Friday, July 31, 2009

Couple more weeks and we'll be in Mammoth again!

View on trail above Lake Mary looking down on the Wood's Lodge cabins (9600') where we'll be staying.

View on trail looking above Heart Lake.

Nearby Lake Maime.

Aaaaahh. Can't wait. Are you envious?

Morning hour long walk with Gina and Ray this morning.

We walked right out our front door and walked the Arnold Palmer course around 9:15am this morning. It was free of golfers as the course has been closed for maintenance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shots of our early morning Bump and Grind hikes.

Tuesday morning: Linda, Mary Kay and Connie

Wednesday morning shots of Connie.

Connie almost at the top of the Bump and Grind hike.

Later today, Gina and Linda getting manicures and pedicures and feeling mighty feminine.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A mini slumber party.

Connie and Paula are getting ready for bed. We leave for the San Fernando Valley tomorrow at 5:30am. My sponse, Debbie, is speaking at an all day Three Legacy Workshop.

Friday, July 24, 2009

All work and no bird watching makes for an unhappy Linda.

We have lots of bird watching distractions from 2 days of having organized about 46,000 photos and over 2,000 file folders. Without the birds, I might have gone crazy. I'm so relieved to finally have all my photos and folders organized. Thank you Prodeal. Please no more crashes for a couple of years!

Tomorrow we import all the photos into Adobe Lightroom 2.4! Then we'll set up regular backing up.

Two weeks ago I was getting my clothes and closet organized. I certainly like knowing what I have and where it is. Woo hoo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

400 blog entries since my first blog Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

Well, the 400 blog entries don't work out to be a photo a day but I am impressed I have been as committed to blogging as I have been.

Ray is away in Santa Barbara for the weekend. He left me a loving surprise card in the coffee cupboard. Thanks Babe. I recently bought an internet card which I gave Ray to use with his computer while he's away.

Our home is inundated with crickets. They are crawling everywhere even though we have a pest control man come once a month to spray inside and out.

Prodeal and I were at the computer from around 10am until 8:30pm. As usual, there were glitches which kept us in a stall pattern for a while. The In and Out burger and fries took away the frustration though.

Here's Prodeal. He is a backpacking friend who, like Cupcake, has many of the same interests as I do which makes working on my folders and photos fun. Hopefully tomorrow we will make a bit more progress on making sense of a year's worth of chaos.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beat the heat at 5am!

Connie got me up and back out there exercising on the bump & grind hill.
I exercized!
We did it.
We committed to doing the bump & grind Tuesday mornings.
Tried taking a handheld photo here but the light was too low.

Used the fill in flash here as evidenced by the reflection of the flash on Connie's perspiration.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lens practice.

Walking around for a half hour today, hand holding the new 70 - 200mm 2.8 lens, I shot from our dining room out the window. Was hoping for better, but liked the concept.

Good night. Up at 3:45 for a 5am beat the heat hike.

When I stop something one time, I stop. I've got to get back to daily exercising. Since I canceled my backpack, I have only exercised one day. That's over a month ago. Pathetic.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Noisey little bugger.

This was what was making noise outside my window. I couldn't figure out if the noise I heard was coming from inside or outside. I could hear the noise and Ray couldn't. I finally got up from my computer and walked outside. I was barefoot and walking on the concrete right by Mrs. Black Widow's nasty web.

I looked for something big like a rat or some other rodent that might be trying to scratch his way into our home from the outside. I couldn't see any unusual forms in the little light falling on the concrete just outside my office. But while still looking I heard the muffled clawing-like sound again. I looked closer and couldn't believe my find. Thinking, yes, this will be my blog photo, I went back inside for my camera. I'd been wondering what photo I was going to post tonight as I hadn't picked up my camera all day today. I started shooting this 4 inch long flying insect doing what I don't know, but frantically doing it. My presence didn't seem to bother him much, nor did the full force flash on the Canon Powershot A650.

Damn, why didn't I find this insect last week when I could have used this shot for the "Blue" assignment.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day devoted to learning.

What a fantastic day I had doing just what I wanted to do. I spent a large portion of the day reading, and practicing what I was reading, in Scott Kelby's The Adobe Photoshop CS4 book for digital photographers. This is the first time I shot raw photos and worked them in Adobe Camera Raw. Actually, that isn't true. I just learned that using Adobe Lightroom 2.4 in the Develop mode is a Camera Raw program.

