Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: California Central Coast Snow in March

Here's How It Snows in Paso Robles

California Central Coast Snow in March
It snows in flower petals from the Bradford pear tree on the first day of spring.  
California Central Coast Snow in March
Bradford Pear Blossoms on Tree


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: An Overflowing Fountain in Atascadero

The Fountain in The Sunken Gardens Overflowed During February Rains



The fountain in Atascadero's Sunken Gardens overflowed during the February rains.
The fountain in Atascadero's Sunken Gardens overflowed during the February rains. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Flags at Barney Schwartz Park

Sunset at Barney Schwartz Park


While chasing the sunset on the way home from my photo shoot in Union Road Wine Country, I was trying for some views of the setting sun at Barney Schwartz Park. I discovered I'd parked at the wrong lot and I had to cross one of the playing fields to get this.

Flags at Barney Schwartz Park
Sunset at Barney Schwartz Park


The Flags

As I walked back to my car I noticed the flags. Since I usually park in a different lot, I'd never seen them before. Seeing them in the east as the sun was going down did something to me emotionally. In this photo the flags are backward. 

Flags at Barney Schwartz Park

From left to right are the flags of the United States, California, and the City of Paso Robles. Below, the flags are in turned the right way, since I walked around the lot to shoot them from the proper direction. Unfortunately,  the new perspective made the Paso Robles flag appear lower than the California flag, but that's only an illusion. 

Flags at Barney Schwartz Park in Paso Robles, California


It seems the older I get, the more the national flag means to me. I feel it's by the grace of God I was born in the United States and that all my life I've had my liberty protected by the United States Constitution. I've taken liberty for granted for over seventy years and only realized it in the past few decades. Now I know how special liberty is. I wish all people everywhere could experience this freedom instead of the tyrannical governments many have experienced since birth. Yet I realize that to preserve this liberty we must be vigilant. 


What do you think or feel when you see your national flag?

***

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky

Black and White in Color

In March, the City Daily Photo Bloggers have been challenged to post photos taken in color that appear almost black and white. I've been digging through my files and I found these photos of sights on the ground. I took this shot by the Salinas River on one of those occasions when it was full. The sand easily picks up footprints. 

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Prints in the Sand by the River


This next photo was also taken close to the river.  The current has left patterns in the sand. 

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Patterns in the Sand by the River


Black and White in Color: Look Up at the Birds and the Sky


Several birds have congregated on the wires. 

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Birds on the Wires


One bird perched in a tree. 

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Bird High in a Tree


The turkey vultures dominate the sky on these cloudy days, but don't they always? 


Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Turkey Vulture Flying above Cloud

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Turkey Vulture Flying over Wires


Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky


To conclude this challenge, I return to the view I shoot every night from in front of my house framed by the oak and the palms. 


Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
A Gray Sunset


I think I've met the challenge to let color pass for black and white, but the truth is I don't much like black and white. I think God gave us colors to brighten the world. If I'm going to shoot the sky, I prefer this. 

Black and White in Color: On the Ground and in the Sky
Weathervane in Sunset


Do you prefer color or black and white photos?



***

Monday, February 27, 2017

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown

Peace at the River as the Sun Sets

After walking through Union Road Wine Country yesterday, I stopped at the river on my way home just as the sun was almost down. I parked on Navajo off South River Road and all these pictures were taken in the same block within a 20-minute period. It was quiet except for the singing birds. I experienced great peace here after a hectic day. 

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
The Salinas River at Sundown

At one point I looked down toward the river and saw footprints of someone who obviously made a path to it. I used a zoom for this shot because I didn't dare get close by taking that same slippery and wet path. 

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Footprints in the Sand Lead to the River's Edge


The same footprints are on the left of this photo. I aimed the camera so that the true colors of the plants and the hill would show, but it muted the colors of the sky. 



Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Green Hill above the River


My Cameras



I took these photos with a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S9300. I love this camera because it fits in my purse or my camera bag and it gives me 16 megapixels and an 18x zoom so that I can capture wildlife without scaring it. I also had my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS along. Both the cameras fit in my shoulder camera bag together, and I can also fit in extra batteries and flash drives, along with my driver's license. 

When I go for a photo walk I pack both cameras into the bag and go. The PowerShot gives me 20 megapixels and a 40x optical zoom, but the Coolpix is often all I need and sometimes handles colors better. Both shoot HD video. The products below are the ones I use myself. 


If you need an online photo editor, I have reviewed FotoJet, my most used online editor, and linked to that review.  I used it for these shots to crop and add text. FotoJet has a free version that handles the basics and helps you design collages and other projects with your photos. There is also a paid version if you want more fonts and effects.

