Friday, February 27, 2015

Two Hobbies, Two Thumbs

I love riding my horses and I love taking photos.   So here's the thing.   Over time, somehow or another, my thumb joints have become arthritic.   Not too bad on the right hand, very painful on the left.   Holding the reins, even lightly, requires use of the thumb.   Holding a camera in my left hand while shooting with my right also requires the thumb.   Did you know, if you're right handed, you use your left thumb for so many things?   Opening pickle jars because you have to hold the jar to open it. Worse yet, try opening a container of Talenti gelato!   See my point?  

I like my Nikon D7000 but it's heavy with the 28-300mm lens, which is what I mostly use.   I don't know what it weighs but I can tell you, when I go out and shoot a couple hundred photos, I definitely feel it.   That is primarily why I'm looking at smaller cameras such as the a6000 I mentioned.   I realize it's a whole new system to learn, and I also understand from the countless reviews I've read and watched, Sony doesn't have a friendly system.   Sony does offer a great product with well thought out features.   Very fast auto focusing, 11 frames per second shooting, and many more.   The more reviews I watch on YouTube, the more interested I become.   

My thumb hurts and I wear a support on my left hand almost all the time.   But I am not giving up my hobbies.   Or Talenti.   

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Happening!

What, you ask????   The wildflowers are blooming!!!   California wildflowers on the hills!!!   Cue the music...."The hills are alive" by Julie Andrews or Lady Gaga....take your pick. appears we've had the right amounts of light rains to bring forth our annual thrill.   The drought years have kept this annual event from being certain so we are delighted that it's happening.   I must must must make time with my camera to capture these beauties before they're gone.

Last Sunday I drove out to Shell Creek which is famous for its wildflower show.   Google it and you will see beautiful photographs.  Throngs of photographers show up there when it is in its full glory.   Sunday morning I was all alone with a rainstorm brewing and only a relatively light scattering of yellow on the hills, with a touch of blue thrown in here and there.   This is the start and it will only get better.   See the ribbons of yellow cascading down the hills?   Wildflowers!

The California poppies are now blooming and people have seen a few lupines as well.   I better get busy!   Oh, but I've been riding my horses a lot and I seriously have to choose each and every or horses?   I'm sure glad our kitchen is finished so I don't have to sit home every day waiting for workers and the next hundred decisions to be made.   

Oh yes, and the rains brought a gorgeous sunset.   Really gorgeous.   

I know I've mentioned wanting a new camera a few times.   I haven't purchased one but I'm leaning toward the Sony a6000.   It's not full frame but it is very fast with sharp focusing features that can't be matched.   It's much less expensive than the full frame Sony and I think may better suit my needs.   

Have a great Thursday and for those of you in cold climes....stay warm!

Friday, February 20, 2015

February Fog

Every morning this week, we are shrouded in very heavy fog that lasts for hours.   It's so heavy that I wasn't sure if it was lightly raining one morning.   I don't mind fog but this isn't burning off until after noon.   I hoo, right?   It just makes the mornings a little harder to get moving.   Really, if I lived someplace where it's dreary so much of the time, I would never do anything.   I would sit in the house and snack on things I shouldn't, play way too much Mah Jong on my computer, and watch the mushrooms grow in the lawn outside.   Is that what I've been doing?   I won't confess to it, but the snack foods have got to go.   Seriously.   

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm Happy to Share

These are one of my favorite coastal flowers.   They are called Limonium and I believe there are different colors or varieties.   I love to photograph them but it can be a little tricky.   The flowers grow on a long stalk and with our usual breezes (or stiff winds), they are often moving around and difficult to capture.   When you get them to hold still, they look as though they're floating without support.   It reminds me of Queen Anne's Lace.   There is a lot of variation in the colors on an individual plant which reminds me of Lilacs.   I took these photos at a park in Shell Beach this week.   