I practiced on the photo below.

hmmmm. Our 3rd photo class assignment is "Curves". I wonder if this photo qualifies? Ninety percent of the photo should be curves so I doubt it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photos on the drive home last night.

Connie in the back of Ray's car, making a call and leaving me a message on my home phone, while I'm in the front seat. Connie made a commitment to call in every day for 30 days and she wanted credit for the call yesterday. If you can't tell, we laughed a lot on the 3 hour drive back home from our meeting in Sherman Oaks.

On the drive home last night we had to slow to a crawl two different times for roadwork on the I-10 freeway. It was getting late - 11pm - and I got antsy. Out came the camera.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ray teaching me the golf swing plane.

Just as I was walking over to El Rancho, Ray called me over to the blackboard he'd just moved out of our meeting room and said, "Come here. I'll show you on this circle where the golf club face is supposed to go and where your club path goes."

I've always wanted a resident Pro and now I have one.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Half of me.

The following is an excerpt from Scott Kelby’s Wednesday Guest Blogger featuring David J. Nightingale (aka Chromasa)!

“In early 2004, when I’d been blogging for a little over six months, and posting a handful of images each month, I came across Sam Javanrouh’s blog: Daily Dose of Imagery. One of the things that impressed me the most about Sam’s blog, other than the consistently high quality of his work, was that he was posting a new image each day, and I can clearly remember thinking two things. First, what a great idea, and second, it can’t be that hard to post 365 shots a year, can it? Well, for the remainder of 2004, 2005, and most of 2006, I attempted to do the same, and discovered that it was harder than I could possibly have imagined.

Now, if I’d had nothing else to do – like eating, sleeping, working as a full-time lecturer in a UK university, helping to bring up my young family, and everything else that goes along with being a human being – it would have been a piece of cake… Surely almost anyone can take one reasonable shot every 24 hours? But, in and amongst everything else, there were many days when I really didn’t have anything even halfway decent to blog, nor any time to shoot any new material. On those days I would sit at my computer and decide which was the least useless shot from a fairly bad bunch, drag it into Photoshop, and attempt to turn it into something more interesting.”

Because I haven’t gone out to shoot in the last two days, I didn’t have a photo for my blog. I went looking at my old photos for a photo I could maybe clean up and post. I found NOTHING I liked even remotely. None of the zillions of photos I have is worth saving. I even took a peek at some of last year’s photo class and workshop photos. Nada. I can’t even stand to look at my stuff.

This is a wakeup call. I need to pick up my camera and stop reading about photography and start shooting. I also need to start shooting in the EARLY morning light (which means I need to get up earlier than I’ve wanted to get up.)

Well, today, after 10am when the light isn’t so great outside, I picked up my camera fitted with the 50mm 1.8 lens. I got my diffuser out of the closet, stood by a window in the dining room that had some good light coming in through the glass doors, and shot half of my face. Why half of my face? Because my second photo assignment is “Halves”.

Here is the photo I shot.

I just need to be patient with myself, stop comparing my photos to the great photographers’ work, and just schedule in time with my camera.
While reading David duChemin’s new photography book titled, “Within the Frame”, I came across this sentence on page 156, “One of the most helpful parts of my process is an AAR, or After-Action Review. It consists of spending time at the end of the day, usually while looking at the day’s selects, and asking myself what went well, what did not go well, and what I shot today that I could shoot better tomorrow……………………Don’t let the knowledge you gained on today’s shoot go to waste if you can redeem it tomorrow for the images you really wanted.”

Interesting, this concept of AAR can be applied to life too. I even gave someone feedback who was asking for help to do the same thing by looking at the top of p. 86 in the B. B. “When evening comes……………”

I should listen to my own advice.

This quote below was also in David's Wednesday Guest Blogger post on Scott Kelby's blog.
"For me, though he was a psychologist rather than a photographer, Jean Piaget summed this up quite nicely when he said "What we see changes what we know. What we know changes what we see".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2nd and 3rd day of shooting Black Widows.

It's the season, we have crickets galore and the Black Widows know it. Where they are crickets there are Black Widows.

