Napa Road Trip minus the wine

My friend’s road would be slurried, she wanted a landscape of a vineyard, and I went along to capture some new images. No formal destination and no time constraints. Armed with ice coffee, plenty of water and music for the road.

Early morning departure means little sleep for me. My sleep cycle has really flipped this summer. Even if I try to get to bed early, I fall asleep around 3:30 am. This also seems to happen if I am going somewhere the next day. Need to start making a switch, and wake up early before the temperature rises.

Silverado Trail is our first stop. Vineyards on both sides of the road, but the fields planted along the mountainsides are not as mature and lush.

Grapes ripening on the vine
My imagination goes wild with the bark of the vine. Peeking animals.

I see a cute sign post with a donkey, and then I spot donkeys. I approach animals carefully, but one donkey was particularly friendly. Almost called her such a good puppy. A natural mistake given my situation.

I first spotted this cute garden art. Then OMG donkeys.
Ready to say hello
Just so sweet. Came right over for some love.
Pregnant donkey (called Jenny). Gestation takes a long time. 11-14 Months! I wonder how long this Jenny has to wait?
Good bye my donkey friend.

Facebook has been reminding me that nine years ago Liberty came into my life. Having her, missing her, and needing another dog is a tribute to my Libby.

We brought my Libby Love home 9 years ago.

David would want to have another English Lab, but I am open to looking at another breed. Looking for a medium sized dog. I would like to be able to lift the dog up, be easily trainable and have a good personality. Thought about a cocker spaniel, or Logatto Romagnolo.

I decided to go with an Australian Labradoodle. The DNA includes Labrador retriever, Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel. This is multigenerational hybrid that was essentially developed to provide canine assistance to those who are allergic to dog hair. Since poodles improve the chances for this characteristic, and the Labrador retriever has a proven track record for training the hope is for the best of both. The Labradoodle comes in three sizes, and so this satisfies my need for a more portable dog. Having less hair to sweep up is a bonus! Though I will need to become informed about the grooming. My Libby was a wash & wear dog.

My I have gotten off track. Back to my road trip. Remembering past trips our destination was the CIA – Culinary Institue of America. First stop was the CIA at Copia. I was pleasantly surprised to come across a photographic homage to Julia Child by her husband Paul. Such a wonderful collection of black & white photographs. Well worth taking time out to visit if you are interested in photography!

A Toast!

The space at the CIA was amazing. The light, design, and architecture captured my imagination.

I will certainly schedule another visit and spend time exploring the outside when the temperature is below 100 degrees.

Interesting staircase. Another place to explore next time.
Beautiful glass sculpture
Love the lighting here
Replica of sculpture that rests on top of building.
Serene setting.
These real spices fill the space with wonderful aromas. Makes you hungry!
Grand space

I didn’t spend too much time outside but the outside had much to see.

Outside seating under a pergola. Live music venue at Grove

Fork sculpture made out of forks. But where is the spoon it ran away with?

Went next door to the Oxbow Public Market. Another place I need to come back to for some great people watching with my Fuji x100f. Put myself in a street photography mind set. Ate an interesting gourmet oven baked Mushroom pizza with ricotta cheese sauce. No pictures, just good food!

Last place on our road trip was the Greystone Cellers. This is home to the CIA School. Interesting history. The building was impressive, but the view overlooking the vineyard was difficult to capture. Trees blocked the view. How rude! And then there is the parking lot to contend with. Not to mention the heat.

Massive doorway leads into Greystone Cellers
Impressive main entrance.

Cakes decorated by the students attending the CIA at Greystone. Reminds me of when my daughter decorated cakes in high school in ROP Bakery Academy. Being the good mom I sampled each creation. Made with lard and not buttercream the taste did not match up with the beautiful design.

Among the many collections I was drawn to this clown bottle opener.
Ironic that this truck advertising Vodka was parked next to the vineyard.
Not sure what kind of flower this is. Pretty in Pink.

So ends a day in Napa Valley. No wine was consumed. Any blurriness in the photographs are due to photographer error and not the vino!

Art & Ag in Yolo County

Subi Blue, my 2017 Subaru Outback, headed to Woodland on Thursday to a working farm for a morning of photography with friends. Headed out early to hopefully get better light and beat the summer heat.

Camera gear stowed, directions printed, and Jeanne and Laura safely fastened we headed to Fong Farm. Upon arrival Nancy greeted us with a map of this farm. I was told that the Farm gave us unlimited access, but be sure to park on the side of the road. The barn and metal shop provided many photo opportunities.

Time stops for no one!
Shapes and textures abound.
Parts from days gone by
Bolts of some kind
All eyes are on you!

