Reno River Festival

Last weekend, instead of doing traditional Mother’s Day things, my family and I headed downtown to the Truckee River to watch some kayakers.    The Reno River Festival has been around for 11 years and features world-class kayakers in a variety of competitions on the water.   The event has struggled in the past and the weather here isn’t always predictable but this day was perfect.   The skies were blue, the air was warm and the crowds were just right.

a kayaker making it to his next buoy
a kayaker making it to his next buoy

kfest rfd

kfest wfield yaks

kfest watchers

kfest red yak closekfest fullhelmet turnkfest fullhelmet over

The traditional punishment when a kayaker comes out of his boat ... he must drink a beer from his boot.   Bootie Beer!
The traditional punishment when a kayaker comes out of his boat … he must drink a beer from his boot. Bootie Beer!
a drone is readied for flight
a drone is readied for flight
camera test on the drone
camera test on the drone
Boys looking for crawdads
Boys looking for crawdads
all smiles
all smiles

kfest bluespark wwater

the old Reno arch
the old Reno arch
one of my favorite shots from the day ... I'm a sucker for an accordion
one of my favorite shots from the day … I’m a sucker for an accordion

kayak xing

The McKeen Motor Car

Saturday, May 10, 2014, was National Train Day.    The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City celebrated this occasion by honoring a very special train (and guests) with some runs on their short track.   The museum offered tours and rides on the Virginia & Truckee Railway’s McKeen Motor Car No. 22.

engineer on the line

The McKeen Motor Car originally entered service on May 9, 1910, and was retired in 1945.   This special beauty is now 104 years old.  And, it is the only restored and fully operable McKeen Motor Car in the world.   No. 22 was granted National Historic Landmark status by the Secretary of the Interior in 2012.

The train car has a gas powered engine and was used for mostly passenger traffic between Reno and Minden, Nevada.  It was sold by the railway in 1946, spent a short time as a diner and then a plumbing supply office until 1996 when it was donated to the Nevada State Railroad Museum.   It has taken over $1 million dollars and countless man hours of work to restore the motor car.   But, ooooh, it was so worth it.   This is a spectacular train.

coming into the station

Inside the engine room at the front of the train
Inside the engine room at the front of the train
sleek "wind splitter" lines
sleek “wind splitter” lines
looking out the back windows
looking out the back windows
from the back of the motor through to the engine room
from the back of the motor through to the engine room
a conductor enjoys the ride
a conductor enjoys the ride
all aboard!
all aboard!

front light 22passengers tree viewwabuskaold windmillfront at the platformwindow details

and, a selfie ... from inside the motor car
and, a selfie … from inside the motor car



Mystery Rolls of Film



If you have been reading my 52Rolls adventures, you probably already know that I happened into a big, box of vintage cameras and been having all kinds of fun figuring out which cameras work or what they do.   It has been a big inspiration on getting through a roll of film each week.   It has also increased the price of this little project significantly.   But, it’s all for the love of film, right?

just a portion of my camera loot … I’m a lucky girl

A bigger bonus in the box of cameras was the discovery of FOUR rolls of exposed film that had not been processed.   If you are a film geek like me, this is a Christmas treasure.   Just imagine what wonderful images could possibly be on those rolls of film?   Treasures from the past.

It did not even remotely occur to me that I didn’t know who had taken the photos or that they might be weird/obscene/ruin my perfectly normal relationship with the film developer that I have been sending film to this year.   Not, that is, until AFTER I had sent them off.   A twinge of worry set it at that moment and did not go away until I got the email.   This could end up very awkward.

The Darkroom sends an email when they receive your film and then when it has been processed so you can see it online.   They also send prints or your negatives back to you in the mail.   I love this place.

The email came that two rolls were blank.   I was bummed.   Disappointed.  Then, I waited another day before a new email arrived.

“Your Images Have Been Processed.”

THE OTHER TWO HAD IMAGES!   I was so excited.   It really was Christmas for me.

Thankfully, the photos were perfectly normal and probably boring to most people.   What.A.Relief.

And, since I do actually know the person who knew the people (his family) that the cameras had belonged to, we went on a mission to discover what/who/where/when for the following photos.   Enjoy!

This came off a roll of 120 film in one of the older cameras that I found.   No clue on actual photo date but it is a shot of my friend's great grandparent's dining room.
This came off a roll of 120 film in one of the older cameras that I found. No clue on actual photo date but it is a shot of my friend’s great grandparent’s dining room.
Same roll of 120 film, same house.   We have not yet identified the woman.   I was impressed by the relatively lavish furnishings.
Same roll of 120 film, same house. We have not yet identified the woman. I was impressed by the relatively lavish furnishings.
San Francisco trolley car in the late 1970s, shot on 110 film.
San Francisco trolley car in the late 1970s, shot on 110 film.
San Francisco Court House,  same roll of 110 film.  The fountain area was removed after the 1989 earthquake and is now grass but the rows of trees are still there.
San Francisco Court House, same roll of 110 film. The fountain area was removed after the 1989 earthquake and is now grass but the rows of trees are still there.
Albeit blurry, this is a shot of south Reno from above Windy Hill looking down to Bartley Ranch and the Harrah's Ranch.    Same roll of 110, probably late 70s.
Albeit blurry, this is a shot of south Reno from above Windy Hill looking down to Bartley Ranch and the Harrah’s Ranch. Same roll of 110, probably late 70s.

