Christmas 2017

I have been going to the coast of California now for Christmas for about 6 years. The last 2 years We have stayed at Asilomar in Pacific Grove. It is a nice location. A bit rustic. There is no phone in the room, if you need the front desk you have to go outside to the phone on the building. The rooms have no TVs. and the one we are in has a fireplace. Previously they use to supply wood for the fireplace, now they are supplying these little bags that look like burlap, with some pieces of wood in them. They burn about 30 min is you are lucky. I wish they at least sold wood if you wanted it, but there are grocery stores in the area that do sell wood, so I can still have a nice fire.

As I am still very much an amateur when it comes to photography I find that my limited time available at a location does not always capture the location well. The light tends to be maybe too much, or the direction of the item I am trying to catch is towards the sun, and then my pictures are all washed out. Some of the pictures can be saved with editing, but others are a total “loss”.  Although the picture may not be great, I still am happy to have been out there taking those pictures.

This year I have been experimenting with a crystal ball. It is a smallish one.  It is 70 mm, just under 3 inches in diameter.  The perspective you can get from these is fun to play with.  But there is a learning curve on how to hold it, where to hold it, or even where to set it down.  Then how far from the focal point or subject and how far from the camera itself.  Of course some of this is very subjective, but also lots of fun to try things out.

I hope you like the collection of photos from this Christmas. I have not edited these first few. I know editing can enhance a photo, and make it really pop, but I have to admit I tend to like mine more before. Of course it could be I am just not the greatest at doing those edits.


Slightly Stoopid at Reggae on the River 2017

On August 5th I had the opportunity you see Slightly Stoopid in concert at Reggae on the River 2017. The show was great. I was very far back and on a bit of a rise, so the sound had a bit of an echo. When you got into the bowl where all the dancers and crowds were the sound was great. With my camera I was a bit hesitant to get into all those people. I don’t know what the official count was of the crowd but it was big.  The moon was beautiful, but it never got over the stage so I was not able to capture the moon and the band together.

The event had a drone flying around, and lots of cameras so I am sure the whole concert is on YouTube.

I didn’t touch up any of these photos. Enjoy.



Baby Robins

My mother has a robin that built a nest on her porch. Now normally this would not be an issue, except that it is right next to the side door they use off an on. The robin built a total of 4 nests. My Mom and Sister kept removing the nests to try to persuade her to move to a less traveled location.

Of course the robin didn’t want to move, so the 4th nest she got an egg laid in before it could be removed. By the way the nest is on a stack of wood about 4 feet high. Just sitting on top of it next to the field stone chimney.

We were concerned that with the traffic near the nest she would not be on the eggs enough to hatch them. Well all 4 have hatched. These pictures were taken by my mother. Trust me there are 4 little beaks in there. The babies few away before we got pictures of them.

Vermont Vacation

I had the opportunity to go home to Vermont to visit my Mother around Memorial Day 2017. I always love going home. Everything is so different than here in California. The green is completely different tone, and is everywhere.

This pair of pictures are of some flowers at my Mom’s. The picture on the left is the original, the one on the right is edited slightly.

This picture is of the shore of my mother’s pond. Again the left hand picture is the original, the right has been edited.

I am trying to make the picture pop, but not over do it. I am also practicing composition. The rule of thirds, Phi grid and the golden ratio.


phi grid photography composition

I am also looking for tools I can use during editing to help relate to these different approaches. I would like to find some way to overlay these different approaches over my pictures when I edit to see how to crop or adjust the picture. I struggle using my view finder to align my photos.

Image result for canon t5i viewfinder

The following pictures are of a Rugosa Rose. The left hand is the original photo and the right is edited.

I have not edited many pictures from my trip. Here are more flowers from around my Mom’s place.

Input is always welcome.

A Saturday Adventure

I spent some time along the coast on Saturday. We stopped in San Francisco to take some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from a direction not seen often. The city behind the bridge mimicked the shape and lines of the bridge.

We changed directions a bit and headed to Point Reyes National Seashore. The drive was interesting. During the rains this winter and early spring there have been mud slides and other dangers along the road. There is even some closed roads due to damage. I spent more time paying attention to the driving, bicycles and other traffic that no pictures of this portion of the trip were taken.

But at the seashore I felt more like I was on a safari. Harbor Seals, Turkey Vultures, Crows and Tule Elk… oh my.

I met a lovely couple where we saw the Tule Elks. They were pulled over and that is what caught my eye before the Elks did. I am so glad they had pulled over. I was excited to get a chance to see this herd.


California State Fair Photo Contest.

My May 3rd 2017 I will need to choose at least one photo, possibly more, to enter into the California State Fair’s photo contest. There are 15 divisions with between 2 to 10 classes.  The competition is open to Amateur photographers both adult and youth, and the entrant must be a California Resident. I can not submit a single photo in multiple divisions, so I am considering which of the following I want to do, and of course what to submit. I would love feedback on the photos I post as possible entries. Or even suggestions on any of my previous photos that may work well for this.


Division 27 – Animals
Class 1 – Domestic/Pets
Class 2 – Farm Animals
Class 3 – Wildlife (non-captive)
Class 4 – Animals (captive)
Class 5 – Insects/Bugs/Arachnids

Division 28 – Architecture
Class 1 – Bridges
Class 2 – Cityscape
Class 3 – Monuments
Class 4 – Rural Buildings
Class 5 – Urban Buildings

Division 32 – Fair (Any County or State Fair)
Class 1 – People
Class 2 – Places
Class 3 – Things

Division 34 – Landscapes
Class 1 – Landscape
Class 2 – Nightscape
Class 3 – Panorama
Class 4 – Seascape
Class 5 – Skyscape

Division 35 – Life in California Note: Photo must be taken in California.
Class 1 – CA Agriculture
Class 2 – CA Landscape
Class 3 – CA Nature
Class 4 – CA Water/Drought

Division 36 – Nature
Class 1 – Flora
Class 2 – Macro
Class 3 – Weather
Class 4 – Any Other

Current candidates: