Bodega Bay California

The rain stopped just in time for our planned overnight to this coastal town. Neither one of us had been here before. It’s a cute town with gorgeous scenery located in Sonoma County. We arrived in the evening and braved some cold and wind to take shots of the bay, town and harbor.

This is shot from the breakwater at Spud Harbor.


This is shot from outside Gourmet Au Bay, a wine-tasting place right on the water.


The town is best known for being the site of the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds. Fortunately the birds are, in reality, cute and pretty.


We had breakfast at The Tides at the Wharf, a restaurant and inn that replaced the original where The Birds was filmed. The new building is lovely with high ceilings and beautiful wood open beams with tongue-and-groove roof paneling. The tables overlook the calm bay where we watched ducks and, unfortunately, a drone. I didn’t photograph that, but it flew in and hovered over the birds, scaring a few into relocating. It was probably somebody wanting close up photos of the birds. Wait until there are hundreds of amateur drones hovering out there. It will be hideously ugly. I have some science fiction short stories I’m working on about drones, just taking a look at some of the unintended consequences of the coming nightmare, should they be approved for widespread use.



At Bodega Head, the cliffs block tumultuous waves that make for gorgeous photography. It’s a state park with bathrooms and parking and has a high accessibility-to-beauty ratio.




There is a famous tree out there, famous in the sense that it is oft photographed. It’s really quite striking. As a friend of mine pointed out, it’s easy to see which way the wind usually blows.


Cutting back to Highway 101, we passed by beautiful working farms, a lot of them organic dairy. I even saw a farm that participates in the organic cooperative whose milk I buy: Organic Valley.


Sorry  I missed a few posts. I really didn’t have any new photos. It was raining continuously, so I couldn’t get out. The Bodega Bay trip was the first dry day in a couple weeks. I’ll be able to milk these shots for a few more posts, so please do continue to check in on Mondays and Fridays. I will be getting more photos!

Have a great weekend.


Child’s play

My previous photos mostly concealed the fact that there were a lot of people out there with me enjoying a gorgeous winter day. Santa Cruz tends to be warmer in the winter than where I live, down in the valley near the San Francisco bay.

So here is the human element of Natural Bridges, the best part–children.

Mind you, I wasn’t trying to get photos of children or people at all. When I saw this image though, I was glad I accidentally caught this little girl at the edge of my frame. Next time I’ll pay more attention to the human element in the composition as I think it adds a lot of interest to the scenery.


Another accidental shot, I love how the dad is kicking his foot in the air.childs-play-at-natural-bridges-2

That’s the beauty of digital photography and Lightroom–you can take a lot of photos and get some surprising captures that way.

I hope you are having a nice weekend!



Natural Bridges in three tones

So glad I went out on Thursday during the break in the storms. Wow, we are getting inundated with rain in California. Bye bye drought! (Still on water rations.) I hope it fills the aquifers, I mean, this really will except for those places that collapsed them by pumping during the drought.

Anyhow, while inside, I’ve been playing with photos. Still enjoying the batch from Natural Bridges.


The tones are quite different here, sorry, but what can I do? I have to play around with images, trying different things, until I get out and refill my camera.


Oh, I had fun with this one…



Natural Bridges after the storm

I went back for more photos. The waves were huge this time. I was out on the cliffs and the sound of waves sometimes reached the level of a loud boom.

I still have to work on the filter. There’s a specific effect I’m looking to create and I am not there yet. However, I do now know how to use the filter, hooray! I purchased another one for my 28-200mm lens. I can’t wait to get it. Composing with a wide angle lens is a bear. The nice thing is that the Sigma wide-angle lens I have is so high quality that I can crop massively and the image holds up, but of course that’s not really how I want to compose, by cropping. So I’ll keep that set of tools in the kit and start learning the filter for my main lens.


Have a great weekend!



Natural Bridges State Beach

I made it to this beach this week to try out my filter on the ocean. I did better but need to speed up the shutter more and make sure I don’t accidentally change the focal length to wide angle. A lot didn’t turn out,  but I did get the feature image with the filter and kind of like that. Of course it would have been better a bit faster, but it’s a start.


I would have had more but I made a couple mistakes. I moved the focal length without realizing it and the filter doesn’t work with the wide angle. I shot a ton at 16mm and that triggered the vignetting. The other mistake was not trying some other shutter speeds. I needed a faster shutter. Next time I will do that.

I also forgot my tripod, but I recovered from that because I have a sturdy mini tripod and that was better anyway as I wanted to be as close to the ground as possible. So actually I learned to use the tiny tripod for my wide angle shots.

The feature shot is not wide angle or filter but shows the natural bridges, which I thought was important!  Those are pelicans up there on top of the rock.


Here you can see those pelicans more clearly.


The tide pools were amazing.


I loved how healthy and green the anemones were.


Are you gearing up for the new year? I am, with a new very different set of goals. I’m going to try writing straight fiction, not genre, (except when I’m taking a break, if I have time). That’s a big change for me, but I’m excited. My goal is to concentrate on short stories this year. I don’t have a number in mind as I have no idea how long they will take. I’m hoping for four, and submitting them all places.

I hope you have a nice remaining holiday if you are on break or just a nice weekend.

Learning to use my ND filter

As part of my Christmas present, my husband helped me learn to use my new ND filter (Zomei Ultra Slim Adjustable Variable Neutral Density ND2-400 Camera Lens Filter-82mm). It is tricky. We figured out there are 2 dots (which represent darkness in the filter) on the ring that don’t work and one that mostly doesn’t work. Knowing that made things a lot easier and we began to get systematic after that. We tried each of the dots at varying shutter speeds and took notes. I also know to put it on the lightest filter (so I can see) on auto focus then turn off auto focus and turn the filter to one of the dark places on the dial. It looks pretty black through the lens at that point but I can set the camera speed and then let it set the f-stop. I also discovered I don’t have to slow down the  shutter as much as I thought to get a nice blurring effect.


When I go to a beach situation or waterfalls, which are why I bought this filter, I know to work through the settings to make sure I come home with something. I also won’t be trying it when it’s really windy! But every light situation is different, as is every subject. Oh…also figured out that the sun has to be behind me so as not to get sun spots and streaks. I’ll need to plan for the sun position when I go out to do this.

Oh one other detail that was kind of funny — I managed to smudge the filter. The second time we went out we couldn’t figure out why it was all smeary black on the right side then realized it was smudge on the lens. Whew.

I fooled around a bit with bokeh for this lemon but a wide angle lens isn’t really the right one for bokeh. I’m really using it for landscape. Nonetheless, I thought you might like a pretty lemon.


Here’s one more showing the vacuum hose zooming around.


I need to see if I can get out to the beach again this week. I’d like to try the tide pools early in the morning.

Have a great week!