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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 1 of 52 in 2016 – My Project Starts

As the first week of 2016 comes to a close I embark on my new photographic project – one image each week posted here, on my Flickr site, and with my Facebook group, Sacramento Photographers. I plan to take most images during the week posted. Occasionally I will try a new processing technique to give a new look to an older photograph.  I like the Flickr group, Give us your best shot!  And that is what I plan to do!

The site of Dry Creek allows me to see changes with the seasons. This past weekend the weather was colder, and downed logs and debris was more visible.

Week 1 of 52 in 2016:

I see my journey starting here. A familiar place that changes over time.

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Dry Creek after some rain

Hidden away I spotted these colorful fungi.

Fungi nestled in leaves

Fungi nestled in leaves

This moustacheiod giant sleeps soundly.

Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant

Delicate flower gone to seed. Wonder what it will look like in Spring?

Simply Complicated

Simply Complicated

A lonely tire swing reflects on its current dilemma.

Tire Swing Awaits Summer

Tire Swing Awaits Summer

I always see friends ready to pose for me!

Wild Bird Poses

Wild Bird Poses

I enjoy my photo outings!

 

 

 

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Baby Stuff Continues (Part 2)

Guess my blog got a step ahead of me, and posted the beginning before I finished. Oops.

For the second time in two weeks I went shopping  at a store exclusively for babies. My three and a half year old grandson informed me that his car seat was falling apart. And indeed it was. I did my research and quickly found what I wanted. They price matched, and I made the purchase.

My fifth grandchild is due to make his appearance around Thanksgiving. I finished knitting his first blanket. All of my grandchildren received this gift from me. Isaac and Alyssa graduated to a child size and Eli still loves his blanket.

After just down-sizing my parent’s place I am more aware of the stuff around me. Going into Buy, Buy, Baby takes getting ready for baby to another level. On this day Rachel and I needed to find a mattress. This is something I can understand. Babies spend a lot of time on their mattress, and it is used for about 4 to 5 years if a after a crib a toddler bed is used. My children moved into a bed at around two and a half, no toddler beds available then. I’m still looking for a mattress that I can like for more that a few years. But that is a story for another day.

I’m sure that every grandmother in each generation is amazed to find all the new items available. Some things are now required for the safety of baby. Car seat laws keep extending the need for their use for use for longer periods of time.  This is a good thing, but now you can buy kick pads for the car.

Delux Kick Mats for the car

Delux Kick Mats for the car

Necessary, or nice to have. Just tell child to stop kicking. If child can sit up, child should understand no kicking. Am I being too practical? Can’t imagine the passenger or driver enjoys a good kick in the back. Reminds me of sitting on an airplane with a kicker behind you.

My cotton receiving blankets served many purposes. Infant car seat cover-up is available to purchase. How did I function without a  specific cover-up?  Keep infant’s  head from rolling from side to side with an insert instead of rolled blanket. Have to change a diaper while out, use a special pad instead of a cotton blanket.

I guess I never had my closet so filled or so organized. Maybe this would be an idea for my closet when I change sizes. Again, another story for another day.

Baby's grow so fast. Here is something to keep organized.

Baby’s grow so fast. Here is something to keep organized.

For emergencies I just grab an ice cube tray and pull. Do you remember the metal trays with a handle to pull? Have to admit the new plastic ones empty easier. Recently I needed to replace a tray, and  I realized that most families have an ice cube maker and don’t even use trays. I know gel packs are softer, but when I taught 4th grade and my student had a very minor hurt I told them to wet a paper towel and apply to body part that hurt. Nothing special.

Ice pack for Ochies and BooBoos now replaced by "Mommy's Kisses"

Ice pack for Ochies and BooBoos now replaced by “Mommy’s Kisses”

Helpful to organize for on-the-go moms, and to keep cell phone clean.  But I think that an outing should be used to introduce baby to the world around him, and not for cell phone time. Am I right?

Let's get connected early

Let’s get connected early?

This is a new idea for kitchen decor. Bottles, pacifiers, dishes, nipples each have place. I saw two sizes: grass and lawn for a larger kitchen. Guess my kitchen could only accomodate the grass size. Many accessories from Boon for your baby’s needs.

Kitchen essentials for baby

Kitchen essentials for baby

Buy, Buy, Baby is a huge store and I am sure that some of these things make taking care of baby’s needs easier. I’m concerned that new parents may find that having so many options adds an unnecessary level of stress in getting ready for the new bundle of joy. Relax, all you need is love!

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Puppy Time Is Happy Time

My friend Jan has been raising CCI puppies for 18 years. Last week I again enjoyed some puppy time with my granddaughter.

Resistance is futile! I'm adorable.

Resistance is futile! I’m adorable.

Granddaughter enjoys puppy time!

Granddaughter enjoys puppy time!

These 4 Yellow Labs, “Litter D” are 6 weeks old.  Grandmother Keala, Aunt Sheba and Mom Emerald all live here and took turns playing with Dave, Delia, Dennis, and Damian.

Grandmom Keala playing with grandpup

Grandmom Keala playing with grandpup

I grabbed a couple of shots while they each went in their own direction.

Investigating

Investigating

Along with being a  perfect Lab puppy retriever, Alyssa also enjoyed the photo shoot. There is no better way to relax than to play with puppies.

Siblings Play

Siblings Play

Puppies are drawn to sticks

Puppies are drawn to sticks

Is this all I have to play with?

Is this all I have to play with?

One of the boys from Litter D

One of the boys from Litter D

Relaxing in the Pup Cave

Relaxing in the Pup Cave

Jan cradles a 6 week old pup

Jan cradles a 6 week old pup

Settling down for a nap

Settling down for a nap

Sweet Dreaming

Sweet Dreaming

Under or Over? Doesn't matter.

Under or Over? Doesn’t matter.

No Worries!

No Worries!

Next week the D’s are going to their puppy raisers. Jan always has a group picture taken. This is a relatively small litter, but it still took many hands to capture them all looking in the same direction.

Site of puppy photo shoot

Site of puppy photo shoot

Let's look in different directions!

Let’s look in different directions!

Sibling Rivelry

Sibling Rivalry

Let's Chat.

Let’s Chat.

Getting bored.

Getting bored.

There is always one. You said,

There is always one. You said, “Tongues out.”

Enough! I'm out of here.

Enough! I’m out of here.

Where did she go?

Where did she go?

I knew she would be back.

I knew she would be back.

Looking in the same direction.

Looking in the same direction.

Now I'm hungry

Now I’m hungry

Finally we are all ready for our group shot!

Presenting Litter D: Delia, Damien, Dave and Dennis

Presenting Litter D: Delia, Damien, Dave and Dennis

Group photo with all the props.

Litter D ready for our group photo

Litter D ready for our group photo

I remember my first time taking group photo for the S litter of 8 pups. Trouble getting all pups together in one photograph.

Half of Keala's first litter

Half of Keala’s first litter “S”.

Other half of Litter S

Other half of Litter S

I always enjoy combining my favorite things. Puppies and photography!