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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.

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Easy, short 1 mile hike

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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.

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Walking along the San Andreas Fault line

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Bird grabs a blackberry

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Morning Glory

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Quiet bench along the way

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Spider web captures the sun

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Hanging moss

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Profile of relaxing pose

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Elephant running

 

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

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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.

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A perfect photographic spot to end its journey.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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My path forward

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California Quail

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There was a crooked tree…

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This black beetle may have landed on some Cow Parsnip.

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Two friends resting

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Abbott’s Lagoon trail

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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.

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

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Lovely light in this barn

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Foggy and cool

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Outhouse

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Reflections and foggy

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Reflections and a peek through the door

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Self guided tour through the farm complex

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Goldfields

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This interesting bumble bee is targeting this yellow wildflower.

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

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Monochromatic capture

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Though the fog I see the Pacific Ocean

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Careful not to step on this catarpillar

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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.

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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!

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

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Finally get to hear the roar of the ocean waves!

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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.

 

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Donner Summit, the Sierras, Mother Nature and History

Donner Lake is less than 100 miles from Sacramento. I have now travelled up to Donner Lake four times this year: twice in winter, twice in summer.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains has played an historic obstacle in settling California. One famous example is the tragic story of the Donner Party. Following bad advice about a short cut, and an early October snow  in 1846,  strand an unprepared group of pioneers. This tragedy ends with cannibalism for survival. Only half of the original emigrants made it to California. The top of the rock base represents the amount of snowfall that the Donner Party encountered. The pass through the Sierras was renamed for the Donner Party.

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Donner Memorial State Park

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Plaque lists members of the Donner Party that perished and those that survived. Plaque attached to the north face of the fireplace from the Murphy cabin.

Visiting during the snowy winter and imagining the area without the modern highway system the area looks daunting.

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Snow covered cabin provides an idea of how much snow can fall in the Sierras.

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Beautiful view, but slippery road.

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Winter driving can be treacherous. The snow shed used to cover the railroad track are visible from the road.

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The Sierra Nevada Mountains created the most challenge to connected the continent.

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I see a profile of a person’s face.

The hardest part of connecting the transcontinental railroad lay in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is the first time I visited the  Summit Tunnel, Tunnel #6. Walking through the tunnels built by the Central Pacific Railroad to connect east with west, it is hard to believe that the Chinese laborers hand drilled through 1,659 feet the Sierras in 15 months between 1866- 1867. It was dangerous work placing first black powder, and running out in time. The debris then had to be removed. Later nitroglycerin was used: more unstable, but more powerful. Many workers did not survive. The hard work of tunneling through granite, the blasting, and the risk of avalanches in the deep snow, and freezing temperatures  contributed to much loss of life. Work was finally completed in August 1867.

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Light at the end of the tunnel.

Walking into the tunnel I felt drops of water hitting my head. Dressed with a jacket, armed with a flashlight, prepared with my tripod I start walking.  Pretty flat terrain, so a flashlight is just a security measure.

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Textures and colors grab my attention.

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Love the textures

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Shapes and shadows 

Compare this image with the next one processed with HDR. Do you have a preference?

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Many families hike through the Summit Tunnels in the Spring.

 

This is a good location to utilize HDR (high dynamic range) technique. I already had my tripod, and the lighting ranged from dark to light. After shooting 5 images with different f-stops I brought my images into Photomatrix Pro 5. This takes the best from each image and merges them together for this affect.

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With a tripod this is a good place to use HDR

I always look for puddles and reflections.

 

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Captured a puddle reflections in the snow shed.

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Another reflection from a different angle.

The tracks not covered by the mountains had snow sheds built to keep the deep snow off the tracks.This was sometime successful, other times mother nature wins.

 

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I like the light coming from the snow shed door.

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Snow sheds erected to keep snow off the tracks. These tunnels are often not accessible in the winter.

In the spring and summer  the area attracts families, hikers, and photographers. This is a good place to visit to get out of the Sacramento heat.

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View of Donner Lake from the Tunnel Door during the summer.

Graffiti has found a home.  Some are artistic, some just making a statement that they were there.

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One abstract photo of the snow shed ceiling.

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Donner Lake in the summer. 

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Plenty of summer water activities on Donner Lake 

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A last look at Donner Lake in the summer months.

This area is amazing, and I will be back to take in more of the beauty, and history of this area that is only an hour and a half from my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is here, looking for chill in Petaluma

Camera Totin’ Tuesday folks are looking to get out of the Sacramento heat. Petaluma is located south west of Sacramento, and less than 2 hours away. The day we visited the weather did not disappoint.

Founded in 1858 Petaluma makes an effort to maintain a mid-19th century charm. Located on the Petaluma River and close to the Bay area, Petaluma provided locally grown food to San Francisco and Oakland starting during the Gold Rush. Today, it can serve as a jumping off spot in Sonoma County. Close to the coast of Point Reyes, 30 minutes outside of the Bay Area, and near Napa and there is plenty to photograph is this town.

The Petaluma River provided easy access to transport goods to the coast. Today, it serves as a focal point for the town’s center.

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Bridge over the Petaluma River

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Decaying pier no longer supports train tracks.

The Free Public Library building is filled with such classic details. This library built in 1904 with money donated by Andrew Carnegie is one of over 1600 library buildings constructed in the United States between 1886-1919. The town had to come up with money for books, salaries, and maintenance. Born poor, Carnegie was denied use of a public library because he couldn’t afford the $2.00 library card. He proclaimed “Free Public Library” on the front of this building to show that all could make use of the facility. Carnegie understood that access to information improves a person’s ability to better oneself.

