Monday, October 20

Out There - Bishop Volcanic Tablelands

This weekend I joined a group of photographers on an outing in the Bishop Volcanic Tablelands, where longtime Camera Committee member Allan Der guided us to several sites of ancient rock art. These sites are under the management and protection of the Bureau of Land Management. They are very delicate and represent a slice of our human story that scientists, historians, and lay-visitors alike can speculate over. The scholars may have more data to work with than we do, but just being there makes a visitor imagine life in the rock-art age.

What were the motivations and messages of the ancient ones?
Chalfant Site

These photos represent just a few examples of the imagery found in the BVT. Click to enlarge any image, but especially this wide shot.  It's a bit of detail from a long wall full of petroglyths.
Chidago Site

This figure is found on the same wall, but it is several yards away. It probably represents a shaman or other important persona, but our group thinks it looks like a girl.  Sorry to trivialize this surely important image, but ancient Girl-POWER!

The "curling" rock formations below are unusual even for this striking volcanic landscape.
Fish Slough Site
I hope I find more, better photos in my camera.  Pulling good photos out of these files will be a Lightroom challenge - a spur to motivate my skill-enhancement.

Saturday, October 4

Budget time

I am working on the budget here and thinking about 1,000,000,000,000 other things I'd rather be doing. So I took a moment to look at pictures on my computer here in the office. 

That was a beautiful sky above Panamint Valley, January 1, 2013.
Okay now. Back to my last budget.

Monday, August 18

99 Miles From LA

The heat of an August Sunday in Hungry Valley Oak Woodland Preserve, half a mile walk from the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area.

Sunday, June 22

Today, I had planned to make Smitten Kitchen's Apple Slab Pie.
But it's summer solstice, I had stone fruit instead of apples.
And on such a beautiful summer afternoon, I jettisoned Deb's buttery pie crust in favor of something less finicky.
And for the four of us, I made a small and round instead of a big and party-size rectangular.
In reality, I guess I was making a peach-nectarine "slabbette" after the Smitten Kitchen model.

Anyway...Mom pressed me to use her favorite crust recipe - The Never Fail Pie Crust from the Zion Lutheran Church 115th Anniversary Cookbook. (See, right.) I was dubious. How can this be her favorite recipe if I never heard of it before. And wait, what?  There's an egg in this crust? No way!

But okay - it's my Mom. (Melissa would be nodding and saying "uh-huh, she knows.")

So, right about the time I stirred the liquid into the flour-shortening crumble, I started to fall for it. Never had a crust come together like that! Then, I divided it and without chilling it, rolled out the bottom crust and...Whoa! That was smooth.

The final swoon came after I rolled-out and picked-up and placed the top crust. This is never a good moment in my pie-making - it's why I like galettes. Today, it was a breeze and the romance was sealed with the crimped edges of the slabbette.


Well, truly the romance was on when I tasted the first bite of this peach-nectarine gem of a pastry. This is a fine, flaky, short, lovely crust!

Now, I have a new favorite pie crust recipe and, lucky me, it's a generous one, so I have two balls of crust in the 'fridge for later this week.

You might check it out, too. I pasted the spattered and  spotted recipe just to the left.

Thanks Marie Wieck, for contributing the recipe. Thanks, Jane Meyer, for giving this book to my mom! Thanks, Mom for persisting in trying to educate me in the kitchen.

To all my Jones cousins - have fun at the family reunion next week! Wish I could be with you. Maybe next time!

Saturday, May 10

241,300 miles

I was sorta hoping to get a quarter of a million miles on the red Jeep before I replaced it.
When it became clear that I needed a more reliable car, I thought I'd reach that milestone before I found a vehicle I wanted to drive.

Well, about a month ago, the Jeep was towed out of Death Valley National Park for the second time (thanks to good Samaritans Steve and Sally of Dixon, Montana for getting us safely to Bishop) and I had to be an adult. I put aside my prejudices and got a modern car.

Then the heartbreak came: out-placement.

Today, the red Jeep went home with a new owner. He said he'd take care of it and I have to believe him.  He said he needed a town car, so I think it's a good match.  I hope he gets to a quarter of a million miles and many, many more.


Tuesday, April 15

Flash post - Hummingbirds

Feeling compelled to post so you won't worry that I've been hit by a bus. Here are some pictures and a few words...

On Sunday, my friend Allan led a CamCo workshop on photographing hummingbirds in the Huntington Beach Central Park. I facilitated and soaked up as much instruction as I could from Allan and the other participants.

I feel like I am picking up some skill and moving in the right direction. My hummers are not out-of-focus fuzzy so much of the time.  They are definitely sharper when perched, of course!

Between improved facility with my equipment and more patience, I'm getting more, better (but not spectacular) shots. I may have to leave spectacular to the big lenses and the infinitely patient.

You can see the photos posted by our participants in this Meetup gallery