Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Well, I have officially moved my blog over to zenfolio now. I am transferring all my blogs from here to over there. and then I won't be using this one any more. Soooo...you can find me at:


I will alive and kicking over there!

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to keep it up!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waterfalls and puff-balls

Flowing water over rocks
Do you ever get tired of the same old scenery? That's how I felt today. Open vistas and joshua trees? Blech! So I dragged my husband with me on a hunt to find Bouquet Canyon Falls. I didn't want to go by myself in case I got bit by a rattlesnake or fell in a bush of poison oak.

Off we went. It was farther than I thought it was, but ended up being pretty easy to find due to the cars pulled off on the side of the road ...and the sign that said "The Falls". We grabbed my camera gear and climbed down into the little canyon with the stream.
Longer shutter speed =  smoother water

It was like being in a totally different place. Greenery everywhere... actual real water flowing...I could have spent longer there just relaxing! I climbed up and down rocks, found myself in some pretty awkward positions, and actually did have to watch out for the poison oak along the way (but no rattlesnakes, just lizards).

He even has teal spots - I'm all about the teal!

And I got some pretty decent pictures! Next time, I need to go when the sun is not directly overhead, so I won't have all the light-and-shadow problems, but at least I know that now.


I also have been wanting to take some pictures of a dandelion puff ball. But as you know, it has been slightly windy lately, and it is hard to find any that haven't been blown completely clean. Our front yard yielded a couple this morning (thanks to not having put weed killer on our lawn yet), and I got some good shot with my macro attachment. I don't actually have a macro lens but I got an extra piece that screws onto the end of my lens and it does a pretty decent job! 

This is only half a puff-ball, but I picked the right angle!
Focusing is killer, though, because the slightest movement changes the focus drastically. I heard that a bean bag is a photographer's friend, so I made one with some left over pinto beans (dry, of course) and a ziploc gallon bag. Sure enough! I can lay that on the ground and position my camera on it, use my remote to trigger the shutter and voila! Better focus! 
By the way, at the waterfalls, I had my tripod in the stream for some of the shots and used my remote. It was a good angle, and I was glad I tried it, since I didn't really want to squat in the stream myself. I would have ended up just a little too wet!
Au revoir!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Never a Dull Moment

The calm (relative calm) before the dust storm on Monday
This week I have been able to do several things in my photography journey. My business's Facebook page is almost ready to launch. I actually do have a job doing photography for a wedding at the end of the month. I have explored on-line galleries/website hosting and have made a decision on that. So I feel like I am proceeding forward rather well. I still have to get my business card done and printed. I want to have that done before the wedding, so I will have them if I need them.

My daughter's famous picture
Besides that, we had the worst dust storm I can remember in a while on Monday. I got a few shots of that. But my daughter was the most proud, because she took a picture of it while I was driving and after I posted it on Facebook, it got over 120 shares - I never have had that many!

Even dust can make a great picture!

The storm went on all day. This picture was from late afternoon. The newspaper said there were 37 accidents due to dust - I am not surprised at all!

Luna (left) and Tonks (right)
On Tuesday, we got two new kittens. I will announce their names here since I haven't done that yet. They are Tonks and Luna. All our animals have names from the Harry Potter series, so these will fit right in. They are quite adorable and spend all day on my desk sleeping while I work, unless they are playing or climbing. The puppies love them, but our cat, Tom (Riddle) has yet to warm up to them. At least he isn't hissing as much!

My steering wheel cover
Yesterday and today have been spent playing catch up at my real job (which is at home, so I get distracted easily by things like kittens and/or dust storms). Not much in the way of photo-taking except for in the late afternoon while my daughter was in dance. I was sitting in my car and noticed that there was a serious sun-flare hitting my camera at certain angles.

The flare off my camera lens
I played with the angles, settings and focus and got some really interesting shots. Some of my favorites were the sun bouncing off the knobs on my steering wheel cover. Who knew I could get such fun pictures sitting in my car?

We had a mallard couple live in our front yard for a while last Spring, and they are here again, so I took some pictures of them this afternoon. They like to hang out on our lawn in the shade.

Certainly, I cannot complain about this week being boring! And I did get some interesting pictures out of it. So... all's well that ends well, right? (except the week isn't over yet...)

Friday, April 5, 2013


The mountains from the Tehachapi Loop
This past week has been an annoying one from a photography standpoint. I thought on Monday that I would try to get over to Bear Mountain to find some wildflowers.
But by the time I was almost there, the sun was mostly gone, so I decided to stop at the Tehachapi Loop to see what that was all about.

The Loop
I drove 3 miles on this little road to the marker for the Loop, but the view was very disappointing and not at all what I was hoping for.

Old oak tree

I took a few pictures there, the mountains, the oak trees, the railroad tracks, but all that driving was not really worth it.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when I decided to go wildflower hunting. I drove quite a bit for just a few pictures of the few poppies that have made it this year. It was another bust from my standpoint, even though I did get some really nice pictures out of it.

