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Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I have news.  After a little over a year of looking for a house in Nevada with a view toward moving there when He-man retires we finally found one we liked enough to make an offer on.  There was a little counter offer negotiation which we all agreed to, so the offer was accepted. We started Escrow, inspections were done,  some minor repairs were needed,  negotiation over repairs were made and agreed to, and we closed on September 27th late in the day!

Our house’s backyard overlooks the 13th fairway of a golf course. I’ve read it’s Par 5 and Par 4. I think that depends on which tee you tee off of. This tee is a set up shot for the 14th tee which is supposed to be where the fun really begins on this course.  Neither He-Man or I golf, but we’ve enjoyed watching those that come by to play.

The main attraction for us besides the house with its nice layout, features, and location is the view. I really wanted a house with a great view for our retirement home so, as we get old-old;  as in the powers at be will have taken away our driver’s licenses and we are less active we will have lovely views of sunrise, sunsets, the night sky, and have a flat street to take a daily walk on.  I hope  I can still lift my camera to my eye and see through the viewfinder then!  This house checked all our boxes.  The house is only 3 yrs old, so it didn’t need a lot in repairs, and those it did need aren’t what would be considered major.  It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house and 2,031 sq. ft.  It’s a little bit bigger than our house here, but it doesn’t have a separate living room, or 4th bedroom like our current house, so it feels like we’re downsizing.

We gain a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, but I do wish it had a reach-in too just for He-Man. I could easily fill the walk-in with all my clothes! He-Man has his own closet now. I’d like to keep it that way. There’s an in the house laundry room; my laundry stuff is in the garage now,  double sinks in the Master bath, loads of cabinet space in the kitchen, and bathrooms,  a deep bathtub with whirlpool jets in the Master bath, and a view that I don’t think I’ll tire of. EVER!

I’ve been relying on the Realtor’s images of the house so, haven’t taken any of my own! Now, I’m kickin myself for that.  I didn’t even take a picture of the front door. (hangs head in shame) 😦

Naturally, the days we were there to close the loan, and finish up minor repairs the sky was clear, but Friday morning we got some clouds and a pretty Dawn. This is the view from the backyard patio. Actually that’s all it is to the backyard. Just a slab of cement making a patio.  It really is all about the view on this side of the street.

The valley is flanked by the Pinenut Mountains on the East, and The Sierra Nevada Range on the West. The Carson River meanders through this valley though you can’t see it from here.  I have a few more images from this patio I’ll be sharing.

Our plan is to rent it out for a year or two then make the move over. Getting the house is Step One. We’re undecided if we’ll sell our house here or rent it out for a bit. I guess we’ll decide after we find out if we can handle being Landlords. It’s our first time being one.  We hope it’s a positive experience.

When we left the house Friday knowing the Property Mgr is in control now to find a tenant we were very sad. Neither of us wanted to leave and come back to California.  That’s what’s new with me.  What’s new with you? What have I missed in the week I’ve been out of touch?

I’m a few days behind with reading your blogs, but I’ll catch up!

I hope you all have a lovely week!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| San Disk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

 

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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 ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon is having a sale or instant rebates going on right now. Several of the high end Prosumer Cameras are in this sale. Some are bundled with lenses, and all come with some freebies to sweeten the deal.  Nikon comes out with new cameras every 2-4 yrs.  It normally is 2+ years, but there are sometimes set backs which push out the dates.

I jumped on the sale and picked up a Nikon D810. The tech inside the camera is 3 yrs old so, I’m sure there’s some kinda wonderful new camera coming down the pipe later this year, but for me this camera is a huge jump up in tech. It will replace my 6+ year old D700.  There’s still a lot of life left in the D700, but she has been my wildlife camera since my D300s’ auto focus motor went out.

It wasn’t worth the price to fix the D300s so, the D700 is what I have been using.  It has 12.3 MP and cropping in on little birds has been limited.  Stepping up the D810 with its 36MP I’ll have room to crop heavily and not lose resolution, and for landscapes, macro, and studio work the images will contain all sorts of lovely details that will be wonderful when making big prints.

As you might imagine I’ve been photographing things with the new camera testing it out since it arrived on Tuesday. I’ve been tweaking it; getting the buttons and dials, and features set up the way I like them.  Here’s a look at some of what I’ve been photographing last week.