Driving down dusty roads past a tomato field my Subi Blue gathered a fine coating of silty dust.

Barn surrounded by field of tomatoes 🍅.

At some Art & Ag events some information is shared about the workings of the farm. Here our map was our only guide. I wondered how these tomato field was harvested.

Three dogs greeted my car as we rounded the bend. I will give the a treat, and a “Good dogs” for doing the job of watch dog. Came right up I front of the car and tried very hard from discouraging me from driving down the dusty road. Sorry no phot opportunity here. No dogs were hurt, and eventually they trotted home.

Next we passed a field of yellow and orange thistles. Being a city girl I couldn’t imagine why a farmer would plant so many thistles. They are interesting flowers to photograph, but a bouquet of thistles?

Then we checked the map, and discovered we were looking at a field of safflowers. Ok, armed with no knowledge, I am guessing safflower oil?

Safflower field as far as the eye can see

Plein Air artists also enjoy the Yolo County Art & Ag events.

Painting a willow tree along the canal
My artist perspective. Safflower field in the background. Sutter Buttes in the distance.

That ended the tour of the Fong Farm. We went in search for a field of Sunflowers. I had already visited a field earlier in the month, but now I had my new Fujifilm xf 80 macro lens with me.

My best bee capture
One resilient sunflower standing up to time
Shadows captured in the backlit flower
Not ready for prime time
My best side please
Take time to see another point of view
Think about the BEES! Where would we be?
Bowing down. Countdown till the sunflower season ends.

Denny’s for lunch and then home.

One last stop for my Subi Brown. Bob’s Car Wash. Needed to get a full wash including undercarriage. After such a day I am glad that I put off going to the farm with a clean car. Wow!

Come a little bit closer

Instead of looking at the BIG picture, I decided to explore the world close up. Last weekend while I was out photographing the fields of sunflowers I found that I was drawn to the world of things that fly.

Each year the fields around Yolo County bloom with sunflowers. While surrounded by sunflowers I ended up watching the activity around the flowers. Plenty of bees capturing pollen, and there were the occasional butterfly.

I am here!
Row after row of sunflowers
Butterfly shaped shadow
Mezger’s Zinnia Patch located in Woodland, CA.

Mezger’s Zinnia Patch is a delightful place to visit. This flower garden is privately owned and the public are encouraged to come enjoy the flowers, and pick some fresh zinnias for themselves. The idea is that you should also pick a bouquet for someone who cannot get out to enjoy the flowers in their natural setting. Zinnias available in different varieties and multiple colors. As you enter the field, there are pruning shears, vases and water (for flowers only!). The beauty of nature uplifts the spirit in many retirement homes in Woodland. Sharing has been the reason for Mark Mezger’s continued planting of his zinnia fields.

I have stopped by over the years, and I enjoy watching children selecting, and picking flowers.

Carefully selecting flowers, and placing them together in a bouquet

Not only people stop by for a visit. There are plenty of bees, butterflies and dragonflies.

This butterfly paused for a moment.
Another variety and I caught some sunlight on its wings.
On this flower I found a butterfly and a bee sharing the zinnia!

No dragonflies for me this time.

One last stop on this getting hotter Saturday. The UC Davis Arboretum. As we drove in I was reminded of the many, many trip here with my pooch, Libby.

Plenty of information, and signage to educate the visitor to the UC Davis Arboretum.
My favorite color roses!

I spotted a dragonfly who stopped long enough for me to capture an image.

As close as I could go. Now I am inspired to get a macro lens for my Fuji xt2.

A swallowtail butterfly zoomed around but would not stop.

Taken from a shaded bench. A perfect spot!
Pet owners walking their dogs passed the horse corral.

Time to go. Hope you enjoyed this close-up look at nature. My next stop during the week will be to purchase the Fuji x 80mm macro lens. And hope to get even closer.

Take Time and Stop

There is something to taking time to stop and smell the roses!” So as I take time, I will share some of my recent photographs of nature.

In the spring my photo group takes a trip north of Nevada City to Crystal Hermitage Garden. I am lucky to have this beautiful space so close to home. I make this an annual visit in the Spring and have blogged about this peaceful place before.

Tip Toe through the Tulips
Springtime at Crystal Hermitage Garden
Purple Hyacinth
Mt. Fuji Cherry Tree
Lake Tah

Pareidolia is the science behind seeing faces in everyday objects. I am particularly drawn to this type of photography. What does this say about me?

Who is looking down on you?
Peeking!
Just a splash of color contrasts with the rough texture.

Hope you enjoyed this natural pause in the day.