It’s sort of early here in Sacramento for Fall color which is Amy’s challenge this week. In fact, we don’t get much of our own but have to drive about 2 hours to see the lovely yellows and oranges. So let’s look back on previous years and day trips.
Let’s look at what 2018 brought us when Marlene and I visited Markleevile.
Just what are back country roads? Could they be roads that are new to you and fun to explore? Could they be taking a wrong turn and ending up on a road that’s barely suitable for driving? For Wandering Dogs, Beth and her husband, it’s getting your tires dirty and seeing the beautiful countryside. So this week she’s challenged us to take that road less traveled.
For me, it means adventure and new roads, paved or not. I’ve mentioned my photo outings with my friend Greg, who passed away, in other posts. He, Marlene and I would set out in the morning and return in time for dinner–maybe! We didn’t know where he was taking us and sometimes neither did he. He had a passion for turning down side roads, especially when it said “Dead End!” These are from some of those trips.
Sometimes it’s the need to get away for an hour or two. Early on during lockdown last year, I was getting antsy. When Richard noticed me scratching at the front door, screaming “Let me out!” (A slight exaggeration, but true feeling!), he said let’s go for a ride. We didn’t go far; just up Highway 80, looking for small towns. One of these towns was Dutch Flat, and it was small.
Another of our escapes had us looking for the Sugar Pine Reservoir. The was one of those times when taking the wrong turn could get you into trouble. The GPS showed us a way back, but it didn’t say how narrow and twisty a dirt road it was. It took us 4 hours to do what should have taken at most 1 hour!
Photo buddy Jean likes to get in the car and go with sort of an idea of where to head. For this outing we headed out to the Eastern Sierras in search of Fall colors, but Jean smelled water, and off we went. We found a stream and a lake and I don’t remember the name.
So these are some of my road less traveled excursions. Yes, there were more, but I’ll save them for another time.
Given this week’s challenge by Patti to focus on details, my mind went back to a Toastmaster Photo Club I tried to start and a speech given by a professional photographer in the group. He talked and demonstrated about a different way to focus on details: finding the picture within the picture.
He showed us how to focus on the details of an image to find more images by cropping sections. His example was of a construction site. First he showed us the entire landscape of the site. Then he focused in on a worker, continued with more sections and ended with a pair of shoes. It was an amazing lesson.
Today I’m going to try the same with a landscape taken yesterday at Scotts Flat Reservoir in Nevada City. I was hiking with my daughter-in-law Jess and granddaughter Olivia. Here’s my picture within a picture.
First the landscape.
Next I isolated Jess, Olivia and their dog Hana.
My final capture from this landscape is of a log on the beach.
Although the official Toastmaster group disbanded, a few of us kept meeting until 14 months ago when the pandemic shut us down. We continued to share information, but I will never forget this lesson on details and finding the picture within the picture.
It’s been so long since I was on a day-long road trip. I guess I was complaining a lot so Jean said let’s go. I said I wanted to shoot the Fall colors but wasn’t so keen about going to Hope Valley again. She suggested Sierra Valley in Sierra County where she once lived, and since she was driving off we went. We, or I should say Jean, drove about 330 miles that day.
I found, after out last road trip, that Jean likes water–well, taking pictures of water. There are many small lakes in Sierra Valley and we stopped at one. Sorry, I don’t remember its names but it was beautiful.
If you notice most of the pictures don’t have clouds, but this one does. I’m getting better with Luminar sky replacement.
We drove and drove, stopping here and there. I was able to get a little bit of Fall color which was great since we didn’t reach our destination! Here are some images.
I caught a few other scenic images. We went through the small town of Sierraville. I thought the barber shop was aptly named!
We ended up at Jean’s old stomping ground, Loyalton.
We ended the day with dinner. I had the best burger since the pandemic began. We ate outside with plenty of space between tables. I had so much fun, and want to do it again soon.
There are some mornings like this. You wake up about 4 a.m. and just can’t get back to sleep. Rather than tossing and turning, it’s better to put the extra morning hours to good use–like writing this blog before I go on a photo outing.
Speaking of photo outings, let’s return to Lake Tahoe and the second day. We got a slow start, but that was okay because we weren’t in a rush. Our goal was to visit Fallen Leaf Lake, meeting our hosts there. Since we left before them, we stopped at the Tallac Historic Site. The Baldwin Estate was a rustic home set on the beach. The house was closed that morning, but I think they give tours during the summer season. Then we went on to Fallen Leaf Lake.