Thursday night’s sunset at Lake Vasona. Nikon D810 + 50mm f/1.8G

High Pass resize Vasona Dusk

I spent all day shooting with friends on Saturday at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and other venues.  The garden was awash in color! Nikon D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Fill the Frame

3 Garden Arches D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

3 Arched Trellis'

A Bird of Paradise in the Garden at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Bird of Paradise

…and Mother’s Day Sunset at Lake Vasona using the 35mm f/1.8G lens my children gave me for my Birthday/Mother’s Day.  I’ve have wanted this lens since it came out several years ago. I sold my old 35mm f/2D lens about the time this lens came out with the intention of buying the new lens, but I never did

get one. There was always something else that I needed to have so couldn’t afford it.  I am thrilled and so blessed to have been gifted this lens. D810 + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G micro

Vasona Lake Sunset Mother's Day

I really love how quiet the shutter is on the camera, and it’s a bit lighter than my D700. The grip is deeper which is nice when holding it, and the buttons are laid out perfectly for my hands.  A couple of buttons have been moved to new places on this camera and I’m getting used to that, but overall I’m really happy with this purchase. I think it’s going to be a pretty great all-around camera which will give my trusty Df a break, and retire my D700.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/1.8G & 50mm f/1.8G | Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

He-Man and I spent a long week-end visiting my son Big Baby Boy and his fiancé the Dark Haired Beauty down in Southern California.  They moved to a new apartment just before Christmas and one town over to San Clemente and we were looking forward to seeing the area, and their apartment.

The area is gorgeous, and their apartment and complex are really nice. They’re happy and we won’t worry about them anymore than normal which is a blessing!

On Saturday afternoon the Dark Haired Beauty and I spent an hour getting our nails done after we had a full, rich breakfast with the guys, and a walk around Dana Point Harbor.

We had a super rich dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse, and hoped to hike on Sunday morning but, we woke up to a rainy day.  There was a break in the rain late Sunday afternoon so we high-tailed it to the Cristianitos Trail which is right in their neighborhood.  From the trail-head to San Clemente Summit is only 1.4 miles. I stopped to take some photos on the way up.

Spring is in bloom there! I was so surprised to see Lupine this early in full bloom along the trail.

Lupine

There were huge bushes of Pride of Madeira with new buds.  I’d love to go back when they’re in full flower in a few weeks, but know that’s highly unlikely.

pride-of-madeira

The southeasternish view.  There are sandbags all over the trail to help keep it from eroding from rain runoff. The clouds were pretty great.

cristianitos-trail_dmz9261

I stopped to catch the sun just before it dipped below the mountains.

the-view-west-from-cristianitos-trail

From here we made the final push up the hill to the summit.  The clouds blocked the sun so there was no color. The image is boring so I won’t share it. We hiked down in near darkness. Fortunately, I brought along my headlamp.

May I present Battle Cat. Big Baby Boy’s and Dark Haired Beauty’s Maine Coon.

Battle Cat

He’s a little over a year old, and still has a few more years  before he’s full grown. I didn’t realize this breed can get so BIG!

It took him a full day to approach me.  I pretty much ignored him hoping that might bring him around. Once he figured I was okay he followed me everywhere, and slept with me for a few hours Sunday night. 🙂  He’s so soft, and cute. I wonder how big he’ll be the next time I see him?

 

I’m terribly behind reading blogs again. I’ll be catching up! Rain is forecast for Sunday. I’m sure to make headway then. 🙂

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

As we approach the end of 2016  I’m looking back on the year’s images; seeing which were the most liked by others, which images I love, which techniques failed,  or succeeded, and falling in love all over again with the places I’ve visited, and the people I met during the last year.

I made thousands of images in 2016 whittling them down to just 10 isn’t easy when I love so many, and divorcing myself from the emotional aspects of making the images and being purely objective is hard!

While going through my images I also took a look at my 2016 Top Ten most viewed images over at my Flickr site. Since those are easier to get to I thought I’d share those images with you again this year.  Most of these you’ve seen before if you’ve been following my blog this year. Voici!

1) Sunset Martin's Beach Half Moon Bay

2)Horsetail Fall 2016

3)Dawn in Manhattan

 

4)

5)Radio City Music Hall

6)Allen's Hummingbird Male

7)Swanson Creek Cascade

8)eyelashes-to-die-for_dmz1066

9)Anna's Hummingbird Female perched on a branch

10)Vermillion Flycatcher

Voila! The Top 10 2016 Most Viewed Images on my Flickr site.

I’ve whittled  down my favorites of the year down to 35. Getting that number down to 10-15 is my next task and I’ll share those images soon!

I hope those that celebrate Christmas had a lovely Holiday, and those celebrating Hanukkah are having a great one so far, and I hope we all have a fantastic week!

