Poppy field? Not this year! Mokelumne Hill & Jackson

Maybe we didn’t go far enough last time we went in search of a poppy field. So we drove further south on Highway 49 to Jackson. No poppy field. It was then I decided that there would be no golden orange field for me this year. Little clusters of poppies were along the road. We even went further than Jackson to Mokelumne Hill, a quaint little town that Marlene and I had been to before. No poppy field!

So here are some pictures from Mokelumne Hill.

Now on to Jackson and lunch.

Next year will be the year for me to find a poppy field! In the meantime I did have fun taking photos with my photo buddies.

In search of poppies: Sutter Creek

You never know where you’ll end up when on a photo outing with your photo pod. You start out with a destination in mind and a fork in the road can lead you somewhere else! That’s what happened when we started out to find a field of the California Poppy, our State flower. Our destination was Jackson, but I’m not sure where we ended up. Not Jackson and no poppy fields.

So we decided to capture the flowers and poppies in Sutter Creek. It’s always fun to visit that small town anyway, and it was getting to be hungry time. We found potted poppies and other things in the town.

On our way back to the town we spotted a mine from the road, but it was too early to enter it, if we could due to the COVID pandemic. So we took our pictures from the road and went into town.

Now in Sutter Creek. Stores and restaurants were just beginning to open.

With full tummies and a nice walk around town, we headed home. We stopped along the way to photograph this barn and vineyard.

We weren’t done yet! We spotted a model airplane airport and Ray instinctively drove in to see what was happening. Once in, I remembered I stopped there with Richard, but there was a new type of plane that I’d never seen before. The wings were like cellophane and it buzzed around the sky fast.

I still want that poppy field and hope to get to it before it’s gone. But, we did have a fun journey!

An end to a wonderful get away: Napa

Here in California when we think of Napa Valley, we think of grapes, wineries and wine. And, there was no shortage of that on the third day of my short get-away trip with Sandy and Peg. Here are some scenes from off the road.

We also managed to find the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (closed for tours) and the The Richie Block Building in St Helena.

Before we headed back to Windsor, we came across the Peju Winery in Rutherford. The grounds were beautiful as was the large inside tasting room.

It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait for the next phone call asking if I’d like to get away!

Lens-Artists Challenge #140: A Change of Scenery

It was like this challenge from Beth of Wandering Dogs was just meant for me! I just returned from a scenery change. After a year of wandering around the Sacramento area with my photography pod, my friend Sandy, who lives in Tuolumne City, invited me to spend time with her and her sister Peg in Windsor in Sonoma County, California. I didn’t need to even think about it before I said YES!

Sandy picked me up on Monday and returned me on Thursday. We had two full days of seeing the sights and taking pictures. I haven’t been able to edit all the pictures yet, but I can show you the small town of Windsor.

Here are the small shops and buildings in the downtown area.

From the town we go into the countryside.

Day two had us go to the coast, ending up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. The next day we drove through Napa. Those pictures still need editing.

I totally needed and enjoyed my time away. A change of scenery is always a good idea, especially after a year of in and out of lockdown. And thank you Sandy for driving and Peg for your hospitality.

Out of the area: Port Costa, Contra Costa County

Bulletin: most places won’t let customers use their restrooms because of COVID! That’s what Jean and I found out when we left recently to drive out of the Sacramento Valley with our cameras. We were driving to Port Costa, an old little port city in Contra Costa County. I had been there twice before, but that was several years ago. Nothing changed! I decided to take pictures in a way I didn’t before.

On our way down to the port, we stopped at this viewpoint to take a picture of the Carquinez Bridge while it was being enveloped by approaching fog. A couple of seconds after I took this image, the bridge was totally fogged in.

We then made the usual stop at the C&H Sugar refinery. Photographers are not allowed in, but they do let you take pictures at the entrance. You may have seen this view before if you’ve been following this blog for some time.

Now for Port Costa itself. The railroad still runs by it.

The town is old and the hotel shows it. Homes are overrun with overgrowth.

The shoreline, beyond the railroad tracks is interesting and we saw some kayakers paddle by.