This next photo is almost the same scene as the last photo, but I focused on the sky instead of the ground colors because I wanted to capture the sunset. The way I aim the camera determines which colors will show best. I haven't mastered the manual settings yet, so I use the AUTO setting most of the time. I also occasionally use Macro or Zoom when needed. For some sunsets, I also might use the dawn/dusk scene setting. 


Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Pastel Sunset over the Salinas River


Back to the River


This next photo is similar to one above, but it focuses more on the bank of the river and the hill.  

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Sunset over the Hills above the Salinas River


Below I've  focused on just the sunset.

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Lone Tree Beside River as the Sun Goes Down


My focus in this next photo is the reflection in the inlet of the overhanging branches of what I believe is a willow tree. 

Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown
Tree Reflection in River Inlet

In case you missed my other recent posts with photos of the Salinas River, please follow these links to find them. 

Salinas River Walk Photos and Sky Journal
Salinas River Photos from Vineyard Bridge in Templeton
Rain, Rain, and More Rain in Paso Robles
The Salinas River: Now You See It


Photos of the Salinas River at Sundown

Personal Note

I will not be posting tomorrow because I'm having a root canal procedure under sedation. I will be sleeping most of the day afterward, and I have instructions not to work -- not even on the phone. I did this last week, too, so I know now how the sedation affects me. 

I posted about my experience with the sedative on myLot, a discussion forum. You can read it here if you want to: Root Canal Report and my Experience with Halcion. You do not have to join the site to read this, but only members can comment. This site is my preferred social network because it's really social and the discussions often go deep. I've made many online friends there over the years whom I now know better than my non-virtual friends. 

****

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Photos from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles

The Rio Seco Tasting Room and Vineyards 


The Rio Seco tasting room is surrounded by vineyards. As you head east on Union Road from North River Road, you will enjoy a beautiful drive through wine country. Just before you get to Penman Springs Road you will find Rio Seco's entrance road. The tasting room is at the end of that road. This is where I parked. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
The Rio Seco Tasting Room

Below is the overview from the entrance road. On the way, you pass some of the vineyards. I love the big oak, but you knew I would, didn't you.

It was a cloudy day, and I arrived about 4:35, just as the sun was about to set. The sky views were spectacular. I felt I was at the bottom of a big bowl of clouds. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
A View of the Rio Seco Vineyard and Oak Near Tasting Room
Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to capture such a panoramic sky view in a blog post. I felt a bit like this lone oak under the sky. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
A Lone Oak High in the Vineyard

The closer it got to sundown, the more interesting the sky became. This view was facing west, and it looks back at Union Road, the way we came. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
A View from the Rio Seco Vineyard. Union Road  is heading west back to town. 


The Winery Cats I Met


Most of the wineries I visit have working pets. Some have dogs, some have cats, and some have both. As I approached the tasting room, Midnight greeted me. Actually, the photo is deceiving. He really was friendly. He was meowing a greeting and let me pet him. He reminds me of the feline P.I. Midnight Louie in the mysteries by Carole Nelson Douglas that bear his name.   I love those books. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
Midnight, the Rio Seco Feline Greeter.


This is the other tomcat I met while he was dining. From his size I imagine he dines often. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles
Winery Cat Enjoying Dinner

A Restful End to a Busy Day


I normally rest on Sunday, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I spent a good part of the day working hard physically. After a late lunch and some rest, I was determined to get back into Union Road wine country this afternoon, even if it was late. I like the cloudy days because they work magic on the sky. 

I would encourage you to make the drive yourself if you haven't done it yet. There are wineries all along the way if you enjoy wine tasting. It's only a short way farther to get to Steinbeck Winery from Rio Seco. We visited Steinbeck twice this week. They have rearranged their tasting room historical exhibits a bit since our first visit. See it as we saw it in March 2015. 

Photos  from the Rio Seco Vineyards and Tasting Room in Paso Robles




***


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Photos of Sundown at Steinbeck Winery

We attended a meeting at Steinbeck Winery tonight and got there just as the sun was setting. It's unfortunate that the sun was setting behind buildings and power lines, but that could not be helped. At least you can still see the sunset. The birds on the wire are a bonus. 

Photos of Sundown at Steinbeck Winery


I took another photo after the sun went down but was still lending color to the clouds.

Photos of Sundown at Steinbeck Winery


 This last one focuses on the tree with the sunset in the background. 

Photos of Sundown at Steinbeck Winery


***