Monday, March 31, 2008

Mama feeding Babette on Day 8

The unhatched egg is taking up lots of Babette's room in the nest. You know what I'm thinking don't you? Should I take the egg out to make more room? What do you think?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Doing inventory on my backpacking gear.

I'm going to use my McHale backpack again this year when I hike. Today I took everything out, checked inside all the bags, made changes and additions and have everything out on my bedroom floor.

Orange bag closest: I'll start hiking with my Hubba Tent from MSR. It's heavier than the Tarpent by a pound but because it is a double walled tent it'll prevent sand from being blown inside the tent while in New Mexico.

Next: Marmot Helium sleeping bag.

3rd: Thermarest:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 6 of Baby Babette's life.

Today is the first day I have seen the Baby lift its head like this to feed. What a rush. And relief. Phew.

Mama flew back to her nest after I disturbed her and assumed this body language. See her spread tail feathers? I think she was trying to hide her nest from view to protect her Baby.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mama is feeding Baby #1

Yeah! A half hour ago, for the first time, I witnessed Mama feeding Baby, Babette. Yes, I have named her. Even Ray doesn't know that I've named her.

Mama flies away, comes back, arches her neck so she can position her long thin beak into Babette's beak. I actually saw the baby's head above the top level of the nest. I really believed that Baby's neck was broken because she never lifted it up.

When I first moved to the Ranch in Calabasas back in 1989, I inherited the previous owners' chickens. One of the chicken's names was Babette. Babette was great. Ray had just moved in and we both loved both chickens. Babette would come running when I called her name. I'd have a carrot in my mouth, I'd stoop down to her level and she'd waddle over as fast as she could to eat the carrot from my mouth.

Unfortunately, my dog Chamo liked Babette too. One day I came home to find Chamo feeding on Babette's back. I got Chamo off Babette only to find a round depression about a 1/4 inch deep, where Chamo had chewed down to exposed backbone. Poor Babette.

I raced Babette off in the car to the vet. The vet took one look at the bird's chewed on back and said there was nothing he could do....that there wasn't any skin to pull together enough to be able to sew the open wound closed. I said he had to find a way to close Babette up. He did and I kept Babette in our bedroom for two weeks while she healed. The doctor said that I'd have to keep her inside as any flies landing on her exposed skin would generate infection in Babette. $400 later.

I enjoyed having Babette inside for a while but only for a while. Ray and I put her outside. She was going to make it.

A short time later, I wanted to see how Babette was doing and I called for her to come get a carrot out of my mouth. Babette didn't come running. That was strange. Well, maybe she hadn't heard me. I called again, and still no Babette.

I walked around the ranch and couldn't find Babette anywhere. Chamo was by my side so I knew Chamo wasn't off with Babette again somewhere. I asked Ray if he'd seen Babette. No, he hadn't.

Days went by. Weeks went by. Many years later Ray confessed that he'd seen lots of feathers in one of the horses open corrals. The feathers were the same color as Babette's had been. Ray hadn't wanted me to feel bad so he hadn't told me. We had a resident Bobcat that I'm sure finished off what Chamo had started.

Ray hadn't told me because he knows I care too much about animals. And now I care about our birds. And I'm soooooo relieved that Baby Babette is being fed.

One more worry left.... when will the other egg will hatch?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Two morning photos.

Cindy has been down here in the desert working for me first for two days and now Sandi. This morning I picked Cindy up at Sandi's and we did the Bump & Grind at 6am. It was great walking and talking again with Cindy. Cindy and I (and Tina and I) used to meet rather regularly and do hikes near our house in Tarzana. I miss those hikes up Killer Hill in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Cindy seated atop Bump and Grind at around 6:45am.

I took another photo of baby hummingbird on my return from the hike. She looks like she is growing but her head is still not reaching upward for food. Her beak seems to be larger though and she is still breathing. What is going on with the unhatched egg though? In trying to move away from the nest after taking this photo, I jammed my foot right into a cactus. Ouch!

I just took a peak at the nest and Mama is perched directly on top of the baby and egg. She is NOT feeding her live baby!!! Come on, this is driving me and Ray crazy. Feed your baby Mama! Make us happy before we leave for LA today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Something is wrong with the baby bird.

