Success: Opportunity meets preparedness 

This is what the start of winter looks like in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe.

Plus it’s very cold so the resorts are making snow.  The two resorts will be able to open for the huge Thanksgiving holiday week, which is this week. Their work prepared them for the opportunity of early snowfall and cold temperatures, and now there is a huge economic benefit, not just for the resort owners, but for all the employees who rely on the season for their livelihoods. Extending the season in the spring and fall helps stabilize the economy up here. I grew up here and it’s nice to see the doldrums of shoulder seasons shrinking. Nice to see people working.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows prepared over the last years and especially last summer to be ready for snow making. The temperature has to be cold enough to make snow and you have to have a lot of infrastructure to be able to do it. We passed by an installation of electrical lines on the mountain side when we were hiking in Alpine Meadows a month or two ago. 

Alpine Meadows ski resort
Alpine Meadows ski resort during a storm

The only huge problem is lack of housing. Somehow economic growth always seems to leave out adequate housing. Hopefully the expansion and development and Squaw Valley will include employee housing. I’m not sure if it does or not. In California we need 3.5 million more homes.

Hello after a long hiatus

I hope the fall is treating you well. Right now I’m sitting in a rain storm wishing it was a snow storm and reminding myself…hey, it’s water. We Californians want no-more-drought pleeeease, so this is awesome. And the skiers among us…it’s snowing on the upper mountain and Squaw Valley is opening Gold Coast tomorrow. Woot! (I’m not going. LOL. We wait quite some time for there to be a lot of runs open and no crowds.)

What have I been up to? Writing. I finished my Coming Soon book, well the first draft anyway, or maybe that would be the second or third, and sent it to my editor. I also went to the Seattle Indie UnCon. That’s an un-conference for independent authors. How is a conference an un-con? There are no workshops. You sit in a conference room and talk.  A moderator sets the topic for the discussion based on what people said ahead of time they wanted to talk about. People talk about that topic and it’s an information fire-hose, in a good way.

This was my first conference as a romance writer. For years I used to go to a literary conference with my mom. We had fun. We were really wannabe authors and that was a cultural experience. I also learned lots of things about writing and met some amazing famous authors. But that was a long time ago, and I’ve been reluctant to get back into conferencing for a number of reasons. When I heard about this un-conference though, I immediately wanted to go. Turns out I was lucky to get in because it’s small. Now that I’m in I can keep going, yay.

I took a lot of notes and generally became excited about marketing and business. That’s huge, since I would say I was not very excited at all about those components of being an author. It was energizing for me to tap into this indie group, too. All these power writers, not all in my genre, it’s a big world.

I do have a few images to show you. These are from the Animal Ark in Sparks Nevada. All these animals are well-cared for rescued wild animals.

Images have become more difficult for me to process since I dropped my Lightroom subscription, so sometimes I really don’t want to take the time to open them in GIMP and shrink them to a reasonable size. I might end up buying the software for Lightroom though. It’s not too bad and then you don’t have that monthly fee that really adds up over the years!

Moyo (or Jamar, not sure which was which)
Brown Bear

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!

Photos from the mountains

Well I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, with the weight of all the families suffering from this week’s murders, here and abroad, hanging over me. However, I did get out of bed and worked on the garden, which cheered me up. After being informed and figuring out a constructive way forward, it is good to work on beauty.

I also have developed some images from our hike last week. These are from the top of Squaw Valley.

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Squaw Valley July 2016-16

I believe there is hope for positive change in the world, and that’s what I’m focusing on. There is a time of introspection and awareness, and then a positive constructive action will present itself.

May you have a hopeful, peaceful and safe weekend.

Riding the tram at Squaw Valley

This mountain, which we called Granite Chip (though I’m not sure if that is correct and couldn’t confirm), has always been one of my favorites. The contrasts of color in the rocks, snow, sky, and trees are so pretty.


I shot these out the tram window, as you can see, but what a great vantage point for photographing this slot at the top. I used to hike up here in the summer with my dog and look out through that slot down to the valley floor. A tad scary for someone afraid of heights (a little) but I would just stand back a bit. The slot was a natural frame for the beautiful valley floor.


If I love the colors so much, why did I make one monochrome? It’s kind of dramatic this way.


The weather turned really nice today and is going to keep getting warmer. I hope to get some more photos for you. I’m so tempted to take my DSLR out. I saw some trees below one of the lifts with roots hugging the crown of a bluff. I’d have to take my skis off and scramble up over rocks and through snow in my ski boots, so it might not happen. But it would be an interesting twist on skiing to turn the day into a  photo shoot!

Sky crane at Squaw Valley

They are clear cutting trees out of one of the ski runs at Squaw Valley. This helicopter picks the tree up from the mountain and deposits it in the parking lot at a rate of one every 5 minutes. I was awestruck. I’m told one name for this kind of helicopter is a sky crane.

Here it is after it has picked up the tree and is rising up over the ridge back into view.P1060280

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Snow at Squaw Valley

On our first day of skiing, we only did two runs, but it was fun. And a good exercise in getting our equipment organized. It took several hours to find everything! With skiing, it feels crazy, all the stuff you have to put on and carry. But then when you’re on the slope it’s effortless, like flying free as a bird.

I didn’t bring my camera so I borrowed my husband’s Android Phab.  (Half phone, half tablet.) Since I didn’t want to bug him too much I just borrowed it while we were in the Funitel, so these are taken through the scratched up plexiglass. Nonetheless, you’ll get an idea of the snow coverage on the majority of the mountain. There’s much more where they are making snow and the conditions for manmade snow have been perfect. We didn’t hit any rocks on Gold Coast, where we took our first runs of the year. That’s an intermediate (blue) lift at the top of the mountain.

And here’s an exciting news flash. I asked for a new jacket for Christmas so this year you’ll see me in something different. It dawned on me that while wearing the same jacket for 12 years is economical, it makes it difficult to tell the years apart in the photos.

The red is a reflection of hubby’s jacket. I’m hoping for a red one like his or maybe a blue one!


That is Lake Tahoe between the near and far mountains.20131209_150549 20131209_150533

A white Christmas in Squaw Valley

I’m quite excited because Leanne Cole is going to feature my Christmas photos on her blog today. If you want to have your Christmas photos shown on her blog, send them to her. I think she’s doing them on Mondays between now and Christmas. Note, Monday her time is Sunday, for those of us in the U.S.

Plus, if you want to see some beautiful photos of what they are doing in Melbourne right now for the holidays, you must check out her blog. It’s gorgeous and sure to put a smile on your face. This post of the light show on town hall is amazing:

Thanks to Leanne’s offer to post photos, I was motivated to get my husband to drive me over to Squaw Valley today. (He’s good at snow driving.)

First we went to The Village at Squaw Valley, a Tyrolean style complex with all the common areas and restaurants outside. It was super cold, so I was glad we went here first.


Because then we could go to The Resort at Squaw Creek, where we could enjoy their beautiful decorations while inside the cozy hotel. I loved the real pine trees outside the windows, contrasting with the decorated trees inside.



The gingerbread houses with the toy train running around it are amazing.


As we were leaving, I snapped this shot of the entry way. I like how they have the bell and the wreath and I loved that my camera picked up the snow flakes.


The hostess said they close down the hotel three weeks while they decorate! But surely they don’t close down everything? I don’t know, but the decor is everywhere.




This is looking out from Sandy’s Pub across the ice skating rink: