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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Black, white, and yellow all over

So I was driving down the highway, and I passed this truck full of yellow PVC pipes.  The light was really great and I was thinking the pipes would make a really interesting photo, but of course I was driving.  Not that I'm above snapping a photo here and there from the car, but not on the highway!  So I pull over at a rest stop down the road, and just as I'm getting back in my car, what comes driving in?  The yellow pipe truck!  So I got my shot after all.  The light wasn't quite as "glowy" as I remembered, but the thing I like about this photo is that it is both over- and under-exposed.  I like the black centers, and the white hot circles.  This will be my last post this week.  I'm heading out of town again.  This time on a vacation down by Monterey.  Hopefully I'll have some good vacation shots to post when I get home next Friday.  Hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gaura Lindheimeri

It's been a long time since I've posted a photo from my walk with Clover.  I've actually gotten away from walking with my camera because I was hardly using it.  For one thing, I'm walking too late for the early morning light.  For another, the pond has almost dried up and there are hardly any birds.  But today when I was walking past the Friends of West Davis Pond Garden I found a photo-worthy sight.  I had to hurry to finish the walk and return with my camera.  Luckily all the plants here have tags, although Gaura Lindheimeri seems like a rather technical name.  I also found it listed under Lindheimer's Beeblossom, Lindheimer's Clockweed, and Pink Gaura.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lavender Recipe

This is the second week in a row that we've gotten one of these lavender bunches in our Eatwell Farms CSA box.  The first was dried, and this week we got a fresh bunch.  Our box comes with a flyer full of information about happenings on the farm and recipes for items in the box, so I've got lots of info about the lavender to share.  First they suggested cutting the stems 1/4 inch and putting the bunch in water, which we are supposed to change everyday after recutting the stems another 1/4 inch.  Then after a week we can dry the bunch.  I was interested to learn that they will harvest the last batch of lavender after the second week in July, when the essential oil content of the flowers is at its height.  Those flowers will be taken to a distillery for making essential oils and hydrosols.   Another interesting thing to me was the flyer was full of lavender recipes!   I tried one out yesterday, and it was so delicious I really want to share it here.  (No danger of this turning into a food blog!)  Here it is:

Roasted Potatoes with Lavender
1 1/2 pounds potatoes scrubbed                                  pepper to taste
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil                                            4 1/4 tablespoons butter
salt to taste                                                                1 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss potatoes, oil, and salt and pepper on a baking sheet, and roast, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add lavender and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Pour over cooked potatoes and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Sunny Day

So many sunflower fields this year!  This is a different field than yesterday's.  In fact this is the field I thought of when I saw yesterday's clouds, but I didn't have time to drive here.  I think it's the most photogenic because the sunflowers have the dark brown centers.  I saw another photographer here this morning, and on my way home, a third photographer in a different sunflower field.  Soon the sunflowers will start to droop over and won't be so "sunny" looking, so this is definitely a good week for sunflower photos. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jet Stream?

We've had the nicest weather pattern this week: sunny and in the 70s.  This is because we've been north of the jet stream, but today when I watched the weather report I noticed that the jet stream seemed to be going right over us.  So when I saw this band of cloud that bisected the sky, it reminded me of the jet steam animation from the weather report.  And the temperature will start climbing again tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

International Orange

I didn't have a chance to post this photo before I went out of town last week, but this is also a photo from Fort Point in San Francisco.  The orange buntings are part of an art exhibit called International Orange, commemorating the 75 Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, in honor of its rusty orange color.  I'll include a video link  (click here) to the artist, Allison Smith,  who crafted the buntings.  She explains the significance behind them.  I've written before about the history of Fort Point, but I think this video is nicely done and explains the history well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cannon Beach

1700 miles later, and I'm finally back home.  There was very little photography on this trip, mainly just driving and getting my son moved home for the summer.  I did one quick side trip to Cannon Beach in Oregon.  This is somewhere I've been wanting to go for a while.  The thing that distinguishes Cannon Beach from other nearby towns is the rock formations just off the shore.  The most famous one is haystack rock which is way in the background in this photo.  Funny how having a few rocks on your beach can turn your little town into a posh travel destination!  I actually felt a little sorry for the neighboring  towns, all bare-beached and ordinary. On a side note, I have to say I'm thoroughly out of the photo mood right now.  I think it's because I'm so tired from all the travel. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Taken for Granite