Philanthropist  Andrew Carnegie gave away 90% of his wealth.”The man who dies rich dies in disgrace,” Carnegie said. In bestowing charity the main consideration should be to help those who help themselves,” he wrote.

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The buildings are impressive. I photographed this one in Eureka, California. Many serve another purpose now such as museums, and community centers. As a retired librarian, I hope that these buildings continue to serve the public need for information.

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The McNears were part of Petaluma history

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Brick wall with window capture my attention

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Time out for a tune!

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Small town main street today

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Green Tower Clock

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Display Window of a music store

Lunch was enjoyed at The New Yorker Pizza & Restaurant.  I’m always on the lookout for “New York Pizza”. Though this time I enjoyed the meatball hero. Afterward we wondered into the Shutterbug Camera Store. Money was safely tucked away. This time.

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Faded sign on side of building

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Spider makes a home

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One of many Victorian Era houses

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Arch and picket fence detail draws me in

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Always looking for signs. So polite!

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Bee sure is enjoying a drink

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Bee has moved on. What is this flower called? Be Gone!

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Soft purple frilly flower. Do you know the name?

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Love the lighting on this pretty coral rose. I do know the general name.

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He loves me. He loves me not? He loves me!

There are many churches in Petaluma. Taking a walking tour we came across a church on nearly every block.

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Stain Glass found in St. Vincent de Paul Church

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Abstract lines

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A friendly, portable tripod

We ended our walk around town. Taking in the architecture, nature, and friendly spirit of my photo buddies. Good bye Petaluma. May be back again.

 

Photography and the Frame of Mind

Another example of how photography reflects my state of mind. A couple of weeks ago  I had a lot going on, and I set time aside to get out and shoot.  This is a good thing. The problem arose when I returned home and reviewed my images.

My Camera Totin’ Tuesday group planned an indoor shoot because the temperature was rising. So off to the California  State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento we headed.

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First mirror we encounter. Time for a group photo!

Cool in more ways than one, but challenging for photography. The scene is dark.

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Many RR enthusiasts volunteer at the museum

The locamotives are black, and the lighting is diverse. Some areas have fluorescent light, some areas tungsten. There are cool use of mirrors throughout the museum.

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Elegantly appointed interior, for some.

When I got home and reviewed the images, I was disappointed in my work. So I  set it aside. Well I may have pouted also. Remember, I said that much has been on my mind lately.

My grandson lives with us since he was 17. When he moved out of his mother’s house I made sure that he would graduate, and with this sense of accomplishment I hoped he would pick up some habits to help transition into the adult world. He did graduate so we succeeded in the first part. He succeeded in getting a job as a courtesy clerk at a supermarket. No problems there. This is part-time, and we  provide transportation and his on-time performance has our help. At this time I feel like our safety net is not helping this transition. There doesn’t seem to be an end game in place.

When he is home I hardly know that he is here. He basically lives in his room, and only comes out the grab something to eat. He is addicted to online gaming, and media. Luckily, I don’t share his bathroom, but my cats do. I don’t venture into his room unless I want to retrieve some camera equipment. The site is not pretty. I read in the Sacramento Bee that kids are remaining in their parent’s home for longer period so I know that I am not alone with this troubling issue.

Ok, he is a boy, he is 19 and our values differ. But, and this a big but, the level of cooperation is zero. Attitude could not be more disrespectful, especially to his grandfather. And that is what needs to change. Talking hasn’t worked. I am almost convinced that by living here he will not grow up. This weighs heavy on both myself and my husband. There is a lot of stress in the house. I would like a bit of freedom to plan out-of-town adventures with my husband. Luckily, I get out to capture images with my friends.

Back to the Railroad Museum. Last night I looked at my files, key worded in Lightroom, and made some adjustments. Usually, I find that if I am happy with a couple of shots then I call the shoot a success.  Found myself selecting many photos as favorites for my collection set! Yes. Here are some results from my Sacramento Railroad Museum challenge. Up the ISO and take care of noise in Lightroom.  WB is adjusted in Lightroom.  Use of Flash is sometimes difficult due to size of subject, and color of subject. So sometimes I focused on smaller subject and details.

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I like the way the pattern seems to continue on and on.

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I managed to take this one without a Flash.

For the next photo, I used a flash and focused on the eyes. For more information about Rosie the Riveter, click on the link beneath the photo.

This image was shot without a flash since it was too far for flash to make a difference.

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Rosie the Riveter

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You can feel the motion of the train in some of the cars.

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This train had quite a kitchen!

A shout out to my New York roots.

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Quite the dining car! No paper plates and plastic sporks here.

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The old contrasting the future

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The small contrasting the large

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Will this be the look of the future? Not very elegant, in my opinion.

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A face-off

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I see a face smiling at me

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I always look for textures for future photo edits using my new Topaz Texture Effects plug-in

Mirrors and more mirrors lead to the next few images. No flash here.

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Lines and triangles reflected

Changing ISO creates another capture. Used Lightroom for noise suppression in photo.

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Got caught up with all the possible looks.

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Crazy mirror photo continues

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Final mirror image at the Railroad Museum

All photography done without benefit of a tripod. Talking to a docent I found out that there is an event set up just for photography called, “Trains and Tripods”. I will be on the lookout for this event when it comes around again.

Note to self. Review photos again after some time has past. And not after a go round with a family member.