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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Star Light

I think this looks like light filtering through an orchard on a foggy morning, but if you were with me in the car when I took this you would know it's actually a huge cloud of dust.  A farmer was dumping really dry dirt with a bucket loader and every time he did, a huge cloud would form.  I decided to stop and roll down my window for a photo.  (I still need to wash my car and dashboard!)  Something about this scene reminds me of an old Playdough spaghetti factory we used to have.  I think there was a star-shaped insert that would squirt out star-shaped tubes of Playdough. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Sunbow!

Just a tiny little section of sunbow this time.  But luckily I had my 80-200 lens on so I was able to zoom in for a close up.  I photographed a sunbow in April but it was a wide angle shot, and also the sun was to my back when I was photographing.  This time I'm shooting in the direction of the setting sun.  I really don't like the cloud color here.  I think it happened because the cloud is backlit.  I tried adjusting this but then I got a really strange  blue sky, so I decided it was better this way.  I guess maybe it has a warm sunset look to it. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quiet Evening

This is another of the rice paddy fields in Robbins, but this photo was taken from the road that runs behind the fields so the setting sun is behind me.  I thought it had a nice late in the day quiet feel to it.  In this field you can just see where the rice is coming through because it breaks up the reflection a little.  I'm getting my State Fair photo framed in Woodland, and when it's done (which I hope will be today) then I'd like to drive back out to Robbins which is only about 10 miles further, and try this again with the rice a little taller, just to see what happens. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Paddy Field Sunset

I spotted this stretch of field last week when we were driving to Chico, and decided then that I'd have to come back for a photo.  It's about a two mile stretch of rice fields.  Most of the paddy fields have lots of rice poking up above the water, but not these.  Maybe they were planted later or with a different variety?  Whatever the reason, their lack of rice stalks gave them the best sunset color.  This was in the little town of Robbins, population 100. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Asparagus Forest

It's late in May, so there isn't much asparagus left at the Davis Farmer's Market these days.  I thought this stand had done a nice job arranging it though.  It looks like a little forest!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Evening Sky

We had such beautiful clouds all afternoon yesterday.  I didn't have a chance to get out with my camera until after dinner though.  This barn is about a mile away from my house, so I didn't make it far from home before pulling over and getting out the camera.  At the time I liked the idea of including all these utilities in the shot, but I'm not quite as wild about it today.  I did step toward the barn a little and try the photo without the electric pole and irrigation pump, but for some reason I zoomed in for that shot, so I lost the good sky.  I guess this angle makes the foreground more interesting, but it also really bisects the sky.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bathtub and Blinds

What a cool pattern on the wall of my bathtub!  
Wonder why I never noticed it before.  
I guess I just have to be upstairs at exactly the right time. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Food Photography

Well here's this morning's attempt at food photography, after attending the Sacramento Bee (newspaper) Food Photography Workshop for bloggers last night.   Actually it was mainly for food bloggers, and it turns out there are a lot of those.  But I was interested in the photography because it's something I struggled with last year when it came to garden produce photos.  I photographed these apricots yesterday for my garden blog.  I picked them in my backyard!  I'm not totally satisfied with this photo but I think it's a LOT better than yesterday's. One thing the instructor mentioned was that the food should be very fresh, and these apricots look like day-old apricots to me!  Anyway, looking forward to much improved food photos from my summer garden!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mt. Diablo Sunset

Pretty sunset looking southwest from the top of Mt. Diablo on Saturday.  This is the same location as my night sky photo over the weekend, only this was made an hour earlier.   In the distance, just below the horizon line, is the San Francisco Bay, and just to the left of the photo would be San Francisco.  The cities that are closest to the base would be Walnut Creek and Concord.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wood Duckling

I've seen the Wood Duck family three days in a row now.  Mom, Dad, and about six or seven ducklings feeding near the edge of the pond.  I had to return the 400mm lens but not before capturing the whole family.  I'm going to miss that lens, but I'm glad not to lug it around anymore.  Clover is too.  I had to drive to the pond to photograph; there's no way I could have carried it for the whole walking route.  As it is, my biceps are sore. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Solar Eclipse Shadows, Son and Suns

Well I'm a day behind on blogs because I posted the stars photo after midnight yesterday, but yesterday during the day we drove up to Chico for a good view of the annular solar eclipse.  Right now the moon is at its farthest point from the earth (on the same cycle as the super moon a few weeks ago) so during the full eclipse the moon was only covering 94% of the sun, creating a "ring of fire".   I read that it was visible from China to Texas, and around here it was best viewed starting at the Oregon California border, down thru Reno.

We were lucky to get two pairs of solar viewing glasses, which look like the old 3D glasses except where the red and blue cellophane were they have aluminized mylar.  So it was neat to see.  We parked in the shade, and after the full eclipse was over I noticed the eclipse pattern filtering thru the trees, so we decided to photograph it that way.  (The shadow is my son who is also photographing).  Wish I would have looked down during the full eclipse because I bet there would have been little rings instead of crescents!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Night Sky from Mt. Diablo

Tonight my photo meetup group did a nighttime star shoot at Mt. Diablo.  This was in conjunction with the monthly Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society's monthly viewing, so we were able to stay in the park after dark.  In the center of the photo is Venus.  I also got to see it through a huge telescope (cannon-sized) and it's actually a crescent right now.  Venus, like the moon, rotates on its axis at the same rate that it spins around the sun, so it has a light and dark side just like the moon.   It's almost rising and setting with the sun right now, thus the crescent shape, and in a few weeks will actually eclipse the sun.  I was told this only happens every 100 years.   I also got to see saturn, including its rings and three moon!  Very cool!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

