Painting is just another way of keeping a diary ~Pablo Picasso

Monday, April 30, 2012

Photographer's Day

I think this will be my final Preston Castle photo, but I wanted to show the model shoot portion of it.  I was surprised by how many different models there were.   I think the guy in the center is the main photographer, and anyone else is just his assistant or someone like me who wandered in and started taking photos.   It was tricky to get all the photographers and the model in one shot because these photographers really hop around a lot!  And even though it looks like the center photographer is in danger of falling through that fissure in the floor, this room was actually pretty solid ;)  Actually I wish I'd stayed and watched these shoots.  I'm not really interested in this type of photography, but I'm sure there was something to learn here.  It just didn't occur to me at the time.  Oh well.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Don't Go in After Them!

It turns out that the name Preston Castle is a bit of a euphemism.  It was built in the 1890s as a home for wayward boys.  Called the Preston School of Industry, it was operational until 1960, when a new facility was built.  Then for 40 years it was left to decay and vandalism.  It's been taken over by a preservation foundation, that runs fund-raising events like Photographer's Day.  I didn't know any of this until I arrived.  I actually thought I was going to a castle!  And let me just say that, while a few of the rooms could maybe be a little charming, the creepiness factor is off the charts here!  I was given a safetly briefing when I entered, and among the things I was told...and I'm not kidding here... was that if I saw a fellow photographer fall through the floor, I shouldn't go in after them, but should call a docent.  Or maybe it was call 911, I honestly wasn't paying attention at that point.  My mind completely stopped listening at "Don't go in after them!"  Seriously!  Has someone actually done that???

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Haunting of Preston Castle

Today was "Photographer's Day" at Preston Castle in Ione.  Very interesting experience!  In addition to photographers (and lots of models) there were a handful of ghost-hunters, if that's the right term.  One guy showed me some device that looked like a stud-finder.  I wish I'd photographed it!  It was supposed to pick up electrical impulses from spirits, and he claimed some success.  I'm not one to rain on someone else's parade, so I didn't question too much.  But I was inspired to try my own ghostly interpretation.  A rare self-portrait!  :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Sunbow!

Am I the one who says we never have interesting weather in the Central Valley? 
I'm going to have to take it back. 
We've had a very dynamic weather week!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Snail Crossing

Snails by the hundreds on the sidewalks this morning.  It rained last night and I guess that really brings them out.  At my house they seem to live on the shrub side of the sidewalk, and "work" on the grass side of the sidewalk.  When the sun comes up, they make their way home after a long night's work in the grass.  It was the same on my walking route this morning.  They were always crossing the sidewalk coming from a grass yard or field.  A virtual have to step carefully. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Golden Grain

Driving down CR 95 a few nights ago I saw this amber waves of grain scene.  (And they were really waving like crazy too!)  I just had to try photographing it.  I had some trouble with exposure, but this was probably my best result.  I just ordered a polarizer for my new lens.  I'm thinking it might have helped if I had that.  I'll have to try this shot again in a few days with the polarizer and see if it makes any difference. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Great Egret

Beautiful wingspan on this Great Egret at West Davis Pond this morning.  There were some little fish (I think...some little underwater creature) bubbling out of the pond today, and all the waterbirds were so busy hunting them that they didn't notice me at all.  Nice!  This one only flew about 20 feet from one feeding spot to another, and right in front of me the whole time. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


Friends of West Davis Pond has done such a nice job putting together a bee and butterfly garden just full of things blooming right now.  This bushy flowering plant was very popular with the bees.  Bees are so hard to photograph; they just move so fast!  I felt like I was playing a game a Whack-A-Mole, with my camera firing just after the bee departed the viewfinder, over and over again.  Luckily I had a few strikes too.  I thought this one was so funny.  For such a speedy little critter, he sure does have an awkward loafing sort of posture!  Cartoonish.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Purple Mystery Flower

All of a sudden there's a huge patch of these flowers behind the retirement community on my walking route.  I did a search for "purple star-shaped flower" but couldn't identify it.  Of all the hundreds of blooms, I deemed this one the most perfect and worthy of photographing. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yellow-Headed Blackbirds

When I first saw this scene I thought these were flowers, especially because we have so many yellow and orange flowers blooming around here.  But they're yellow-headed blackbirds!  I had never seen this species before so I had to consult my bird book.  They make their nests in wetland reeds, so they're right at  home here at the edge of the Yolo Basin.  I was interested to learn that the female is more brownish with just a little bit of yellow, so these are all males.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lots of pots

Anna and I went to Vacaville today to get the rest of the tomato plants for my garden, and happened upon this enormous outlet store for garden pots.  Of course I had to get one, but much smaller than these.  I was really surprised that these were all made in China!  I was imagining the container ship full of these pots.  It hardly seems worth the weight to ship them over from China, and then sell them so cheaply.  I wonder how they make money?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pink Dogwood

I've seen this tree blooming in front yards around here this week.  It looks just like a Dogwood Tree, only pink.  Turns out it's a Pink Dogwood Tree!  Who knew?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Edge of the Table

So here is the edge of Table Mountain.  There was a mushy ledge trail leading down the hill, and I wish I'd taken it now so I could post a photo of the front of the waterfall.  You can see the stream in the upper right of the photo, and almost see the falls.  It was interesting, because you could still ford the stream almost right up to the edge of the falls, and then it just drops off the side of the hill.  This family was dangerously close to the edge if you want my opinion.  Just before I took this photo the little boy at the top was stumbling around.  I would not make a very good photojournalist, because I was just frozen in my tracks, willing him to catch his balance, and I'm sure that was the "decisive moment."  Thankfully they all moved safely away from edge.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Artsy Wildflower

