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Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

When I’m not hiking Hiking I feel the need to stretch my legs and keep in shape so, I walk up what I call the “steep road” which isn’t too far from me.  The total elevation gain is anywhere from 250-900ft depending on how good I feel. If I’m feeling great when I get to the top of the road I’ll veer over to the trail that takes me up to Fremont Older Open Space and get more hills in.  But, no matter how far I go up I’ll usually end up on the road going down which leads me to this view, and past this house.

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I love the pavers on the curved driveway leading up to the arched garage doors, and the balcony! 3 French doors and two topped with Ivy! SWOON!  The tile roof… is gravy.

Quite often when stretching my legs I don’t carry anything other than my iPhone7Plus. I’ve regretted that choice more times than I can count! This was one of them.  I blew out the sky to keep the house in the right light, but even it is a bit blown out. 😦  It was a risk knowing He-Man and I got started later than I wanted to. He likes to start later than I do and if I want his company I concede to his timetable most the time.

I hope you’ll see the house as I do when walking down that steep road after a long hike up. It always puts a smile on my face seeing it.  It’s like a Villa isn’t it?  I wish sometimes this was my final destination, but reality…it’s not!  But, it is the first house of the last steep S curve going down. The road’s grade gets easier after this last S curve, and soon I’ll be done, and the deer are sometimes just around the corner at the bottom of the “S”!  I hope they’re there this morning.

Here’s how I see the house from higher up the road.

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Deer weren’t at the bottom of the hill eating on this morning, but you know I hope they are every time I go this way! 🙂  I see Deer so often when out stretching my legs or hiking that I believe they’re my Spirit Animal.  Coyote are the other 4 legged animal I see a lot when hiking. I wonder if I’m missing a sign and they’re my Animal Spirit? Maybe both?  I should look that up.

I hope to be out birding this week-end so won’t be online much.  I hope you all have a wonderful week-end and do something you love doing, and see a door or two along the way! xx  🙂

Apple iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2017

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Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While crawling along 19th Ave in San Francisco heading north traffic to get on the Golden Gate Bridge was awful.  I spied this SFFD truck as we approached it I got my iPhone camera out to make a photo of those doors.

SFFD Truck Doors

This post is part of Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.  If you love doors and would like to see the doors others are posting, or post doors you’ve photographed and join other door lovers from around the world click here.

At the end of Norm’s latest Thursday Door post is a little Blue Link-up/View button click it to be taken to a page with all the links to view all the posts, and add your own if you’re a door enthusiast too.

iPhone 7Plus| PS CC 2017

more to come…

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn’t get out too much this past week-end unfortunately,  my original plan to shoot the night sky Saturday fell apart. So I had a Plan B, but that fell apart too. (sigh) Plan A got cancelled due to all the smoke in the air from the Detwiler Fire burning near and around Mariposa, and Yosemite NP.  As I write this 76,000 acres have burned.  Evacuation orders have been lifted in some areas, but Firefighters are saying it may take up to two more weeks for the fire to be fully extinguished.  It’s so sad!

Plan B was scuttled when a friend had to change plans, and I didn’t want to be alone so I stayed home and painted a bit.

Before all that happened my Archive Drive crashed Thursday and Saturday afternoon we were still recovering images and documents from our back-up drive, and cloud service. I can’t tell you how scary that is to think thousands of images made over the course of many years may be lost!  I’ve got them all back, but my external drive is full no doubt due to the huge 36mp files of the D810 so, we bought a new external drive which should be here this week. Then I’ll have my stuff backed up two places, have room to grow, and feel much, much better!

Saturday evening I pulled out an old book I have by Ferdinand Petrie, called Drawing Landscapes in Pencil and stayed up late to practice some drawing then I added some watercolor to it.  Wanna see? If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen this. 🙂

I had some new watercolor paper to try too. It’s by Legion papers called Stonehenge Aqua. I like it. There’s not much blooming or bleeding, and the colors look wonderful on it to me.  It’s got some tooth, but not as much as Arches cold press paper. I prefer the smoother hot press papers, so this paper just might be the perfect balance for me.