More to come…

Copyright 2015-2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I shared with you the Top 10 Images that received the most  views over on my flickr site today I’m going to share with you My Personal favorite images from 2015. Most of these I posted on the blog, so you’ll probably recognize them or feel a sense of Deja-vu. 🙂

I selected these images based on emotions, technical merit, or because I met a personal goal. I got my picks  down to 36 then spent a couple of days whittling those down to just 10. It’s so hard! I have an emotional attachment to all of them. 🙂

Without further ado…My Personal Top 10 Images of 2015:

1)Running in Rain Puddles.  He’s just awesome, and brings me so much joy. I love being a Grandma!!

Running in Puddles

2) Milky Way over Mt Shasta- This was an Epic night spent with Dear Friends. I hope we are able to get together to shoot here again this year.Milky Way over Mount Shasta CA, USA

3) Total Lunar Eclipse over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco- This was another epic night. There was weeks of planning, chasing the Moon across town from one location to this one, working the camera to get the shots all the while hoping it would all come together in post production.  It’s pretty great when it does. Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisc

4) Cooper’s Hawk- I think.  There are a few  images in this selection that I haven’t shared before. More times than I care to admit I find I lack the confidence that a certain image I love will be well received, or what happens to me quite a lot is that I’m not crazy about the images when I first upload them after a shoot so, I let them marinate awhile. When I return to them months or years later I find I like them a whole lot more.

This Hawk in the reeds in Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is an image I really like, but thought it might be too pedestrian to post back in January 2015 when I photographed it.  I love its face, the clarity of the eye, the natural environment, and the fact that I was able to make the image before it flew away.

Cooper's Hawk

5) Northern Flicker-Male – Another image never shown before today. This bird has been a nemesis of mine for years! They too are flighty.

I’d read reports of him being spotted in a neighborhood not from me in Jan/Feb. 2015, so one day a friend and I went looking for him. We found him deep in the shadows of this tree.  Once I got it uploaded and did some post production work to open up the shadows I was happy with the image, and feel like I can say it’s not my nemesis anymore.  They’re such beautiful birds.

Northern Flicker

6) Salsify macro- This was an image I photographed for my Project 52/2015 using my LensBaby Composer Pro wit the macro adapters. I love my LensBaby System and that creamy background. Salsify

7) Still-life “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” Dr. Seuss

This one makes the cut because I got the lighting, and composition that I wanted to make right.

P52 29 of 52 "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" ~Dr.

8) Orange Crowned Warbler.   I haven’t seen this little bird too often and photographing them is so hard; they’re small, and are so fidgety you have to be quick. This particular morning I set up my rig by a seep that was drawing in birds from the area for a drink.  Patience when birding is essential. It paid off this morning. I waited 30 minutes or so for this bird to come to the seep. This is the best image I’ve made of this species.

Orange Crowned Warbler

9) Great Egret-  Another bird image I’ve never before shared.  I love the colors, and how clear its eye is.

Great Egret

10)Sunrise cresting San Francisco Skyline from Kirby Cove. It was worth the mile hike back up for this image. Being there was awesome.

Sunrise over San Francisco CA

These are my favorites from 2015.  Thank you for being so supportive, and letting me share my images with you. I look forward to seeing your images, reading your poems, thoughts, and seeing the places you travel from  my arm-chair this year.

Happy and Healthy 2016 Everyone!

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Throw out the blanket, or find a nice rock in the shade, then relax and let the perfumed breeze fill your senses with the sweet scent of Spring.

Yarrow in the Meadow

I took the above image a couple of weeks ago while hiking in Calero County Park in South San Jose, CA.  I and several other photographers hiked 5.5 miles and spent 6 hours photographing wildflowers.

Here’s another one from that day…

Triteleia Laxa- or it’s common name Ithuriel’s spear. This is the first time I’ve seen this wildflower, and I found it again in Sunol, CA last Saturday!

Wildflower

A friend and I went for an easy hike in  Sunol Regional Wilderness Saturday morning and we found these tiny mushrooms.

Fungi

…and nearby along the creek where it pooled up a bit we found this lovely little bouquet of Spreading Fleabane…

Spreading Fleabane

I used my Lensbaby Composer Pro with Soft Focus Optic at f/4 for all the images, and for the mushrooms, and Triteleia Laxa I also used the 16mm Macro Converter.  For the two landscape images I used the Wide Angle Attachment all mounted to my Nikon Df.

On this last image of the Spreading Fleabane I really like the swirling background and how much it reminds me of the Petzval Lenses.

I hope you find time to enjoy Spring this week!

More to come…

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