!

Head stones and flowers: Sacramento Historic City Cemetery

There are some areas worth going back again and again. The Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, in Sacramento, is one of those sites. I like to visit to read the old head stones and take close up/macros of the flowers.

In the 1800s people, especially children, were buried with their age in years, months and days. Monuments included large full-sized sculptures. I think the most poignant were two tiny grave stones reading “Baby” and “Our Baby.” No names or year; just those words. I’m thinking they were stillborns.

Our visit was on a day when the volunteer gardners were working on the flowers and plants. They are truly dedicated to keeping this cemetery beautiful and extraordinary.

This visit, since it was too breezy for true macro, I tried to concentrate on how the flowers adorned the head stones. I did get some close ups though.

Here we go again: Maple Rock Gardens

Go there once, it’s amazing. Go there twice, it’s repetitive. I’m not complaining, because this private estate is still beautiful. Maple Rock Gardens is in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis California.

They are open for private events and to the public twice a year. Linda and I visited them last September and you can view that post here. She thought there would be more flower blooms in the spring, so expectations were high. It was definitely more crowded and the blooms were repetitive. Not much had changed. If you were there for the first time, it would not disappoint. It was still beautiful. Take a look.

Still in April! Table Mountain, Butte County

Wow, do I have to catch up with posting my photographic adventures! Here’s the last post for April and we’re ending May. I’ll try to post more frequently until I’m current.

In April we all go in search of wild flowers to photograph. I was sick from February through April with a cold that wouldn’t quit so I got out late to North Table Mountain and its beautiful wildflowers. Located in Butte County near Oroville, Table mountain consists of two flat mountain areas, North and South. The wild flowers grow on top of volcanic material which makes walking a challenge for some of us. There a numerous waterfalls, but our hike included some of the smaller ones.

After leaving Table Mountain, we stopped by the old Oregon City covered bridge. Photos are included in the gallery.

I accompanied Laura on this outing. I can’t say I was especially excited with what I saw and captured. This was my second trip to Table Mountain with about 3 years in between. Maybe my memory made things sweeter, maybe I wasn’t feeling totally well, or we got out there late in the wildflower life cycle. But, I got what I got and reviewing the images for this post, they aren’t that bad!

So here’s North Table Mountain.

Happy Mother’s Day: Negro Bar, Folsom & The Nesting Tree, Lincoln

I hope all of you mothers have had a wonderful special day. I received texts and calls from family members. We also had a delicious and filling brunch with Greg and Jess and the grandkids. So here I sit ready to talk and show you where my photography passion has taken me now.

I now know that even if the outing doesn’t give you great weather, clouds or scenery, there’s always a picture worth taking and processing. Negro Bar, a State park in Folsom was sort of a disappointment since it was crowded with people and there wasn’t a promise of a great sunset. But I walked around and in the short time we were there shot these images, including visitors, people kayaking and the historic Rainbow Bridge:

My next visit was a surprise one and stretched the limits of my walk around lens, 18 – 140 mm. Marlene and I were scrapbooking at Betty Carol’s home. During a breat she took us to a special tree in Lincoln. I call the tree the Nesting Tree because of all the nests and variety of birds in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I really couldn’t capture anything good with the lens I had with me, so I went back the following Wednesday. This time I was ready with my F/4 300 mm prime lens! It’s amazing what you can see with a little extra reach. I found Great Egrets and Blue Herons. A few weeks later, I brought Laura to the tree. She caught even more with her 600 mm lens, and saw more species. Here’s what I captured:

So, when Jess asked me what I’ve been doing lately, I talked about photo outings. Yes, photography has become a good part of my life! Again, Happy Mother’s Day!

A bright spot in April: Crystal Hermitage Garden, Ananda Villiage

The tulips bloom only in April at the Crystal Hermitage Garden in Ananda Village in Nevada County. So, we waited for sunshine and no rain. We finally decided to go when there would be a possibility of sunshine, meaning partly cloudy with some sun. This resulted with some tulips open, but most shut.

But it was worth the trip. Planted each year, the gardens are always beautiful and attract visitors from all over to see the more than 17,000 plants. This quote was taken from one of their sites.
“We planted over 111 varieties of mid and late season Dutch bulbs this year,” said lead Gardener, Nancy Mair. “We blend tulips with a rainbow of complementary pansies, wisteria, rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies, dogwood trees and the fabulous cherry tree, so that guests enjoy a different garden in each terrace.”

I’ll admit that I was upset that after waiting, we still were under dark skys for most of our time there. But, as usual, it was a great experience. Until next April here are some of the images I took.

The sun is shining: Valley Oak Wool Mill & Frate Sole Olive Oil, part 2

Right now I can feel the sun’s warmth on my back as I write this post. What a treat! And, during the next week and a half, the worst they are predicting is 30% chance of rain! Am I smiling? Absolutely!

A couple of days ago, I introduced this two-part post with Valley Oak Wool Mill and promised to show you Frate Sole Olive Oil in a second post. The two are right next to each other, in Woodland, and participated in the Yolo Art & Ag program.

We were welcomed graciously by Andrea Mayer, whose family owns and operates the olive orchard. She told us that a talk was being given at Valley Oak and tea would be ready when we returned. Return we did. I totally enjoyed sitting and sipping the hot tea and touring her facility. We didn’t go out into the orchard too far because the ground was wet and muddy. One photographer came back telling us to be prepared to get wet up to our ankles! We decided to stay put.

After tea, we walked around, met Abby, the dog, and listened to her presentation and tasted some of her delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I’m not a fan of balsamic, but hers was wonderful!

The day was overcast, ground wet, and puddles large and small were showing reflections. This was a perfect photography opportunity! Enjoy my images.

Enough is enough: Valley Oak Wool Mill & Frate Sole Olive Oil

My body says enough with the rain. Truly it cannot handle this much dampness. The house is 70 degrees F, and I’m sitting at the computer wearing a turtle neck top, sweater, jeans and a bathrobe. I’m still cold! I’d go to the pool area and sit in the hot tub, but it’s raining! Do I sound fed up? I am!

Okay, now that I’ve complained about Mother Nature, let’s move on to more fun activities–meaning taking the camera out for an outing. Last week we went to the monthly Yolo Art & Ag activity at Valley Oak Wool Mill and Frate Sole Olive Oil.

Both are in Woodland, and are right beside each other. They were easy to find. I say that because navigating the country roads can get tough when you’re not familiar with the area. This visit was inbetween rain storms and the road was puddled, but in good condition.

When we arrived we first went to Frate Sole, not realizing that a talk was being given at Valley Oak. The talk was almost over by the time we walked over there, but we were able to get the gist of it. Owner and operator Marcail McWilliams spins wool for her customers who supply the wool. Once spun into yarn, she returns the finished product to the client. I was amazed at the size of the machinery she works on. Her yarns are simply beautiful.

With these many images, I’ll save Frate Oil for the next post. As you can see, it was still overcast and wet. Let’s have some sun!