Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lack of snow in the Sierras

This time of year you wouldn't travel up highway 80 towards Truckee without chains in your vehicle. Sadly that wasn't the case today. Our drive today took us to Donner Lake, where the weather was like a spring day, by noon it was in the 50's (it felt more like 70).

Our first stop along the way was at Indian Springs, 5600 ft. elevation. The roadside had evidence of snow and as you can see there was a small trace along the stream.


Our next stop was Soda Springs, 6768 ft. elevation. There was a bit more snow and the river was iced over, but still looks like May-Jun when the snow is melting. On a brighter note, the Rainbow Lodge is under new management and should be open for business in a few weeks.


We decided to make Donner Lake, 5938 ft. elevation, our last stop before heading back to Folsom. There was one fishing boat on the lake and several people fishing off of the piers.

One of the rest stops along 80 posted this sign.


I bet this picnicker is glad this sign kept the sledding and snow fights away from her.


I am posting this picture again of Folsom Lake to tie together how the absence of snow this winter will affect the lake (currently at a record low, at 17% of capacity), our agriculture and the potential for an increase in forest fires. I think it is time to get serious about more water storage capacity for the state of California... Just a side note, this problem has been building for years. The delay to build the Auburn Dam is a good example, which is not a funding problem, it is problem with allocation of funds.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Solved the focusing problem I was having with Sigma DG150-500

Ever since I purchased my Nikon D7000, when using my Sigma DG150-500mm I experienced problems with blurred photos. I previously used the lens on my Nikon D5100 and did not have a problem with blurriness. I remember reading a review on the lens which stated the "auto focus" could be an issue. Luckily Sigma recognizes this issue so I will have to take the lens in for repair.

On a mission today, Bill and I headed out to the Sacramento Zoo to try using the manual focus setting (wow... actually having to manually focus my pictures...).

Here are my "manually focused" photos from today's shoot.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Low water levels at Folsom Lake reveal artifacts from Mormon Island

Curiosity set in when we saw around 100 cars parked on Sophia Parkway in Folsom and equal amounts of people walking up the hill on the walking trail to the lake. Since we have a seasonal "Poppy Pass" to enter the lake we figured we would bite, and headed in to Browns Ravine and took a look to see what was up. Luckily there were only ten cars waiting to pay $12.00 to enter the lake (as we left there were about 30 cars waiting to pay).

Here is what we found: The town of Mormon Island was buried by water in 1955 to create the Folsom Dam.  Due to the recent drought and low water levels, some rock wall structures and other artifacts from Mormon Island have been discovered.

This is a small representation of the crowds that came to look at the rock walls and artifacts.

People are bringing mineral detectors to find some of the artifacts pictured below. It is a federal crime to remove items found on state property. You will find piles of items found at the lake on legacy tree stumps.


 I couldn't resist making art with some of the nails left behind.

I was surprised how intact the skeletal remains were of this crawdad left on a rock.

I took this picture looking of the boat house (where you would launch your boat and buy gas) standing in the lake bed, which usually has about 200 feet of water.
A fellow photographer found what appeared to be a clay sewer pipe. She had the idea to take this picture for us.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

An inspired day

I have been in a bit of a photography funk lately. A friend recommended The Created Image video series with David duChemin through Craft and Vision. Last night I started the series and it reminded me of why I started taking pictures, to use the little black box to capture stories. I highly recommend this series.  Here are some stories I captured today.

 Dad has a stash of candy and crackers he nibbles on while watching TV or playing on the computer.

 Dad is looking at photographs from Aunt Mary's cell phone on his Merlin Electronic Magnifier.

Bill and I headed out to the Botanical Gardens in Carmichael today. When we got there I really didn't feel like there was anything I really wanted to photograph, so I sat on a bench and watched him take pictures. While I was sitting a family arrived, making the area come alive. I grabbed my camera for the below two shots.