If you take a look at the photos on the link below, Mama feeds just hatched babies hours after hatching.

What we have here is one unhatched egg and one newborn that doesn't lift its head up like the babies in the photos posted in the link.

Mama Hummingbird just sits on her nest and doesn't attempt to feed the baby. Is the baby not healthy? Does Mama know its not healthy? It is still breathing but doesn't lift its head up. Is the egg not going to hatch because something went wrong? Is Mama sitting on the baby and not feeding it because she believes she needs to do this so the egg will hatch? So many questions.

All I know is Ray and I are very upset with Mama. We want Mama to at least attempt to feed baby. Ray did say tonight he thought he saw Mama sitting on the edge of the nest with her beak inside. Ray said that he did not see baby's head though. It's so hard to sit by and watch and know we are powerless.

Anyway, below is something Tina sent me on The Birth of a Hummingbird:


This is truly amazing. Be sure to click on NEXT PAGE
at the bottom of each page; there are 5 pages in all. A lady found
a hummingbird nest and got pictures all the way from the egg to
leaving the nest. Took 24 days from birth to flight. Because you'll
probably never in your lifetime see this again, enjoy; and please

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One baby hummingbird has hatched today!

We have a baby outside our front door. One of Mrs. Hummingbird's eggs hatched. Ray found the baby hummingbird had come out of her shell early this morning. If you could only see us. We are like proud parents, tip toeing ever so quietly whenever we go in or out the front door. Letting anyone else who comes by to walk quietly. Mama Hummingbird doesn't like us near her young one.

At first glance baby wasn't moving and I thought it was dead. We noticed some nights Mom hadn't been sitting on her eggs. But after another peak I noticed some movement. Now 10 hours later, the other egg is still unhatched but the little black blob of a baby moves non stop, wriggling like a circle worm.

We haven't had a pet in so long. It's great caring again for our new pet birds. I hope I don't leave on my trip before the babies fly away from their nest.

More photos to follow.

Monday, March 24, 2008

At the end of each class our photo teacher, Carol Leigh, posts a gallery of the student's work during the class. Here is what Carol wrote in an email she sent out to all of us who were in her last class............

And baby, do you all look great! What I did was select three photos
from each regular student, picking the three that I think are your
best. Here's the web address:
<> This
gallery looks really good, and I think you're going to be surprised at
the overall quality of everyone's work. (Oops, that sounded sarcastic,
didn't it? Not intended.) Let me know what you think.

I'm impressed with the photos we produced as the result of Carol's instruction and critiques.

Hope you enjoy the gallery if you chose to check it out. Once in the gallery, click on a photo to enlarge and see the student's name at the end of the URL in the browser. Carol picked my neon Elephant photo, the waterfall stairs and the lone gull flying over the Salton Sea as her 3 favorites to put in the gallery.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

This morning I received the following email.........
The subject to the email was:
A Humble Suggestion.

And we all know I am VERY humble.

Anyway, you might want to let your loving readers know you're not going to be posting on your blog as much, now that you are in intensive pre-hike mode. We miss your stories and photographs, but will understand.

Shame on me. I've been so into finally taking action on the planning and training for my upcoming backpack trip, I've totally neglected this blog and all of you. I remember how frustrated I was when I was daily following my favorite Adventure Journalist's blog and she'd let days go by without a word, and then later, when she stopped maintaining her blog all together because she got a "real" job.

I apologize for not having given you a head's up on what I have been doing. I was wrong to not have taken the time to briefly let you know that I wasn't able (as the title of my blog says) to "daily" making entries. I will continue to write in my blog until I leave on the backpack trip, even if all I write is...."I'm here, but swamped."

What I have valued most in keeping this blog is enjoying how many of you follow along with me in my life. It means a lot to me. I feel your love, your interest and that I am important to you. Well, YOU are important to me too. I want to show how important you are to me by continuing to write until I leave on my trip.

Now, reflecting on what my thinking was that I hadn't explained my lack of blog entries, I see that it was all about me and how I'd look if I simply wrote a simple sentence saying something like, "Sorry, I'm into planning and training my hike and won't be posting as often." I was afraid I'd look selfish and self centered! Ha. Well, what I feared, I created.

