It’s Good To Be a Local Tourist!

Announcing the name of my photography group, Camera Totin’ Tuesdays. Spent much of the day with my favorite people laughing over the many names, and acronyms possible. Settled on this one. Going out every Tuesday with this group opens up my horizons. For the past 35 years I lived in Sacramento.  Exploring the surrounding areas demonstrates the richness of the area photographically. My friend Karen shares local history, and always prefaces her remarks with, “You must have been here already.” Surprisingly, no. I must have been very busy with work and kids, or just not curious enough to get in the car for a ride around Northern California by myself. Remedy, get a camera and surround yourself with good friends.

This particular Tuesday we headed to Auburn. My friends wanted to try their hand at smoothing out rapids as the river flows over rocks. They brought along ND filters to achieve this affect. Destination: Lake Clementine. The lake did not impress, but in all honesty we got there late and didn’t complete the hike. I used a circular polarizer (since I didn’t have a ND filter) for some of the shots and slowed down my shutter speed to try and achieve smooth, flowing water.

North Fork of the American River
Smooth water rocky shoreline
Graffiti along the river


Actually for this goal we should have started earlier to avoid the bright sunshine. The Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California, is amazing. It is the 5th highest bridge in the United States.

Foresthill Bridge
Foresthill Bridge

In 1898 the classic design of the  Auburn Court House  replaced the prior building destroyed by fire. I usually have trouble finding the right angle to photograph buildings.

Auburn County Courthouse
Replica of the Auburn Courthouse reflected
Exhibit at the Placer County Museum
Placer County Museum
Auburn Hook and Ladder No. 2 since 1852
Advertisement found on a brick wall in Auburn

I processed this photograph using Topaz Texture Effects. It fits historic Auburn, don’t you think?

Advertisement on a brick wall in Auburn.


Interesting door
Love all the textures
Just passing through Auburn

Couldn’t resist taking a picture of this unusual find. In my neighborhood I saw a similar vehicle just before “Burning Man”. Wonder what this one is used for.

Strange vehicle spotted while looking for a sunset.

We went searching for a place to watch and photograph the sunset. Passed this private ranch. My friend Anne told Karen and me to ring the bell and ask permission to park in the driveway. Sure thing. The owner and his two Portuguese Water Dogs greeted us and allowed us to park just in time.

Sunset with lens flare
Found this beautiful site to catch a sunset
Auburn Sunset

Another great day out with my friends and my Nikon D7100.


Loss of a friend. Message – Be open to new experiences

Today I got the telephone call I was expecting. My friend Greg now has a new bird’s eye view of the world. Photography brought us together, and this past year I enjoyed his company on many of our Tuesdays with Seniors photography outings. I met Anne and Greg at the same time, and we formed a team on many Tuesdays.

Our day was never very predictable, and it was much more than just finding a spot to take pictures. We met at 9:00 a.m. loaded with camera gear, and much enthusiasm.  Greg never was one to take a direct, fast route.

Michigan Bar Road. Lovely colors. Using my tripod and some post processing tips from Greg.
Cows looking for some shade. Greg sings to them.
Off the beaten path


He liked looking for alleys, narrow lanes, and forgotten places. Sometimes we ventured back to check out the scene again and again. Each time he marvelled at discovering something new.

Quiet spot in Folsom.
Another new place to explore.
Locke, Ca. a Greg favorite.
Captured at the Highland Games in Woodland. Not a selfie.

Greg volunteered at the California Auto Museum, and arranged for Sac Photographers to spend a morning there.

Journeying along with Friends

Greg liked talking to people, and occasionally Anne and I would have to interrupt him. He often tried to embarress me, which my husband says wouldn’t be too hard.

Got to talking with a local Knight’s Landing resident and pooch.
Love the dog’s expression
Never know what you will find when you went out on Tuesday.
This time the local resident captured Greg’s attention in Plymouth, Ca.
Knight’s Landing
Greg enjoyed showing me this double outhouse. Luxurious accommodations.
Greg and Anne finding something of interest in Jackson, Ca.

Greg explained HDR to me. It helped me capture this image.