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I think I was a young adult before I realized the phrase was actually "taken for granted."  Granite just made sense to me.  I put it in the same category as "set in stone" or "rock solid."  My kids tell me there is a TV trope named "taken for granite" that means a character has literally turned to stone.  Ha ha.  As for the photo, I really liked how much the light temperature is changing as the stairs curve around.  I don't really see this on my own, but the camera is much more sensitive to the light temperature, so once I see something like this in the display panel then I can play around with how to compose it.  I have another photo taken from the underside of the stairs that is really interesting too.  I'm heading up to Seattle today so I probably won't be able to post again until the weekend, but I'll upload the other photo just in case.  Hope everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Watery Landscape

I really liked the diamond pattern the water was making at the "top" of this photo, and I liked how the trees lined up.   This used to be my favorite type of photo to take, a watery reflection flipped upside-down to make a landscape scene.  I guess I've gotten away from this; I don't think I've done a reflection photo in a while. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fort Point

Fort Point sits just under the Golden Gate Bridge.  This was supposed to be another "redo" from a photo I took here last September.  Another family trip.  If there's a theme, it's that I have a hard time taking photos on family outings because I always feel rushed.  But in this case, I ended up not liking my new photos as much as the one from our family trip.  I think the reason for this was the lighting.  The sunlight came out too blue, and everything ended up with a strange color cast.  If you're interested to see the old photo, it was posted September 18, 2011

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stow Lake

I wandered around Golden Gate Park, waiting for things to open after my sunrise photo shoot at the bridge, and happened upon Stow Lake.  It was beautiful in the early morning light, and actually very busy with dog-walkers and runners.  This is the dock area near the boathouse.  Looks like a fun outing to rent these colorful paddle boats. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge Redux

I've gone back to the scene of the crime to work on an old photo.  I first shot this scene when my family was here for Labor Day 2010.  You can see the original photo looking in my archives or click on the link to September 5, 2010 .  I entered it in the 2011 Yolo County Fair and it got 2nd in its section (which really bummed me out!)  During the fair there was an opportunity to view the photo gallery with one of the judges, who offered pointers on what they look for in photos, and I had a chance to ask her about this scene.  She said there were two objections to it.  1.  It was too dark under the bridge, and therefore taken at the wrong time of day/year, and 2.  One of the judges objected to the 45 mph sign, and thought it should have been photoshopped out.  

So fast forward to today.  I got up well before the crack of dawn in order to be here at sunrise when the light would be striking this side of the bridge.  Unfortunately I couldn't get exactly the same angle because of some construction, but this is pretty close.  I do think it's improved by this lighting.  I think the sky and water colors came out weaker, but early morning light doesn't offer a dark sky, and I again left the polarizer at home.  I couldn't bring myself to remove the 45 mph sign.  It was one of the things I loved about the first one.  I'd be curious to hear other opinions on that though.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Drying Room

At first glance it might look like I've gotten over my infatuation with the lavender harvest, but that's actually not the case.  This is the drying room where all the lavender bunches will hang.  This was the first photo I took in here, and after I took it I noticed I was slightly off center, so I moved over a little.  But I ended up liking this one best because it had the most interesting pattern on the overhead tarp.  There was a strong breeze blowing the tarp around, so catching just the right pattern turned out to be key.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lavender Harvest

Today they started harvesting the lavender at Eatwell Farms, so I went back out there for a second photo shoot.   This was probably 10am, so this was completely different light than the sunrise photos.  The workers had probably harvested four or five rows by the time I got out there.  The lavender bushes are cut with an electric cutter, like a hedge trimmer, then someone comes along and gathers together the cuttings which is the stage I photographed.  Then finally someone else comes along and ties the bundle together with a rubber band to prepare them for drying.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lavender Field

Another photo from yesterday's trip to Eatwell Farms.  This is my impressionist version.  I tried lots of this type of panning shot; I struggled with were to put the dark patches, and which direction to move the camera.  I think this one has the best balance of light and dark, plus it still looks like a field.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunrise at Eatwell Farms

Eatwell Farms is our CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.  We get a box of organic produce from them each week, and in each box there's a flyer with all their blog postings.  This week's flyer said they were going to be harvesting and drying lavender is the next few weeks, so I asked if I could come out and photograph the lavender field.  I went out this morning at sunrise (5:41am!)  What a wonderful experience.  The fragrance was overwhelming, birds were singing, and roosters were crowing non-stop.  I'm not sure the photo shows all that, but I definitely "see" it when I look at this image. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

19 California 34

Another photo from yesterday's car show, Concours d' Elegance.  It was a fundraiser for Shriner's Children's Hospital, but there was also a competition feature to it.   People there tended to fall into one of three groups:  car owners, judges wearing blue blazers and straw hats, and photographers.  You had to pay close attention not to capture other photographers in the chrome reflections!  I didn't record make and model of this car, but based on the color it might actually be a Lasalle, or else a Packard.  I just loved the color on the license plate.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gee, our old Lasalle ran great!