Selfish self centered....that is the root of our trouble. p.62

I'm back and I'm never too swamped to say thank you to my loving readers.

p.s. Photo of me yesterday crossing the "raging" (tee hee) Whitewater River while on a hike with the Hiking Group. Not to make an excuse but...taking on being the facilitator takes a lot of time (especially the way I take on the commitment). To encourage continued participation and interest for those who haven't signed up yet, I write hike day information emails, take photos during the hike, post the photos later, write an after hike writeup. Here is yesterday's writeup:

Hi Hikers,

What a great hike today. Thanks to Ginger, Jaqueline and Joe for making this hike so nice.

I wish more of you could have been there. Temperatures never rose over 84 degrees. The wind kept us from being too hot. Flowers galore!

Our hike began from the parking lot at the Wildlife conservancy (The old Whitewater Trout Farm). Robert, the manager, was there to welcome us. I've talked to him a couple of times and he now knows me and our hiking group. You see, the facility isn't open for another 2 months or so. But they let us park inside their close gated parking area.

As you will notice from the photos I’ve uploaded to the MHCC Hikers album, we crossed the Whitewater River a number of times. What troopers everyone was. No complaints - just laughter.

We hiked along the south side of the river bed for about 1.5 miles. We then crossed the river for the third time and climbed another mile to the ridge.

After a short break we headed back down the flower filled canyon switchbacks. It was on the way down that Ginger spotted an orange and black beetle on flowers. When we looked closer, we noticed there were orange and black beetles on ALL the flowers in this one area. It’s mating season and they were into it big time. I do intend to go back when it isn't windy to get some good macro shots of these beetles.

There was more talking on the return hike and I enjoyed getting to know Joe and Jaqueline. Ginger is a regular MHCC hiker and I always love when she is on a hike.

Jaqueline led the way through the trail less river bed.

Then Jaqueline ran across a rattlesnake making its exit into some bushes off the side of the trail. I think Jaqueline said that she only saw the last foot of this huge rattlesnake before it was out of sight. Once I realized what she was excitedly pointing out, I gently put the tip of my trekking pole on the rattle that was barely visible under the brush. Mr. Snake was a big one. Mr. Snake let us hear his distinct rattle letting us know he did not want to be disturbed. We respected his wishes and hiked the last ½ mile back to our cars.

This hike was a little sampling of what life on the trail is like for the through hiker. Everyone said they had a great time and enjoyed the hike.

I know these hikes require a big time commitment, but the flowers won't be out the way they are now for long.

So save the date……..Next Saturday, March 29th there will be another PCT hike….

We will repeat the shuttle hike we did two weeks ago when we hiked 7 miles through the back Mary Poppins-type flower filled hills. We will change up the ending of this hike though and go a different way.

Hike: Moderate

Time commitment: 6 hours.

Meet at Pavilions, near the WAMU bank parking.

Meeting time: 7:30 am!! (It's getting hotter.)

Bring at least a quart to quart and a half of water.

Look forward to seeing you,

Linda Jeffers

p.p.s. Maybe you know this already, but in the top right hand corner of my blog there are 3 small photos. These photos change as I update my online photo site with photos. I have a folder on flickr for the Mission Hills Hikes and Hikers inside my Dayhiking folder. Here is a direct link to my Dayhiking folder:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Critique for my last, Assignment #6 - Emptiness and Vastness

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers (Emptiness/Vastness, etc.)


I absolutely love what you were going for
in this shot. Look at the soft feathery
clouds in the sky, the pale blues and
greys, the hills in the distance in the mist,
the silvery blue tones of the water, the
way we can see into the water where the
silvery blue turns to a more golden
brown, and then you've got rocks up
close to give your entire photograph a
feeling of depth.
But this isn't an easy scene to compose.
It's not an easy scene to expose for. You did remarkably well, however. The close-up rocks
aren't overexposed; the rocks a bit farther out, however, are definitely overexposed. But what
could you have done? If you'd metered for the bright white rocks, the rest of the scene would be
very underexposed.
I'm thinking that the heart of your photo is the space from where we can see down into the
water all the way out to the hills in the distance. The close-up rocks, even though they give us a
feeling of depth, are just too stark and ugly to deserve a spot in your picture.
What MIGHT have worked is if you'd waded out a couple of feet into the water and, using a
wide-angle lens, began your photo with a shallow-water foreground leading our eye out into the
distance. Or, wade out not quite so far and splash some water on your foreground rocks. That
would make them much less stark than they are, would tone them down, and so they wouldn't
end up as glaring white blobs in the scene. However. I personally have waded a bit too far
offshore at the Salton Sea only to find myself stuck in the most disgusting smelling foul muck
ever. If you saw an aged, moldering sneaker during your visit, that was probably mine. Gross.
My main point is this. Hold your hand over the very bright foreground rocks. See how
beautiful (more beautiful) the rest of your scene becomes? You knew there was a photo here --
good eye. You just included a bit too much of the contrasty stuff.