So Thursday, while my daughter was in dance, I wanted to try again for some pictures. I headed east in Palmdale, instead of west, and just before the sun was setting, found a good location on a hill with some nice Joshua trees, cactus, and other vegetation. The sunset was wonderful - the best we have had since I got my new camera. I was so happy! It was so relaxing to watch the sky go from gold to orange to red to gray. I played around with the settings on my camera - closing down the aperture to get sun rays and playing with shutter speed as well. I ended up with some really great pictures! I shared some on FB, but there are some other great ones that I will include here.


My take-away from this week is that I just have to keep getting new ideas to try and then do them. Some will fail and some will succeed. Yesterday I tried to put together a business card on-line, but right before I was done something happened and I lost everything. I stopped because I was frustrated, but I know I need to do that, so I'm sure I will try, try again.
(Make sure to click on the pictures to see them bigger - it is worth it!)
Also, you can use one for your background on your computer if you would like - just do not crop off my watermark.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Poppy Paucity (like my alliteration?)

California poppies
View on the side of the road
So, I went on a wildflower hunt to the south yesterday. I tried Elizabeth Lake first, since I had heard good things about it. It was a total loss. There were a couple of flowers along the road but nothing significant. So I headed out towards the Poppy Reserve. I did have some success with roadside poppies. There were a few low places along the road with annuals and some areas with perennials, but all the fields were brown and dry. 
Perennial poppies

Using ingenuity and  practically lying on my belly on the side of the road (I'm sure I looked quite interesting to the drivers going by), I got some shots that made it look like there was a decent amount of flowers. No majestic fields of orange, however! Just some close-ups. Plus you would not believe the number of flowers just overwhelmed with bugs. They must be starving!

So many bugs!

In the evening, I was in Mojave. Anyone who knows me, knows that I take way too many pictures of the windmills up there. Today was no exception. There is something about the juxtaposition of the windmills with the joshua trees and mountains that intrigues me. It was a good way to end the day!

I am also including a picture of my favorite abandoned chicken farm just for fun. I passed by it on my excursion today.

I just want to remind everyone that any of the pictures on my blog or FB page are available for ordering. You can e-mail or message me for pricing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wildflower woes

March 2003 - poppies and bird's eye gilia

This spring, I was looking forward to using my newfound enthusiasm for photography with all the beautiful poppies, lupines and other wildflowers we get up here in the High Desert. In past years, I have gotten some great pictures, but I wanted to be more inventive and also use my macro attachment. In the past, even with my old digital cameras, I got some really good pictures, and wanted to see what I could do with my new one. These pictures are from 2003 and 2008 with two different cameras.
At the poppy reserve
I don't know the name, but I love how geometric it is.
One of my favorite shots!

I love lupines!

Unfortunately, this is apparently one of the worst years for wildflowers that I can remember. Everything is dry and brown and so sad! I have heard reports of some wildflowers out by Elizabeth Lake and over in Arvin, so I may head out there (two opposite directions) in pursuit of at least a few poppies or other wildflowers.

Sometimes things just don't turn out as planned. That is why yesterday I was in my backyard, getting shots of the "wildflowers" that grow there, i.e. dandelions. They are actually quite interesting looking up close and personal.

 So.... hopefully you will see some wildflower pictures from this year - if I can find any!

Monday, April 1, 2013


Morning sun on the Rosamond hills - such a beautiful surprise in my rear-view mirror!
I am a busy woman. We all are, but I feel like I have a hard time keeping all my plates spinning. Invariably something is always falling by the wayside, as I focus on something else.

Using my new macro lens - which I want to do more of!
Lately with all my focus on photography, my real job has been suffering, as has been my weight loss journey on Weight Watchers. This last week was especially bad in the eating department. Somehow, I have to figure out how to keep it all happening at a pace that will satisfy my Weight Watchers goals, my actual real job, and my delving into photography. That doesn't even include my family time, housekeeping, music responsibilities at church, relationship with God, and chauffering my daughter to dance on an almost daily basis.

Spring Tulips!

I envy those people who seem to be able to do it all, but I wonder if they really are or if they just hide it like I do. Let me just tell you, I would be horribly embarrassed for someone to drop by my house right now, but I did get a lot of work done today (for my real job).

Balance? I don't know. Yesterday was a great day at church and I got some photography stuff done, but I did hardly any work for my real job (which I should have). Oh, and I took a nap (which was much needed, I might add). My eating has also been a little better - at least I am actually tracking it all. That was where I have been lacking the last couple of weeks.

Today I also need to do some research before I can give pricing info to a prospective wedding client. I did some shopping, and delivered work to my boss. Hopefully, I can get the research done while my daughter is in dance class! Thank heaven for McDonald's with Wi-fi and non-fat sugar-free French Vanilla lattes! 

Birds enjoying the breeze at sunset

This journey I am on is interesting and I am learning to just take each day and get as much out of it as I can. The tyranny of the urgent is always present, but sometimes I don't think that's such a bad thing. I tend to work most effectively under deadlines. I just have to take some time each day to feed my soul - with God, beauty, music - and try to keep all these things in balance while I do that!