Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Horse Blogging

Tuffy, Hanna - Marin County  2013

Remembering Tuffy. (Last Friday was his birthday!)

Above,  Tuffy and Hanna, August, 2013.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Nevada Sunset / Sunrise

Sunset (Sierra Nevada) - Nevada  2018

Sunrise (Sierra Nevada) - Nevada  2018

So, my room at Boomtown overlooked a parking lot. But there were mountains in the distance! The Sierra Nevada, some miles off, but accessible using my telephoto lenses.

Sunrise, Snow (Sierra Nevada) - Nevada  2018

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Acorn Pixie / Queen of the Wild

Acorn Pixie Slot Machine - Nevada  2018

Casino Corridor - Nevada  2018

Mike doesn't gamble, but he was quite intrigued by the Acorn Pixie slot machine.

Not to mention the Queen of the Wild one.

More slot photos: Boomtown Casino, Game Chest.

Queen of the Wild - Nevada  2018

Friday, April 27, 2018

Clearing Skies

Telephone Poles, Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2018

Grass, Mountains, Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2018

As I drove back from Portola to Truckee the skies began to clear, making for some picturesque cloud scenes.

Once back in the mountains I pulled over for my Fritos and beer lunch.

Fritos and Beer - Sierra Nevada  2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Portola Railroad Sightems

Snow, Railroad Yard (Portola) - Sierra Nevada  2018

Union Pacific (Portola) - Sierra Nevada  2018

The famous California Zephyr, on its way to Chicago, was once routed through Portola, after having traversed the Feather River Canyon. Amtrak still runs the Zephyr, but now it travels through Truckee.

Alas for the No Trespassing signs. I got as close as I could.

Cryo-Trans (Portola) - Sierra Nevada  2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Blue Buildings - Portola

Blue Building with Clouds (Portola) - Sierra Nevada  2018

Blue Building, Snow (Portola) - Sierra Nevada  2018

Most people pronounce it Por-TOH-Lah. But Wikipedia informs us that it should be pronounced Por-Toh-LAH. A railroad town.

Also with a train museum! Alas, closed in March, not open until sometime in April.

Nice fool-the-eye clouds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dry Field, Autumn / Winter

Field, Telephone Pole - Sierra Nevada  2015

Field, Telephone Pole - Sierra Nevada  2018

Top photo taken on a clear Autumn day in November, 2015. I used an Olympus E-PL5 camera with a 9-18mm wideangle lens.

Bottom photo was taken in March, 2018. I used an Olympus E-M1II camera with a Panasonic 12-60mm lens.

Near Sierraville. As soon as I turned at the intersection the fog closed in.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Hawk Blogging

Hawk - Sierra County  2018

Fence in Fog - Sierra County  2018

I was taking some fog-enshrouded fence photos on state road A23 between Sattley and Portola when I saw a large bird perched on one of the fence posts. He let me move closer - slightly closer - then took off. I've cropped and enhanced the above  image in Photoshop. Exact ID is surprisingly difficult!

Below, the original uncropped image.

Hawk - Sierra County  2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Barn, Summer / Winter

Cows and Barn (Summer) - Sierra Nevada  2017

Snow, Trees, Barn - Sierra Nevada  2018

For the top photo I used an Olympus 75-300mm lens. For the bottom one a Panasonic 12-60mm.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Church, Summer / Winter

Church (Summer) - Sierra Nevada  2017

Church (Winter) - Sierra Nevada  2018

Top photo was taken in August, 2017, during the famous eclipse.

Bottom photo was taken in March, 2018, still snow on the ground.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Highway 89 Snow Scenes - 2

Snow, Sheds - Sierra Nevada  2018

Grass, Snow, Clouds - Sierra Nevada  2018

So, I've been trying to print some snow scenes. Difficult! (Due to color casts.) One can always convert the image to black and white, but that's the easy way out.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Highway 89 Snow Scenes - 1

Pine, Snow - Sierra Nevada  2018

Sagebrush, Snow - Sierra Nevada  2018

I drove on highway 89 north of Truckee last August, during the eclipse. So I had plenty of pastoral summer views then.

My most recent trip there was in early March of this year, when I could look for snow-covered withered sagebrush and other picturesque wintry scenes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Boomtown Sightems

Dirt Road, New Building - Nevada  2018

Chains, Tract Houses - Nevada  2018

So, Boomtown is technically in Verdi (I think), a suburb of Reno. The area is currently experiencing high-growth due to the high cost of housing in California. (?)

This is according to the New York Times.

I'm going to miss the sagebrush.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Back in Boomtown

Boomtown Sign - Nevada  2018

Snow, Hills - Nevada  2018

Earlier Boomtown photos.

My plan was to stay one night in Boomtown, then venture north to Alturas for some winter photos. Alas, as I kept (obsessively) reading the online weather forecasts for Modoc County the prospects for photography there began to look pretty dicey. The purpose of my trip was to look at scenery and take photos - in the winter. So one would have to expect at least some bad weather.

