Deja vu: Mossy trees and mustard, Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, California, part 3

Mustard! It’s yellow just like the condiment, but you don’t spread it on sandwiches or hot dogs. You just look at its beauty and admire it. I’m amazed at how wildflowers can make a hillside or valley look stunning. You’ll see mustard in this post; the last of our visit to Lake San Antonio.

It was sad to see Lake Nacimiento and San Antonio so low in water capacity. We used to camp there with our children when we had a boat. We saw Nacimiento from Lakeside Rd and drove down to San Antonio. The California drought is becoming very noticeable now. We are beginning strict water rationing, which I think should have been done sooner.

Right now there are thunder storms north of us and it may be snowing in the Sierras. But, that won’t be enough to get us through the hot summer. I know the east coast has had enough rain and snow. Funny how Mother Nature is!

So, let’s get on with the serving of mustard–no hot dogs on the side!

Deja vu: Mossy trees and mustard, Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, California, part 2

Do you remember the mossy trees and mustard that I went all the way to Napa Valley to shoot? Well, I found the trees in our campground and the mustard in the countryside here at Lake San Antonio.

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned through photography, and I don’t mean learning the art. I’ve studied birds, flowers and trees! So during this trip I had the opportunity to educate my husband in the flora of the area. Sadly, because the lake is so low now, there wasn’t the opportunity to see many water fowl. There were plenty of turkey vultures though.

In addition, I became acquainted with the various stages of the dreaded fox tail from beautiful to mowed down so they stick in your socks and dogs paws. All weekend I picked fox tails from Gem’s hair, checked his ears and made sure he was tick free. The little guy was happy to be home.

In this post, I’ll give you the campground tour including the mossy trees. You’ll have to wait for the next post to see the mustard.

Starry, starry night: An astronomy star party, Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, California

Dry brittle low lying ground cover with lots of fox tails and some wildflowers welcomed us to our campground at Lake San Antonio this past weekend. Some of it was due to the fact that we were in the overflow area where there were few trees, but the drought has also taken its toll.

But the wildlife activity was normal with many chipmunks and rabbits running the campground. They left small to large sized holes that Gem liked to stick his mussel into and I kept pulling him back. But we were there for the stars and there were plenty of them.

This was my first attempt at shooting star trails. So armed with my printed out tutorials, I set up my tripod and camera and did my best. Thank goodness for Lightroom! No matter what I did, my images turned out with a light tan background. Each night I used a different lens and kept the aperture open. I did 30 minute exposures because I didn’t have stacking software.

I brought my challenge to my Toastmasters Photo Club meeting, it was suggested that I needed to close down the aperture because I was letting in too much light. Well, I’ll try that the next time we go up to the observatory at Blue Canyon. It needs to get a little warmer for my body! In the meantime, I’ll show you what I did get.

I was also shooting during the day, catching some of the wildflowers and fox tails, and I’ll show you those images in my next post. On to my starry nights.

Back from Death Valley, the final chapter

Good news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park. Bad news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park! It was so pretty, unusual and amazing there, I wish I had more to show you. But then, you may have seen enough. We are so fortunate to have spectacular National Parks here in the U.S. And seven or more are right here in California.

Today I’m showing you scenes from the Artist Drive, another drive through canyon, and Natural Bridge Canyon, a short hike to an amazing natural rock bridge. I will admit that I almost didn’t walk it because of the cold and bad back I was suffering from, but I was glad I did.

If you have a chance, visit Death Valley. Just don’t go in the summer when temperatures are HOT!

Not so sick any more in Death Valley, part 3

Yes, not so sick, but recuperating. The cold is almost gone—no tissues used today and my back is allowing me to move more easily. I hope my chiropractor, Dr. Heather Rosenberg, is home from Russia when we return.

Today we jammed in three sights that I will show you in another post. Today’s post is all about the highest and lowest places, Badwater Basin, in Death Valley. This is such an amazing place. In the summer, temperatures can reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit. During this winter trip, the temperatures are in the low 70s, and it is just beautiful.

One disappointment: they advertise Death Valley as one of the darkest places and welcome astronomers to view the stars. However, since we’ve been here, there has been a cloud cover. It’s great for photography, but not for Richard who brought his telescope!

Tomorrow we start the trek home. By the time we get there, I’ll be ready for more photography meetups.

Now, for the high, Dante’s View, and low, Badwater Basin, of the trip.

Camping in Lotus, CA

When you come across a campground as beautiful along the American River as the Ponderosa Resort in Lotus, you really don’t need to go anywhere else to take pictures. So, I spent most of the week trying different things with the camera. Lessons learned: use a tripod for creating glassy river water, hook the dog to your belt so your hands are free and don’t bring your coffee along! These images have received minimal editing because I’m still at the point of just learning the tools with PE9. I will be interesting to see how they change when I do understand how to truly edit them.