Rancho San Antonio

Rancho-San-Antonio

That is fog coming over the western hills, a phenomenon very typical here. That fog extends out to the coast. Sometimes it comes over the valley where I live as high clouds that give us nice cool mornings. The clouds retreat by noon, leaving us with hot, sunny, dry afternoons. The coast near here will be socked in with fog all day, meantime. That’s why I love living here in the valley.

The fog hovers over those hills and feeds water to those trees. Some trees along the ridgeline, not this particular ridge line, but other ridges closer to the ocean, create their own rain by an adaptation that has their needles pulling water out of the fog. I’m told there is mud and sometimes running water below those pines even though, under other types of trees in the same vicinity, the ground is dry.

The trails in Rancho San Antonio lead up through those forests. There are little running creeks, wild turkeys, the occasional deer, and even mountain lion. There is also a petting farm nestled in the woods in the flat area accessible to children. They have calves and lambs I think. I’ve definitely heard roosters crowing.

The park is crowded every day. It is extremely popular for walking. We passed a few people today up on the mountain trails who were all looking at the wildflowers. There were purple ones and yellow ones and one exotic looking cream and lavender poppy shaped flower. Thistles were in crazy bloom in the exposed dry areas.

There are always remote-plane hobbyists on the bluff. I happened to catch one of the planes while it was landed. The pilot was quite handy with the maneuvers, evoking some wows from my husband.

Rancho-San-Antonio-plane

I missed the moves because I was trying to get a nice shot of a bird. Wildlife is so hard to photograph! Why do the critters always move right when I’m just about to get focused? It must be personal.

I always love looking at this little farm house up on the hill. It is very far away, but I zoomed in a lot. I’ll also show a shot without the zoom so you can see where it was in relation to where I was standing.

Rancho-San-Antonio-farm-house-close

Today there was a couple walking down the street. I thought that was nice.

Here is the distant shot. The little farmhouse is hard to see in both photos. It’s to the left of the big cluster of trees on the right, pretty much at the top of the hill.

Rancho-San-Antonio-farm-house-far

I like to imagine what it would be like to live up there all alone with all that open space. They probably have a view of the bay, which is on the other side of that hill.

Mendocino, a pileated woodpecker and other birds

The pileated woodpecker is very cautious. He took a long time to come down to the bird feeder.

Here is my left profile
Here is my left profile.
I think I'm pretty handsome from this angle too
I think I’m pretty handsome from this angle too.
Look at my crowning glory.
Look at my crowning glory.
Finally I get to eat, and you get to see my red head.
Finally I get to eat, and you get to see my scarlet crest and shiny black tuxedo.

I think this bird lived up on this branch, but I don’t know what she’s doing now, because there’s a huge storm buffeting the area now.

Mendocino-bird-life-15

Turkeys are beautiful.

Mendocino-bird-life-2

The ravens in Mendocino are huge.

Mendocino-bird-life-1

We had to cut our trip short due to a huge storm hitting today. It’s exciting to be getting some rain and snow in California!

Sunshine on flowers and palm trees

It’s a little cloudy today!! Wass’up? Fortunately, I took some pictures 2 days ago. We were walking to a neighbor’s house when I saw the sun shining on these bougainvillea and ran back to the house for la camera.

4flowers-and-palms

The palms looked so nice too. Had to get a shot.

6flowers-and-palms

Lake Tahoe as a canvas

I think I finally figured out how to work with water as a colored texture. I like the idea of textures, but I wanted the water color. The key was to select just the subject from the photo you want to paste onto the texture. For the pinecone I did this with freehand select using my digital pad and pen. For the bush I used select by color, copy, paste, as many times as I could stand. I was okay with a little bit of an abstract bush. It’s not all filled in, but that allows more water to come through.

The pine cone was very small! I put it on a post to photograph it. I should have changed off my telephoto lens, but I managed to clean up the slight blur on the cone afterwards by using sharpen. The bush is from the East side of the Sierra, growing at around 5,500 feet above sea level. (Lake Tahoe is 6,000.)

SONY DSC

 

SONY DSC

Soft sky

I am amazed how much of the U.S. is under deep freeze right now. Many of the bloggers I follow are doing a great job finding the beauty or just chronicling the phenomenon of the polar vortex. Here are a couple, in case they aren’t in your WordPress Reader:

http://sethsnap.com/2014/01/06/cold-close-up/

http://herladypinkrose.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/a-few-hours-later/

http://herladypinkrose.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/north-pole-vortex/

Meanwhile in California, we’re having a warm, dry winter. Here are shots from my evening walk:

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I just had my phone with me. Sorry… the DSLR and even the compact camera are better. But at least I could get these shots. That’s the saving grace of a phone.

I’m blogging every other day this year so I have more time to visit other blogs.

Capitola, California

Life was conspiring against me completing my one year of daily blogging. (Today is the last day.) I had hoped to take new photos today but had forgotten to take all my cameras including my phone. But today, Capitola looked much like it did in June when I posted this picture (except for the cute seal we saw today, *heart pang*) so I decided to go back and do a painting rendition of that photo.

On that day I also didn’t have my camera so the phone saved the day.

One of these days I’ll get to the beach with my DSLR. Maybe on a stormy day…
I think that long dark streak is seaweed.
Capitola 002_Painting