Majestic hotel lobby of the National Hotel

After shooting all morning, or just driving around we would stop for lunch. Sometimes we ate at a Chinese, or Mexican, or BBQ restaurant. Then there was this one time we went looking for a pizza place and found all restaurants in the town  closed. (Remember, we liked the quiet of shooting on a Tuesday.) So we found a country store, and made our purchases. Arriving at a restaurant I never knew what wisecracks Greg would come up with. In the afternoon we stopped and Greg would fortify himself with a chocolate bar, soda, and jerky.

Ate here. I think we can still return.
Worth a trip to Jackson
Carlos, the owner of Fat Freddy’s in Jackson Ca. In a past visit Greg learned all about how this eatery got its name, and more.
River Walk farmer’s market
We stayed close to home and enjoyed the farmer’s market on the River Walk in November.

Greg’s knowledge of the area extended beyond driving logistics to historical information. I learned a lot. Our discussions ranged from personal stories, to politics, to solving the world’s problems. Bernie just lost a vote. In the end the day ended with each having some new thoughts, many images, and a feeling of camaraderie.


A soft spot for strays.

I told Greg that my first car was a Ford Maverick. He said I needed to take a picture of this car.

Greg identified this car as a Ford Maverick. Not.
Having fun at the Highland Games.
I will keep looking for another road to follow. 

I thank you for opening my eyes to new experiences. Thanks Greg.

Jackson California Outing

Another Tuesday outing with my friends Anne and Greg. First stop is revisiting Michigan Bar Road.  The cool winter fog presents such a change in atmosphere in the images. The summer sun that beat down on me gave my photos shadows and highlights. Now winter fog and mist saturate colors. I grab a couple of shots of the curving road lined with barbed wire fence.

Michigan Bar Road Curves
Michigan Bar Road Curves
Dried wild flowers hug the barbed wire

Cattle grazes in the pasture.

Cows Grazing
Cows Grazing

Fall colors, a recent memory, are not visible. The color palette are grays, browns, and greens. Definitely have a feeling of winter approaching. Later in the week there is talk of a storm. I have heard this before. The drought here is real, and somedays I long for time to hibernate, and catch up on all kinds of projects. Then, I’m out shooting, and I am glad for the dry weather. Guess I should appreciate what I have since I have no control over weather anyway.

Farm animals got to listen to my “Julia Childs” voice as I call to them. I can tell they respond to my voice. The cows come closer, the horse looks my way. I am patient, and enjoy the time I spend trying to get a good image.

Cow Listening to "Julia Child" Voice
Cow Listening to “Julia Child” Voice
Slim Pickings for Cow
Slim Pickings for Cow
Do you like my earings?
Do you like my earings?
What's on the other side?
What’s on the other side?
Follow the leader.
Follow the leader.
Perfect rural setting
Perfect rural setting
That's what I think about that!
That’s what I think about that!
Love the markings on this horse.
Love the markings on this horse.

Next I concentrate on my landscape photography. I am using my tripod, and bracketing my shots. I capture 5 frames with different shutter speeds so that I can merge them using HDR  Photomatrix Pro 5 software.

Stopped at Michigan Bar Road farm
Stopped at Michigan Bar Road farm
Rural Landscape

Our lunch destination is Fat Freddy’s in Jackson California. The menu is simple. Carlos has been serving hot dogs here for the past 19 years. He started with a hot dog cart, and opened up “Fat Freddy’s” nineteen years ago in Jackson. Over a Kraut Hot Dog and delicious Cappuccino Milk Shake Carlos told the story as to how the place was named. His original thought was to name it “Wanda’s Wonder Buns.” This name was strenuously rejected by his wife Wanda. After some thought Carlos gave in and Wanda came up with the name “Fat Freddy’s”.  Seating is counter style and the tiny “hole in the wall” space is eclectically decorated.

Worth a trip to Jackson
Worth a trip to Jackson
Carlos, the owner of Fat Freddy's in Jackson Ca.
Carlos, the owner of Fat Freddy’s in Jackson Ca. Always ready for conversation.
Cappuccino Milk Shake @ Fat Freddy's
Cappuccino Milk Shake @ Fat Freddy’s. So thick and yummy!

