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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Napa Valley Fog

The morning fog was thick in Napa Valley when I was here yesterday morning.  I'm no viticulture expert, but I understand that this pattern of morning fog and midday sun is part of the wine-making process here.  This vineyard was probably 20 feet away from me when I took this photo, and yes it really was that foggy!  I think it's a nice low contrast image.  Not at all in my style, but that's part of what I like about it. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Carson River

For all my Carson River photos this year, I think this is probably my first big picture
photo of the area. Here it is.  I love this place!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Late October Aspen

I was surprised by the number of Aspen leaves still on the trees when I was in Hope Valley last Friday.  And also by the color.   During my trip up here in early October I called the leaf color lemon-lime.  This week it's more like pumpkin orange.   This photo was taken about a mile downstream from where I took yesterday's photo, but on the other side of the river.  No frost here whatsoever.  I like the browning around the edges of the leaves.  It really makes them stand out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frosty Morning

The overnight lows were in the 20s around the Hope Valley area this Friday, and it felt as cold as it looks!  Everything on this side of the river was covered in frost.  Such a change from a few weeks ago!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thin Ice

When we got our first rain, the Tahoe area got its first snow.  Yesterday was my first chance to get up there since the snow earlier this week.  Snow everywhere above about 4500 ft., but probably less than a foot left.  I only found two little patches of ice.  I'm not sure what cause this patch of ice along the edge of the Carson River to form with these cool patterns in it, but I'm sure glad it did.  I thought it was so pretty! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

How I Spent My Week

Last weekend we drove up to Apple Hill, and I got 2 1/2 bushels of apples.  This week I made and canned sauce in three different batches: sauce one day, can the next.  I've got three dutch ovens and a canner, so I'm limited by my kitchen.  62 pints of applesauce in all.  It could have been 65, but I ate 2 pints worth (especially when you include "cleaning" spoons, ladles, and pots), and I lost one in the canner because the lid wasn't screwed on right.  It turned out to be a good thing though, because the inside of my canner was white with hard water residue, and the acidity of the applesauce cleaned that all off, so now my canner looks just like new!  62 pints is a record for me.  And I think this batch is even better than last year's batch.  Last year's batch won Best Overall Canned Fruit at my county fair (not to brag or anything).   I have to admit I'm tired of standing in the kitchen, but still this was a week very well-spent in my book!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Four geese tessellate at West Davis Pond this morning.
Hundreds more mill about.
If only I could train them all...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First Fall Rain

Finally!  We haven't had a drop of rain here since early June.  West Davis Pond has been dry for most of the summer, but today it's about half full after a good fall rain from two nights ago and a little rain this morning as well.  All those crazy geese that amuse me on my daily walk with Clover have returned and started their antics.  And after months and months of harvest haze, the air is again crystal clear.  If there's one thing I miss living here it's year round rain (and clouds).  Just a hint of color change here.  I'll have photograph from this same spot in a few weeks to compare the difference. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

North Beach

Another view from our trip to Point Reyes Saturday afternoon.  This is the north side of the peninsula (the windy side on Saturday) as seen from near the lighthouse.  Technically there are several beaches here.  Near to far they are Point Reyes South, Point Reyes North, Kehoe, and McClures.  The light is sort of harsh in this whole series, but it's definitely got that mid-afternoon look.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sea Lion Cove

The Point Reyes peninsula is shaped a little like a whales tale, slightly forked at the end.  At the tip of one fluke is the lighthouse, and at the other is chimney rock.  We braved the wind and headed out for a hike to chimney rock.  Along the way the trail skirts the edge of the cliff, and we were able to look over the edge into the cove below.  Here were all these sea lions sunbathing.  What a surprise!  I didn't know they line themselves up like sardines!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

308 Steps

We went back to Point Reyes yesterday because my uncle was visiting from Indiana, and he loves visiting lighthouses.  Plus it's just so beautiful out here, rugged, remote, and picturesque.  I didn't know that they closed the stairs in high winds though.  We were so disappointed to learn that they had closed only a few hours before we arrived.  The Point Reyes lighthouse contains first order Fresnel lens, and we were really hoping to see it.  To get to the lighthouse you have to drive 20 miles on a remote peninsula, then walk a half mile, and finally descend all 308 steps to the lighthouse.  These 308 steps are the equivalent of walking down a 30 story building.  We were spared the workout.  Too bad!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blustery Day

We had a family trip today out to Drake's Beach and Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Wow, was it windy!   This really caught me by surprise.  I didn't know that Point Reyes is the windiest spot on the Pacific coast.  Sustained gusts over 40 mph today!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rushing the Season

Is it just me, or is fall coming early in the Central Valley this year?  I've only lived here a few years, but I think the leaves are changing about three weeks earlier than they did last year.  No complaints from me though.  Change of season is a welcome event for a daily photo blogger!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ornamental Grass

It must be the time of year when the ornamental grasses used in landscaping around here start to go to seed.  I was drawn to the color and texture in the early morning light.  I hadn't been paying much attention to these ornamental grasses, but now I'm curious to see how these plants change as the season progresses.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I don't know, but this one just suits my mood today. 
Sometimes I have to remember to not take myself too seriously.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Foxtail Flat

The west shore of Lake Berryessa has so many inlets, and they all seem to have their own name.  I think Foxtail Flat must be the name of the promontory though.  I imagine it looks like a fox tail from above.  The tip of Berryessa is only about a half hour from my house, but getting to the west shore involves a roundabout path, so it actually takes an hour to get here, and I barely made it before the sun came up.  As I drove in, I was checking out the scene, and I thought I would photograph a little island with a tree on it.  But after I parked it was nowhere to be seen.  Turns out it was the next inlet over.  I'm glad I didn't find it though because it probably would have been very cliche, and I like the organic shape of the fox tail. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Picnic at Eatwell

