Fog and Photography

Our last day on the Central Coast is spent at Hearst Castle. As a first time visitor with limited mobility (Plantar fasciitis) my  choice was the Grand Rooms Tour. I ordered tickets online, and arrived ready for an early morning tour.

Woke up to plenty of fog. It actually felt like a misty continuous rain.

Our group met at the Visitor Center where we hopped on a bus to take us from the coast up the winding road to Hearst Castle.



Our enthusiastic docent met us outside. Group of tourists seem rather reluctant.


Neptune’s Pool under renovation.  Use the imagination and wait for a sunnier day.


I liked the way this image takes you along as a tourist.

Taking photographs during a walking tour I needed to up my ISO (lighting sensitivity).


Dark colors, dim lighting, and dreary day gives the room as sleepy feeling. Doors and windows are elegant.



The dining room. The docent explains that Hearst sat in the middle with his most important guest to the his right. The longer a guest stayed the further away he was seated.


This is where you sat if you overstayed your welcome. The End.



After dinner activity before a movie. Can you guess what this is?


This pool is quite spectacular.

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Tennis anyone?

Once outside I had to keep my camera safe from the elements. I grabbed these quick shots. I would have loved to spend more time outside.



I just love walking around and seeing all the landscaping.


The fog added so much to this image.


Beautiful Entry Door



When cold even the marble statue has a drippy nose.



Well my foot has had a workout.

I am so impressed with the way the fog and light made these flowers pop.



Pink Fuchsia 



Gardeners hard at work


Hurrying through the garden cause of the rainy mist





The Hearst still have a cattle ranch at San Simeon, and retain much of the land.

I say good bye to Hearst Castle. There is much to see, but I am not sure I will be back.


I enjoyed my stay in Cambria. Moonstone Beach may call my name again.


White Water Inn in Cambria

Now for the 6 hour drive home to Fair Oaks. Passing some lovely landscapes. I caught these images from the car window.



Home and time to settle in for the hot summer.



Can my camera lead me out of my comfort zone?

I grew up watching my Dad talk to everyone he met. At times I felt a bit embarrassed. We would be stopping at a grocery store and the conversation would start with the cashier.  I would think, just pay for the milk and bread already. Standing in line my Dad would strike up a conversation with the people waiting behind us.

Well I find that lately I am following in my Dad’s footsteps. This is particularly true when it comes to my dog. My Libby acts as quite the ice breaker. Her friendly demeanor draws people to her. I love sharing her with others. When my parents were in an assisted living setting I always visited with my dog. I kind of miss taking her there. When I am at a pet store I start conversations from treats, training, leashes and everything in between. Rather than be bored waiting on line I look around, and inevitably I’m in conversation. Sometimes I find I have a question to ask, or an opinion to state (My 2 cents worth!). I shop by myself, and if I have trouble deciding I will ask anyone around. Lately I can’t find helpful sales people around. The shopping experience has changed, but that is a conversation for another day.

I am often told that I look like someone else. This has happened on both coasts of the country. It has happened when I was 40 years younger, when my hair was long, short, straight or curly. No not me, I reply. Then I am asked if I am related to … No and I have no sister. Have you ever been mistaken for another person? Another conversation starter.

How does this relate to my original question? Well I bought my new camera with the intention to get into bringing personality into my photography. A simpler camera, an easy way to change settings, a totally silent shutter, and a less invasive look helps. Having a big camera with a powerful zoom can capture people without their knowledge. Stand back and peek at the world. Less confrontational. Until they turn and see your big lens pointed at them, I fear. More of a paparazzi feel to the image. May make for an interesting story. This may be something I am over thinking, and I need to change my attitude.

This image was taken with a zoom lens. Not sure if the natural feel would have been there if they were aware. I felt safe capturing the moment.


My street photography tells a story!.

For me to capture people close up I will need to bring myself into the game. This is where I move out of the comfort zone. But if I start with my new found use of conversation with people I meet, I may get a more satisfying photograph. Then I will have a story behind the image to remember. That will be “the connection”.

Looking through my over 40,000 images I am currently drawn to the photographs with people in them. Now I want to  review why I like them. I am not talking about my family photos. That is a different set of circumstances.  I am looking at some of my landscapes where I included people in the image and the landscape provides the environment.

In the middle of Old Sacramento this couple would not have noticed me. Again, I was using my zoom lens.


Eyes for you!

I also need to look at location and situation where people and environment come together. Festivals, city streets, group gatherings parades all provide good opportunities. Here are some photographs I have taken over the years.

Renaissance Fair


What did I do wrong?


Playing with fire


Father & son juggling

4th of July Parade


Folsom 4th of July Parade


Street performer in Seattle. A tip provided the incentive, and a face to face encounter!


This time no eye contact. 

Captured this couple in the mining town of Columbia. They had finished shopping. Some post processing added an old time feel.


Quietly seated among the daffodils


Silhouette at McKineley Park


Through the corn maze

Captured from a distance or from the back is easy enough for me, but now I’m looking to up my photography and make the connection.

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With my 35mm viewpoint found in the Fuji X100F I can capture the person in their environment. Find a good location and wait. This is one street photographer’s approach. I need to be comfortable with my new camera’s capability. Many street photographer’s share their images in black & white. Usually I focus on color, so I may need to study what makes the black & white process pop.  My raw files can always be changed to black & white later.

Not sure how conducive the suburban or rural life will give me similar settings. Luckily Fair Oaks brings back Fiesta Days this weekend and  I plan to be there making a connection.


Scavenging Old Sacramento.

