Some days the magic works…

Many years ago, I met and fell in love with a wonderful woman.  In one of the greatest moments of my life, she consented to share my life and allowed me to share hers.  A couple weeks before we began our journey together, I started a very brief career as a Deputy Sheriff.  My fellow deputies were always joking about a book we should write, called “Things You Want to Say in Court, But Aren’t Allowed To.”  One of the things we wanted to say was “…some days the magic works…”  This would be in response to questioning by the defense attorney regarding the reasons a procedure, practice, or investigative technique worked (or didn’t work) in one case but not another.  Those funny (and sometimes not so funny) things we always wanted to say have come to mind many times over the years – most recently in the last week.

As you know, I’m marketing note cards featuring my images.  My first note cards were made using a card stock and were 8.5″ x 5.5″ (A9 size, in printing jargon).  Several customers requested smaller note cards on a glossy paper.  After some looking, I found note card blanks that fold to 5.5″ x 4.25″ (A2 size), with a glossy surface for printing.  I bought the paper and began making note cards with wonderful results – until a week ago.  Last week my printer adopted the “some days the magic works” mindset.  After several frustrating days on the phone with technical support, I finally found a way to make the printer work correctly.  The jury is still out, however, as I’m waiting for better consistency (some days the magic works).

Between the printer and other things occupying my time, I haven’t been out shooting as much.  I’ve been watching a Great Horned Owl’s nest in nearby Carson City.  I saw that the eggs hatched and there are two little ones in the nest.  Take a look!

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The first time I saw a baby – peaking over the edge of the nest but not far from Mama.

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Yesterday, Mama was on a limb below the nest. The little ones were very active and loud. I’m not sure if they were hungry or just mad that Mom was taking a break.

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This little one was looking over the edge of the nest towards Mama.

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Today, Mama was back in the nest and the little ones were laying low. The leaves blocked the view (there’s a hint of a fuzzy little head just to the right of Mama) of anything fun.

There are a few more images on the Birds page – take a look!

Into the future, car show season is just around the corner.  I’m working with a new neutral density filter system to make shooting in bright daylight a little easier.  The results will be great.  Until next time – ENJOY!  Photorogr

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All Who Wander Are Not Lost

My lovely bride and I snuck out for a quick dinner last week and, on the way, I saw a sticker on a car that read, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost.”  For some reason, the phrase resonated with me – maybe because I was hungry – but the thought seemed incomplete.  Susan and I discussed the sticker over dinner, brainstorming ways to complete the thought.  We decided that it needed to say, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost – Some Of Us Are Taking Pictures!”  I slept well that night, meeting a subliminal need to be profound.  Maybe it was the good dinner and wonderful company – I’ll go with that (love you, Cutie!).

In my last post, I teased you with a promise to deliver a great composition montage from my photography challenge.  Here you go!

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This is the stamp mill at Coloma State Park, overlaid with a texture from a classic Chevy I found in a barn yard. I placed the wood stamp mill in the rusty areas of the texture and let the faded grey areas interact with the background and foreground.

The challenge for last week was street photography.  The instructions were simple: go to a location(s) and take pictures of street scenes – include people if you can.  I was a bit apprehensive for this challenge.  I don’t live in a big city where people can be oblivious of activity on the street.  And the Carson Valley is not small enough so I know everyone.  Granted, I know lots of people here, but not everyone and, in true pioneer spirit, being too invasive can get you shot around here – figuratively, not literally.  So, I traveled across the Valley to the Town of Genoa.  It’s a quaint little place – the oldest settlement in Nevada (unless you’re from Dayton, where they take exception to Genoa’s claim, but I digress).  Tourism is big in Genoa with lots of people around, so I felt safe with my camera over there.  Genoa has one main intersection with a 4 way stop.  I parked a little bit away from the intersection and started taking pictures: a nice couple walking through the Genoa State Park; vehicle traffic going through the intersection; a family stopping at the General Store from their bicycle ride; and a group of men enjoying drink outside the Genoa Bar, the “Oldest Thirst Parlor in Nevada.”  My attention kept returning to a group of people placing mulch in the planting areas along the street.  I recognized one of the workers, so I approached and said howdy.  They are members of the Friends of Genoa, and were sprucing up the downtown before a major tourism conference next week and a big event, the Genoa Cowboy Festival, the first weekend in May.  They were very chatty and welcomed me and my camera.  Here’s my image.

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I got rave reviews from the photo challenge facilitator, who liked that the woman’s red jacket complemented the red in the stop sign, the ‘V’ positioning of the people, and the lines created by the tools connected the people in the picture. Better lucky than good? Yes, I think so!

