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



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

The Sand Mandala

In 1997, I fell in love with the Nikon FM2.   It had been a friend of mine for a while, but I didn’t really love it until I got to know it better.   I took it with me on a month long art project where I watched a Buddhist monk build a sand mandala.

My beautiful picture

This is Losang Samten and he spent every day for a month finely choosing grains of sand to place in perfect order fora Wheel of Life mandala at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada.   It was a special delight to simply sit and watch this master at work.   So, I came back every day or two to get a new photo and watch.    It was a metaphor for learning how to use a fully manual film camera.   The FM2 is a master of Nikon’s building and is both complicated and simple at the same time.   Using film is much more deliberate than the digital cameras we use now.   You have to focus more clearly, understanding the light and shutter speed.   Of course, you could burn through enough film to get that “one” shot.   But, it is much more rewarding to patiently wait for the right moment and get that image.

I was just learning so these photos are not perfect.   I do enjoy them just the same and hope you do, too.

After the mandala was completed, there was a ceremony where the monk swept all of the sand together into an urn and then the sand was returned to the earth.    For this mandala, a large gathering was held, with much pomp and circumstance.  The sands were swept and then a procession led to the Truckee River, a few blocks away, and simply poured into the water.    Sands of time … washed away in an instant.


Scanning 35mm Film

I bought myself a little present.   A 35mm film scanner.   It’s not the fanciest thing or the most expensive but it will do the trick.   And, most importantly, it will bring some of my 35mm projects of the past to the light of day in the digital world.

Here’s a look at it:


It is a DBTech 35mm film slide and negative scanner, 10 mega pixel.   I grabbed it on Amazon for $69.99 and am pretty happy with the results from my first scans.   It is super easy to use and has a digital screen so you can see what you are doing.   Bonus, you don’t have to be hooked up to the computer and you can add memory to it.    No additional software, it’s just a simple camera and save.  Then, you use a UBS to save it to your computer and can edit it however you want.   I like simple.  Two thumbs up for this one!

Of course, I scanned one of my most favorite sets of film.   I will do a full blog post about these images but wanted to focus on just the scanner for today.    And, why I think it is important to save your film to digital.

I love the “vintage” look  and I’m all about filters that do that trick on Instagram.   So, seeing this pictures is fun.   But, there are scratches and fading that happen over time.    So, get to preserving people!   It doesn’t take long.   These photos were taken in 1997.

Starting the mandala work

I took the photos with my Nikon FM2.   All manual, no fancy nothing.   I love that camera.    My skills have changed since 1997 but I still love this set.   It was a great experience at the museum to watch this monk build a sand mandala and it was a great experience learning that camera.   The focus isn’t perfect and there were some challenges for lighting in the museum but I think the scanning came out pretty good.   Stay tuned for another post with the rest of the pictures and more information about the sand mandala process.

3/4 sand mandala

closer to palace

Do you have any old film that you need to get scanned?

Snowshoeing and a Good Lunch

There is plenty of snow in my neck of the woods and, while I do love to ski, lift tickets are expensive.   So, this weekend, I opted to enjoy some nature via snowshoes.    My friend and I headed out toward Carson Pass, south of Gardnerville, NV, up into the California hills and went for a hike above Red Lake off of Highway 88.   The area is near where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway and has tons of options for fun in about any direction.   Here’s a good map and directions:   CLICK.  I am trying out a new point and shoot camera (Nikon Coolpix AW100) and a couple of the shots are also from my phone.

Red Lake

People actually ice fish here.  No way.
People actually ice fish here. No way.
There were lots of tracks from skiers and boarders that had been here before us when the pow-pow was freshy.
There were lots of tracks from skiers and boarders that had been here before us when the pow-pow was freshy.
The view from above Red Lake back into Hope Valley.
The view from above Red Lake back into Hope Valley.

After the hike, we drove back to a neat spot to have lunch.   Sorenson’s is a cute, little resort right on the road that has a variety of private cabins that you can rent throughout the year.   There is a tiny restaurant (six tables) that serves amazing, chef-inspired dishes.   I’m sure a million people drive by this place without giving it a second glance.   They are missing out on the good stuff, for real.


Burgundy beef stew for lunch ... only $9!
Burgundy beef stew for lunch … only $9!
steaming berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream
steaming berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream
completely shareable size -- but just save room and hog it all for yourself!
completely shareable size — but just save room and hog it all for yourself!








Instagram Web Profiles

Instagram has been releasing web profiles for users all week.  I have been checking and waiting and checking and waiting in anticipation of sharing my profile with you.   There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Instagram is real photography and, before that, whether or not it should have just stayed an iPhone app.    Well, I’m an Android user that prefers her Nikon and I think Instagram is fun.    That’s all.   Just fun.

Are you an Instagrammer?   What do you think about it being a phone app or a web profile?   Either way, come on over and join me at

Or, just enjoy some of my recent favorites here:

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Welcome to #Nevada #wwimadventure

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Golden blast of autumn color

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Sand Harbor, #tahoe #kayak

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Mount Rose, Reno, NV

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I am thinking about doing a weekly Instagram post for this site so get ready to see more funky filters and retro shots soon.

Bodie, California

The other day, my friend over at FilmCamera999, shared some images from Bodie, California.   Bodie was once a booming mining town and is now preserved by the California State Parks.    It’s not easy to get to but it is well worth seeking out for the adventure.

I decided to share some of my photos, too.   These are scanned from 35 mm prints and were originally taken on my favorite Nikon FM2.