Why did I wake up so early? To do this blog?: Lake Tahoe, part 2.

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.

You can see for yourself!

Photographer playtime: San Jose, California

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!

So, here’s a glimpse of my playtime.

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!

Shooting with an old friend: Ironstone Winery, the grounds

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.

On the road again: Peachtree City, Georgia

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!

It was a great two days; and then we flew to New York where we are now, and then on to Pennsylvania.

 

Practice makes perfect–I hope soon!

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.

Capay Valley–after almost a month’s absence

Do people really forget about you when you don’t blog for a while? I hope not! My spirit was wanting to blog, but that 4-week long cold kept saying, “Stay home. Rest!”

Resting is boring; shooting photos is exciting. I had a wicked good time when Jayne West and I joined other photographers from the Exploring Photography meetup group in Capay, California. I’ve never been on a trip like this. We met each other for lunch at the Road Trip Bar and Grill, had lunch and then went on our individual road trips. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if Jayne hadn’t been in the car with me. Two women from the group met a landowner prior to our lunch, and he invited the entire group to come and explore his property. It was amazing. A literal junk yard for old cars and other stuff. Jayne encouraged me to try some bracketed shots. I managed to set up the tripod myself (A feat!), but I couldn’t get my new remote shutter release to work. It worked the night before! So I’m not sure how the bracketed shots will work on Wednesday when Jayne shows me how to use the HDR and Lightroom software.

After that, Jayne and I went to find Peacocks that were supposed to be at a park nearby. They were there, but stubborn and didn’t want to spread their beautiful feathers. After that, we drove on to find Lake Berryessa. But, it was closed by the time we got there. We did shoot some images from the side of the road just to prove we were there.

Just going out with this group makes me feel like I’m still spinning wheels. Most of the photographers do HDR and are more advanced than I am. So, I need to catch up! I’ve decided that every Tuesday will be practice day. Most of it will be local, maybe even my back yard! But, I will practice!

The added bonus to learning will be the routine blogging I hope to do. I have quite a few images from the Capay Valley so this may be a two or three part post.