Three days in a row now I have shot photos of Black Widows. The first night I shot a photo was when I pulled in the my garage after the Baby Meeting last Tuesday night and saw a huge BW in it's web just outside the garage. Then Our local newspaper, the Desert Sun, came out with a front section photo and article on Black Widows the day after I shot my first Black Widow. My competitive juices started flowing and now I am trying to see what kind of interesting shots I can capture of these Black Widows. The spiders aren't quite so skittish anymore. I guess they're getting used to me.

We have another two Black Widows living near the front gate too. They've been living there for a couple of years now. They live inside the drainage pipe that runs down the side of the condo during the heat of the day.

Saturday morning Ray found this BW, just outside our back door. It was in a ball, not moving and looking either very sick or dead. Looking dead that is until I used the pointed long end of a leaf to touch the spider trying to see if she'd move. I noticed some movement, but not much. I really thought she was dying.
Photo taken with a Canon 40D, 100mm 2.8 macro lens, hand held in early morning shade.

This morning Ray went out the back door again (to fill the bird bath with water (water evaporates daily in these 114 degree days). He came back in letting me know my spider was back and moving about in his web. I thought this can't be the same spider. The spider I saw yesterday was barely moving as it lay in a ball on the concrete. But Ray thinks it is the same spider. It was in the exact same area but I don't know if they are one and the same.
Photo taken with my small Canon Powershot A650, zoomed in only a tiny bit, set to manual macro, and shot in early morning shade.

My photo critique.

These are the photos from the first of six assignments. This assignment is "Blue".
Carol Leigh is my teacher. Unfortunately she will no longer be offering these online photo classes I've been taking since January 2008.

Carol will be offering workshops and teaching where she no longer has to sit long hours at the computer typing. Check out her daily blog where you'll also find her other web sites.

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers

The first impression I get from your
picture, Linda, is ZOOM! Why? Because
of all the diagonal lines you've got going
on. The white line on the highway, the
angle of the truck, and the electric lines
above the truck combine to create a
strong feeling of movement. In addition,
your truck is big, and it begins close to us
there on the right and then diagonates
boldly inward, giving your picture depth
as well as movement.
Just as an aside, for future reference:
Look at how the diagonal line of the truck creates three (three!)
triangles. You've got a triangle in the sky, a triangle in the shape
of the truck, and a third triangle in the road lower left. We've
got a lesson coming up in triangles and once again you're ahead
of the pack!
I like your blue colors — the darker blue of the truck and the
blue of the sky. More than two-thirds of your photo consists of
blue. What makes the blue look even better are the little bits of
red along the length of the truck as well as at the back end. Blue and red are primary colors and
work very well together to create impact and boldness.
You chopped off part of the back end of the truck. Usually I point that out as being a
compositional no-no, but in this case it works. Instead of us wondering what's become of part of
the truck, wondering why it's been amputated, the gist of your photo is "forward movement,"
and so we get the feeling of the truck entering the frame. We also get a feeling of movement.
Those two concepts make us feel more comfortable with having part of the truck lopped off —
it hasn't finished entering the frame. We don't necessarily expect to see all of it.
There's a certain softness and glow to this picture that I'm not sure works. I sometimes will use
the Orton Effect in Photoshop to tweak a picture. That involves applying a heavy Gaussian Blur
to a duplicate layer in Photoshop and then choosing a
blending mode of Overlay or Soft Light. I tend to use the
effect for photos that have a feeling of nostalgia to them or
on flowers or sometimes on nighttime scenes. I use it to
create a sort of ethereal blur or glow. I wouldn't think of
using it on a truck. Why? Because trucks are hard, gritty,
tough, dirty, metal, MANLY things! That's why we see so
many subjects like this done in HDR — high dynamic range
— that emphasizes dirt and texture.
I'm rambling. What's my point? I'm thinking that if you added a glow or something similar to
this shot, maybe it wasn't quite appropriate. And if you did NOT do anything to this shot in
post-processing, then what the heck do I know! Disregard everything I just said!
Bottom line? This is a strong, bold image that conveys the color blue and the concept of motion
very well.

