The Dicken’s Fair

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

The Great Dickens Fair
The Great Dickens Fair

I had the pleasure of spending the day with several friends at the Dickens Fair in Daly City, CA yesterday. We arrived when it opened and stayed until closing time.

The Chimney Sweep above is one of the first characters we saw after we checked in our coats, and umbrellas.  He and his colleague  were very funny, friendly, and lovely.

Isn’t his costume terrific!

The two gents below were in a Portrait studio having their photo taken when I spied them through the window. They didn’t smile for the camera back then.

Two Gents posing

There were plenty of shops carrying Art, crafts, and wares throughout the streets of Dickens London…Whispers from the Past,

Whispers from the PastNutcrackers,

NutcrackersGlitz and Glamor-High fashion

Womens Head Dress

Undergarments… These are Live Mannequins. Each lady posed for 30 minutes then was replaced by a new live mannequin.

Live Mannequin Window Display

Corsets on display at Dark Garden

…and a Food & Drink. At the Pub of course!


It was a lovely way to spend a rainy, and windy Saturday. The shows were all beautifully performed and were hilarious. I have a lot more photos to go through, and more keepers than I thought I’d have. The venue was very poorly lit  from a photographers point of view, and made it quite challenging getting a sharp, well-lit photo.

If you haven’t been to the Dickens Fair I recommend it.  I have to thank my friend May for getting a group of us together to go. Thanks May! ( I hope you can see May’s  Dickens Fair photos, they’re really good. Click the link! )

Nikon D700| Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D| Nikon SB600



Post Thanksgiving Repast Hike

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

All of us were feeling heavy and a bit groggy from the Thanksgiving Feast so we decided to hike up to Mission Peak to shake it off, and keep a tradition going. When my son comes home for the holidays we come up here at least once together. This time my husband came along too. The light was gorgeous at the top when we arrived.

It was a lovely afternoon, sunny, and warm, and it didn’t get chilly or windy until we were near the top. I didn’t outdo any records making it up here this time. The rich food of the day before and not hiking for a few weeks paid its toll.

Near the trail-head there were several Magpies hanging around. Here is one landing on a post along the trail. I think these birds are pretty, but they gross me out!

There are quite a few new calves up here now, and I saw a pretty big Red-Tail Hawk hanging around looking for something to eat near the top. There were also quite a few other people making this trek.

Calf with Caramel Ears

We stayed long enough to snap a photo, and head down. We wanted to get down before dark; we almost did.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 28-105@35mm| Manual Priority| Hand-held

Autumn Impressions

Autumn Impressions, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Last fall while in the Eastern Sierras I tried this technique several times and just couldn’t get it right. I was determined to keep trying each time I found myself near a grove of trees.
This past week-end while out shooting Fall Color was the perfect time to give it another go. It took a few tries, but I got the look I was after.

I tried zooming too. Those came out pretty neat I’ll share those soon.
My favorite photographer that employes this technique is Eva Polak

Nikon D700| Nikkor 80-200@ 80mm| f14| 1/15s| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Hand-held


A Morning Classic

A Morning Classic, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

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Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Oatmeal. I love it topped with sweet rivers of melted brown sugar, and berries or raisins. It warms me inside and out, and sticks with me for hours. I eat breakfast everyday. Do you? I am amazed at how many people don’t.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 35mm @f2| 1/25 s| ISO 500| Manual Priority| Hand-held

“The Soul becomes dyed with the colors of its thoughts.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

A group of friends from a Meet-Up group I’m in spent one night at May Lake specifically to photograph the evening and night sky.  My friend Michael and I drove up together.  Along the way we stopped at the Old Priest Grade Station Cafe for a late breakfast to help fuel our bodies for the hike to the Lake.   Michael and I split an Egg scramble skillet loaded with goodies, and a short stack of flapjacks.  The coffee was welcome and good, and the food delicious.   We talked with some folks who were traveling from Maine who were visiting Yosemite for the first time. They were pressed for time and wanted to know what they should see. I suggested Tunnel View as their “do not miss” place in the park. I wish I got their email to find what they saw and how  they liked the park. Hindsight is always better isn’t it. [sigh] What would you have suggested they see on very little time in the park?

