New Year, New Toys

Santa was pretty good to me this year and I acquired a new DSLR for Christmas, the Nikon D5300.    Let’s just say it is a pretty significant upgrade from my Nikon D40x, which served me well.    So, it has taken a few weeks for me to get the hang of the new controls and software adjustments.

I went for a nature walk today with my family near my home and here are some of my results from the first photo walk with this bad boy.   I think you will agree that I am lucky in more than a few ways.   I live in an awesome area with beautiful blue skies, the Nikon captures that blue nicely and, more importantly, I have an pretty darn cool family that spoils me (and will let me drag them outdoors for fun with my camera).

This first image is completely SOOC (Straight Out of Camera):

wetland SOOC

I didn’t adjust these two much in post-processing but I think they all came out nicely.

slide mountain with trees     nature trail

The camera came with a kit 18-140mm VR lens that I am loving.   It is really nice.  The camera feels great, not too heavy.   Nikon added some ergonomic touches that really make the camera feel like part of your hand.   I love that.  On the technical side, I stayed in AUTO.  (I know, I know.)   I’m working on getting a better grasp of the focal points in the viewfinder before I worry about how to use the manual controls.   That’s a bigger goal for me this year — get out of AUTO and really figure out that whole exposure triangle.   I’ll post more about that later but, I will be heading back to school on this one.   Nikon School for me this summer!   I’m pretty excited about it.   Never hurts to learn something new!

Here’s one more from today … a full panorama of from Slide Mountain to Washoe City.   Boom.   Pretty stunning, huh?

washoe lake pano from wetlands

Oh, Deer

If I haven’t already bragged about all of the cool stuff where I live enough, here’s another one for you.   There is an amazing alfalfa farm down the road where there are tons of mule deer almost every day.    Apparently, the farmer isn’t really into worrying about how much alfalfa he gets because the deer are busy eating it.    I think they run a bed and breakfast on the farm so I’m sure sitting on the porch and watching a couple hundred (yes, hundred) deer wander by every day doesn’t hurt business.

This is just one section of the fields as seen from the main road.
This is just one section of the fields as seen from the main road.

 

This is what it looks like in the other direction.   Not too shabby, either.
This is what it looks like in the other direction. Not too shabby, either.

 

This is what my husband sees every day on his way to work.   I head the other direction but it is only about three miles from our house so I can take the long way every once in a while to enjoy the view, too.   I’m feeling pretty lucky about that.

I guess I need to remember that the next time I’m all grumpy about the world.   I have it pretty good.

What’s your drive to work look like?

 

Vacation Days

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is but vacation days are better than regular days.   You know, those ‘going to work days’ or even just the ones where you stay home on the weekend aren’t the same as official vacation ones.    I have a ton of new photos to share but thought I would give you a quick peek into some recent vacation days.    We made the drive across all of Northern Nevada to Great Basin National Park which borders on Utah.   You can expect to see more in the upcoming days … enjoy.

Morning Kayaking

This past week, I have been at the annual camping spot.  My husband’s family has been setting up shop in the same spot for the last few years and it’s always a ton of fun to get everyone together.   Most of us live in the Reno area but there a few Californians that travel up to visit and Stampede Reservoir is a nice mid-point for everyone.   We are a good group so there’s lots to look forward to at big, family mealtimes and lazy afternoons on the lake shores.

But, my special treat is to wake up ridiculously early and kayak.   It’s just me and a few early bird fishermen before the water skiers that drank too much around the campfire the night before manage to roll out of their campsites and fire up the ski boats.

And, now, thanks to a waterproof Nikon, I can share some of it with you:

glassy waters

 

the peninsula

So, where is this oasis?   Stampede Reservoir is just outside of Truckee, California.   I did a little homework and discovered that the man-made dam was built in 1970 as a Bureau of Reclamation project.   For more info, click HERE.   If you are interested in the local fishing report, click HERE.  I’m not into fishing but was impressed by the Mountain Hardware site.   It’s a pretty neat store for all kinds of stuff in Truckee, too.