One of the great things about being retired/self-employed is that my time is mine to use as I wish.  Susan and I live in a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.  Several of these neighbors are members of an ATV group that hits the trail at least once a month.  This month’s trip was southeast of Dayton, the Rawe Peak area, and featured fun stops at the Como Mine and the Palmyra town site.  If you want more information on this area, just Google ‘Como Mine’ or ‘Palmyra, Nevada’ and you’ll find lots of information on the area.

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This is Lynn, John, and Bob, with the Como Mine in the background.

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Looking down to the road from the mine equipment. The high desert was beautiful.

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This drum was intriguing. I don’t know enough about this mine to tell you what its purpose was.

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The remains of the only building ‘standing’ in Palmyra.

I can’t go anywhere without looking for a little wildlife.  We hit the jackpot near Palmyra, as we found a band of 6 horses, including a young colt.

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Here he is with Mom. A fire passed through this area some years ago, making tough walking to get close to the horses. Not too close, however – this was shot with the big lens and then cropped.

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The yellow grass, bare trees, and reds in the horses created quite the challenge for my limited photography skills. The horses were mostly cooperative and didn’t run away.

We also went to a nearby mountain, just down from Rawe Peak, to enjoy the views and let a couple group members do their geo-caching thing.

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Looking northeast towards Stagecoach, Nevada.

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Looking northwest towards Mt. Rose. Dayton is in the right side of the image, and Mound House is on the left.

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Looking across the Dayton Valley to Virginia City on the hillside (along the light brown line in the far mountainside). Mt Rose is just out of the image on the left.

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The view to the southwest and the Carson Valley. Jobs Peak, Freel Peak, and Little Sister are the prominent snow covered peaks. Lake Tahoe is just over the ridge of the far mountain range.

I’ll close this week with a images of the wild horses closer to home.  I checked on them the other day, and they are enjoying the spring very well.  I now have images of 7 new ones this year.  I know the names of 4 of the 7.  I hope you enjoyed my fun week.  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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These are the two little ones in Shorty’s band, I think. They didn’t get too far from their Mamas.

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This is one of my favorite images from this year, and is available on a small note card or as a larger print. Sorry, I had to get one commercial plug into the post!

 

 

More fun than I should be allowed to have…

Last weekend, Susan surprised me with a weekend vacation to Gold Country in California.  She told me to pack a bag, load up the cameras and tripods, and we headed out!  We drove SR 88 (it’s very nice that CA and NV used the same number for this road) to Jackson CA.  On the way, we stopped near Red Lake and grabbed a few pictures.

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It was still morning and the sunlight made this slope an image begging to be made. As always, my greatest challenge was balancing the exposure for the light and dark colored rocks and the bright snow patches (wait -that really is snow -we actually had a little this year).

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I am working hard to look around when shooting. Just because there’s a great subject in front of you doesn’t mean there’s not a greater subject to the left or right, or behind, below, or above you. This rock slope is just right of the above image, and I was intrigued by the tree growing out of seemingly impenetrable rock. Again, I loved the lines and shadows of the rock, and the beautiful tree gives the promise of life in the most unlikely places. And then there’s the water – the source of life – coming down the slope. Beautiful!

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Just down the fill slope, I found this tree also defying the odds. The summit in the background enhanced the composition very well.

We got to Jackson in the late morning.  The weather in this quaint little community was great.  We found Tailing Wheel Park, a local park that is home to the remains of a wheel system that moved mine tailings from the Kennedy Mine to a holding pond.  The Kennedy Mine was a very busy place in the early 1900’s, and its operations generated a massive amount of tailings.  A freak rainstorm washed some of the tailings into fertile farmland, and the Mine constructed this system to prevent a lawsuit.  Two of the four wheels remain, but only one remains standing.  This is a beautiful area, worthy of a visit.  Go to http://www.touramador.com/kennedy-tailing-wheels-park for more information.

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Tailing Wheel 3.

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More Tailing Wheel 3.

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Here is my lovely bride standing next to one of the buckets used to transport the tailings. This is displayed next to the remains of Wheel 3. All that remains of Wheels 1 and 2 are the foundations, the wheels are long gone. Wheel 4 is still standing, and is housed in a building uphill from Wheel 3.

We had a nice lunch at Stanley’s Steakhouse in the National Hotel, in downtown Jackson.  This historical building was recently remodeled and is beautiful.

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This is the lobby of the National Hotel. I am so lucky to travel with a beautiful model.

After a little walk around town, we decided to visit Old Folsom.  We traveled on two lane roads through rolling hills.  We hadn’t been to this area at this time of year before, so we were amazed by the green grass.  We are so used to traveling Nevada and Wyoming, and found the absence of sagebrush a nice change.