We made good time from the Cafe to the May Lake turnoff and we found a great parking spot near the trail-head. While we were getting everything out of the car and ready to do the hike up  to May Lake we met a lovely family from San Francisco; Regina, and Jesse with whom we chatted about backpacking, hiking, and gear. They were having lunch and getting their gear ready for the hike up while their two little ones were having nap time.

We took our time hiking up to the lake enjoying the views and talking to passersby.  Regina, and Jesse with their two little ones caught up with us even. They each carried a child in their backpacks plus their camping gear! There wasn’t much further to go to reach the lake by this point.

It turned out we were first of the group to arrive, and there weren’t many backpackers at the lake so we had lots of choice spots to choose from to set up our tents.

Home Sweet Home…for the night

It was a nice flat space and moderately sheltered from the wind. It was breezy and got windy during the night I heard from Michael in the morning, but I slept through it. Michael set up behind me.

The view from my spot:

Once both Michael and I had our camps set up we did a little scouting; looking for possible sunrise and night sky locations. Here’s a look at Mount Hoffman and Hoffman Peak which rises above May Lake. The stats for May Lake are:

Elevation at trailhead:  8,710 feet (2,655 meters)
May Lake Elevation:  9,270 feet (2,825 meters)
Mt. Hoffmann Elevation:  10,845 feet (3,305 meters)

After the rest of the group arrived and set up their camps we headed up the May Lake trail to the granite plateaus to find a nice viewing location to shoot the sunset. Sunset was absolutely stunning (first photograph). The colors in the sky were so vivid,  and beautiful, it made the hike up with its steep and gnarly trail to that plateau, and beyond for further night photography, and the treacherous return trek down in the dark of night with head-lamps, and torches of course well worth it.

I have to give a huge “SHOUT OUT!” to Enrico who set up, and coordinated this Meet-up. Without him and the group I wouldn’t have gone, as I’m not brave enough to do this alone. Thank you Enrico for setting up another terrific backpacking adventure!  Here’s a photo of the group courtesy of Enrico.

  Left to Right- Tulasi, Milad, Wayne, Me, Michael, Sarita, and Enrico.

3,186 seconds under Heaven

3186 seconds under Heaven, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

That little bit of mist on the lake was cool. It would come and go all the while my companions and I shot here. While shooting on the other side of the lake an hour before we heard a pack of coyotes howling and yipping in the distance. While shooting these star trails something caught my eye moving just to the left on the shore. I thought it was a coyote and in the dark you know how your eyes play tricks on you right…well thankfully it was a only a lone Doe walking by.
I wondered why she was alone and not already fast asleep safely in her den at that hour.
Her belly looked a little large so my thought was she was pregnant. I couldn’t get a shot of her it was too dark… and I admit it I darted behind Enrico when I first caught sight of her in the dark. 🙂 Yes, my instinct is flight not fight.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24mm @ 3.2| 54 frames at 59 s 1 frame 33s| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod

Birthday feast.


Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac

Heman asked me if I would make his favorite entree: lasagna, and his favorite cake; Marble for his birthday. There was no way I would ever refuse. So I spent the day cooking and baking.

I started the red meat sauce first. Once that was simmering I started on the cake:

No one was here to lick the spoon, beaters, or bowl

After I mixed up the yellow cake I held some back to add the chocolate for the marbling.

Once the cake layers cooled I was ready to assemble the two layers, and frost it.

It turned out light, with a wonderful crumb, and very moist.

We like this cake chilled so straight to the frig it went. The red meat sauce was finished so I could assemble the lasagna next.

I use ground beef, a wee bit of ground pork, and 3 cheeses to make this dish. Here’s the second layer.

The house smelled wonderful today  and I was really hungry by the time it came bubbling out of the oven,

I served the lasagna with a green salad, garlic bread, and a table Cabernet by BV Coastal Estates,

Heman loved it, and no one left hungry. I think I’ll leave the clean up for a bit and go take a walk. I’m stuffed!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 micro