Walked off lunch by strolling around town. Many retail establishments are   dressed up for the holidays, but on a Tuesday some places are closed. Lots of pedestrians window shopping.

Main Street in Jackson Ca
Main Street in Jackson Ca
Retail signage
Retail signage
Retail Signage
Retail Signage
St. Patrick Church in Jackson Ca.
Historic Plaque
Historic plaque tells an interesting story.

The Chamber of Commerce suggested that we stop at the National Hotel. The staff welcomed three photographers, complete with tripods. It felt like I had been transported back to a lavish Victorian era hotel around the  1860’s. The ambiance of lighting makes taking photographs challenging. I definately needed to use my tripod. For some of the images I bracketed 5 frames and then imported the files in Photomatrix Pro 5 from Lightroom. I hope I did the National Hotel lobby justice. If you are in the area this is a place to visit. I didn’t get to see the rooms, but I am tempted to make a reservation.

National Hotel
National Hotel
Majestic hotel lobby of the National Hotel
Majestic hotel lobby of the National Hotel
National Hotel Lobby in Jackson
National Hotel Lobby in Jackson
National Hotel ready for the holidays!
National Hotel ready for the holidays!
Ceiling Tiles
Ceiling Tiles
Christmas Ornament
Christmas Ornament Reflection
National Hotel lobby features this book. Any ghosts haunting this old hotel?
National Hotel
National Hotel Santa

This hotel retained many antiques which creates an interesting atmosphere. I have never seen this before.

Antique Cigarette Machine. Only 25 cents
Antique Cigarette Machine. Only 25 cents
Glass Work on door in National Hotel

Thanks for the hospitality in such a gracious hotel.

Before heading back to Sacramento we made one more stop along the way.

Leaving Amador County
Leaving Amador County
Defeat and Victory!
Tree fight it out.


Heading back to Sacramento. Fog is rolling in.
Heading back to Sacramento. Fog is rolling in.








Visiting the Gold Country

Sacramento spring appeared quickly, and everything bloomed at once. Didn’t make it up to Daffodil Hill this year. Blooms started early, rain cancelled plans, and then the ranch closed early. Instead Plymouth and Sutter Creek provided the venue for our photo adventure.

Stopped at an Amador County Winery and enjoyed the peaceful scene of a weekday morning.

Serene Reflection at an Amador County Winery
Serene Reflection at an Amador County Winery

Headed to the Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth with the idea to use my Macro 60 mm 2.8 lens.

Just missed my fly dinner!
Just missed my fly dinner!
Ugh! Bugs!
Ugh! Bugs!
Daisy Flower in Pink. proclaims, "Spring is Here!"
Daisy Flowers in Pink proclaims, “Spring is Here!”

The Amador Flower Farm displays playful garden art.

Goofy Garden Art
Goofy Garden Art
Water Sculpture provide relaxing sounds. I see a face! Do you?
Water Sculpture provide relaxing sounds.
I see a face! Do you?

Remember the useful “Red Wagon”.  Here are some waiting to be put to use at the Amador Flower Farm.

Red Wagons at rest.
Red Wagons at rest.

Time for lunch and Ann and I headed to Sutter Creek. On Main Street we found a Mexican Restaurant, Pepita’s. The food was delicious, and the service was perfect.

This area was central to the California Gold Rush. Some of the buildings in Sutter Creek try to maintain an old-time look , but  traffic and new businesses blend a revitalized spirit.

Sutter Creek Welcome
Sutter Creek Welcome
Bronze Work in front of Gallery
Bronze Work in front of Gallery

This dog sculpture has been here for a while.  I think that there is a new sign advising visitors to be mindful of their manners!

Don't Pee on Me!
Don’t Pee on Me!

Took a walk a couple of blocks off Main Street and came across these abandoned houses.

Two Abandoned Houses!
Two Abandoned Houses!

Then we returned to Sacramento about an hour away. A nice way to spend the day!