Ranch Watercolor

Sunday He-Man and I rose early to get on the trail early; we were extending our route and wanted to beat the heat. It was going to be in 90’s again Sunday. We were on the trail just before 7am.  There were quite a few cars already parked near the trail-head when we arrived.  A lot of others had the same idea to beat the heat and get an early start.  We parked at the bottom of the mountain, and planned to  hike up into Fremont Older an Open Space Preserve.

There are a few options to get up there; the most popular routes are:  take the road all the way up to stage 3 of the Parker Ranch Trail system and hike the rest the way up via the trail, or do what we did and walk along the road to Stage 1 of the trail, then you come out on the road again for a bit then catch Stage 2 which is the toughest bit with some switchbacks at an 8% grade.  I was huffin’ and puffin’ going up those. At the top of those you meet Stage 3 of the trail.  There are two sets of switchbacks on this part of the trail, but they aren’t nearly as steep as Stage 2’s.

When we crossed into Fremont Older Open Space Preserve we hiked up to the top of the Toyon Trail then turned around to head back. We altered our route on the way back by bypassing the Stage 2 part and chose a different section of the trail that meanders through an Oak grove, and you climb another steep hill to meet the road. We walked down the road to Stage 1 of the trail and  caught the road back to the car. Phew! Hope that makes sense! Here’s a screen shot of my route from my Garmin Edge 500.

Morning Hike Route Saratoga

He-Man’s not as fast as he was going downhill since his Patella Tendon ruptured nearly 3 yrs ago so, if my time looks slow…it is. When I’m heading down at my normal pace I get way ahead of him so, I turn around a go back until I see him. I get some extra steps that way too. 🙂

There was a lot of fog and, we’re getting some smoke from the fire up here. Here’s one image from the trail. I took this with my iPhone. I went gear light today.

View North from the trail

The faint peak in the fog and smoke on the right might be Mt. Diablo at  (3,889 feet (1,185 m)) high.  The highest hilltop on the left is Hunter’s Point in Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

We hiked 4.34 miles,  gained 827 ft in elevation, and were back in the car headed home by 8:55am! Not too bad.

We spent the afternoon looking at Loveseats, and bought two. Our current two are really beat up and have needed replacing for over a year, but with a 4 yr old at home we put it off for as long as we could stand it.  Now we’re excited for the new ones to arrive!

That was my week-end. I hope you all had a lovely week-end and got to have a bit of fun, and relax so you’re ready for the week ahead.  I hope it’s a great week for us all!

iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2017

more to come…

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While I was at home all week-end chillin I decided to have some fun with an image and a couple of my iPhone apps.

The image itself is a wild berry blossom that I photographed in late April while out birding.

Wild berry blossom Spring

At the beginning of this month I emailed myself a copy of the image to get it on my iPhone 7+, and yesterday had a play with two of my apps.

First I distorted the image using the app Tiny Planet, then I added a couple of Textures using the app Distressed FX

Cultivated Flowers

I really like look the Textures added to the image. It looks more artistic don’t you think? Do you have a preference of one over the other?  I’m really having fun with the creative opportunities these two apps have opened up to me.

Just to let you know I’m not affiliated with either of these app companies. I bought them both with my own money, and they don’t give me anything for mentioning or using their products.  I’m just sharing the links in case you’re interested in checking them out yourself.

Oh, I used Snapseed to put on my Copyright watermark on the bottom image. I’m not affiliated with that company either. 

Thank you all for your thoughts, and lovely wishes for me and my family to get well soon.  Thankfully, we’re all over the bug, and hope it doesn’t return anytime soon!

I hope you all have a lovely week!

Nikon D700| iPhone 7 Plus| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 207| Tiny Planet app| Distressed FX app

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Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and the year is starting off well for you.

My year ended with laryngitis, and a cold. My voice is still a bit cracky, and now He-Man has the cold so, we’re off to a slower start, but I can’t complain too much it’s just a cold!

