Finding Beauty in Nature

I wrote this post in April. Saved the draft, and stuff got in the way. Now in mid June with a moment to spare, and the weather heating up in Sacramento I am ready to share. My next post will address some of what has been going on in my life. My picture taking continued, but my blog did not.

Plenty of discouraging things to read about in the newspaper. So on Tuesdays my CTT group heads out to discover natural beauty. Plenty of rain filled the rivers, streams and creeks. The landscape is covered with brightly colored flowers upon a green backdrop.

Checking the forecast is part of the planning stage. So far the rain has found us while we were out shooting, but it didn’t derail our plans. Once we planned an indoor activity, just to discover the sun. You just never know.

It is good for me to get out with camera in hand and away from fb, phone, and internet. Sometime I find it fun to explore new places, and sometimes my return visit takes place at a different time of year. Anyway I always look for new ways to see things.

This a return trip to Crystal Hermitage Garden. Located north of Nevada City, Ca. I visited the Ananda Retreat last year. Then the sun was shining and the tulips were open. My return trip found us shooting in the rain. This is such a peaceful place, and the beauty was not diminished by the weather.


Unfurling Fern


Tulips in the Rain


One of many statues found on the grounds


Each space planned with care.


Crystal Hermitage Garden overlooks the Tahoe National Forest


Stand up to the rain, and be colorful!

Thanks for stopping by!



Copps Quarry

1611_01_coppsquarry_5115Getting out with fellow photographers helps me get a different outlook on life. It is time for me to relax. It is time to look outward. Stop worrying about family who seem to think I can wave a wand, and abracadabra all their wants will be delivered. All mysteries of the universe revealed by me. I am so powerful. Not!

Since my Dad passed away in September much time is spent with my Mom. Luckily my dog, Libby joins me most days. On Fridays I watch grandkids, and my one year old entertains residents at the assisted living facility with my Mom. So to get out of this routine I set aside at least one day a week to photography.

This time we explored a new place for me. Copp’s Quarry provided granite to San Francisco and Stockton for buildings. Closed in 1915 I explored narrow walking paths dotted with granite partially cut, a meandering creek, and Indian grinding rocks.


Where will this path lead?


Next time I will bring my new variable neutral density filter to improve the rushing water in this image.                         

Lots of fungus among us.

A close-up look at nature reveals faces to me.


Black eyed


Look at my perfect profile


The Lone Ranger look

Splashes of color grab my attention.

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Lizard sunning

What does this mean?


And now I have come to the end of this set of images.


Thank you for joining me on my recounted afternoon photo journey. Any words from you are always welcomed.




Hope Valley Autumn


Two hours from Sacramento is Hope Valley. For this Tuesday my friend Anne and I head out to find some Autumn color. My Dad passed away 5 weeks ago, and it is time to look outward.

Traveling on Route 50 we stop in Strawberry. This unincorporated town was a stop for the Pony Express in the 1850’s. Strawberry Lodge was my introduction to snow in California. When my kids were little we came here to go sledding.


Granite cliffs call to me. Do I see some faces there?


The south fork of the American River in Strawberry, Ca.


This Dodge truck just fits in this space


The Sierras in the distance have been dusted with snow.


Back on Route 50 we will turn south before Lake Tahoe

We stop for lunch at Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley. Great lunch. Cabins, pond, fire pit, rustic charm, and topiary make for fun picture exploring. This is just how I like to spend time out photographing with my friend.


Just Fishin’


On the lookout for picnic baskets, Bo0 Boo!


Imagine Relaxing with a Good Book


After a summer it is great to see Aspen color

Rain fell in the Sacramento Valley during the weekend leaving a dusting of snow along the Carson Pass at an elevation of 7800 feet.


Caples Lake located in the Carson Pass

Many Sacramento photographers recently posted a cabin in the woods.


Cabin in the Woods



Goodbye Hope Valley. Glad to spend time wandering around just looking for beauty in nature.



