The Russian Fort: Fort Ross, Jenner California

I’m still enjoying my short get-a-way to Windsor even though I’ve been home a while. In my last post Lens Artists Challenge: #140: An Change of Scenery, I showed you Windsor and the surrounding countryside. The following day, we drove toward the ocean and ended up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. What a photographers dream that was.

Before you got to the Fort, also called the Russian Fort¬†because it’s a historic Russian-era fort compound that has been designated National Historic Landmark status, you walk through the grounds of beautiful scenery and beaches. Here is a sample:

And now for the Fort. I know I’m giving you a lot to look at, but I’m hoping you’ll think it’s worth your time.

The next day we went to Napa. I’ll save that for another post.

Where have all the blossoms gone? Devastated almond orchards

It’s the season for all photographers and “lookie loos” to descend on almond orchards seeking beauty. However, due to a couple of good wind storms, one hard enough to topple trees and take off roofs, the beautiful blossoms are hard to find.

We photographers respect the orchards and do not go into them. We photograph from the roads, using long lenses. When I saw that one farm was opening their orchard (for a small fee) for us to walk through, Ray and I made a plan to go there. We knew it was risky given the winds we had and were still having that day, but we went anyway. This farm was outside of Davis and closer than those in Capay Valley.

It was as we thought. Not only were the blossoms blown off the trees, they were blown off the ground. In years past, fallen blossoms looked like snow. We talked to the orchard owner who said the situation was dire. Not only did she sell tickets for people to come in, but also hired bees from bee keepers to pollenate the blossoms. Cost and revenue loss. Not totally bare, some blossoms held on.

Here’s a picture taken in 2017 to give you some idea at how full the trees can get. Notice the blossoms on the ground.

A little further down the road we found a younger orchard, shorter trees, that seemed to withstand the wind better.

Here are some other almond blossom images taken on this trip.

We did find the beginnings of a mustard field.

So where have all the blossoms gone? Mother Nature has control over that! Next year!

When life gets busy: Capay Valley, California

Have you ever felt like a dog that’s chasing his tail? I’m sure you have at one point or another. March felt like that for me. Between getting ready for my Georgia trip, going on it, and doing photography to help with the emotional stress I knew it was bringing, I forgot to post my trip to Capay Valley.

Our Camera Totin’ Tuesday group went there to shoot the blossoms of the almond trees. There are many orchards in the valley, and fortunately they are all on different time tables of blooming. We were too late for some and just in time for others.

Timing in landscape photography is critical, and so is knowledge of the area. What I’m realizing is that I’m not the most patient photographer! I also rely on other photographers’ knowledge rather than research it for myself. I guess that makes me lazy in addition to impatient! I’d like to climb out of that rut but there are other things grabbing my time. I keep reading that a good photographer should do the research on the area they are shooting, go during the right time of the day and have the patience to sit there for the shot. I’m lucky I have people I can rely on!

Back to Capay Valley. We had a fun day of driving, finding almond orchards, farms and more. We took off with an end in mind and wandered until we got there. Cell phones helped us keep the three cars together.

I did enjoy it, and I’m sorry that I didn’t post sooner on this beautiful area, but………..you know!

In search of mossy trees & mustard: Napa Valley, California

I just love road trips, and recently we went to Napa Valley to find mossy trees and mustard. We really start out with no particular destination in mind; just what we want to find. And, we were successful!

First we found a beautiful grove of oak trees that had moss growing on them. Next we found some wine vines with mustard growing under them. Then we stopped for lunch at the Buttercream Bakery in Napa–one of our favorites when shooting in the city of Napa.

After lunch, we drove some more and returned to the city for some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which is another of our favorite stops. Then we photographed the 911 Memorial. We shot it the last time we were there, but the light was different. This day the sun shined through the glass plates, illuminating the names of locals who died in that horrific attack.

Of course we made some more stops on the way home until it was too dark to shoot. What a fun day. I do love road trips.

Just a follow up on my previous blog: I am looking into what competitions are available for non-professionals and continuing my Photoshop studies.