But I didn't want my trip to turn into an endurance test. After the Alturas forecast started to predict a 70% chance of rain turning to snow with wind gusts between 30 and 50 MPH I revised my plans. I booked an extra night in Boomtown with the idea that I'd take a day trip the next day up Highway 89, north of Truckee.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Cow Blogging

Cows - Sierra Nevada  2018

Temperature was in the 30's. Foggy and gloomy.

Seen just outside of Sierraville on Highway 89. I used a Canon G5X pointed out the driver's side window.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Highway 80 Rest Stop - Winter

Hwy 80 Rest Stop - Sierra Nevada  2018

Photo (iPhone panorama) taken in early March, on my way to take some winter photos in the Sierra.

Icy and slippery!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

San Geronimo Valley Sightems

Tree, Coyote Brush - Marin County  2018

Cow Sign, Fence - Marin County  2018

Top photo taken during one of our Roy's Redwoods hikes. (Additional photo below.)

Hali,  Bay Trees - Marin County  2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Olympus E-M1 II - Pros and Cons

Olympus E-M1 II - Marin County  2018


20 mp sensor - Latest in the m43 line. One does like to think that images are made using top of the line stuff. (Of course, Sony, Nikon etc have sensors that capture way more information.) So now we have better high ISO images and more cropping leeway.

Ergonomics - substantial grip, dials and buttons fairly easy to use. Downside is that it weighs more. In fact, it weighs several ounces more than my first DSLR, an Olympus E-510.

Image stabilization - makes hand-holding doable at extremely slow shutter speeds. However I’ve noticed that the camera’s P mode will want to increase ISO speed as opposed to decreasing shutter speed. Issue resolved using . . .

Custom Modes - There are 3 that can be set. So I’ve set mode #1 to take advantage of the image stabilization feature: aperture priority f5.6, ISO range 200-400. So the shutter speed will vary according to the scene, but in the woods it might be pretty slow. I’ve set mode #3 as a tripod mode, for use in the camera’s high-res / HDR features.

High Res - OK, so I don’t know if this really represents added value. But it might.


Flip-out LCD screen - Not nearly as useful as the flip-up screen found on my C-8080 and my E-M10. Have not used it even once for a hand-held shot. Used it for my tripod high-res experiments, however. What’s annoying is that some reviewers consider a flip-out screen as somehow an absolutely necessary thing and their reviews reflect this. Ah well: at least my E-PL7 has a flip-up screen.

Added weight and bulk - So, it doesn’t really weigh that much. However, carried around one’s neck it’s pretty noticible. What’s interesting is that, as smartphones have become cameras of choice for most people, regular cameras, even small ones, are much more likely to stand out and become objects of interest.

Neither here nor there:

Focus speed - Supposed to be really good. Never had that much of an issue with my older cameras, though.

Menu system - Complicated, yes, but others have gone to the trouble of figuring it out and writing it up. Once the initial setup has been completed, that should be it, basically.

Lever - for me, a never-used feature, so it’s nice to see that the lever position has been reversed: much less likely to be accidentally flipped (as in the original E-M1.)

Full reviews can be found at:

Imaging Resource

Thom Hogan


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Abbott's Lagoon Sightems - 2

Fence - Point Reyes  2018

Dunes - Point Reyes  2018
The fence photo needs to be in black and white. The dunes one . . . I'm not so sure.

So, color version below:

Dunes - Point Reyes  2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Abbott's Lagoon Sightems - 1

Lagoon - Point Reyes  2018
Grass, Hill - Point Reyes  2018

Upper photos: I was using a Panasonic 12-60mm zoom lens. I tried to correct some vignetting on the lower photo using Photoshop, but didn't like the results. So I ended up cropping it.

Below, a  heron taken with an Olympus 75-300mm lens.

Heron - Point Reyes  2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

February Abbott's Lagoon Hike

Pasture, Hills - Point Reyes  2018

Sand Ripples - Point Reyes  2018

The month of February, 2018 was annoyingly clear and dry in Marin.

That's when Mike went for an early morning hike on the Abbott's Lagoon trail in Point Reyes, spotting yesterday's coyote. Very cold! He spent quite a bit of time trying to keep his fingers from going numb.

Self-Portrait - Point Reyes  2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Monday Coyote Blogging

Coyote - Point Reyes  2018

They really don't interact that much with humans, unless they're sitting by the side of the road waiting for handouts. That's based on my (very) limited experience with coyotes anyway. Might be different in more urban areas. So I was gratified when this one turned and looked my way, just for an instant.

I used an Olympus E-M10 with a 75-300mm zoom lens.

Below, a coyote sign recently seen in the San Francisco Presidio.

Coyote Awareness - San Francisco  2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

. . . from the archives #99: Mountains, Highway 395 - Sierra Nevada 1994

Mountains, Highway 395 - Sierra Nevada  1994

As I was driving north (away) from the Mammoth Lakes area I stopped at a pullout to take this photo (looking back). I was using a Toyo Field 4x5 camera with a roll film adapter.

One thing I was trying to do when I attempted to print the negative was to emphasize the curves on highway 395 by dodging (blocking the enlarger light from reaching the paper), thus making the curves lighter. Very difficult!

But not so difficult using Photoshop.