Those were the day!   OK, I just had to get that out of my system.  I don't think either of these cars (the reflected and the reflector) are Lasalles.  I went to a classic car show today, and I did see some Lasalles, so I got Edith Bunker's voice stuck in my head.  I'm pretty sure the green car in the reflections is a 1953 Kaiser Dragon, and then the reflecting car would be a black 1948 Packard Custom Eight Convertible, for those of you who know cars and care about that sort of thing. The Packard is really just a canvas for the Kaiser; I think it's sort of a confusing image.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Love is...





Friday, June 8, 2012


Some coneflowers I photographed on my morning walk with Clover.  I was surprised to have so much blue in the background, which was from the shade.  I didn't see that in the scene, but I'm glad it photographed; the colors turned out nice.  Still today's post is disappointing to me, after three days of posting my cloud-chase photos down in Rio Vista.

Just noticed, this is my 500th post.  Whoohoo!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sheep Stampede

Third photo from Montezuma Hills wind farm.  As promised, the sheep!   I had never seen a sheep stampede before; I didn't know they could run so fast!  There was a fence line in my way, so I had to hurry and stand in the door frame of my car to get this photo.  Once I saw a photo of Ansel Adams photographing from the roof of his car.  He had mounted a huge piece of plywood on the top of the vehicle, and he was standing on it, with his tripod, looking into the viewfinder.  It would come in handy!  Not that I can imagine crawling up to the roof of my minivan, but it would have improved the angle here, I think.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Montezuma Hills

Another photo from yesterday's drive to the Montezuma Hills wind farm near Rio Vista.  I would say there are three main commodities in Montezuma Hills:  wind energy, hay, and sheep.  (You can consider that foreshadowing if I decide to keep this series up for a third day.)  This was the only field where the hay is already baled.  I think it gives the photo a lot of depth, which I normally don't achieve with a landscape shot.  This one wasn't taken through my windshield, and the lack of polarization shows.  I actually have a polarizer for this lens, but I somehow left it at home, which was really stupid because clouds and sky is a classic use for polarizing.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


So how bout those clouds?!  They pulled me out of the house and down the road toward Rio Vista this morning to photograph.  This is Hwy 113 from Rio Vista to Dixon, and its got a section that is like ribbon candy.  Or maybe like a stretched out sine curve.  Driving through the hills and valleys, I especially liked the valley view because the road seemed to head toward the sky.  And since there was no traffic, I just stopped in a valley and took a photo through my car windshield.  I think my windshield is somewhat polarized, so it really helped make the cloud and sky color!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunrise at my house

Does anyone else have mockingbirds living in their yard?  A family of mockingbirds lives in a tree right outside my bedroom window, and they start their "play list" of songs at 5:30am these days.  My wake up call.  I wish I could sleep through it, but I just can't.  Starting next week school will be out, so maybe I can head out early with my camera.  But for now, I'm watching morning dawn through my living room window. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Another Evening in Robbins

Well I did go back to Robbins to see how the May 29th photo "Quiet Evening" would look with the rice starting to grow above the water.  I was surprised to find the light so different.  I thought I'd post this one for comparison.  It's amazing how different the light is from day to day, and of course from hour to hour.  I was thinking that the blue cast in the water is actually the light reflecting from the opposite direction, which would be blue sky.  I see this sometimes with water bird photos.  Originally I like the monochrome version from the 29th better, but this one is growing on me. One issue I have with it is that you can see the building in the background.  I did a better job hiding those buildings on the 29th.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Drinking Glass Abstract

This one might be a little out there, but I was drinking water near my kitchen rug this morning, and couldn't help but notice the cool pattern created in the glass.  So of course I had to go get my camera and try to capture it.  I couldn't get it with my D80 but I could with my little Nikon Coolpix.  I think it looks a little like a nautilus...maybe.

Friday, June 1, 2012


There's a small patch of milkweed at the Friends of West Davis Pond garden, and it's just starting to bloom this week.  In the Midwest, where I come from, milkweed is all over the place, and it's the plant the monarch butterfly lays its eggs on.  You don't see it out here though, so I asked one of the gardners if it was native here or if they had just brought it in.  He said it is native.  We do have monarchs out here, although I don't think they migrate like the Great Lakes monarchs do.  I saw one lone monarch flying around here last month, but I haven't seen any caterpillars yet.