Spring Cleaning and Remodeling

It’s that time of year.   Spring has been sprung all over and I don’t know about you but I always clean out the garage, the closet, the spare room … whatever.   This year, that process includes The Blog.

Don’t worry, though.   I’m not shipping this site out to the local thrift shop or anything.   I’m just going to rearrange a few things and let you know what my new project is for this year.   I just put in a new WordPress theme.   I’m not fully sold on it.   Let me know what you think … meh or yah?

As far as photography goes, I still love film.   As a matter of fact, I love film more than ever.   Last year solidified that deal for me.   Film has made me love digital even more, too.   So, I’m going to take all that good stuff from last year and move forward.

Where am I going with it, you ask?   Hmmm … I found a clever little place that seems to just be full of people just like me.   I found my peeps!

I have been accepted to The Arcanum.   What’s that?   It’s a whole online community of AWESOMENESS, that’s what!   Ha.   The “official” purpose of The Arcanum is “To bring more art into our lives, and thereby, enrich the world. This is a re-envisioning of the Master & Apprentice relationship while using modern tools and communication technologies in a fun & fantastical augmented reality world that forms real human connections while we all engage in a global salon.”


Mumbo-jumbo?  Maybe.

For me, it’s a great way to learn and share online with other photographers.   And, there’s a goal-driven purpose through lessons and challenges.   I like that.   There’s a mentor to work with a whole cohort of others who are in different stages of learning and a master from whom I can learn all the secrets of the universe.   Hopefully–that’s the promise anyway.

I’ll share more after I’ve been going for a while.   I just wanted to check back into the blog-o-sphere and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about this site.  I’m just busy learning!

Lake Tahoe by Kayak, Part Four

Yes, folks, I am still working on paddling my way around Lake Tahoe.   It’s a whopper goal so I didn’t really expect for it to be easy.   And, it hasn’t been.   To make it 72 miles, a strong paddler has to break it into at least six or seven segments.   And, well, that’s just not possible all in one shot for me.    I knew from the get-go that we would be making multiple trips to the lake and there would be issues.  Last year, we started in July and thought it was manageable to expect at least a September finish.   Wrong.   All sorts of things got in the way; road construction, a massive wildfire, bad weather, bad timing, a sinus infection and life.   Oh, well.   There’s always next year …

tallac reflections

Welcome to 2014!  There’s no time limit to this kind of goal so we are still paddling!  If you are just tuning into my little adventure here are links to my previous kayaking segments: PART ONE PART TWO and PART THREE so you can get your paddle up to speed.

the view from the south shore ... paddle style
the view from the south shore … paddle style

Today, I am going to share my first kayak of 2014.   My paddle buddy and I decided to pick one of the most scenic and popular routes on Memorial Day weekend.   Why?   Well, why not?   And, I think we might have been hoping that going early in the season (albeit during prime time opening day) that some of the crowds would have forgotten to back their boat for a weekend at Tahoe.   We might have been right and just a little lucky.   It turned out to be a gorgeous warm day and not too crowded.  (Lucky us!)

We put in our boats at Lester Beach at Rubicon Point in D.L. Bliss State Park early in the morning, paddled through Emerald Bay and around Fannette Island then on to south shore’s Pope Beach.   No small feat in nearly 9 miles of paddling on out of shape arms, let me tell you.    Including our stop at Fannette Island in Emerald Bay at the “Tea Room” for photos, our boats spent about five hours on the water.   No joke, I was tired.   I think I am still am.   My arms are telling me that last statement is just all too true.   OUCH.

Of course, there are too many stories to tell from kayaking for that long but I don’t want to bore you with stories of eagle watching and calling seagulls in Emerald Bay “bagels.”   (Get it??   Bay-gulls.  Har-har.)   I know the real reason that I was out there was to get some awesome photos.   And, that I did.   How about a look?

First, we set out from Rubicon Point at Lester Beach, found the old lighthouse and got an osprey surprise:


Then, we entered Emerald Bay.   Vikingsholm Castle and Fannette Island are located here.    We didn’t stop for the castle but we did make it around the island and up to the “Tea Room.”   I have been to Emerald Bay many times and always wanted to get out on the island.   This was a big deal for me!

Just based on the number of photos alone, I should have split this post into several.   But, I can’t hold back.   There was just too much awesome.

Did I mention I fell out of the kayak at Fannette Island?   Yup.  Cold, cold water.   I didn't mind, though.   It was still a good day.
Did I mention I fell out of the kayak at Fannette Island? Yup. Cold, cold water. I didn’t mind, though. It was still a good day.

For the record, all photos were taken with my Nikon CoolPix AW100.   It’s a good, waterproof point-and-shoot.

Please leave me a comment with your feedback or just a “like” to let me know that you stopped by the blog.   Thanks!

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, littlefreelibrary.org.  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