Back to kayaking …

campsites
if you look really hard, you can see some of my family’s campers … sorta

tree reflection

I wanted to lean over and do a selfie here but had the sense to not tempt fate and end up in the cold water.
I wanted to lean over and do a selfie here but had the sense to not tempt fate and end up in the cold water.

I did a little video of some morning zen paddling to share with you, check it out on YouTube HERE.   I haven’t figured out how (or paid for the upgrade) to embed the video into the blog so you’re just going to have to deal with clicking through to it.

Have you been out on the water this summer?

Now, for some artsy stuff:

bw feather in colorbw feather

There were tons of feathers floating on the water all morning.   This is a shot including the reflection.   Which do you like better: color or black and white?

 

 

New Views of the Same Places

 

 

 

 

image

 

This is the first view from my new commute to work.   I am now living in the valley instead of driving down from the mountain.   And, this is just the same view from a different angle.   Pretty awesome, eh?   Pretty lucky to see this from my living room, too, huh?   Ya, go ahead, be jealous.

I’m also using this opportunity to play with a new app on my phone.   It’s called Pixl-O-Matic and it’s about the same thing as Instagram but it has tons more filters and you don’t have to share them in an Instagram feed if you don’t want to do it.   Pixlr also has a couple of other photo editors available but this seems to be the easy, more playful model.   Pixlr did not pay me to say that.   The app is free and I like it.

Back to my commute view, I now drive through Washoe Valley by Little Washoe Lake.   The lake itself is a part of a state park and wildlife preserve so there are tons of birds.   The wind kicks up around here on a pretty regular basis so there are lots of opportunities for windsurfing but the lake isn’t really deep enough for big boats or anything like that.   I do, however, plan to do some kayaking out there when the weather warms up a bit.

 

image

 

Once you are out of Washoe Valley and headed back toward Reno, you drive through Pleasant Valley.    This was recently the main thoroughfare from Reno to Carson City.   I am happy to report that there is a new freeway and this road has much less traffic.   It’s almost like an old country road, including pastures with horses.    I am going to have to get more comfortable with using cruise control, though.   The speed limit is only 50 mph through here.   Yikes.

My old drive was down from those mountains in the background.   The sunrises from this angle are going to be awesome.

 

 

image

And, of course, my drive to work still includes this stop.   Why can’t I break you, Starbuck’s, WHY?

wpid-20130405_074344_Anne_Local_Dirt.jpg

Cloudy Morning Mountain Drive

image

 

My morning commute is about to change and I was feeling all sentimental this morning.    I love this view.    It is breathtaking every day.  I will miss it.

I will not, however, miss snowy/icy/treacherous road conditions on this winding road.   I will not miss going through $1,000 in tires every year.   I will not miss slow-ass tourists lollygagging on the drive.   And, while I respect a bicyclist’s right to the road, I will not miss trying to avoid running them over while just getting where I am going every day.

Fortunately, my new morning commute (coming to this blog soon) will still include this same mountain from a much lower altitude.

Mountain Trails

One of the best things about Nevada is that there are tons of mountain trails into the vast open spaces.    This is a glimpse of one of the trails from my house into the woods.   I love the ATV tracks in the dirt.   It is interesting how much the desert changes when you get to the mountains–by far, the best part of having an ATV is being able to get to these places.

z quad trail closer tracks

Sometimes, it is a lot of work to get out to the middle of nowhere but the reward is always an incredible view.   This is Mount Rose from way back in the Virginia Range between Virginia City and Fernley.    Way out in the boondocks.

z mt rose full

Freshly Shorn Sheep

The weather pretended to be spring-like here for a few days and I am getting a touch of the fever for warmer days.

There is a ranch in Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City, Nevada, that has little lambs and their mommies in the fields every spring.   These photos are from last spring, but I am already looking forward to seeing them again this year.

Slide Mountain

DSC_0062DSC_0029DSC_0045DSC_0037

sleepy little lamb

DSC_0052