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We saw this fella’ when we turned from SR 169 onto Scott Road. At first, we thought he was a statue because he didn’t move – then his tail switched.

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When we pulled over to take a picture, we found he had a friend.

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We saw several scenes like this on Scott Road, but the road is so narrow that shoulders and parking don’t exist. When we found this tree, we also found a place to pull off the road and park.

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I walked a little way down the road for this image. It was definitely worth the walk. This is typical of the country between Jackson and Folsom.

We love Old Folsom, and have visited to do a little antiquing.  It’s been a while since our last visit, and much has changed – all for the better!  We went down to the railroad museum (which was closed, darn it) but found these couple of images.

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I think this is a residence for a station master or someone like that. We’ll go back when it’s open and we can go in.

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We could see the displays through the windows, but this was closed, too. Gotta go back sometime!

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Folsom Factory Outlet Stores to look for shoes.  I found an awesome pair at the Merrell store – they will be great for the summer!  We headed up the hill to Placerville and the Eden Vale Inn.  Thirty years ago, a pair of newlyweds bought a barn and transformed it into their home and then a bed and breakfast.  Mark and Gayle are marvelous hosts and mere words do not do justice to the Inn.  Eden Vale deserves its own blog – visit http://www.edenvaleinn.com/ for more information.

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Here is my lovely bride in one of the many garden areas at the Eden Vale Inn. This one is right outside our room.

After dinner, we sat around the fire pit and chatted with a young couple from Los Angeles.  Well, that’s the end of day 1 of our great adventure.  Are you tired yet?  Surprisingly, we only drove about 150 miles total for the day.  Not too bad!

Day 2 began with a gourmet breakfast at Eden Vale, and then a trip up the road to Coloma CA.  Coloma is on the American River and is home to Sutter’s Mill.  Surely you remember what happened at Sutter’s Mill in 1848?  That’s right – gold was discovered and the push to gold country was on.  We started our visit to Coloma in the peaceful confines of the cemetery.  There were several names on the sign at the gate and I didn’t memorize them.  We enjoyed exploring the grounds.  We encountered a few mosquitos here – the only place we did on our adventure.

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From here, we went down to the river and the State Park.  At the Sutter Mill replica, we found the Park Historian giving a tour.  We listened in for a bit, and then started walking.  We bumped into the tour several more times during our time there.

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I was off to the side working on other pictures when the tour arrived, so I missed the historian’s spiel, but I think this is a stamp mill. The historian fired it up and made some noise.

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I liked the lines and shadows made by this rock wall, the difference in the grass between the upper and lower levels.

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And my lovely bride in the remains of the Coloma jail.

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Susan decided I needed to be in a picture, too, so I set her up and went to the corner – yes, it’s a familiar place for me!

From Coloma, we drove into Placerville and walked around.  Placerville is a great place to visit – lots of things to see and great places to eat.  We visited a yarn store and kicked around the antique shops in town.  We also drove up to Georgetown to see a new place.  I found a picture that I want to make there, but I need to do it when the modern cars are gone – oh no, we have to go back for another visit!

Day 3 and another great breakfast.  We loaded the Expedition and bid our hosts good bye.  Just uphill (literally) from Placerville is Apple Hill, a farming area that specializes in (you guessed it) apples and other fruits.  In the fall, Apple Hill celebrates the harvest with a couple months of tours and fairs and sooo much fun.  You can pick your own apples, buy an apple pie, and have a grand time!  Wait for images from my visit there next fall.  For now, the trees are in bloom and things are quiet.  We enjoyed driving the rolling hills and seeing the pretty country without the traffic and chaos.

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Apple trees in bloom!

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I’m not sure when this tractor ran last. It sure makes a pretty picture!

We drove up US 50 to Lake Tahoe.  The traffic coming the other way was the usual for a Sunday afternoon – lots of people heading home from their weekend at the Lake.  We stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, and I got out the tripod and worked in the low light.  The water was flowing, but not very fast.  Darn drought!

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We got home, unpacked the car, and started doing the laundry.  I rested and then started working on the pictures.  We watched a covey of Quail kick around the yard one morning this week, and I caught up with them on the east side of the house.

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The blur in the image was caused by a couple other Quail chasing around. I left it alone because it’s kind of fun.

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So now you see why I’m having more fun than I should be allowed to have.  As always, my lovely bride Susan treats me like a king.  I am so lucky to have her and enjoy her love and support.  For next week, be prepared to see more baby horse pictures (I found a new one yesterday) and also my submittal for the weekly photo challenge – composite montage.  I am overlaying an image with a texture to create a more artsy look.  I’ve been experimenting with the technique, but haven’t finished my submittal.

Thanks for following my journey, and Enjoy – PHOTOROGR