Tourist Stop: Bodie, California

On the Road to Bodie

For what it’s worth, Josh and I went up Highway 395 to see what the Eastern Sierras has to hold. I’ve never been up there.

High Noon in the High Desert

We decided to visit Bodie, the old silver-mining ghost town. It was amazing – not so much that it was a ghost town, but that at one point, it wasn’t a ghost town.The road in is about 13 miles long, the first 10 of which have been recently blacktopped, but the last 3 of which are gravel and washboard.  We were there under a noonday sun. Historically, about 5% of the original buildings remain, many of which had been destroyed by a fire sometime ago (1920s??).  While it is rather desolate and barren, visiting and learning a bit of its history, you are amazed to see the civilization of an age past come to life.

Click on the images below for the slideshow!

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Things Show Up At The Wrong Time: How to Move Your Photos to a New Drive Using Lightroom

My main HD is getting full, so before leaving on vacation, I decided to move and back up my photos onto an external drive. And then I found this video! I should have searched before doing . . . and Terry White is one of my favorite experts on Photoshop. This is a bookmark for myself.

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Old Things, New Things


With film disappearing – and reappearing – it seems the only new cameras for film are made of plastic and don’t cost too much or else are quite expensive.  There is something to be said for both approaches, but the quality of pictures taken with a plastic camera are not as “good” to my eye as are ones made from better quality film cameras, whether old or new.

Lizard Mouth at Sunset Jimson Weed

Of late, I have been enjoying the usage of old folding cameras, made from the 1930s and into the 1950s, which use both 35mm and 120mm film.  Besides the folders, I do have some SLRs, but, those are for discussing another time.  The folders are weird (compared to today’s digital) and definitely slower.  I mean, you have to get the film developed, or do it yourself!  The majority of folding cameras use 120mm film, but 35mm did make its debut in the 1930s, popularized by Leica.

The Road Beyond West

When I become interested in something, I tend to end up with a small collection.  That is what has happened with folding cameras.  I have ones which range from 6×4.5 to 6×6 to 6×9, all in cm, not inches.  They use 120 film, and the results can be great to deplorable, but always interesting.  The 6×6 square format is perhaps the most challenging because the viewfinders are offset and the image – as is for all of these kinds of cameras (non-SLR) – but with a square format, the eye wants to move into the center.

A View at Sundown

Autumn in the Valley

So, here are some images.  I plan on taking some of these cameras up to the Sierra Nevadas next week, along with a digital or two . . .

Prickly Pear

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy all these square images, taken with an early 1950s Perkeo II by Voigtlander, sporting a 75mm Color Skopar f3.5 lens, and Portra 400 film by Kodak.  Post in LR and other critters.

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“April is the cruelest month.”  Let’s change that to “July is the laziest month.”


Normally I am always busy, but this past year the busy-ness of my life changed to just hanging on because of the work schedule.  In fall, it will resume, with one difference:  I will have Wednesday afternoons off at 3:00 p.m. for 8 weeks, and then 2 p.m. for the remainder of the year.  M, Tu, and Th will remain the same – 9 hour days with a 30 minute lunch.  Sucks!

The result of this constant working is no sense of self or life – and this summer, it is really hard for me to focus on making things or finishing things.  I can start, but lose interest in a moment.  Only a few things seem to keep my interest:  reading (something I haven’t done in years), gardening, photography, and being outside as much as possible, even if it is just to loll around.

Productivity is something by which I measure the value of my time.  Making things in particular.

I guess what I need to do is set a few goals.  Therefore . . .

  • Goal 1:  finish a dress.
  • Goal 2:  finish a small quilt.

That should do.  Life will fill itself in between with friends and family and a contentment lolling in the sun brings.  (Not sunburn – I do wear my sunscreen.)

Here’s to the heat of summer in the heart of July!

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Palm & Shadows

Yesterday was a nice day – trip into the San Fernando Valley and then to Glendale and Pasadena with a friend.  We visited the Norton Simon museum.  I haven’t been there in ages, and I think the last time I was there was sometime in the last century (doesn’t that sound great?)!  Walking into the galleries was like meeting up with old friends.  I caught up with Gauguin and Fragonard, to name a few, and met some new friends, too, like Georges Lacombe.

River BW

Others were out in the sculpture garden, Maillot and Moore.  In between, a strong cup of coffee with pastries and conversation, topped off with dinner and home.  I’ve forgotten how much of a wonderful experience a great museum can be!  Oh, we took some photos, too.



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Another Walk on the Wild Side

Toward the River

Meetup groups can be a great way to make connections, to do and learn about new things.  Lately, I have been going on walks with the local Nature Conservancy group, and enjoying it immensely.  I am amazed at what I see and what I learn.  There are a lot of sharp eyes – the leaders spot things I wouldn’t notice, like horned lizards, and mountain lion tracks.  Yesterday, we wandered over to Santa Paula, California, to explore the property the Nature Conservancy has there.  It is up against the mountains and along the Santa Clara river, which is one of the last open rivers in Southern California – “unmolested” as Amy (the leader) says.