I read that Table Mountain is home to over 300 species of wildflowers each spring.  This is amazing to me.  I think I probably saw 7, although my eye isn't trained to notice the different varieties.  I don't think I'll post anymore closeups after today's, but I liked this one because it came out like a painting.  It was breezy, and so that definitely impacts closeup photos, and maybe this effect came about because of the breeeze?  I wish this shot was composed a little different, but I'm not very patient with this kind of thing, and between the soggy knees and the breeze blowing things around, this is just how it came out.  Still, I really like the light in this one.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tiny Wildflower

Table Mountain really represents this interesting dichotomy.   When you're there it feels so large and open, and yet everything that was happening there was happening on this tiny scale.  To photograph the flowers I had to use my closeup filter, and get on my hands and knees.  And because of the vernal pools and general mushiness of the ground, I did the whole walk with wet spots at the knees of my jeans.  When I photographed this flower I didn't even see the little spider until I looked in my camera display!  Such an amazing microscopic world! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Table Mountain

So this is my best "big picture" shot from Table Mountain yestserday.  The colors look a little surreal, but this is really how it looked!  I was expecting wildflowers like you see along the side of the road, about knee-high.  But all these wildflowers were so tiny they didn't even come above your shoe!  So all that yellowish-orange color is actually little flowers.  The whole "table" is a big volcanic outcrop, and if you weren't walking on hard rock, then you were walking on mushy ground. Or if you weren't careful, walking in a vernal pool!  Everyone in our family ended up with at least one very wet shoe, because these pools just appear out of nowhere.  They all eventually form little streams like you can see in the green band in this photo.  And there aren't any trails to follow, you just follow the streams until you eventually end up at a waterfall (foreshadowing!)  =D

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14

Today's photo is from Table Mountain near Oroville.  The wildflowers are blooming up there right now, and it was a popular location for a hike today in picture perfect weather.  I'll probably post a few more photos from this walk in coming days.

Happy Two Year Anniversary to 45 Journal!  Today's post officially starts my third year photo-blogging.  This was supposed to be a one year project, so starting the third year makes me wonder where I'm going with this.  But I'm still having fun with it, so for now it looks like I'll keep going...   :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13

Taking advantange of a break in the rain to get Clover out for a walk.  We're having a nice rainy week here.   This is a new view of West Davis Pond for the blog.  I don't think I've ever photographed from this location, but the colors and patterns were pretty.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12

So here's what I'm wondering:  What is Fine Art Photography?  I'm working on narrowing down my entry choices for the California State Fair, but this distinction is troubling me.  There seems tp be only one juror for getting into the show, and I checked out his page, but there isn't much there.  It looks like he did a lot of Polaroids in the 70s.  How much should I consider the juror in selecting my images?  If anyone has advice on photo selection, please send it my way because I've never been in a juried show!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11

Also from Seattle last week.  We were waiting for a store to open somewhere up north of Greenlake, and stumbled upon Carkeek Park.  It's a huge green ravine leading into the Sound, and it was a pretty drive through the park.  So I liked this photo for its "Pacific Northwest" feel, but also because it shows the range of weather.  This was only taken about an hour after the cherry blossom photo, when we were standing on campus in a cold drizzle.  I'm amazed at how quickly weather patterns move through here.  We encountered more weather changes in this one day than we would experience in two months in the Central Valley!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10

Sakura-Con took place in downtown Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center, which is at 7th and Pike.  There's a walkway across Pike St. connecting the two halves of the building, and it offers a great view straight down to Pike Place Market and the Puget Sound. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9

On Friday I entered a whole other world when I attended Sakura-Con with two of my children.  Sakura-Con is an anime convention, and people usually dress up as a character from an anime, mange, or favorite video game, so most attendees were in costume.  We didn't pre-register so we had to wait in this line.  At this point we were very naive, thinking we might wait for a half hour or so.  The line wrapped around the block and then into a hotel lobby where we snaked through room after room, for hour after hour.  Five hours later we had our badges and could enter the convention!!! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8

We spent Thursday in and around the University of Washington.  
Lots of people were in the Quad enjoying the Cherry Trees,
including this monk who was taking a stroll.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 7

Back home again.  Here's a view of the new terminal at the Sacramento Airport.  It was taken on Wednesday when we were flying out, but I really had trouble with posting from my hotel so I had to wait until today to post.  Next time I'm going to be staying at a hotel I'll have to remember to upload some photos before I leave home!  I'll post more photos of my trip to Seattle in the coming days...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4

I had a different photo to post today, but I can't seem to properly download and then upload it from my hotel.  I'm in Seattle.  Hooray!   No this is not Seattle.  This is a photo from San Francisco that I had previously uploaded on blogger.  So this photo was taken through the windshield when we were stopped in heavy traffic.  And the reason I took it was that I liked the red glow on the overhead cable.  It's the powerline for the busses; the cable cars are pulled from beneath the street.  Anyway, I guess I saved this photo because I liked the colors.  I'll try posting my other photo tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3

Looks like the snails have returned for another season.  They like to cross sidewalks early in the morning (to get to the other side), leaving a sparkly little footprint as they go.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2

I really considered posting this photo yesterday.  I think the pattern in today's photo is easier to look at, but yesterday I was liking the green background better.  Today I think I prefer the blue.  Plus I think these two photos compliment each other, so I like the idea of posting them together like this. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1

I thought this net around a sports field on campus made a really nice pattern.  I park right near here three times a week, and I've never noticed it before.  I always wonder why I do or don't notice photos.  This one was also taken yesterday afternoon, so was the light different yesterday?  It was windy so the net was blowing a little, maybe that was it?  It's a mystery to me, but I can overlook something a hundred times, and then all of a sudden I'll notice it.  I just wonder why.