To get to the lake, you need to drive a narrow, curvy road with many single lanes. I was amazed that there were so many homes up there. Marlene did an excellent piloting job. However we didn’t realize that there were two lakes and our hosts went to the upper lake. No cell service. No getting in touch with them.
After deciding we didn’t want to share our lunch with wasps, we drove back down the hill to the Emerald Bay overlook named Inspiration Point. There we were entertained by a gentleman who was “singing for his supper” or so his sign said. In Emerald Bay you could still see the deep blue color of the water. Because of the drought, the lake’s water level was down. Fortunately, because Lake Tahoe is deep, its beauty shines on.
For me, photography is playtime. Just going out with the camera slung over my shoulder fills my soul and invigorates my spirit. That’s why I bring at least one camera with me everywhere. Sometimes I get down to my point and shoot or even to my cell phone! This past weekend I went to San Jose to celebrate my two friends birthdays with them and their close friends. They are the same age and one week apart.
Of course, the camera came with me, and I had a purpose in mind–practice my macro skills. My friends live in a modular home park and there are flowers abundant. Perfect conditions for macro practice except for the breeze that creates movement in all the park’s plants. But, I persisted anyway. With camera and macro lens, I went out to find success. I hope you enjoy my efforts. I do think I’m getting better at it. Oh, all these images were handheld.
The second morning I took my camera and 18 – 55 mm lens to Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos. I didn’t have too much time because we had a celebration to go to. This was a pretty setting with family setting up picnics, walkers and dogs, fisherman, boaters, geese and other photographers–imagine that!
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!
My old friend in this case is my 18 – 55 mm lens. It is my utility lens. Every time I promise myself to shoot with the prime 50 for the day, I usually pick up the 18 – 55. It is so nice that I rarely use my ultra wide lens when I have to carry the gear all day. I can do landscape and close up with this lens.
During our Ironstone Winery visit, I used my D7100 and the macro and 18 – 55 lenses. I will say that I look impressive with my sling (that sometimes carries two cameras) and vest. I’m pushing to live up to the image! In this post, you will see the grounds where they hold life cycle events and underground wine storage facility they call the cavern.
So here’s to my old friend, my 18 – 55! And here are the images.
Well, we’re not exactly on the road again, but we are on the east coast. Last year we took an amazing trip across the United States in our 5th wheel trailer, and this blog was essentially a travelogue for three months. We’re back on the east coast again, but this time we traveled via airplane.
Coming out for a wedding, we are visiting relatives who live on the east coast. Our first stop was Peachtree City. We wanted to visit our niece, Roberta, last year, but they were traveling. This time we caught them at home, and since my brother and sister-in-law have moved here, we were able to see the entire family. Two teenagers can keep a family busy with sports and other activities. Roberta’s family is extremely busy. She has got to learn how to use the word “no!” During our two-day stay she made 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies while running a taxi for Daylen and Evan and taking care of her parents.
We did take an outing to a Fayette County park. From a photography point of view, it was a typical park. We walked the path, had a picnic lunch and then the clouds came. Picture perfect! There are a lot of images so please be patient. And they are out of order–software problems today!
Does practice make perfect? Well, I practice and I’m far from perfect, but I know I have to keep it up. Last week was so busy I didn’t have a chance to take my camera out. I felt like life had been cheating me of my passion. Yes, I’ve gotten that attached to this hobby. But, practice chances are where you make them.
I’ve been in San Jose, California for some R&R and to celebrate my dear friends’ birthdays. As part of my R&R, I took my D7100 and 50 mm lens out for practice, shooting on manual. First I walked around the area where my friends live, and the next day, I walked a nearby lake/park.
How did the practice go? I’ll be honest, I’m not sure. Of course, I’m more critical of my abilities than someone else would be. This prime 50 mm lens is fast, and I guess I’m not used to having a fast lens that lets in more light. My struggle during these last two days was with the exposure. I did work with the settings until I ended up with a good shot, but it was frustrating.
I’m sure if I keep it up, the struggles will get less. So the only thing I can do is practice until perfect comes along–at least good comes along.