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, http://www.safehavenwildlife.com, and their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/safehavenwildlife.   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.

The Pumpkin Tower

Lattin Farms in Fallon, Nevada, is the main farm for the CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription that I do every week from spring through autumn.   About this time every year, they do a fall festival with kid activities, pumpkin patch and corn maze.    The highlight of the festival is The Pumpkin Tower.

It’s super cool — check this out:

tower lattin farms


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?


ABE, American Bald Eagle

close profile

I finally shot a bald eagle!  OK, wait.   To clarify, I have been trying to get a photograph of an american bald eagle for years.   And, technically, I have about a dozen or so crappy, out of focus and from too far away to count as a real picture shots of bald eagles.   Even when I went to Alaska, I did not get a decent picture of this beloved bird.

Where did I shoot this one?   Nevada.   Ya, go figure.   Apparently, we have quite a few, though.   They like the kokanee salmon that spawn from Lake Tahoe through Thomas Creek.   They like to feast in the fields in the spring after the cows and sheep give birth.   They even like muddy, almost dry Washoe Lake State Park.   Have I ever seen a bald eagle during any of the photo trips that I have done over the past ten years?   Nope.    I saw one once while playing golf.   No camera, of course.

Today was my lucky day.   And, by luck, I mean I have been stalking this huge bald bird for weeks and missing it.   My husband, who doesn’t really take a lot of photos, sees the bird every day.   He calls me from the truck on his way to work to tell me all about it.   So, after many misses, I decided to leave for work a few minutes early and go the long way around the lake to get to my office.    Nope, not Lake Tahoe but Washoe Lake, Nevada.

you lookin at me

The weather has shifted and it was pretty cold this morning.   The fog curled around the south end of the lake, even though the water in the lake is very low.   It’s nearly dry, actually.   The lighting was horrible and the fog kept coming in and covering me in grey.  But, he was there.   My bald eagle.

And, I got him.

Getting ready ...
Getting ready …


Almost take-off
Almost take-off



I had to drive around and sneak up on him, trampling through the dirt and sagebrush in my work khakis.   But, I got him.   Oh, ya.   I was totally late for work, too.

Worth it.   I got my ABE.

Black and White Bristlecones

Because I fancy myself as a photographer that prefers black and white, I am going to share some of the bristlecone photos that I used filters on in Photoshop.   I’m not big on too many adjustments so don’t get all ‘straight out of camera’ on me.   If I was just a touch better at manual settings, I would seriously just go back to film and do this old school.

Do you think some photos are better in monochrome tones than color?    Sometimes, I wonder if I’m a little bit colorblind and that’s why I like the contrast of black and white better.    Let me know what you think in the comments.

And, if you want to see some more in color, please check out my previous post HERE.   That one will tell you a little bit of history on the bristlecone pines and Great Basin National Park, Nevada, too.

Bristlecone Pine

The bristlecone pine trees of Great Basin National Park are some of the oldest known trees in existence.   These high-altitude, gnarly trees have been dated to more the 4,900 years old.   From the Wheeler Peek campground at over 10,000 feet in elevation, there is an easy, 3-mile round trip, hike to the tree grove.   My four year old managed the trek and, if it hadn’t rained on us the entire way back, it would have been a perfect adventure for him.

I think the trees are extremely beautiful.   Let me know in the comments if you agree.

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?

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.