Beautiful picture. The horizontal lines of the lenticular clouds echo
the horizontal lines of the hills in the distance, which echo the
horizontal line of the spit of land at the very bottom of your frame.

And then the bird's wings are also quite
horizontal, adding to the overall look.
Your picture has very soft and subdued
blue, silver, violet and brown tones to it,
giving it a quiet and serene look. The bird
seems to be just gliding past on stationary
wings. And there's definitely a feeling of
isolation, emptiness, loneliness
The picture looks rather noisy, especially
at the bottom. I'm thinking that maybe
the "Despeckle" filter might help you a bit to tone down the grain. Probably not much, but a bit.

I used the "despeckle"filter, just below, after Carol told me to try it. Can you tell a difference? I also cleaned up the photo a bit by cloning out some dirty sensor spots (more noise).

There are also other Photoshop tricks you can use to get rid of noise, but I'm not going to get
into them here.
The only other thing I might suggest is blowing up this photo in Photoshop or some other photo
manipulation program and look at it at 100%. I think I'm seeing some sensor dust here and there
which would be easy to clone out, making your photo even better than it is. And it's very, very
good. Congratulations to you.


Whew! What a contrast from what we've
been looking at! We've gone from misty
silver and blue tones to bright desert
What grabs me first is the way the path
snakes through the landscape, creating
lazy, sensuous curves as it goes. We
begin the path up front and it leads us
back and back, disappearing for a
moment, only to show up a little farther
into the scene. Great way of depicting
depth. The fact that the pathway is darker than the surrounding grass is effective, making it
really stand out and catch our attention.
Your exposure situation was a tricky one. You've got dark shadows up front and what looks like
an almost white sky in the distance. The mountains are rather light and washed out, but that's a
natural look for the desert around Palm Springs, Palm Desert. I'd say you handled the exposure
situation well.
I'm wondering if you could turn this shot into a vertical and still keep the feeling of an empty
golf course early in the morning. Why go for a vertical? Because that's the way the pathway
goes. A vertical format would confine our eyes even MORE to the pathway. Let's try it. Well, I
couldn’t turn it into a vertical! Not without
clipping off the pathway in the distance.
So I compromised with a square (below).
What do you think? I’m thinking that
maybe I like your version better. It creates
a more spacious, more empty feeling, and
that’s what we were going for here.
Thanks for posting all three of these,
Linda. You've come a long way in the past
two months. You should be very proud of
Carol Leigh

Linda here.....
I learned more from this critique on Emptiness than all the previous assignments. I can't believe I didn't see the blown out smaller rocks in the Salton Sea Secluded photo.

I knew I liked all three photos very much but something was keeping me from loving them. Carol is unbelievable in the way she sees, and exceptional in her delivery of our critiques. I've learned as much from reading Carol's critiques on the other 27 students' work in the class as I learn from my own.

I haven't had this much fun in a long, long time. I have felt more alive and interested in my days. I can't wait to take another class. I signed up for another class that starts Sept 1st. I'll be missing two classes because I will be off backpacking. Life is a bitch and then you die!!!!
tee hee.

What I learned is how I can't learn something if I don't give "it" time in my day. Just because I read about photography, look at other's photos and talk about wanting to learn, I'm just living by my intentions, not really living at all. Living by intentions is just another word for procrastination, sloth or better yet, not wanting to look at my fears.

I'm sad the class is ending. I'm thrilled I found Carol's online classes and, hopefully, am always able to continue taking more and more. Carol offers photography workshops throughout the year. I will look into going to one after September.