It’s also been raining here for nearly a week which has kept me indoors; except for a couple of short walks in between rain showers.  That has given me time to take down Christmas decorations, and play a little bit with my newest camera gear. For Christmas He-Man gave me The Core Set of lenses by Olloclip.  Olloclip makes lenses for cell phones.Olliclip Core Set The Core Set comes with 3 lenses a Super Wide, Fisheye, and Macro 15x.

Of the three the one I’ve been experimenting with is the macro 15x lens.  You unscrew the fisheye lens and underneath it is the macro lens.  Addendum: I should add that I use a 3rd party camera app called ProCamera. It’s my favorite camera app. 

Here are some images I’ve made with the macro lens,

Paint Palette BluesPaint Palette Blues

Paper towel blues

Macro 15x Papertowel

Poinsettia Pollen

Poinsettia Macro Olloclip 15x

Oh snap!

Oh Snap Macro

You need to get right on top of the subject then focus with this macro lens. The depth of field is teeny tiny.  Holding steady is tricky so,I need to get a tripod set up for it, and I’d like to get the Olloclip 7x macro lens for some working room and get more in focus.  GAS rearing its ugly head again.

I’m looking forward to getting to use this kit more as I go about my day in the house and out…that’s assuming I remember to grab my phone on the way out the door!

GAS= Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

iPhone 7 Plus| Olloclip macro 15x lens|ProCamera app| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is a set of doors from my trip to Sedona/Grand Canyon in early November. Whilst waiting for my friends to check-in to our hotel for the night in Grand Canyon I spied these Saloon doors and drew my cell phone the only camera on me at that moment to shoot the doors. “)

Granted these aren’t the doors I immediately think of when the words Saloon, and American Southwest come to mind, but…aren’t they pretty!

Wagon Wheel Saloon Doors

iPhone 7Plus| PS CC2017

This post is part of Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.  If you love doors and would like to see the doors others are posting, or post doors you’ve photographed and join other door lovers from around the world click here.

At the end of Norm’s latest Thursday Door post is a little Blue Link-up/View button click it to be taken to a page with all the links to view all the posts, and add your own if you’re a door enthusiast too.

More to come…

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Long overdue for a cell phone upgrade I ordered the iPhone 7 Plus after watching the promotion video, and several youtube reviews.  My ship date was way out Nov. 7-11th. Sigh. Oh boy, this phone is popular I thought.

To my delight I received an email saying my new iPhone 7 Plus was shipped I’d have it the following day!  I received it Thursday late afternoon, and began the process of updating my iTunes, backing up my iPhone 5’s data, images, etc., then followed the steps to get my new phone up and running.  It took a long time, and it wasn’t without a few glitches, but I was able to take it with me to the Eastern Sierras for the week-end to try it out while I was photographing Fall Colors with a group of photographers, and friends.

I was really excited to try out the dual lenses in the new iPhone.

Here are three images I made using it.

Mono (moh-noh) Lake South Tufa Area Daybreak.   Tufa is pronounced (too-fah).

On the top two images I used Adobe Camera Raw after uploading the images to my computer. I applied my standard settings:  I opened up the shadows, and tweaked the blacks, and highlights. Then I added a bit of contrast, vibrance, and cropped off bits that didn’t add anything to the image or to strengthen the composition. I added sharpening for the web and resized them for web viewing.

South Tufas Mono Lake

Conway Summit Alpine Glow (Sunrise)

Conway Summit Morning Alpine Glow

North Lake: This image is SOC = Straight out of the camera aside from resizing for the web, and cropping off a bit at the top. North Lake

+1 MORE: I packed lite, really I DID!

Packing Lite

The camera won’t replace my DSLR, but I’m impressed with it and will probably start using my phone camera more than I have been.  I wonder if my FZ200 will be the camera that gets shelved for this camera though?

I have oodles of images I made over the week-end made with my trusty Df. I’ll be sharing those soon.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus| Adobe Camera Raw| PS CC 2015.5

More to come…

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