You indicated that your husband named this picture. Ahem.
Well. The first thing I'd do is rotate the image 90 degrees to
the left. Look at what you have now! Instead of a mildly
pornographic image, we've got a southwestern, Monument
Valley-ish mildly pornographic image!
What I like about your shot is the combination of dusty
terracotta colors and dusty blue and grey colors. There's a
definite southwestern feel to it. And then when you add the
strong vertical element and the shadows and the mesa-like
shape behind it, to me the composition screams to be a
horizontal rather than a vertical. But why?
I believe our brains are programmed to try to make sense
of what we're seeing. We look at your strong vertical
segments in the photo and wonder what this is. The picture
is so abstract that we're confused. And so our (my)
inclination is to wonder if maybe it's hung on
the wall wrong! Maybe this is a landscape. I
mentally tweak it, then physically tweak it,
and aha! There we are.
Your composition, whether vertical or
horizontal, is strong in that there are welldefined
shapes and colors and look at where
you placed the focal point — perfectly in line

with the Rule of Thirds, which encourages us to
put the center of interest NOT in the center but
rather up or down or right or left as you can see
I like your shot a lot. It might be too spare and
sparse and plain for some people, but I'm drawn to
it -- definitely more as a horizontal, however, than
as a vertical. As a horizontal it all makes sense to
me. As a vertical, well, go discuss it with your

Hmmmmm . . . It's quite coincidental that you
would take this shot because I'm putting together
a lesson for my photomotivation series called
"Art From Art" and was trying to create a little
piece of art from an overall mural on Thursday. I
wasn't successful. You did better with this
picture than I did with my mural.
I really like this color combination of blues and
oranges (which are complementary colors) as
well as the texture. What's not working for me is
that I'm not seeing a focal point, a particular spot
of interest, something to tell me what I'm supposed to be seeing first.
So okay, there's no focal point. Sometimes we don't need one. In which case, we need some
strong lines or some strong shapes to lead our eye around. And I'm not seeing them here.
If you were to tell me this is a shot of a galaxy in outer space, I'd be impressed because those
shots are hard to take and who would imagine a galaxy could look like this? You could get
away with not having a focal point nor a strong design. But as a photograph or a painting, I
think a center of interest or some direction is necessary for the image to be interesting, to hold
our attention for an extended amount of time.
Overall? You did a good job. You were out there looking for blue, exercising your vision, using
your camera, practicing, practicing, practicing. That's what this is all about. Some photos will
work, some won't. And it will be this way the rest of your photographic life. Will you ever
arrive? Nope. In the words of Gertrude Stein (in reference to Oakland, California), "There's no
there, there." It’s just one long destination-less journey.
Carol Leigh
July 11, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My buddy, LR.

My buddy Lamont and his family. L>R Travis, Rhonda (Lamont's wife who looks so young and cute she could be taken for one of Lamont's kids),
Lamont (ie LR), and Keagan.

Photo by unknown photographer

Sometimes you meet someone and wonder how you ever existed without them. For me that person is Lamont or I as I call him, LR.

Lamont and I met on September 6, 1997, in Sacramento, in the restaurant of a hotel where he and I and 8 other backpackers met up with 2 instructors to go on an 8 day High Sierra Wilderness Outward Bound trip the next day.

Since that first meeting, when I joined LR while he finished dinner that night in the hotel, I knew we had a special bond and connection. We stayed in contact following our Outward trip and have become the best of friends. Not only is he a wonderful friend, he is my ROCK. My life has changed enormously as the result of that fortuitous meeting.

Thank you my friend. Thank you for everything.

I love this photo of you and your family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Photo for the day.

The sunset tonight got me out the door with my camera. But this was the shot I took.

I decreased the clarity slider in Adobe Lightroom 2 to create more motion with the water from the sprinklers.

Canon 70 - 200 at 200. 8pm on a tripod with self timer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Found photo of and for Ralph.

Ralph, Ray, Johnnie, Jay, and John.

Ralph has been asking me for the photo I took of him at the SFVAA Convention last January. Since then I've had two computer crashes and all my photos are no longer organized.

Today and tonight, while alone, I spent time searching, organizing and trying to make sense of the photo mess I have.

Enjoy Ralph. Sorry, the photo didn't turn out better. I must have been previously shooting in a very low light situation as I obviously forgot to change the ISO back down lower.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(Carol Leigh, don't look at these "Blue Photos") Truck shot while driving the car.

I'd written an entire blog that disappeared.

So here are just the photos. I have to turn in 3 "Blue" photos for my online photo class. I have no perspective on what is interesting and what is not. So I'm looking for some help from you. Do you my friends like one photo more than the other two?

Shot while driving on the freeway. At least I wasn't filing my nails at the same time!
The windshield of my car was filthy.