Thanks to all of you for following along with me during this class. Thanks for all your support and wonderful compliments. When I hear from you or read the comments you leave on my blog, I begin to trust you all more than I trust my perception of myself as a photographer.

Much love and gratitude,


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday in LA (Lamont, do not read further!)

Before dinner and before the meeting, we decided to kill some time shopping at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, specifically, Macy's.

While browsing the shoes, Hannah came up with an idea. "Let's each go look over the shoes, pick one shoe that best depicts who we are, and come back to share our choices with each other?"

Sounded like fun. It was fun. We all went off in different directions trying to find....not the shoe we like the best......but the shoe that best matches who we are.

Paula came back with a high wedgy Coach checkered espadrill type shoe (pictured below). Ok, seeing her choice got my juices going. I was in the I went to find MY shoe!

Paula followed and then called to me, "Here Linda. Here are sporting shoes." I wasn't finding anything I thought was like me so I went over to the sporty shoes. Someone pointed out the Taryn Rose shoes. I spotted a black flat with a raised black rose on the front. I had tried on an earlier pair of black flats in the other section and hadn't liked them. The Taryn Rose shoe fit like a glove. The feel of this leather was unbelievably soft.

I'd noticed the price of this shoe which I'm too embarrassed to mention. Previously, a couple of weeks earlier when I'd been shopping with Sandi and Alima I'd seen the price of some of the high end shoes and said, "Who would ever pay these prices, as I turned my back in disgust and walked away?"

Same place, a couple of weeks later, I sat down and tried on a pair of shoes.

I am a fast forgetter. The price hadn't been reduced! I bought the shoes. The others said, "We weren't supposed to buy the shoes!" I just giggled. There wasn't a cloud on the horizon. Did I really need a black pair of flats? Apparently so.

Hannah's choice in shoes!

Monday, March 10, 2008


Once Ray spotted the hummingbird nest and bird right outside our front door, I spent at least 5 hours in the early part of the day trying to take good shots of the nest, eggs and bird. I was on a mission, obsessed and having a ball. I learned a lot about my camera settings after looking at hundreds of failed (poor lighting ) photo attempts on the computer. So much for the other things I had planned for that 5 hour slot in the day.

When we first looked at the empty bird's nest yesterday morning around 8am there was only one white tiny egg inside. After one of the next few nest sittings, the newest member of the Jeffers family - Mrs. Hummingbird - had layed another egg in the nest. We read that they usually lay 2 eggs. So we have the exact time and day of the baby's beginnings.

Ray went online and googled hummingbirds. Here is what we found:
Male and female hummingbirds establish separate territories--she to build a nest and feed her young, he just to protect a reliable food source. The male takes no interest in nests or the care and feeding of babies. When females enter his territory, he does aerial displays to keep them away. The males and females mate on neutral ground.

Incubation takes 12 -19 days before the eggs hatch.

Here is a video someone took from birth through the moment the babies actually leave the nest. Enjoy.

Photos of our hummingbird and nest outside our front door on a cactus that broken off a month or so ago. Lucky for Mrs. Hummingbird.

She flies away every time we walk by the window too quickly. If we move slowly, she won't fly away. Ray gets mad at me for bothering Mrs. Hummingbird when I am at my camera and startle her. Then I get mad at him when he goes in and out to the garage past her nest. We are having fun with our new family member.

Then late in the day yesterday, Ray wanted to go out in the golf cart and play some golf. I went along with my camera. He golfed and I shot photos.

I took this shot just after the sun set behind Mt. San Jacinto.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"Cactus Cuties"

Check this out when you are free to turn up the volume:
This is from the Texas Tech-vs-University of Texas basketball game last month. The group is called the "Cactus Cuties" and they are adorable as they sing acapella.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Yesterday's hiking photos with my new Canon EOS 40 D

Looking west up to San Gorgonio from the mountains above the White Water River and the White Water Trout Farm.
I wish I wasn't going to miss Carol Leigh's Macro Class that starts June 15 as I really would like help with macro shots.

Off to take the Mission Hills Country Club Hiking members off for a hike in this area today. I think there will be 11 of us.