 I couldn't leave the Botanical Garden without something botanical to show for the visit :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I went out to Folsom Lake today to see if the woodpeckers were starting to store acorns for the winter.  Last year (see my Dec. 24 post) I was able to get some photos of them storing the acorns in a large oak at Folsom Lake, but I wasn't happy with the quality of the photos. Having another year of practice under my belt I was excited to go back and see if I could get some better pics.  When I drove up to the spot I was shocked to find the two trees I found the woodpeckers in last year were recently cut down. Below is what was left of the trees. One did look like it was diseased, but the large one that the woodpeckers stored the acorns in didn't show signs of disease. I wouldn't be surprised if it was also a home to the squirrel sitting on the rock near the branches. I wonder where the woodpeckers will relocate this year?



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hanging out in Coloma

We headed up to Coloma today to check out the music festival on the river. When we got there we decided to pass and went on to walk around historical Coloma.   I think I see something different every time  go there. Here are some pictures from the day.

I played around with editing the rafts using a new App "Fotor Color Splash Studio".

 This barrel was at the end of the gold slough at the base of the bridge.

 This is the remaining structure of the El Dorado County Jail.

 I couldn't resist seeing what Bill looked like behind bars.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday drive

We finally found our way to the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg.

Unfortunately there was wine and food event at $25.00 per person so we weren't able to photograph inside without ponying up. We decided to walk around the grounds and found the exterior had remains of some old equipment.

Someone must have been gathering trash, but left it to rust on a cement block

Before heading to the Freeport Inn (which is really the Freeport Bar and Grill) for lunch, I went to the vineyard across the street from the mill to get this last photograph.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Folsom Lake is being drained 9 inches a day

It is that time of year again where boat owners are being told to take there vessels out of the rented slips for the year at Folsom Lake, as the lake continues to be drained 9 inches daily.

Our Golden Doodle Roxy loves the lake, so she won't be sad to have less boats to share the lake with.

Remember a few blogs ago I mentioned I had bargained with Bill to turn around to let me take a picture of a windmill so he wouldn't have to make the trip to take one near home? Well tonight, after leaving the lake I convinced him to take an alternate route home so I could get this shot. I think I will try again with morning light.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monterey and Carmel

My sister Mary Beth and I just got back from five days in Monterey and Carmel. It has been about 17 years since I have been there and was surprised that things haven't changed much. The biggest change would be the closure of my favorite place to have breakfast (The Tinnery in Pacific Grove) for one and the addition of a mall, attached to the Monterey wharf.

Here are some pictures taken in Pacific Grove.

Around the corner from the tree above is a park. The two pictures below capture critters taking over someone's picnic area. The squirrel is going through the backpack in the first picture and in the background of the second picture you will see a seagull trying to open a sandwich bag snatched from the backpack. And the last picture is one of about thirty pictures I took of squirrels. We couldn't believe how big these guys were. 

What is a trip to Carmel without taking the 17 mile drive? We pulled over near Spanish  Bay to check out the beach. Since the beach is on the coast and at sea level, after reading this sign I was trying to figure out where I would go if there was an earthquake.

I have this strange fascination with rock art. I see stacked rocks randomly placed everywhere I go. My husband Bill likes to knock them down so I couldn't resist this self portrait of building one (it was already there, I was just going to add to it). My sister Mary Beth asked me not to post any recognizable pictures of her, but if you look towards the ocean you will catch a glimpse of her.

Of course Pebble Beach would have a Rolex clock

Our last stop was at my favorite tree, the Lone Cypress.

We had our share of fish during this trip... shrimp tacos, shrimp scampi, shrimp salad, shrimp omelet...... so we had to have one of our meals at Bubba Gump's.

The Monterey Aquarium hadn't changed much so if you have been there before I wouldn't recommend going again. It was over priced and crowded.

Can you find Nemo?

You can rent kayaks and get up close and personal with the seals and sea otters.

These were taken at Cannery Row

I always  bring my daughter Lexi a shot glass when I travel. I think she is too polite to tell me to stop, so I decided I will just take a picture of them instead.

On our way back from dinner at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing we stopped at Marina Beach. This guy was trying to catch the wind.

Ooopie...  He didn't quite make it (he ended up tangled in a fence).