This hike consisted of a group of young men from a church in San Bernardino to a couple of young kids who found a horseshoe with the nails still in it and a feather from a red tail hawk.  All told, there were about 15 of us.  There were people I had met earlier – I expect they are regulars, as I am becoming – and newbies, too, who weren’t “new” to the world of nature, but just to me.  Some had amazing knowledge of plants and animals and the ecosystems involved.

Horned Lizard

Probably the most interesting part of this hike, for me, was to learn about the invasive species here in California, and their negative impacts.  These plants include arundo donax, black mustard, and fennel.  They are everywhere.  The arundo donax is an import from India and was used to control flooding along rivers.  The problem is that it is very invasive and dense, crowding out native species.  Black mustard was spread (supposedly) by the Spanish missionaries as the wended their way up from Mexico into California, using it as way to mark the trail from Mission to Mission.  Finally, fennel (which has a taste similar to anise or licorice) is an import from the Mediterranean.  Each of these plants are very familiar to the California landscape, but extremely, extremely difficult to eradicate.  Each has changed the native landscape in its own way, not for the better.


Native species along the Santa Clara river include mountain lions, badgers, egrets, herons, coyotes, pond turtles, yucca, buckwheat, cat tails, bull rushes, black walnut, red tail hawks, and a lot of other plants and animals adapted to the dry climate.  The Santa Clara river itself is not a river as one might think – not like the Mississippi – but a seasonal one which varies depending on the rainy season.  Some years we might see it wide and filled, other years a bit more than a trickle.  Where we trekked there were scattered ponds, low areas surrounded by cat tails and clogged by the arundo.


Many people think that everything in So Cal is just a freeway . . . it’s not.  There are a lot of open areas filled with life.  You just have to get out to look for it!  Below is a gallery of images.

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A Walk on the Wild Side

Ormond Beach

California is a land of contradiction.  Los Angeles sprawls 50 miles south of where I live, and yet there are wetlands nearby that serve as rest stops for migratory birds.  Locally, Ormond Beach, which is between the Seabee base in Port Hueneme, and the Navy base at Point Mugu.  Currently, areas of the beach are closed off for nesting birds whose only nest is a shallow indentation in the sand, with eggs speckled to match.

Nature Conservancy Sign

Today, I met up with a number of people for a hike sponsored by the local Nature Conservancy, whose essential philosophy is to preserve wild places by buying land, and keeping people out.  They have bought up and have had land donated for the Ormond Beach Wetlands Restoration Project.  They also have other sites here in Ventura County, such as in the Santa Clara River, which is one of the last – if not the last – river in Southern California that has not been modified between its source and release into the Pacific Ocean.

Power Plant and Farmland

Recycling Plant

Power Plant

Coastal fog and overcast are normal for the California coast in May and June.  It can be wet and drizzly and grey, while a few miles inland sunshine reigns.  This fog is essential to many California environments, and while not fun to be in at times, it is really stunning in its own right.  We live inland, so the sun is usually visible, but today, it has spread to our own valley.  I left a slightly sunny inland valley to arrive to a drizzly, drippy beach.  My glasses and camera lens had rain drops on them (I hope the camera will be okay – seems to be), and soon my clothes and hair were wet.  Our starting point was a local recycling plant, at the end of a road, and we had views of the Halaco property, which is part of Superfund clean-up efforts . . . there are power plants here, visible across fields ready to plant.  It’s a rather dreary place in the gloom.

Halaco Hill - A Superfund Clean-up Site

Our guides were knowledgeable about the area.  While very flat, the plants and such could be a bit of a challenge to trudge through.  We saw various birds, such as great blue herons, great white egrets, horned larks, terns, and snowy plovers,  Flowers such as coastal lupine, beach morning-glory, dune primrose, and non-native species were also in bloom.  We found animal toilets, where this animal and that pooped, leaving behind interesting scat filled with remains of pelagic crabs, feathers, and bones.  Animal trails showed paw prints of coyotes, raccoons, herons, and other small birds.

Spider Web and Raindrops




Raccoon Print

Beach Flower

In a world increasingly damaged, the beauty and delicacy of the natural environment is accordingly threatened.  Places such as Ormond Beach are a refuge for not only birds and animals, but for humans as well.  I enjoyed this hike, and came home like a little kid, covered in mud and muck, soaking wet, and completely refreshed by a beautiful world and fun companions.

Anacapa Island


At Ormond Beach with the Nature Conservancy

Here is a gallery of all the photos here, and then some, I took.


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