Yesterday I made sure I could park in the White Water Trout Farm parking lot. The car break-in had been on the street an 1/8th of a miles from the Trout Farm. I talked to Robert at the Trout Farm yesterday.....he is the person I had stopped to talk to when he was driving by me after my break-in last Friday. He lives in a ranch nearby and is also the manager of the Trout Farm. Robert remembered me and told me that the break-in has freaked out all the neighbors. People are now locking their doors at night. Robert did say that they have not had break-ins up there before. It was a freak incident. Great.

Friday, March 7, 2008

3 for 3 on Assignment #5!!!!!!!! Reflections.

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers (Reflections)

Wow. Very sharp, very clear, clean, crisp! This is
a case where you could have easily just blown out
the white gull, but you didn't -- we can still see a
lot of detail in the feathers. Your camera could
have seen all the darkness above the bird and
exposed for that -- meaning that the bird would
have been just a big white blob in your picture. So
kudos on handling a challenging exposure
I like the darkness up top, but I'm wondering
why. Usually I would say that so much dark space
is heavy and weights down a shot. I think the dark
area, however, is tempered somewhat by the
horizontal line of tan/white stuff, breaking up the
black and dark grey. So with that in mind, I might suggest getting rid of whatever that is in the
upper right corner of the frame (and its attendant reflection) to keep that upper line as clean as
You should be very proud of this picture -- well done!

(Since this critique I took out the stuff and the stuff's reflection that was in the upper right hand corner.)


Hey, you're two for two! I like what you
did here. Your picture consists of a bunch
of triangles pointing this way and that,
giving your picture a great feeling of
movement. The wedge of blue sky moves
our eyes from left to right. The wedge of
land (and its reflection) leads our eye
from right to left. (But the trees
themselves have a sort of eastward slant
to them, which counteracts the previous
movement.) And then there's a wedge of
water which leads our eye from left to
right. (I hope that all made sense. Me? I'm
dizzy at this point.)

(I took a photo below of the photo my teacher had inserted in this critique showing the triangles.)

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that
you've created "arrows" that lead our eye
back and forth. It's a good effect.
Isn't it interesting how dark the
reflections are compared to the land,
trees, and sky? It's important to
remember this when we shoot.
Your exposure is good, and so's your
focus. The only thing that's interrupting
the flow of your picture (but really not
that much) is the mass of darkness on the
far lower right. I think maybe some foreground foliage cluttered up your clean reflection a bit,
but it's not overly obtrusive. Good eye for spotting this scene. You handled it well.


And there you are, way down low, a tiny
little Linda peering out . . .
You had a couple of options here in that
in addition to this version, you could
have zoomed in tighter and filled your
frame with just the window. Would that
have been better? Not necessarily. By
moving farther back, by using a widerangle
lens, you're telling more of a story.
You've got that fantastic melaleuca (?)
leaning off to our left with a large branch
curving to the right, seemingly
embracing the window. Then you've got
the window with its echoing arching
element above it. And then there's you,
with the tree branch arching overhead
again, only in warmer tones.
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel . . . you're protected by a tree, by an arch,
and by a reflection of a tree. (Too bad the tree couldn't protect you from camera thieves, but I
digress . . .)
What's also kind of neat is how the surroundings are in shade, but the reflection is a sunny one!
Three good pictures, Linda. Kudos to you.
Carol Leigh

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Getting back (a bit) to exercise.

I have got to get to training for my NM hike. Too soon, Cupcake will pick me and JJ up on April 25th to drive to the ADZPCTKO kickoff weekend I attend every year. I will be all packed up for my CDT hike as Cupcake will drive me and my hiking partner, La Zorra back to the beginning of our hike in New Mexico (We will leave on the Sunday at the end of the ADZPCTKOP weekend). I'm 12 pounds heavier than I've ever been before starting out on a long backpack, my body is untrained, AND I haven't planned a darn thing for this hike yet. It is time to make the hike a priority and stop letting everything else get in the way...... like car break-ins!!!!

By the way, JJ is a friend who is a PCT thruhiker this year. JJ will have already begun hiking north on the PCT and will hitch down to my house from the trail up Hwy 74 on the 24th, spend the night, clean up and EAT before Cupcake picks us up and we all drive down to the ADZPCTKOP weekend. Lots of hikers who will have started the PCT early will also find a way to get back down to this fun kickoff weekend held every year, for the last 11 years now.