It was just before we left Port Costa that we realized there was not a public restroom to be found. We did find a portable toilet at a small park near a fishing pier. The flush bathroom was closed. It was a good stop in more ways than one!

Before heading home, we stopped at Mare Island. I knew that the only public restroom was in the museum which was closed. There was a Navy ship in for repairs. No, we couldn’t go on board! So, after taking our pictures as best we could because it was all fenced off, we headed to a Starbucks in Vallejo.

When we found the Starbucks, we were allowed to buy coffee but not use their restroom! CostCo to the rescue. Fortunately there was one on the way home. All in all, it was a fun day. We did learn, though, not to go too far from home!

Out for a short ride: Woodland, California

These days, we’re not doing many full day trips, but opting for a few hours near by. So, last Sunday, we (Ray, Karen and I) went to Woodland, a small town about 30 minutes north of Sacramento. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed in Woodland, and it was a nice walk.

We took photos of the old courthouse. I was practicing lines and patterns. The courthouse is a beautiful old building which was replaced by a more modern structure. It was also nice to see a memorial to Yolo County Police Officers.

We walked along streets and found some nice structures and flowers. I’ve also discovered that Photoshop has now an easy sky replacement and I had fun working with it in post processing. Now I have to get some skies of my own!

We ended up at the library where we found more flowers and a beautiful building. It was breezy, maybe too much for a macro lens. I shot these with an 18 – 55mm lens.

Before heading back, we went out of town and into the countryside to find barns. We did find a couple, and one was pink!

It was a wonderful short get-a-way. We’ll have to find more since COVID is still raging.

Just a little cabin fever: Road trip along I-80

Let’s go back to early September when the West Coast was under fire. Smoke was everywhere. I was getting a bit of cabin fever. Before the fires ignited, I would go out with my photo buddies maybe once a week and we’d drive separately, mask up and enjoy a couple hours of photography. That was enough to keep me smiling while at home.

But since the fires, and the resulting smoke, it wasn’t healthy to be outdoors or let alone shoot. I was trapped. I was walking around our small house complaining and complaining. It must have been bad because Richard said, “Let’s get in the car and go for a ride.”

I said, “Why, there’s smoke everywhere.”

He said, “Maybe it’s not so bad up towards Reno.”

So I grabbed my camera, never leave home without it, and off we went. Our goal was to stop off and find some of the small towns advertised at freeway off Ramps. Our first stop was Alta, a very small town. This is what we found in Alta.

Now there must be more support businesses and housing, but we didn’t find it close to the freeway. Next stop Dutch Flat.

Remember, we just drove along the main streets in these small towns. Next came Gold Run.

We were on our way home when we stopped to see what this was.

I’m thinking it might have been a flume used to float logs down the mountain. Any other guesses?

So that was our short trip up the I-80. We never did get anywhere near Reno! Maybe next time.

Smoke is finally away: Downtown Roseville

Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I think I hear my camera calling to me. It’s saying, “Take me out! Use me!” But because of all the wildfires in California, the air has been too smoky to go out. But I did get out with my camera at the end of August to shoot murals in downtown Roseville.

Downtown Roseville is mainly Vernon Street and the streets surrounding their City Hall and other government buildings. Historic Roseville is nearby. But we went downtown to take pictures of murals. Quite frankly, I didn’t think they compared to the Wide Open Walls creations in Sacramento.

We walked quite a bit that morning just enjoying being out, the sunshine and no smoke. Here are some murals.

I took this wide and then broke it up into two images. You’ll have to click on the images to view them full.

Another wide and close up view.

I thought this one was very creative. Here’s a wide view and close up of her face.

This one was on the wall of a public swimming pool. I loved the colors.

And just one more.

I hope you didn’t think we’d just take photos of murals! Here’s some of the downtown shops.

And now around City Hall. The Round About, a water play area with fountain and the Roseville welcome structure, showing which street goes which way.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour of Downtown Roseville and murals. This Sunday, if the smoke is still gone, we will be taking photos of the Sacramento murals.

Cross your fingers for me. The camera will be unhappy if it can’t get out!

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 #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!