Some new images

I have a new wide angle lens that I love, but I put my camera vertically to get the water tower and the image was so crooked I had to crop massively to straighten it, so now it looks like I had a very narrow lens indeed, LOL! Still, I love the image.

Campbell water tower (1 of 1)
Campbell water tower with new moon

I worked on it for a while in Lightroom, then redid the image using the Sleeklens Landscape Adventure actions that Leanne Cole demonstrated on her blog. I don’t remember what I did. I think I went through HDR before I did any actions. I like being able to see the houses and HDR processing allowed that. The homes are so cozy, but I really wish they had their lights on. I guess no one was home yet because it was a week day. Although it was getting late…since the sun sets around 8:30 PM right now, here.

This next one I redid on my own, after watching the Sleeklens action demo but before I bought the package.

Culvert at Tahoe (1 of 1)

Culvert over Tahoe

Here’s the original of the culvert that I showed last week.Squaw Valley July 2016-30

This is one I processed with Sleeklens Photoshop actions that I’m really happy with. I think. Let’s see how it looks on the blog…

Golden Gate Bridge-1
Golden Gate Bridge

I find it pretty yummy looking, much better than the original.

Then I played with this one. The sky color is a little purple, but I still kind of like this one.

Yellowstone Falls-1
Yellowstone Falls

I feel that the actions are helping me work with images in new ways. They have some freebies for Lightroom that I’m also playing with. I think that my goal as an artist is beauty. I like emotion and meaning too, but I need people or animals in the shots to get that. Maybe I’ll revisit my church in Reno and see what I can do with that with my new tools.

Well, I have to go outside and work on the garden now. My birthday is this week. I saved up two birthdays and Christmases for my new lens. We bought the lens last week because it was on sale. It’s a Sigma 10 – 20 mm. I’m really glad we bought it early because it gave me a chance to go out and practice. Now I know not to tip the camera to portrait on the tripod because I can’t level it that way. I’m really glad to know that because on my birthday we are going to San Francisco for an early dinner followed by a photo shoot. I can’t wait. I want to take pictures of buildings and I’ll probably do some night shots of the Bay Bridge. Oh, I also discovered either big splotches on one side of the lens, the filter, or (hopefully not) the sensor. I think it’s the new lens, so wish me luck on getting that cleaned up. I find it difficult to get rid of the spots even with the spot removal feature of Lightroom.

I’m so regaining my enthusiasm for photography, and that makes me happy.

Have a great week!

The writing life, satisfaction, my project management plan unfolding #amwriting

When do we feel satisfaction? When book sales are booming? When reviews are glowing? How about when the editor says “It’s a great book.” Well, my editor did. And I feel a sense of satisfaction which I am nursing today like a glass of fine wine because tomorrow I have to open the file and face the edits. The other feedback was that I repeated a lot of words. Anyway, vacation is really over. I am at that fourth box in the dependency chain for Third Strike’s the Charm, Edit 1.  It’s satisfying to see that progress!

Dependency chain

I would like to get this done as fast as possible to free up November for National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo for short.) Are you a writer?  Are you doing NaNo this year? It’s really misnamed now because it’s international.

On an educational chat that The Wild Rose Press does every Tuesday for authors (which is open to the public, FYI, and is excellent), my editor was teaching about deep-point-of-view, and she called on me and said that the manuscript she was working on for me right now was in much better shape than the one she edited for me last year. (That one is a good book now, I stand behind it, and reviewers loved it, but it was a grueling editing process for my editor and me.) Making progress with craft is also a source of satisfaction. What gives you satisfaction with your work?

In photo land, I filled up my computer disk pretty quickly once I started taking bracketed shots in camera RAW, LOL! I had to start deleting images. I did buy an external drive, but I still have to clean up photos. Space is not unlimited, so I can’t keep garbage.

In the process of cleaning up, I found some more images to develop for you. These are from San Francisco.

Military tunnel in the Marin Headlands
Military tunnel in the Marin Headlands
Roots in the Marin Headlands
Roots in the Marin Headlands
Looking down on a road from the Marin Headlands
Looking down on a road from the Marin Headlands

I had a lot of fun when I noticed this in the archives. Do you see it? I did try to make it obvious with a lot of cropping…

Sailing over the bridge to work
Sailing over the bridge to work
San Francisco view from Lombard Street (the curvy one) to Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge
San Francisco view from Lombard Street (the curvy one) to Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge
Hyde Street cable car at Lombard Street
Hyde Street cable car at Lombard Street

Happy Friday. We are driving up to Lake Tahoe today. But once I get there, I have to start editing. That’s okay, I’ll get out to take some photos and hike a bit. What are your plans for the weekend?

