Sage in Bloom

Blooming Sage

I took this photo a few years ago with my pre-WW2 Voigtlander Brillant. It is a simple camera that gives lovely results, as only a vinage camera can. I wonder if it is from their uncoated lenses.

I haven’t been to the local botanical gardens since last year, where this picture wast taken, when I fell down a hill and came home looking like something out of a horror film. A bit trepidatious to return, I admit. However, after the rains of last months, I know I have to go. The hills are greening, and the air of spring is in the air.

Definitely time to get out. I think more Ektar is definitely indicated, too.

Just After the Rains

After the Rains

Most of December 2021 saw rain and cold weather – at last! It doesn’t change the drought situation here in California, but it does help. I hope the bits of green here will soon spread over the hills, which have been dead and brown for far too long. Rain in the single-digit percentage points shows up on the weather forecast, but with the climate situation it is impossible to predict anything.

This is from the Chumash Trial area near my house. It is the same area where I spotted the Acorn Woodpecker in yesterday’s photo. I love this area because of the wonderful oak trees down this trail. Sadly, many were lost in the Woolley Fire (I think that is the one) from a few years ago that swept through this area.

One of the fun things about digital images, or digitized film images, is the playing around in post and creating presets. This one I rather like – it gives a sense of the softness that new growth brings to the world. Spring is coming, early of course in my neck of the woods, and the rains are the reason for the rainy season.

Etc.

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

Finally a day that is freezing (for SoCal!) or pouring cats and dogs . . . I managed to get out for a hike today down Chumash Trail nearby. It is filled with old-growth oak trees, and it has been a bit since I have been there as the plague and other things limited some of my activities. It felt so good to be outdoors at last!

The trail itself is easy, mostly flat. The problem is that you really cannot go scrambling around the hills as poison oak is not your friend. This can limit where you decide to wander.

As it is midweek, no one was out. But birds and bees and gnats were – and so were a small herd of deer that went bounding through the wood. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to catch them on my camera. But, I was lucky to catch this woodpecker, high up in a telephone pole full of acorns cached there by the local acorn woodpeckers!

Woodpeckers are pretty hard to miss – tat, tat, tat! I had no idea what kind this one was at all, so I followed this ink to learn a bit more. I didn’t know there are 15 kinds in my neighborhood. What made this particular one interesting was there was no red to be easily found on his head. His position hid the top of his head, which is where the small bit of red is to be found on the bird. Most woodpeckers have a very noticeable red top or breast or throat, but this one was not at all the usual ones I have been able to see. I had my Nikon z6ii with the excellent 24-200 lens attached, and I had to be quick to catch this guy – even though I was far below, he was canny enough to realize 2 legs, human, time to flee!

I may be wrong. but I am pretty sure this guy is an Acorn Woodpecker . . . he just wasn’t inclined to show me who he really is.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I re-scanned some Portra 400 I took in 2015 with my husband’s old Ricoh XR-10 camera from the last century. I have a Pakon 135 scanner that digitizes 35mm film. It is a real life saver, slow, and overall, reliable. There are some quirks that go with it, such as crippled software which I have worked around, but it makes scanning film very easy.

A few days ago, my husband replaced the old hard drive with an SSD in the vintage laptop I use exclusively with the Pakon. He removed the old HD and mirrored it. After that, he used an interface of some variety to make the old machine – an eMachine from 2005?? – running Windows XP (the only software that the Pakon software will work with) – think it is using an old HD. Yeah, techie stuff. So, I needed to see if the Pakon would still work – and it does! Now let’s just hope the old laptop will continue until I die, and the Pakon, too. What is interesting, too, is that my wireless mouse dies and resurrects itself periodically on the eMachine, so I ordered a USB cabled mouse and a USB hub to see if some of the other laptop quirks can be resolved. The laptop has a touchpad, but I don’t like them at all.

Besides checking out the workings of the new HD and the Pakon, I finally got around to seeing how to save the scans as negatives so I can process them using Negative Lab Pro 2.3 and Lightroom Classic. The Neg Lab Pro website gives very good directions – far better than when Nate began the product – and this scan, which you can enlarge on Flickr, shows how nice it all works out. The beauty of the film is still there, even digitized.

I think this combo is a ball hit out of the park! More to come.

Christmas Day

Chapel

The chapel at the local college is a favorite subject of mine. And since today is Christmas, it doesn’t hurt to think and reflect a bit about the holiday, before its commercialism. It is the story of hope – and hope is always something we need, no matter what we believe. It is a day to enjoy our blessings, and a day to reflect and dig deeper than the bottom of your stocking.