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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spirit of West Davis Pond

I finally got a chance to play around with reflecting an image over the center vertical axis for a partial mandala effect that I was talking about earlier this month.  The complete effect would require one more reflection; I'll have to try that one too.  I'm really happy with the way this one turned out though.  Especially the totem pole look in the center, and the inclusion of the sky color in the reflection.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter at the Ranch

The companion photo for yesterday's post: the same ranch from a different angle.  I like all the green in the one, but I'm not that thrilled with some of those partial trees in the front.  I wish I'd shot from a slightly different angle.  If I ever have I barn, I will definitely paint it red!!!  

(I'm just curious between today's and yesterday's photos which one people prefer.  I like yesterday's, but the rest of my family likes today's.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Currier & Ives

I switched SD cards in my camera this morning, and what a surprise to find photos from my trip to Oregon a few weeks ago!  I forgot that I had filled one SD card and switched to the other.  It was a lucky find, because I've just got too many other things going right now to put much effort into photography.  And I do like this wintery scene from Siskiyou County; it looks like a Northern California version of Currier & Ives.  It's just missing the horse and sleigh...and maybe a little more snow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

...Just before sunrise.  About an hour north of Sacramento, the wildlife refuge is the winter home to hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sky Writing

It's been along time since I've driven through the Yolo Basin area with my camera.  I was thinking about working on the teasel photo concept, and this wildlife area seemed like a good location to find weeds, but there was absolutely no teasel to be found.  The water level was high though, and so I played around with the sky reflection and reeds. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Butterfly Garden

Friends of West Davis Pond maintains a beautiful flower garden designed to attract native butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  I don't know what kinds of flowers these are, but in summer they're a bright yellow.  I've tried photographing them in other seasons but never liked what I got.  Today I caught a good morning light.  This is about as pretty as winter look can around here.  I'm VERY jealous of all the daily photo bloggers who live in picturesque winter locations!!!  All we get is brown, brown, brown.  We have been getting a nice frost lately, visible on the fence in the background.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Last fall we came upon this series of books called "Signspotting".  They're full of photos of funny signs, often poorly translated signs in foreign countries, or contradictory signs like we have here.  So when we were driving along a country road in central Oregon last week, and I wanted to turn around to go back and get a photo, I happened to choose this road.  We got a good laugh out of this.  Dead End AND No Turn Around?  What does one do?  Luckily I turned around at the opening of the road, and didn't venture any further down it!  It was sure to end badly, but as it is I'm here to tell the tale!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Well I learned something today.  Yesterday I thought this plant was thistle, but it turns out this variation is called teasel.  And that it's an invasive species!  Guess it sort of has that look in today's photo.  Seems like I have a knack for photographing invasive species!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter Teasel

Such a sparkly frost outside of Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.  I'm hoping to head out with my camera tomorrow, but for today I have a lot to catch up on, so I'm posting one more frosty photo from our drive in Oregon last week.  It's a good dichotomy; so delicate and so tough at the same time.  Plus one of the prettiest winter blues I've captured in the sky color. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Siskiyou Snow

The highest elevation of the I-5 drive is at the Oregon-California border at about 4500 ft. although I think the higher mountains peak at around 7000 ft.  With the cold spell we're having, we were bound to see snow up here.  A very pretty snow!  Lots of people up enjoying it too.  We didn't drive up to the ski slopes, but we did see plenty of sledders having fun.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sweet Gum and Frost

I'm home!!!  Today was our longest day of driving, starting in Eugene with a beautiful blanket of frost.  It was the first day I had time to play around with my camera (which made the drive even longer, but was oh so fun!)  Funny that I saved a Sweet Gum photo to post yesterday, and happened upon this one today.  We got off I-5 for a while and drove down the old highway, US-99.  That's the only way to really see things.  It was a beautiful drive the whole way, but I'm so glad to be home.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Starry Tree