The dependency chain and the next step in my publishing process

Check it off! I received the executed contract, which triggered the blurb and cover information tasks. I did those yesterday, and now the edits begin. I still have time to work on other things because the editor has to do her editing, then I’ll have to do everything she tells me to do, LOL.

Dependency chain

A dependency chain shows tasks that depend on something else before they can start. Sometimes the dependencies march along in single file, like in the case of writing a book, which is wonderful. Sometimes they are a lot more complex, like when I was a project manager for documentation for a large software integration project. With writing, the promo phase is going to be more complex than the book-creation part, but not as complex as my former day job.

Up at the top of the chart, where the projects lie, are things that will be checked off. I don’t check off the operations or I’d be making new sheets of paper every day. If you have not yet run screaming from this series, you may remember for operations I had daily, monthly and as-needed columns containing check boxes next to the tasks. I don’t actually check those off for operations, just the projects. That way the paper only will need to be changed once in a while. Projects last a while, so I’ll probably only have to change the paper every two or three months.

It is hump day. How is your week going?

Here is a photo of someone who knows how to enjoy life.

Person watching the sunset in Monterey California
Enjoy life

And one of my favorites from my photography day in San Francisco.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Palace of Fine Arts

I was in downtown Campbell for lunch today and took another picture of the water tower. I liked the sky today. In our part of the world, the weather is having a hard time realizing it is supposed to be fall. It’s so warm, it might as well be summer. Having a few clouds is unusual for summer, though, so I took it as a sign that the seasons might change soon.

Campbell California water tower

Are you planning to do anything fun this weekend?

Chronicles of the #Californiadrought

I decided to rename this series because California is not necessarily overcrowded. I’m not sure if it is or it is not. In fact, 80% of our water usage goes to farming.

We have a farm. Not quite, but my husband is a great gardener and has expanded our garden this year. We are already enjoying chard, tomatoes, and squash. We’ve decided to squeeze indoor water usage to the minimum in order to water these plants and some of our landscaping. We eliminated lawns a while ago. We will eventually find out if we made it under the allotment. You can’t really tell with water until the bill arrives. With electricity, you can look at your usage as you go along.

We have a smart meter for electricity, and today is a smart day. These days occur when the temperatures get really high, as they have today. A number of years ago, we had rolling blackouts because of a power shortage. Air conditioning on week days when businesses are cooling their buildings drives up the demand on the power grid. Voluntary reduction of power usage during these peak times helps the grid. So, it’s hot, there’s no AC, and we can use very little water. But I’m happy. I love California!

Here are the things that I enjoy about the drought and heat:

1. A sense of community. We are all in this together, finding ways to reduce water use.

2. Water use is being looked at very carefully, which was really needed.

3. A lot of sunny days. I’ve always liked California and could even imagine myself living in the desert because of the blue skies.

4. Appreciation for and awareness of water. I am aware of every drop that slides down the drain and capture as much as possible to use for other necessities.

5. With hot days I can go for a nighttime walk in shorts and a t-shirt.

Here are some photos of beautiful California:

High Sierra meadows



South bay area

San Diego


Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt California
Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt California
Lake Tahoe


Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley
Lake Tahoe
San Francisco


San Diego



San Francisco with the Panasonic DMC-ZS40

I went a little crazy today with the camera in San Francisco. We needed to go up there to get visas to visit Russia. I was happy it was a foggy day because I’ve needed some photos in these conditions for a project.

What follows is a chaotic sampling of San Francisco taken hanging out car windows, shooting through the windshield, or getting the hubs to stop for a moment while I clicked. I think they will give you a bit of a flavor of the city on this quintessential San Francisco day.

Before I get into it though, I have to show this action sequence. After I discovered what the creative dial on the camera can do, I said, “Wow, now I can take each picture on our trip a dozen different ways!” This was my husband’s reaction.


Oh, the travails of being married to a shutterbug. Okay, here are some photos. I deliberately went back to the spot I went last month with the Sony DSLR A300 just so I could try the same shots with the new camera. Here is a shot in Pacific Heights. It’s nothing extraordinary, but I like looking out over the city.


Here is that apartment building I turned into a pen and ink plus painting.SONY DSC

We had lunch on Union Street near the Marina District at Betelnut. I had Chilean sea bass on noodles.



I took this out the car window.Golden-gate-bridge-fog

Some shots out the window as we made our way down 19th Avenue out of the city.