Yesterday morning Katy and I recommitted to hiking the Bump and Grind hill, which is only 7 minutes from home, every Monday and Wednesday mornings at 5:30am. How easy it is to get back to a routine once I stop it for some lame excuse. I can't afford to make one excuse or I'll just make a ton more.

Katy and I both commented on how wonderful it was being out early enough to see the sunrising.On our hike we talked about how much better we feel the rest of the day when we have exercised early in the day. I, of course, forget how much better I feel during the day when I listen to my head, while I'm still under the covers, when it says to me, "It's too early to get can exercise later on (and then rarely do)."
This morning Ray and I took a 50 minute walk in our neighborhood. Look at the snow still in the San Jacinto mountains.

Off to get ready to drive in to the Book Study.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Condolences from my photo teacher.

I have received a number of understanding and caring emails from friends regarding the loss of all my camera gear. Thank you so much.

I also received many emails from my fellow photo classmates who live with this fear daily. But I am posting an email from my photo class teacher Carol Leigh:

Linda, I'm so sorry about your gear being stolen. My heart just sank
when I read your post. You experienced something we all dread. I
remember sobbing when my house was burglarized and my camera gear
taken -- the only stuff in the house I really cared about. Another of
my students parked in front of the Strybing Arboretum in San
Francisco. She chose the gear she wanted to take in and left the rest
in her van. Someone apparently was watching. She lost not one but TWO
tilt-shift lenses, a couple camera bodies, various other lenses, etc.

The only things we can do is keep our equipment to a minimum, don't
leave it in the car, and double-check our homeowners insurance. Easy
to say. I get impatient with Chris, who INSISTS that before we arrive
at our destination we stop somewhere else first and gather together
what we think we'll need. Then when we arrive at the photo
destination, we simply exit the car and head up the path with no
hesitation. I'm going to be more patient with his OUTRAGEOUS REQUESTS
from now on. ;-)

It's just stuff. Now you'll get newer and better stuff! But I do feel
sorry for you. We all do. We've all been there. We all have the same
fears and trepidations. And our collective heart goes out to you.

Carol Leigh

Car break-in.

The following letter to my photography teacher will explain "Car break-in".

Congrats Carol! How exciting to have been acknowledged for your California Wildflower Hotsheet website, and to have been acknowledged in the WSJ. I love it when people who are anonymously always of service get recognized at a larger group level. You deserve the recognition. I feel so lucky to have you as my teacher.

Yesterday I was out on a 4 hour training hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. My husband was kind enough to follow me while I parked my car at the Whitewater Trout Farm. He then drove and dropped me back at the I-10 Freeway where the PCT passes under the freeway before heading north and then west up into the San Bernadino mountains. From my first step on the trail I was blown away by the color display in the normally dry, brown mountains. Splotches of gold and purple continually caught my eye higher up on the hillsides every direction I looked.

The wildflowers were a bloom like I’ve never seen before. The over grown trail was sometimes scary but exciting to walk on (hidden rattlesnakes). Everything looked different because of the atypical abundance of color. Normally dry and brown hills and mountains were blanketed in green. Blooming mustard grew well into the trail. Yellow, deep pink, purple, low, high, big, small….wildflowers were everywhere. When I got higher up on the trail I was presented a Mary Poppins-like view of hills covered in POPPIES!!! As I rounded trail bends, the brilliantly blue sky complemented the orange poppies beautifully. I couldn’t believe I was out hiking and not out photographing with all my camera equipment. I did however snap off many photos as I hiked with the little Sony I always have on me.

I got back to my car only to find that two back windows had been smashed in. Glass was everywhere. My heart sank. I had said to my husband before we left home, “I really should take all my camera equipment out of my car. Nah, it’s safe there!” I hadn’t followed my intuition, and ALL, I mean, ALL my 4 lens, filters, shutter cable release, cleaning equipment and camera were gone. The thieves left the cheapo tripod. My home owner’s insurance deductible is $2000! Oh well, that’s half the expense.

I am sick. These next two weeks were going to be spent photographing wildflowers.


At least I had finished my assignments!!!

I called Carol Davis for consolation. None of my other friends would have understood the loss I am feeling. Thank you Carol Davis.

Linda Jeffers

A big thanks to my hubby for coming back to stay with me for the 2 hours until the police arrived.