Blue Truck

Blue Penetration

Planet Blue

Sleeping Black Widow

Got back home from the meeting tonight to find Mrs. Spider in her web; probably fast asleep as she did not move when I approached her with my camera from a foot away. I wonder if Black Widows jump?

Anyway, I got a much better photo of her and her trademark red-spot-on-the-belly than I did the other night. (click photo to enlarge)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Uninspired, no time, not enough experience.

That's how I feel about the intermittent stolen time with my camera today.

I shot more of the blue vase. Didn't like a one.

While driving my car inside the garage, I spotted a black widow just outside the garage on a wall. I ran inside for my camera and began taking some photos of the spider. She was big. Mrs. Spider didn't like the flash much. I was sitting on the ground hoping to get a picture of the red spot, when I felt something on my leg. I thought that something was Mrs Spider, or a relative spider. I got right up and figured that was enough shooting.

Soooo, no photos today. Well, I'll post proof I used the camera today.

Thursday after 10am is mine to go play with the camera and various lens.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How to Shoot Fireworks

I did not go out to shoot fireworks yesterday. I wanted to, but when 9pm came around it seemed too late.

However, I'll share with you some great directions (I intended to try) for shooting fireworks posted by Scott Kelby.
How to Shoot Fireworks

Now take a look at these incredible firework photos taken by Laurie Excel:

I follow both Scott and Laurie's blogs daily. Laurie is someone I would be thrilled to take a workshop with. The two workshops of hers I'm particularly interested in are the storm chasing workshop and the Alaskan bears workshop.

No pictures from me today. I slipped outside just as the sun was setting to shoot more of the blue vase photos. I'm giving up on the vase as a subject.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hours trying to shoot a "blue" photo for my 1st photo class assignment.

I had trouble with dust, spots, scratches showing up on the glass of this blue vase I shot. I actually like the composition and color of the photo. I don't know how people shoot closeups without seeing all the dirt, scratches, smudges etc. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it you'll see what I'm talking about.)

I used a 100mm macro which just magnified all these flaws. I also had trouble getting the vase in focus while having the back ground pillow fabric out of focus. I wanted to get in close to my subject so using the 50mm lens was out of the question as the closest I can shoot with it is 1.5 feet.

I won't be submitting this photo for the blue lesson. It will go the way of the other 50 shots I took today......into the trash. I didn't get a photo I like, however I did get to learn more about what I don't want to do, what doesn't work.

So, like posting my high golf scores, I'll be posting my photo rejects. And, the keepers of course.

Practice, practice, practice seems to be the mantra in all areas of my life these days.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Today's golf score.


Today's golfing couples having lunch after our hot (temperature was the same as my golf score) game.

Hit some great shots, inbetween a couple of quadruples.
Three putted often.

Ray shot a 74!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

First golf game with other golfers tomorrow.

Ray and I tee off tomorrow at 8:15am. Wish me a good attitude and a few good shots.

We got home tonight from the Book Study in LA at 11:10pm.

Tomorrow morning I want to hit some balls at the driving range at 7am......which means I will have to get up at 5am.......that's 5 hours and 20 minutes from right now.

No blog tonight.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A balmy night in the pool.

Katya arrived last night around 11pm. It was balmy outside when I drove to the front gate to let Katya in. I was tired, but the pool was beckoning me. Katya brought her overnight bag in the house and we walked right back out to the pool. I brought my camera out hoping to get a blog photo for last night's entry. But we had too much fun, taking photos, playing in the water (I taught Katya how to squirt water from hands clasped underwater) and chatting. After the pool, after posting to Facebook, after taking my pills, writing out my food for the day to send to Xochitl, I was too tired to blog. It was 1am and I had someone coming at 8:30 to do step work.

Katya worked for me today. The job? To clean out my clothes in 3 closets, organize the remaining clothes into summer and winter clothes, and make notes of what I need to buy to make more outfits with the remaining clothes.

Around 2pm, after all the closets and clothes had been worked on we went out to buy shoes. 10 pairs of shoes, plus one purse, in one hour! Katya is fast and good. I never feel comfortable in shoes. I never wear high heels. Yet today I came home with heels and comfortable shoes.

Katya is one hell of a great personal shopper and wardrobe organizer. This is the second time she has helped me with my clothes and the second time she has succeeded in making me a very happy person (not always easy to do).

I'm sure LR won't mind my spending the money I did today. Right LR?