19th-avenue-3-San-Francisco 19th-avenue-2-San-FranciscoP1000111


Birthday dinner in San Francisco, restaurant review

Shot from the Embarcadero, reached via 280, which now takes you onto King Street at the beginning of the waterfront roadway (Embarcadero). Very convenient. Slow going to make your way up the Embarcadero to Battery Street, though. Stop light after stop light. But scenic, with people in suits waiting at light-rail stops, pedestrians and joggers using the wide sidewalk by the water, a fire department on the water with fire-fighting ships docked in front, palm trees lining the meridian, piers with interesting stores and restaurants in them, small, grassy parks, the Exploritorium museum.
The Bay Bridge

Dinner at Piperade on Battery Street (which is near the foot of the amazing Telegraph Hill, in Levi Plaza):

Calamari in red pepper sauce. Fragrance of lemons, strong lemon flavor mixed with red (bell, not hot) pepper and tender calamari. Very good.
Calamari in red pepper sauce. Fragrance of lemons, strong lemon flavor mixed with red (bell, not hot) pepper and tender calamari. Very good.
Braised seafood, fish and shellfish. Very tasty. Couldn't eat it all -- strategy: eat the shell fish, take the regular fish home in a box.
Braised seafood, fish and shellfish. Very tasty. Couldn’t eat it all — strategy: eat the shell fish, take the regular fish home in a box.
There's always room for dessert though. Yogurt "cake" more like a custard. Sweet and tart. Apricots very intense, also sweet and tart and a smooth cream to balance the tartness. Excellent.
There’s always room for dessert though. Yogurt “cake” more like a custard. Sweet and tart. Apricots very intense, also sweet and tart and a smooth cream to balance the tartness. Excellent.
A beautiful chandelier made with wine bottles.
A beautiful chandelier made with wine bottles.

My only complaint was cost/value ratio. We paid as much as we did in Paris at L’Opera Garnier and that was with a TravelZoo voucher we had purchased.

I had a really nice time, but next time, I’ll pack a picnic and spread a blanket out on the Marina Green.

A true story from San Francisco on March 12, 2013

A Man Named Ed

by Nia Simone

I parked my car on Scott at Chestnut and fed the meter.

A man approached up Scott and touched his fleece sweater. “It’s a bit cold out today, don’t you think?” said the man whose name I later learned was Ed.

“Not for me,” I said, touching my sweater. “Because instead of that newfangled material you have there, I have real wool. From Ireland.”

Ed approached and touched my sleeve in wonder. “That’s a really good sweater.”

Then he asked me if I was a certain age, about 18 years younger than my actual age, and when I told him my real age, of course he protested that it was impossible. But then he shifted to the main point, which was to ask me to guess his age.

“Fifty-six,” I said.

He said, “Come on. Try again. Really try.”

“Fifty-seven,” I said. I didn’t want to guess 60, because I thought he probably was 60, and it’s always nice for someone to guess just a little bit younger, at least.

“Eighty-eight,” he said, with obvious and well-deserved pride.

After much debate and marveling, I had to accept he knew his age and we moved on.

“The problem with being 88,” he said, “is that most of your friends are dead.”

“I understand that,” I said. “But you are still here and you just met me. And I’m really glad about that. How have you done so well?”

“I was never the strongest and never the weakest,” he said, pressing his hand to his trim chest. “I was a pilot in World War II. I flew planes off an aircraft carrier. In the Pacific theater.”

“My dad was a pilot in World War II,” I said.

“Army or Navy?”

“Army,” I said.

“The B24 or the B17?”

“The B24 over Germany, then an instructor after completing his tour, in a B29, stationed back in Texas.”

“He’s lucky he’s not dead.”

“He is,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” Ed said.

“In 2000. After the war, my dad counted every moment as borrowed time.”

“So do I!” he said, looking startled. “So do I. Now, my doctor made me go to the VA,” he waved in the direction of the Presidio, “because he wanted me to have a connection there in case something happens to Medicare. The doctors there said of all the World War II vets who saw combat, only 10% are still alive. And furthermore, you guys are dying at the rate of 1000 per day.”

“Why did he have to tell you that?” I said, horrified.

“I don’t know, but I said, ‘You aren’t my doctor anymore.’”


“I already know this. Of my squadron, only two are still alive, me and one other, and he is on dialysis.”

I shook my head, not knowing what to say.

“But it’s nice to meet you,” he said, “and that’s a nice sweater.” And off he went, with a jaunty stride, up Chestnut Street and into the Bank of America.

The grounds of the Presidio, San Francisco
The grounds of the Presidio, San Francisco