Today was our third annual Pumpkin Party out at Eatwell Farm.  We each got to head out into the field and pick our own pumpkin, then share a potluck with homemade butternut squash soup supplied by the owners.  After that a tour of the fields, and then a flour milling demonstration.  From our lunch table in the "greenhouse" we had a view through the mesh netting out to one of the large chicken coops.  I thought it might photograph nicely.  It has nothing to do with pumpkins, but it does have a nice farm feel. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bronco Invite

Would you believe me if I said I took this photo this morning at the Bella Vista Bronco Invite cross country meet?  There's a pond in the middle of the course, and at the edge is a little floating bridge that extends out onto the pond.  It's got a white picket fence perimeter.  Some of the Laguna Creek runners were hanging out on the bridge in their red and black uniforms. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Path Well-Traveled

I was hoping for a "leaves no step had trodden black" photo, but all the paths I found were pretty well-traveled.  Plus most leaves were still on the trees when I visited last weekend.  I think it rained up here yesterday, so that was probably a good day for a yellow path photo.  This one was taken much later in the morning, and the light had changed quite a bit.  The leaf color is much more golden and less yellow.  I think I prefer the yellow, but I do like how the light is hitting the bark here. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lovely Aspen

Day 27 in black and white.  I wasn't sure I was going to get any black and whites out of this trip.  Why drive two hours up to 7000 ft. to photograph Aspens turning yellow, and then convert them to black and white?  But this one does probably look better converted.  And for is where you find it!  :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Carson River

The Carson River, named after Kit Carson, winds its way through Hope Valley.  This is the same river as Monday's photo ( Aspen Reflection ), but a few miles downstream so it's a very different view.  There are more rocks here, and the water is moving quite a bit faster.  This little Aspen leaf somehow managed to lodge in a safe spot between two rocks, as water rushed around it. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hope Valley

I have a whole new appreciation for the phrase quaking aspens after this photo shoot.  It was early morning, and so calm, but every now and then the slightest breeze would come through and really get these Aspen leaves rustling.   It was low light here, so I was trying to use a long exposure, and I really didn't want the trees quaking at all!  I'm really happy with the color here.  This is just how it looked with a lemon-lime mix of changed leaves.  I was checking the Sacbee interactive website for fall color, and they showed Hope Valley at peak color change over the weekend.  I think this is slightly before peak, but I didn't mind at all.  I just wish I would have left out that section of dark evergreen on the right. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Aspen Reflection

The Aspens in the Lake Tahoe area are at peak color right now, so I drove up there on Saturday to get some photos.  I have a handful of Aspen photos to post this week, but this one is definitely my favorite from the trip.  I tried this type of liquid gold reflection last year too, but I'm much happier with how this one came out!   This was taken in Hope Valley along the Carson River.  I'm already thinking this one will go in my 2014 calendar :) 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pumpkin Regatta

There were eleven entries in this year's Pumpkin Regatta at the Elk Grove Pumpkin Festival.  It's tricky to stay afloat though, and at least two pumpkins capsized or sunk.  Pumpkin number 3 was skippered by "Fearless Dave".  He got out to an early lead, and seemed to have a pretty steady pumpkin shape, so he managed to keep his lead and go on to take the 2012 Pumpkin Regatta title.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Roller Coaster Dummies

This one is from a few weeks ago when my family went to Great America's Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.  We spotted this scene after riding the Medusa roller coaster.  I wonder how often these guys get to ride?  And what's up with the red splotch on that head?

Friday, October 5, 2012


I guess it's just a matter of time of day and time of year, but the shadows lined up just right to make a little arrow pointing at 7 o'clock.  At least that's what it looks like to me.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Catch of the Day

These fishermen where heading in to the marina in Walnut Grove.  I can only assume they had a productive morning on the Sacramento River, given all the boats out and about.  We had a beautiful reflection off the water that morning.  Even though we have still been having record-breaking heat around here, our mornings are cool and crisp, and this is a crisp morning reflection for sure.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Delta Bridge Underpass

Day 26 in black and white. The entire delta area is an intricate web of leveed rivers, marsh land, and estuaries.  (Thank you Corp of Engineers!)  Balancing human needs and natural habitat is delicate operation involving federal, state, and local agencies.  As you drive through the delta, these little bridges are everywhere.  I was interested in the diamond argyle pattern created by the sunlight reflection here.  Lucky for me, a little fishing boat went under the bridge while I was photographing, and it stirred up this interesting wake!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pampas Grass

We saw this grass growing along the roadside all the way up Highway 1 from where we cut in at Bodega Bay to where we turned inland north of Fort Bragg.  I was thinking the whole way along that I should stop and photograph it, but we were trying to make good time too.  I finally stopped just before we headed inland, and photographed at this Pacific coastline overlook.  It was ridiculously windy, so I had to shoot at my fastest shutter speed 1/4000.  I should have stopped sooner when the wind wasn't so strong.  Also the grass had a reddish color further south, which I did want to get in the photo.  I think this will probably be my final photo in my travel series.  Too bad.  It was such a fun trip, and I've had fun reliving it on the blog this past week.  But I've had a good chance to get caught up on things at home, and to get caught up on rest, so tomorrow will be a good day to head back out with my camera!  :)