I know so many of you are dealing with freezing cold temperatures and huge amounts of snow.   So I am happy to share these with you until Spring bring you some pretty flowers of your own.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our Hills

We had heavy rain over the weekend, about 3.75 inches in our little microclimate of San Luis Obispo County.   It was such a relief.   Now we're hoping we get more and that the hills keep their beautiful green through Spring.   I have no doubt we will soon be seeing wildflowers.   Wildflowers on the hills in California are such a glorious thing.

Another photo of my view driving home from the barn.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Orange Sherbet and Other Stuff

Why orange sherbet?   Our sky sometimes turns that color as the sun begins to think about setting.   I download my photos and never capture that color exactly as I see it, but that's the nature of photography, I suppose.   Does the camera lens capture what you see?   That's why I edit my photos in Lightroom.  It's an easy way to make small changes or dramatic changes.   I have at least a hundred presets that I've purchased and they can keep me busy for a long time on just one photo.   I become a bit crazed with the various looks I can create.    I'm still working on this one.   Those lines have got to go.

About two weeks ago my iMac display started blanking out on me.   I had planned on doing a trade-in at the Mac store toward the end of 2014, but delayed my purchase with the idea that I had time and wanted to finish the house stuff first.   Packed up my machine and headed to SLO.   Two days later I picked up my new iMac after data transfer was complete.   And it has problems.   For some reason Safari and Google want nothing to do with each other on my new machine.   I spent two and a half hours on the phone with Apple and we were unsuccessful in fixing the problem.   I am using Firefox as a browser but I don't like it much.   So today I pack up my new machine and drive back to SLO for them to fix it.   Annoying, to say the least.

We have had virtually no rain during the month of January and there is nothing in the forecast.   So the hills are green for a short while, I suppose, and then the brown will return.   While the weather is lovely for the most part, it's the fourth year of prolonged drought.   This was my view driving home from the barn two days ago.   It's beyond beautiful with the vibrant blues and greens.  It makes me want to pull off the side of the road all the time.  

The kitchen is finished and we love it!!   

And so February is almost here.   Wow, 2015 is already zooming past.   We have declared this as a year of just enjoying the days after challenges and a lot of busy projects last year.   There are always challenges, right?   But we would just like to keep them small.

Thanks for coming by.   Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I guess you could say I've been on a long break from my blog.   I'm still waiting for life to settle back into a post-holiday season, no construction, normal temperatures mode of daily life.   Did that sentence make sense?   It's early here and I haven't had much coffee.   Anyway....where was I?   

Erik was home for the entire two weeks and the entire time, the temperatures were really cold!   Well, cold for us anyway.   Frost overnight, temperatures in the low 50's during the day.   For us, that's below normal.   I have a chicken who wasn't doing so well and was staying in the house overnight in a dog crate.   The donkeys had frost on their backs in the morning and their water was iced over a few nights.   Yes, we survived.   And we can laugh about our "winter" weather compared to others around the world.   It's just an inconvenience of sorts.   *insert laughing out loud*

I haven't been taking many photos but have instead sorted through my Lightroom files and deleted approximately 2500.   Yes I did!   And I'm organizing them by keyword so I can go back through and make more deletions.   I started the process because a friend suggested I put some photos on a site called Pixoto.   After a couple of weeks I am already over it because it's not really working as it's intended.   As with so many, people come onto the site and turn it into something silly for themselves, people get frustrated and leave in droves.   I'd really like to find an online photo sharing site that makes sense to me, but I haven't so far.   

With the photos, I am also having fun going through many many new presets in Lightroom.   I purchased a package of presets and videos that was offered in October, as well as a new small set from Trey Ratcliffe.   It's terrific to go back through my photos and try different looks.   I ordered a canvas of one of my photos and I'm going to purchase a few more once I settle on the chosen few.   

The kitchen?   Well, the backsplash tile and floor tiles were installed over the past few days.   They are in the process of hanging the hood and finishing other details like baseboards, etc.   Almost finished!   For real!

So you see, nothing too exciting to write about here.   The weather has warmed up this week and I hope to be outside more, enjoying the sunshine and focusing back on normal.   

This is one of the photos I've been playing with.   I don't have anything new to share so this oak in a field of Lupines will fill the space.   

Wishing you the best in this new year.   Thanks for stopping by.