400mm lens

Well I got my camera back yesterday, and I also tried renting a 2x teleconverter only to find out it didn't fit with my lens :(  So today I returned it and rented the 400mm lens.  I must weight 10lbs and I carry it like a baby!  I'm not kidding; I'm sure I look like a lens-renter :)    I hurried over to West Davis Pond to try it out, but it was the middle of the day, so not much going on there.  Cute feeding scene though. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aloe Detail

I liked the scalloped red edge on this aloe from the Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Under Valley Oak and Fog

Another foggy morning from last winter.  And exciting news.  I just found out today that one of my photos got into the California State Fair!  Yippee!   You can click here to view the photo.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Winter Farmscape

Foggy farmscape from last December.  I must have thought this was too dark.  Today I really like it though.  Enjoying my week off.  I decided this would be a good week to get my sensor cleaned.  I've needed to do this for months, but figured out how to use the spot healing brush on Photoshop, so that let me put it off.  This weekend I'm going to a night sky photo meetup, and so I'll have a nice clean sensor for my long exposure shots.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Redwood Grove

I've been out of the photography mood all week.  I'm hoping it will pass soon, but in the meatime I decided to comb through my archives and organize a bit better.  This was taken in December at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Is this the most precious little pot you've ever seen?  My son is taking ceramics this year, and he made this for me in class.  He brought it home earlier this week, so I got an early Mother's Day present.  We decided it would be a starter pot, and planted a sunflower seed, which sprouted two days ago.  The variety is Mammoth Russian; it grows to 7-10' and produces one giant sunflower.  I suppose we'll have to transplant it in a few weeks, but then we'll just plan to start something else.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chevalier Blanc

Chevalier Blanc. It's More Trouble Than It's Worth.
(For those of you who watch Mad Men).
Just one of the horses that board out at CR96.  This road has the best lighting just before sunset, and it caught the white horse just perfectly.   I think it looks like the horse was photoshoped in, but it wasn't.  (That would be more trouble than it's worth!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Another bouquet of flowers from Good Humus Farm, so I decided to work on a close-up. 
This time I got white peonies. 
 I was surprised to get this range of color. 
White light warm to cold. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Watering the Broccoli

I wonder why people don't eat the leaves on a broccoli plant.  They look just like collards to me.  Large, waxy, blue-green leaf.  This is my one broccoli plant.  Out of the six I planted this was the only one to survive the snail onslaught of last November (I have plans to outsmart the snails this fall!)  Right now the plant is just starting to go to seed, so it probably doesn't even need to be watered but it gets hit by the sprinkler anyway. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

See the Bee Block

We're lucky, living near a campus, to have some local entomologists who have taken special interest in the Friends of West Davis Pond bee and butterfly garden.  Many of my flower photos come from this well-tended garden.  This spring I noticed these blocks along fences and trees, and today I see they've painted the rooves.  It's cute, I think, and reminds me of "See Rock City". 

The bee blocks are to attract native bees.  They don't produce honey, and as a result, rarely bother or sting people.  Signs near the garden say that mason bees and leafcutter bees raise offspring in the pre-drilled tunnels in the nesting boxes.  The females partition the tunnel into cells and lay one egg per cell.  The plugged holes are currently occupied, so it looks like this Bee Block is having some success.  *Information curtesy of Williams Lab, UC Davis.*

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sprinkler Season

Clover and I had to run the gauntlet this morning on our walk.  All of a sudden all sprinklers are running.  I know I did a similar photo last fall, but it's just what I noticed today.  Those two little dry patches look like eyes to me.  Maybe it's a striped ardvark?  I liked the stripes.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Butterfly Flower

Our local food Co-op always has the nicest bouquets of flowers from Good Humus Farm in the Capay Valley.  They look beautiful on the table, and make a good close-up photo on a busy day too! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cricket Club

The weekend cricket club playing at my neighborhood park.  Very confusing sport, if you ask me.  I have no idea what that score board means.  But they're always having a good time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Power Inn Road

I had an errand to run in the industrial section of Sacramento this morning, and ended up on Power Inn Road.  I've wanted to make a photo like this for a while now (although I envisioned it overcast), but these power line towers are not usually accessible.  Not so on Power Inn Road.  They're everywhere, and very easy to get to.  This one was actually on a patch of grass in a strip mall.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cat on the Fence

Hello Cat on the Fence, meet my dog Clover!  Clover has gotten very good at sitting patiently while I photograph, but she was crying the whole time during this shoot.  Clover just wanted to say hi and to play, but Cat on the Fence wasn't so sure.  This was taken at one of three observation decks at West Davis Pond.  I would say I never get a good photo from this deck, but my egret photo yesterday was taken at this exact location, so that's two in a row.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Egret in Flight

I barely caught the egret on its fly by this morning at West Davis Pond.  It did a lap around the entire perimeter before settling in with the other egrets at the south end of the pond.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Big Family

I'm starting to see goslings at West Davis pond.  Our Canada Geese don't migrate, and they don't have any serious predator either, so there are a lot of them.  And it's not unusual to see up to 10 goslings in a family.  I've never seen anything like this though!  There was another photographer catching this scene, and I asked her if geese run daycare centers.  I seen this on nature shows about penguins, but I didn't think geese have nurseries.  She said she heard there was an adoption.   Several adoptions at least!  They're exeptionally good parents.  No goslings straying at all.   And look at the parents' faces.  I think they're actually smiling, they're so proud!  I count 33.