The following shots are of a 1967 Ford Mustang.    My friend still owns this car and it is his favorite.   I think it tinkled him to discover the photos of the car on the old camera.   Partially, because the camera was his mom’s and … well, you know how that stuff goes.   The best part of this story is that THIS car in THESE photos was how I met my friend in the first place.   He ran into the back of my 1987 Suzuki Samurai with this beautiful Mustang.   I was so mad at him that I was speechless.   The damage was minor, we were in a parking lot at the time.   I was pissed that he had scratched my car but even madder at him that he had scratched it with such a beautiful Mustang.


And, now, the photos have made it a full circle from my friend’s family all the way back to my friendship with him.

I believe there’s a little bit of kismet in these photos, don’t you think?



Butterfly Sculpture

An interesting tidbit about Reno, Nevada, is that there is a nice art thing going on in “The Biggest Little City in the World.”   Do you think of art and culture when you think of Reno?   Hmmmm …

Reno is home to a month long summer celebration of art.   Every July, Artown takes over and there are tons of daily activities from world-renown musicians to hometown heroes with all kinds of creative talents.   Then, August swelters into September and Labor Day weekend is the pinnacle of the Burning Man festival on the playa of the Black Rock Desert not too far from the casino lights of town.

While I was on my photowalk with film a couple of weeks ago for the 52 Rolls project, I found a butterfly, a BIG one.

butterfly wf


What on earth is a big, steel, butterfly thing doing next to the temporary ice rink in downtown Reno?    Well, back to all of that stuff about art and Burning Man.   This sculpture piece by Bryan Tedrick was part of an installation at Burning Man in 2008.    The downtown renovation project brought the sculpture to this location last summer and the website lists it as temporary but I hope it stays.

If you think this looks interesting black and white, you should see some of the other artist’s photographs in color by light of the moon in the desert.   Bryan’s website has several photos but a quick Google search shows how well photographed this sculpture is.    There are a couple of interpretations on what the butterfly and flower-type petals represent but I’ll let you soak it in and decide what you see.

downtown butterfly


butterfly sunflower


The Clock

Throughout my childhood, this wonderful, old clock was always at the main shopping mall in Reno, Nevada, known as Park Lane Mall.   The times have changed and that mall is long gone, now demolished and an empty parking lot.   The clock, however, was saved and recently re-installed in downtown Reno.   As a child, I had no idea how much history this clock held but, now, I know there is a storied past to this timepiece.

the clock

I took this photo as part of my film project with 52 rolls.   This set was all taken with my Nikon FM2.

Back to the clock, there is a nice engraving that was added to the base of the clock that gives a good bit of information:

clock engraving


And, the photo turned into a little bit of a selfie for me, too.   Bonus.

nevadan clock


Downtown Reno isn’t the grandest of locations for such a spectacular clock but there is a renovation/revitalization effort in the area.   I think this is a great place for the clock and a good reminder of the history that has happened in “The Biggest Little City.”   I hope that it is well-taken care of in this spot and that people respect it.

Just look at the inner workings on this clock, they don’t make them like this anymore.

inside the clock



The Little Free Library

There is a Little Free Library along the road from my house to my office.   It is just a wooden box with a framed door at the end of someone’s driveway.   Inconspicuous, really.   But, I recognized it immediately as I sped by every day but I have never stopped, until today.

It lured me in, over the past year, to finally check out a good book.   A free book.

gingerlea little free library

If you have never seen a Little Free Library before now, please check out this website,  I saw the website through a Facebook link the other day and this Little Free Library was registered on the map.   It’s what gave me the courage to stop and give it a try.

I don’t know why I was afraid to stop.   I guess I felt like it wasn’t totally my neighborhood (I live in the next neighborhood over the hill).   I guess I felt like I didn’t know the people that live in this house (you know what they say about strangers!).  I guess it was just new and unknown so I was scared.    But, I did it.   I stopped.   I got out of the car.   And, I picked out two books.


