A bright spot in April: Crystal Hermitage Garden, Ananda Villiage

The tulips bloom only in April at the Crystal Hermitage Garden in Ananda Village in Nevada County. So, we waited for sunshine and no rain. We finally decided to go when there would be a possibility of sunshine, meaning partly cloudy with some sun. This resulted with some tulips open, but most shut.

But it was worth the trip. Planted each year, the gardens are always beautiful and attract visitors from all over to see the more than 17,000 plants. This quote was taken from one of their sites.
“We planted over 111 varieties of mid and late season Dutch bulbs this year,” said lead Gardener, Nancy Mair. “We blend tulips with a rainbow of complementary pansies, wisteria, rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies, dogwood trees and the fabulous cherry tree, so that guests enjoy a different garden in each terrace.”

I’ll admit that I was upset that after waiting, we still were under dark skys for most of our time there. But, as usual, it was a great experience. Until next April here are some of the images I took.

Didn’t you want to go there again? Nevada City, California

Challenges, I love them–most of the time. Visiting Nevada City in the Sierra foothills, was like that. If you’ve been following this blog, you have seen images of this quaint town and its neighbor, Grass Valley. We stopped there on our way to Downieville, walked and took photos and then went on to the city of no pizza!

I didn’t mind because it’s challenging to find something different to shoot, or maybe to shoot from a different angle which can give you different results. Exercises like these help improve your compositions and photographic abilities.

So here I am in Nevada City finding inspiration, seeing new opportunities and learning.

Just a little disappointed: Independence Trail

You know that feeling you get when you set your expectations to a certain thing and that thing turns out not to be what you visualized? I don’t know what we expected when our Tuesday group decided to go to the Independence Trail near Nevada City in Nevada County. One of us envisioned a parking lot rather than pull off the road parking. I thought since it was billed as wheel-chair accessible, it would be a wide and nicely kept trail. We were both disappointed.

Of course, we visited in late summer when everything is dry and there’s very little green to be seen. Our fault for not planning better. There was brush everywhere and the beautiful Manzanita trees couldn’t stand out. So, most of us shot close up. We also had some lessons from senior photographers in our group. Jim showed me how changing from spot to matrix metering can change your photo. Tom was giving Karen and Kelley other gems of wisdom.

When you shoot with wonderful people, disappointment is minimal. We ate lunch in Nevada City and did some additional shooting. The venue may not have been what was expected, but we had fun and gained some additional knowledge.

Going and looking back: Grass Valley, California

We are in a morphing stage. Since Greg’s passing, our Tuesdays With Seniors group hasn’t been the same. We’ve reformed and are now enjoying the company of pre-seniors. It was during this time that our two new members, Rita and Karen, and I went to Grass Valley and the Empire Mine State Park.

I had been there twice with Greg, and he was the tour guide. He mostly showed me the town, various high points and the countryside. He used to live in Nevada City and for him it was a homecoming.

I find Grass Valley old town a little less touristy than Nevada City. We went to both, but shot mostly in Grass Valley. Once again, I needed to shoot the familiar scene a little differently. I didn’t do HDR or carry a tripod as I had done on my two previous visits. I tried different angles and got in a little closer in some shots, especially at the mine.

This time our visit to the Empire Mine, where I did use a tripod and shot HDR,  yielded an unauthorized brief tour of the cottage. The ranger in the office turned her head and allowed the docent to take us in. We were like children in the candy store, that is until the alarm went off. Our docent, probably feeling like he got caught with his hand in the candy jar, was busy trying to turn off the blaring sound. Soon we heard an additional but different blare–the second alarm! We took our shots quickly because we knew that once the alarms were turned off, our sneak peak into the cottage would be over.

But, the fun isn’t over, and I look forward to more adventures with this re-formed group. We will have a new name which will be decided tomorrow during our Napa visit.

 

Wandering: Grass Valley and Nevada City, California

I’m on the move this year, shooting whenever and wherever I can. So, when photo buddy Greg Morris offered to take me up to the foothills and visit the sister cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City, I couldn’t refuse. I had been there and toured the Empire Mine State Park, but when you go with someone who knows the area, it’s a whole new experience.

As a former resident, Greg knows all the stores, buildings, neat homes and the area’s history. Greg shoots mainly on a tripod and takes a good deal of HDR shots. And the results are amazing. I’m going to have to ask him to give me a lesson in Photomatix.

It was fun listening to his stories. I hope you enjoy the images.