Triple digits will get to you: William B. Pond, Carmichael

Get up early, walk the dog (2 miles), do outside chores (if you have energy left), have breakfast, shower and then prepare for a day inside. That’s my typical day in this triple digit heat wave we’re having in the Sacramento area. It’s been a week and my camera is calling to me. I need to ignore it. I don’t want to ignore it. I would give anything to take it out and shoot with it.

Yes I’m complaining, and that’s okay! But I did get out locally to William B. Pond Recreational Area in Carmichael before this heat wave. It is located along the American River and is easily accessible for handicapped individuals. Marlene met me there and then we took off on foot.

I had never been to this part of the park before, and I saw beautiful trees.

The paved roads in the park were not open to autos, but only biking and walking. And, there were a lot of bikers (the peddle kind). As they were coming up behind you, they would let you know which side they were going to pass you on. They also let you know if you were walking on the wrong side of the road!

There were fishermen in their favorite spots and families enjoying the beach.

I did manage to find a few other things to photograph. You know I can’t get away without shooting some sort of flower. The phone pole caught my eye. And the last couple of shots of the River from the bridge.

I also noticed that hardly anyone was wearing a mask! I don’t want to get into the to wear or not debate, but if there is the slightest chance that it can protect you and others, why not put one on!

I’m hoping for better weather next week so my camera and I can be out and about. When you’re in triple digits, the 90s sound cool!

In search of vineyards: Plymouth, California

My first commission (well sort of a commission) came from my son and daughter-in-law. “We want a lot of your pictures in our new house,” Greg said. Jess was more detailed–vineyards and oak trees. So, I waited until the leaves on the grapevines were green and the grapes were maybe turning color.

My first effort was going to Plymouth in Amador County to search the vineyards closer to home. We had some success. But first we went to Michigan Bar Road and that nice farm. I’ve posted pictures from it in this blog before, so for those who have followed me for a long time, you’re not experiencing deja vu! If you’re new to this blog, here’s your chance! I did try to take a different view of it.

We then went to the Amador Flower Farm where I found a beautiful old oak, and flowers for close ups. The close ups were done with my 18 – 200mm lens. (Yes, I’m keeping it!).

Now for the wineries. They were all located on Shenandoah Rd and it was an easy ride. I think Jess will be happy with some of these.

My search didn’t stop here. Next post: Napa Valley!

Getting lost: Folsom Lake

We weren’t lost, we found the exact parking lot, went down to the trail head, but couldn’t find the Old Salmon Falls Trail. This trail was supposed to be flat and a 2 mile loop. Yes, I could do that. However, we ended up walking about ½ mile up and came back down. But, what landscapes there were to be shot!

We think the trail was under water now that Folsom Lake is full. One photographer suggested that we didn’t drive far enough to find the correct trail. It all comes down to the fact that we were lost, didn’t find the right trail, but had a great time roaming around Folsom Lake.

After our lake shoot we did our usual out to lunch routine and then on to walk Old Folsom. This part will be in the next post.

What did I learn? I dabbled a little in the Nik software I downloaded (Silver Efex and Color Efex). I am now a Nik fan. What fun! I’m also getting better results in Lightroom.  Remember, this is the year for learning to use the software programs I have.  I’ll admit that due to personal stuff, I haven’t been as diligent as I want, but that’s life. However, my commitment is still there.

The moral to today’s story is never give up. I’ll learn the software; and when we get lost, we find wonderful landscapes to shoot and have lots of fun.

On the road again: Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and Fresno, California

“You can’t go home again!” You’ve heard that old saying, and going to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks was like going home for Richard and me. We used to take the kids camping there pretty much every summer. I just loved it there, but we haven’t visited in more than 30 years.

The good news is that nothing has changed in the parks. The same trails are there, campgrounds are the same and the sights are still beautiful. The bad news is that we have changed–we’ve gotten older! Oh, and the altitude is about 1,000 feet less than Bodie. We took a few simple walks and decided that we needed to get into shape. My goal is to do Little Baldy Saddle. It’s a beautiful walk through the woods and then about 1,000 feet straight up via a switch back trail. At least that’s the way I remember it!

Why haven’t we been there? Well, our previous trailer was too big to get into the park and Richard is on a CPAP machine at night, needing a generator to run it. I was told over the phone that they would not make exceptions for medical purposes and no generators could be run at night (there are no hookups). However, it was a different story when we talked with the rangers in person. We can camp there, and we found just the right spot that would accommodate our much smaller rig. That’s why we were in Fresno at an RV park. And staying in the National Park will eliminate the 1 1/2 hour ride each way on Highway 180. I will talk about how Fresno surprised us in another edition of this post.

Right now I want to introduce you to Sequoia if you haven’t been there. This park is home to the earth’s largest tree in wood volume. The General Sherman Tree is estimated to be 2,200 years old. Sequoia is also the second oldest National Park, being given the status in September 1890. The Sequoia tree is resistant to most disease and even fire because of the chemicals in their wood and bark. Different from the coastal redwoods, which are tall and thinner, the Sequoia is wide with a massive trunk, huge stout branches and is not as tall.

Take a look at these magnificent trees found only on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada usually between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. But, why when they get older, they get stronger; and, when we get older….?

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, part two of three

Ah, Mother Nature–she gives us beauty to enjoy, and she also gives us insects. I’m talking about mosquitoes, mosquitoes,  and more mosquitoes! There were a lot of them at Gray Lodge and they were BIG. As soon as I would stop to take in a scene or a photo, they were all over me. The double layers of clothing protected me somewhat, but they bit through jeans and socks. I have bites on my face, legs, feet, hands and fingers. The first thing I did when I got home was shower and wash my hair. I’m not complaining; it was worth it. A city girl, I’m just amazed.

Today,  we continue our journey through Gray Lodge. First we did the driving tour. You cannot get out of your car, so we were shooting through open windows and the sun roof. Yes, the car was full of mosquitoes too. Then we did the walking tour. That’s when Diane and I noticed the mosquitoes just sitting on the back of Laura’s pants. They must have been on ours too because I have a lot of bites on the backs of my legs. This tour brought us in a little closer to the birds and plants.

After we left Gray Lodge, we took a nice tour of the area on our way to Delevan National Wildlife Refuge. We stopped along the way when we saw anything interesting.