One for my son and one for me.    It was easy to pick out a kid’s book.   As a matter of fact, that was the most motivating power in stopping to get a book.   If it was for a child, who could argue with that?  Right?  I took a few moments to look around the box and choose a good Dr. Seuss-type book.   My son will like this one, I’m sure.

gingerlea little library books

My book was a guilty pleasure.   I didn’t pursue at all on my book, I just greedily (and quite randomly) chose the nearest paperback and quickly shut the glass frame to the library.    I didn’t even read the back of the book to see the description until I got to my office this morning.   At this point, the fear was sinking back in and my book choice was more of a “grab and go.”    Silly me.   No one was looking.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?   Have you ever stopped to get a book?

The website is pretty great and even has pre-built library boxes and kits to make your own.   I have a feeling my husband will be building me one soon.   I love this idea.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if my book is any good later.   We’ll see … it’s a little bit conspiracy theory-ish and I probably should have taken my time to find a different one.   Oh, well.   Next time!


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

Outdoor Project

Hello out there in the blog-o-sphere … it has been a while.    What have you been doing?    Holidays, happy stuff, winter adventures?    Ya, me too.

I have news for you.   And, it’s fun!    I have become part of a new group (or two) and can now share it with you.    Check out, Outdoor Project.    The company is a fun group of people looking to be a resource for your outdoor adventures.   Right now, the bulk of hiking, biking, paddling, snow fun is based in the Pacific-Northwest but this group has high aspirations to do more.   And, I’ll be adding in some Nevada/California fun, too.

I’m working on adding in my kayaking adventures from Lake Tahoe.   If you been following along, you’ve read about it here on this blog, but here’s my Outdoor Project post.

Ya.   Nice Chris-Craft wooden boat.  Cha-ching. $$$$

BONUS!   You can join in on this fun, too.    It’s free to become a member of the site and they are currently recruiting contributors.   Check out the site and consider joining us.   Let them know that I sent you!   If you have questions or would like more contact information, please email me at gingerleaphoto (at) aol (dot) com.

P.S.   I have some other plans for the new year … 2014 is going to be great!   And, it involves FILM.   Stay tuned …



Safe Haven Rescue Zoo, Imlay, Nevada

Last weekend, my family made a trip out to an animal sanctuary and rescue zoo in Imlay, NV.    Where’s Imlay?    Well, head about 2 hours northeast from Reno on Interstate 80 and then turn right and drive some more.   It’s a beautiful spot in the middle of the desert with huge vistas of the Humboldt mountain range.

But, I wouldn’t say they get a lot of drive-by traffic.   It is desolate.   And, that’s why it is the perfect spot to build a big home for some big animals.

Classic Nevada views from Safe Haven
Classic Nevada views from Safe Haven of the Sagebrush ocean and Buena Vista Valley

What’s Safe Haven?    Here’s a link to their website,, and their Facebook page,   There’s a lot more to this place than just lions, tigers and furry critters.   The history stems from rescuing exotic pets and giving them a better habitat.   It’s a 501(c)3, not for profit, organization and a very worth cause for donation.   They are open for tours, but check their schedule of events for a better visit and learning experience.   Also, please consider supporting their current donor program.

Now, it’s time for some photos of the fun stuff.    This is my favorite.

christopher prowl

Christopher is a rescue from a private breeder and has been moved twice to find his forever home at Safe Haven.   He is stunning.  For more information about Christopher and his relocation to Safe Haven, please read this recent article from the Reno Gazette Journal by clicking HERE.

I loved getting to be close to such large cats but you do have to remember that they are wild animals.   It is easy to respect that you are not the top of the food chain when you look into those eyes.   For some perspective on what Safe Haven is like, here are a few shots of the habitat areas for the animals and the work that goes into building large scale fencing for them.

zoo 3zoo 2zoo 1

Safe Haven does private tours by appointment and, let me tell you, it is a treat to hear the stories about the animals and learn about their personalities from the trained professionals who work with the animals every day.   I learned so much on my visit.

At first, I wanted to just post the pretty pictures that made the animals look like they aren’t in pens.   But, I am learning that some people think that makes it a great idea to keep a bobcat or coyote as a pet.   It is a terrible idea.   They are not domestic cats or dogs.   Please keep this in mind when you admire a wild animal.

And, WOW, the tigers are beautiful.   Until this visit, I didn’t realize that white tigers are an unnatural occurrence that only exists because of inbreeding.   Christopher is a handsome fellow.   It’s just not right to sell his genetics to the highest bidder.   I still adore him but I feel a little bad about that.

There are several other new friends at Safe Haven for me to introduce to you as well …

Safe Haven really has a lot to see.   There are many more species of animals such as Iggy the Iguana and Mojave Moe the Desert Tortoise (who was surprisingly quick) in addition to coyotes and African servals.    If you can swing by their neck of the desert, I highly suggest a visit.   If it’s just too far, please click on over to their website and enjoy a virtual visit.

In the meantime, I’m sharing a video link so you can see what dinner time looks like for Syber and Gage, the Siberian tigers … HERE.  RAWR!


Have you ever been to Safe Haven?   Do you have a tiger tale to share?   Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.