Just a snapshot taken in Sacramento last Saturday.  I had the wrong lens, and planned to try the photo again with my 80-200 lens before I went out of town but I just didn't have time.  Sweet Gum trees were always one of my favorites when we lived in the Midwest.  You don't see them so often around here.  When I saw this scene, I thought the sparse leaves looked like stars hanging in the sky.  I hope they're still there when I get home tomorrow.  I would like to try taking this photo like I was imagining it! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I probably would have posted this one back in December, but I did so many West Davis Pond reflection photos then that I thought it would be too much.  Recently I saw an amazing variation on this theme called Mandala.  It was a perfect reflection just like this one, but sliced in half vertically, copied, flipped to mirror image, and reattached.  It's something I will definitely be trying the next time I get an interesting reflection photo at the pond!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vanishing Point

Taken just before New Years on a very foggy drive to Woodland.  I wasn't that wild about this photo when I took it, but this week I find it more interesting.  It's a good photo for today too, because we drove though fog just this thick all the way north to the Oregon border yesterday morning.  That's four hours of fog, with just a small break near Mt. Shasta.  I didn't know a blanket of fog could be that big!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Onion Truck

Just one of the interesting things you can see driving down the highway here in California.  This photo was taken on our trip back from Arizona last week.  We passed this truck twice on the highway and couldn't figure out what it was carrying.  Then a little further down the road we stopped at a Rest Stop and ran into the truck again.  This time I was able to get a good look.  The truck driver told me these are the purple onions you see in restaurant salads.  Half the truck had giant yellow onions that looked like oranges or maybe grapefruits.  Anyway, it's a fitting photo for today, because I'll be on the road again for the rest of the week.  I've uploaded some old photos for posting this week, so hopefully I will still be able to post daily. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Origami Paper

I really wanted to post this photo version of Creosote too.  It was taken late in the day, and backlit, so the seed puffs were glowing.  I think it's a lot harder to see the full plant, but I thought the overall monochromatic effect was sort of cool.  It reminds me of Japanese rice paper, or origami paper.  Or maybe a 1930s style quilting fabric. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ghostly Cactus

We saw several cactus skeletons on our hike. I was fascinated by their intricate patterns.  I liked the animated expression on this Staghorn Chollo skeleton.  It looked like he has some words of wisdom that his still-living companion is craning to hear.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Suguaro Cactus

We saw these cacti everywhere in Arizona, but they were especially thick here along the Metati Trail near Cave Creek.  We also encountered a section of very old and tall suguaro (suh-WAHR-oh) but they were more spread out and harder to photograph.  They can grow to be over 40 feet tall!  These younger suguaro are still pretty old; they don't grow arms for over 70 years.  The scars along the sides are little holes where small birds nest.  I love this shade of sage green, and it seems like all the plants around here tend toward a really pretty sage color. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This was the first patch of cholla (CHOY-yuh) that we saw on our trip.  We were driving through Joshua Tree National Park, which is probably about 1 1/2 hours east of LA.  We were heading to Arizona and decided to detour through the park on our way.  This cholla patch was at a lower elevation, maybe 2000 ft., in the part of the park in the Sonoran Desert.  The park elevation rises to over 9000 ft. at the north end which is in the Mojave Desert.  It turns out that cholla grows throughout Arizona as well, but I didn't know that when we came upon this patch.  There are over 20 varieties.  This variety is called Teddy Bear Cholla because from a distance its edges look soft and cuddly like a teddy bear.  (They're not!) 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome to the Desert

First let me say Happy New Year! to all my blog friends and followers.  We were on the road over New Years, and as usual, I had computer issues and wasn't able to post or follow.  But I have a LOT of photos from my trip which I will be sharing in the coming days.  This one is my teaser photo.  Where in the world did I go???  As a hint, this photo was taken during a drive through a National Park.  I tried this long-stretch-of-desert-road photo quite a bit because the scene was constantly so striking to me.  This one ended up being my favorite because I liked the bold yellow line.