Point Reyes National Seashore: Ocean Calling, but first explore the area’s history.

My friends know that I am drawn to the ocean. So we head to Point Reyes on a Saturday morning.

First stop is the Bear Valley Visitor Center where we meet with other photographers from Exploring Photography Meet Up. Laura picks up a hat, and I purchase a tee shirt celebrating the National Parks 100 year anniversary. 100% cotton, and made in the U.S.A.

We head out for a hike. Following the Earthquake Trail This is not my first time on this trail, but this time I have my Nikon with me.


Easy, short 1 mile hike


Serene lush setting

The San Andreas Fault line runs through the Point Reyes National Seashore area. The Pacific plate moves 2 inches per year, but on April 18, 1906 a 7.8 earthquake caused the Point Reyes peninsula moved 20 feet northwestward. The San Francisco earthquake caused much damage due in part to the fires that followed.


Walking along the San Andreas Fault line


Bird grabs a blackberry


Morning Glory


Quiet bench along the way


Spider web captures the sun


Hanging moss


Profile of relaxing pose


Elephant running



Much information to assist in preparation for the “Big One”


Don’t ignore the power of mother nature!

This meet-up has set up an itinerary, but the schedule allows for some changes. Before we head to our next destination, we pay homage to the infamous S.S.Point Reyes. This 380 ft. cargo ship is grounded on a sandbar in Tomales Bay. Located in the town of Inverness this ship has been a magnet for photographers. It was towed to its location, and was never shipwrecked. The protected inland area allowed the slow decay of this vessel. Until one night about 6 months ago when it accidentally caught fire during a photo shoot. Damage was done to the back end, and there is a question as to how long it will remain here. There are so many photographs that I was not totally interested in capturing it myself. But  how can I resist. Recommended time for shooting is the golden hour, but with fog that was not going to happen. Anyway, I Iike the foggy atmosphere.


A perfect photographic spot to end its journey.


I played around with some processing techniques. It is not hard to see this as a painting.


During the earthquake in 1906, the pier in Tomales Bay sustained considerable movement. During restoration it was found to be curved, and 12 feet shorter.


Bailey’s pier at Inverness

Our next stop was to Abbott’s Lagoon. Here my friends and I encountered an easy trail with much nature to photograph. Now that I am home I can learn about some of the plants in the Point Reyes National Seashore.


This is a thistle, but I’m not sure which kind. I like the splash of color it lends to the area.


Even with closer photographs my chart to identify this plant is lacking.


My path forward


California Quail


There was a crooked tree…


This black beetle may have landed on some Cow Parsnip.


Two friends resting


Abbott’s Lagoon trail


This may be Brownie Thistle

Our next stop was Pierce Point Ranch. No sign of promised sun, and we picnicked nearby. I was surprised by how many dairy farms were located so close to the coast. Pierce Ranch was one of the most successful dairy ranches in the area, and the buildings provide some interesting photo opportunities.



I like the way the fence leads your eye to the farm house.


Lovely light in this barn


Foggy and cool




Reflections and foggy


Reflections and a peek through the door


Self guided tour through the farm complex




This interesting bumble bee is targeting this yellow wildflower.


I can’t identify the flower, but the bee sure knows what he wants.


Monochromatic capture


Though the fog I see the Pacific Ocean





Careful not to step on this catarpillar



Farmhouse scene

As we were leaving the Pierce Point Ranch area we finally see some Tule Elk. This is also home for the Tule Elk Preserve.


Tule Elk

Still hoping for sun we head to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Too foggy to even see the lighthouse.

We head to North Beach, and here comes the sun. Yeah!


Only a part of North Beach is open for the public.



Finally get to hear the roar of the ocean waves!


Wildflowers along Point Reyes North Beach

Great day, and a big thank you to my friends Anne, Laura, and Linda!

Until the coastal waters call to me again.