My right hand is on the mend, and I can once again hold my trusty D7100.  With Old Sacramento as the destination I joined my CTT friends in a Scavenger Hunt. 50 items and about 2 hours I didn’t give in to any pressure. I wanted to pay attention to how I captured the image.

This scavenger hunt added a photographic design element to many items. The usual suspects included rule of thirds, leading lines, and repeating patterns. The last item repeating patterns was actually repeated. More unusual ones: do what a sign says, you can smell it through the photo and topsy turvy pushed my creativity. And getting a very low perspective may have pushed my physical endurance on this warm September day. Probably would not have been able to get up!

Funny group pic!

See the list?  Funny Group Pic, one and done.

Careful, broken glass and tears ahead.

Careful, broken glass and tears ahead.


Something Scary. Getting in the spirit of Halloween!


Think we can catch up to the trains? Gotta hurry. Railroad tracks and leading lines.

Bicyclist following leading lines

Bicyclist approaching not ready to stop.

Reflection of me and my CTT friends.

My reflection with my CTT friends. (CTT = Camera Totin’ Tuesday) We are retired, so we photograph during the week when it is quiet.

Larger than life, but I still prefer the real thing!

Larger than life, but I still prefer the real thing!

Something cold the enjoy on a hot afternoon.

Enjoying something cold on a warm afternoon.

Love my creamy Bokeh!

Love my creamy Bokeh!

Can you smell the popcorn?

Can you smell the popcorn? Getting hungry! I also like the side lighting.

Bottoms Up!

Bottoms up! Here is my bottle.

He just wanted to park for a while.

He just wanted to park for a while. Here he does what the sign says.

Unusual number of Odd items

Unusual number of odd items.Pattern repeats.

Just tickled my fancy.

Just tickled my fancy.

This scavenger hunt produced some interesting results. It is a great way to get out, have fun, enjoy good company, and practice some good photographic techniques. I will keep this list for another time because it challenges me to look around and improve my images. Not much photo processing this time. Because I am getting used to holding my dslr I only used my 18-200mm lens this time.

Happy Snapping!


Sacramento dedicates first Holocaust Library

On October 23, 2016 CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educator’s Network)Library and Resource Center opened its doors. This is Liz Igra’s dream to provide a single place for Holocaust education.

I attended as a Second Generation member, a retired librarian, and the photographer for the event. I wanted to capture the day’s story as it unfolded. When I know that I am going to photograph an event I usually check for lighting and backgrounds. I can then decide what camera set up I need. This time my family needed me, and I didn’t have the time. I looked at some past events, and made my decision. I ended up using my Nikon dslr with a 18-200mm lens with a flash. This would allow for flexible composition.


This event brought out many from throughout the Sacramento valley. The guest book is signed, and programs distributed.


Friends Zelda and Diane


In the last minute I decided to bring my Olympus OMD-5 mirrorless camera. I brought all my lenses, and ended up using my 75mm 1.8 lens. Great gear for use during the keynote speech. I had a seat up close, and I didn’t need a flash.


Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law


Liz Igra, president of CVHEN

Keynote speaker Rabbi Michael Berenbaum spoke to the continuous need for educating everyone about the Holocaust and its implications for today.



Second Gen member Muriel B.



Liz Igra displays her warmth and charm with Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law

With each photograph I tried to see a story. I rarely asked for someone to pose. This resulted in more than a few blurry pictures. Overall, I think I captured the participant’s emotion.

Such a spread for all the share. Plenty of food. Delicious kugel, bagels, and all kosher too.



Zelda, a Second Generation member.


I am proud to know Liz with her endless energy,

Group is invited to witness the affixing of the Mezuzah.


Rabbi Taff provides explanation about the placement of the Mezuzah. For additonal information I have provided a link here.


People who helped make this library possible is asked to step forward and help place the Mezuzah on the door post.



Six Butterflys symbolize the Six Million.


Susan S. and Tammy T. witness and celebrate

One thing that I need to think about when photographing an event is to carry a pad. I know that this is a group of people important for the CVHEN Library and Resource Center, but I don’t have this information.




Henry Gorden provides an inservice on how to use the Library resources.


This powerpoint provides a bit of humor to the task of moving 1,700 books from Liz’s personal library found in her home. It was a huge task for a part-time volunteer.

This brought me back to my days as the Rio Americano High School Librarian. I started working there in 1985. I remember typing and filing catalog cards. Keeping them up to date, changing the keywords to reflect changing social norms, teaching students how to make the most from the information. Then came computers. First to keep up with circulation records. Later to bring the collection into the digital age.


This powerpoint shows a library card catalog moving to a computerized system.

The CVHEN Library catalog can be accessed by computer. CVHEN Library. It is user friendly, and the resources are extensive. Most books are available since circulation hasn’t been established yet.  If I am interested in obtaining the books for check-out, I can go to Sacramento Public Library right from my computer.  Having worked at the Sac Public Library I know that if the book is not in the collection it may be obtained through LINK services, or possibly as a digital e-version.


Tammy T.another Second Gen learns how the collection is organized.

An English teacher at El Camino Fundamental High School teaches her students about the Holocaust. She explains how the resources in this library helps support this education.



Someone in the audience asked, “Can I go back to high school?”

Six weeks ago my father Arthur (Anschel) Rubinstein died. At almost 98 years old he leaves this world with one less witness to the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust. Living in Krakow he shared experiences with Liz Igra’s uncle, a classmate in high school. Small world. Later he was interned in Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp, worked for Oskar Schindler and deported to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. There my Dad was liberated by American troops.

In his passing, I asked that donations be made in his name to the CVHEN Library Resource Center. I want to thank those who honored my request. I am touched.

Now I can go and learn more about my parent’s story. My Second Generation group plans our next meeting at the library.