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March 11, 2012

Another adventure scouting for spring color yesterday. We drove to Valley Springs, then on to some uncharted territory northeast through Paloma, continuing on Gwin Mine Road down to the Mokolumne River and the Middle Bar Bridge, then on up to Hwy 49 just south of Jackson. We stopped at the new access parking lot right across the bridge below Electra Road for a few shots, then back to Electra Road.

It is sad to report too little rain will most likely give far less color this year than the past few. We were early, though, and I only saw a few poppies, some spring vetch and a 2" lupine standing alone by the side of the road. We'll try to come back in a few weeks and see how much things have improved.

The water in the river is extremely low this year compared to last . . . down maybe 3' or more. Kayakers, beware!

March 10, 2012

Spring's the Thing

Wow! It's here! Well, almost. Hasn't rained all that much and a lot of last year's dead grass can still be seen in the countryside and foothills. No blooming to speak of going on yet out in the wild. But here in luverly ol' Stockton, you can drive over to Delta College and feast your eyes on some beautiful blooms, including a newly landscaped (this is year two) "Meadow Garden." Not huge, but it gives you the flavor of hillside lupine and a lot of other flowers thrown in.

Enjoy and thank God for giving us "all things beautiful" to enjoy.

March 2, 2012

Photo Tips and Hints

This should really get you motivated for March's photo challenge.

1. Find a boat, preferably an old steamer.

2. Find an old 8x10 view camera.

3. Mount it on the front of the boat.

4. Find a nice swamp.

5. Start looking for gators and dead bodies.

6. Be sure to tip the steam captain.

March 1, 2012

February Challenge Photos

Thanks to everyone who sent their pictures for last month's super-dooper challenge: Doors and Windows.

Some of us traveled to the hinterlands for these shots, while others found their subjects close to home. Actually, you can find doors and windows wherever people have left their mark, it seems. In fact, you seldom leave home without them (if you're in a car or truck!). Their history is as old as civilization and they are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Jesus even calls himself "The Door" in a figurative way in John 10, showing He is the door of forgiveness and everlasting life.

Thanks to Bruce for scouting out some old buildings and churches up in his neck of the Portland area woods. Many of these old buildings are on historical lists, dating back over 100 years is my guess. This might be a good future challenge idea.

Stained glass is an intriguing art form, developed centuries ago. It is still being used in modern buildings and homes.

You can see the rest of Bruce's wonderful old historical remnants here: Tomlin Anderson Photography

Linda's first entry is titled "Dementia Wars."

".... my mother in law was convinced that someone was coming in the back door and hiding in the basement. The only way we could keep her from trying to go outside (cement steps) or in the basement (NARROW cement steps hard for an able-bodied person) was to tie them closed. :(

Dementia is not a fair enemy.

I think old scruffy windows like this one that Linda captured add imagination and story-telling to whatever they're reflecting, even if it's a backyard with a few trees and a shed. A certain amount of reality is lost as the colors fade and mix with whatever is on the other side of the window. Almost like a triptych, but you're getting three pictures in one instead of separately.

Linda rightly labeled it, 'Full of Character.'

Ginnie says, "These shots were taken on the D40 while we were visiting the old copper mining town of Jerome, AZ. Reminded us of Virginia City, NV, but built on the side of a very steep mountain. Gravity has caused a lot of damage to the buildings. Was quite cold, but the reward was an uncrowded very pleasant day."

I'm still trying to figure this one out!

This was Don's second photo scouting trip to Harmony, the little 'town' just north of Cayucos on the coast. He sent me 5 pictures, one of which was 'deceptive' in some way. So I was expecting to see a reflection shot that had been 'rotated' horizontally and any writing would be 'right reading.' Guess this isn't it.

Don has an affinity for things old and rusty, like me. The colors, textures, contrasts and rarity of such items are amazing. You can almost hear them say, "Come over here, and I'll pose for your camera!" You're presented with a myriad of choices for composition, as well.

Barb and I drove to the Gold Country and hit a few towns on Hwy 49, including Plymouth. This stand alone old building is a few blocks west of downtown on the same street. There was a school right next door with kids playing outside during recess. What a contrast. I'd like to go back and get out of the car next time.

Our last stop for the day was in Jackson, late afternoon, so the east side of the main drag was bright and colorful in the sunlight. I couldn't pass shooting this black enameled door with the sky and buildings reflected in it. My first exposure was way overexposed. The meter was reading all the black and adjusted to it by either opening the aperture or lengthening the shutter speed. I was in Program (P) mode. So I switched to Manual (M) mode and got a more realistic shot with true blacks in it.