The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Big Trees

In the forest where I hike often there are these two trees that are different from all the rest of the trees in the forest.  And they are huge.  I don't know exactly what kind of tree they are.  Maybe they are just really old while all the others are younger by comparison.  You cannot tell by these pictures but the limbs of these two trees are as big as the main trunks of most the other trees in the forest.

Tree number one.

The striking feature is how the branches begin so close to the ground.

Looking up tree number two.
 Even way up there the branches are big.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Just Passin' Through

The deer are always in the backyard but I've not seen this big buck before.
This was a hurry-up grab shot not realizing the camera had focused on the plant.

Moving on to another window they had already turned and were heading away.
He stopped at those low hanging branches in the distance to rub his antlers in them.
I had hiked six miles in the woodlands yesterday and saw no animals.  
I come home and see more in my backyard.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I couldn't help myself

On one of my hikes I came across this unusual looking rock with this strange coloration.  That and it was nearly perfectly square looking as if it came out from an 8 inch baking pan.  I brought it home.
Poor rock.  Sitting there minding its own business then I came along.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

More Madrone

The busy background disrupts from the main subject.  Not much can be done about that. 
But they are very photogenic nonetheless.

The Madrone grows only along the western coast of North America from British Columbia down to San Francisco Bay with a smattering of spots south of, then becoming very rare nearer Santa Barbara.  As the tree matures the bark peels away like sunburned skin.  The greenish under layer is very cool to the touch in comparison to the air temperature.  That is why they are sometimes referred to as the refrigerator tree.  Why these trees are scarred as they are I couldn't find a reason.  They do survive fires and this could be fire scars.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Old Madrone

I thought this old Madrone tree had some pretty good texture going for it.

You may recall my playing with my camera testing some of the settings it had.  
At the time I wasn't much impressed with several of them including the "vivid" setting.  
But here vivid did seem to have its merits.  Maybe you must choose when to use it and when not to.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Unsafe Water

There is a natural spring here, Hunter Springs, which is channeled into a barrel for horses to drink from not to mention the natural wildlife in the area.  There are tiny fish swimming in it, no doubt placed there on purpose to keep mosquito larvae in check.   I often wonder what with all the precautions needed today - filters and chemical tablets - in order to safely drink from creeks and rivers in the wilderness, just how did cowboys and Indians of the Wild West manage without getting sick? 

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Porker on a Post

Someone has a good imagination in seeing a pig on this post and using the branch knot for a nose.

I should have taken a side view shot so you could better see the nose sticks out a couple inches.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I was playing with my new camera yesterday, trying some of the different settings on it 
and there are quite a lot of different settings to play around with too.

This is the HDR, high dynamic resolution image.

Black and white naturally.

Super vivid. Why would anyone even consider using this?
Although I do like the bluer sky giving more contrast to the clouds.

And just old plain normal.  Looks a lot like the HDR one to me.  
But scrolling back and forth I can see a little difference in the dirt and grass.
I think just plain normal is fine by me.  I have no need for all those other settings.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Little Cactus in the Window

I brought this feller inside and he seems to like the indoors.  Flowers popped out.
Its flowered before.  I think it was more just the timing when I brought it inside than anything else.
I was planning to be in the desert at this time, but I don't feel Sinbad is up to any road trips now.
His traveling days may be over.  Time will tell.
So I will enjoy my cactus here at home.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


You may recall my plea awhile back for any information as to why all of a sudden I wasn't able to insert video onto a blog post directly from my YouTube videos.  The only solution to my problem was a around-about way which I didn't really care for.  After all, I knew how things should be and it just bugged me that it wasn't so anymore.  I even posted my problem on Blogger Help last night but haven't received any replies as of yet.  That's understandable for in short order my post was relegated to the bottom of the page.  Goes to show how many people have problems with Blogger.

Well this morning I was at it again and finally found something posted over two years ago on the Help Forum:

PeggyK said:

Hi Kimberley May:

SInce your YouTube channel is connected to a Google+ Page, you probably have to set your channel as the default in your YouTube settings before you can use the insert video option on Blogger to add videos from your channel.

To do that:

- sign into YouTube

- make sure you are switched to your personal Google+ Profile identity. You can do that at

- go to the advanced settings (

- under "Signing in to older apps" select your main YouTube channel

- click the Save button

Now you should be able to go back to Blogger and find your channel's videos to insert.

It worked!!  All is right once again.  So you may want to save this information if for someday you too find No Videos Found  when you go to insert a video using the My YouTube Videos selection in the drop-down box.  I might add is that I have two YouTube video accounts (don't ask me why, I don't know how that happened) and Blogger was accessing the one I never use which was empty.  I switched it to my regular channel.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Long Ago Fire

Going back to the scene of the chicken and the rock, notice how the redwoods behind are fire scarred.

It is the redwoods alone that are fire damaged.  All the rest of the forest including oaks, bay trees, madrone, everything is all untouched.  I am unable to find any history of fire in the park so my guess is it is ancient history occurring before the area was settled. 

A tree party!  
A grouping like this is when the mother tree has long since died and new growth has sprung from the root system left behind.  You can just barely make out what is left from the original tree inside the circle of its offspring.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I'd be Rich...

...if I knew how to make a tracking chip that could be stuck onto your eyeglasses.  Then create an app to download into your smartphone.  Then every time I can't find my glasses, I check the app on my iPhone and follow the tracking beacon to my glasses.  Hey, it could be used for my car keys too!
I waste so much time looking for things!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Good Enough to Eat

A fungi along the trail that looked like a nicely toasted bread.

You probably liked this photo better than the baby rattlesnake.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Baby Rattlesnake

I was walking the trail when I came upon this little cutie sunning itself in between the patches of shade from the trees overhead.  It was less than a foot long (30cm).  It was stretched out straight when I first came upon it and didn't move at bit.  I thought it was dead, having been run over by a mountain biker.  I touched it with my walking stick and it then curled its head back around under the oak leaf.  The leaf will give you an idea as to how small its head was.  I then proceeded to break one of my own rules when it comes to wildlife photography - take a bunch of photos right away before you move for a better position, or in this case, try to move the subject out from beneath the leaf.  He would have none of my pestering him and immediately slithered off the trail into the leaf litter leaving me with this one and only picture.  I didn't get his tail in the picture where you could see his tiny little rattle buttons, too small to be of any use.  Nervertheless, a bite from a baby rattlesnake can be more toxic than from an adult for the venom is highly concentrated.  Lesson here: Take lots of pictures folks before you go messing around.  Have something in the camera before the critter gets fed up and takes off.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Hiker Friendly Tree

I am able to walk beneath this limb without having to duck my head.
If I were 6 feet tall, it wouldn't work out so well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hidden Buck

I walked by less than 10 feet away from him before he jumped to his feet.  That was how well concealed he was in the brush.  Once he determined I was no threat he went about grazing.  
That's how long it took for me to get my camera out.

Then his girlfriend who I never saw either, she was just to the left behind that green shrub,
 jumped up and took off.  He watched where she went.

This was the moment before he dashed off after her, gone in a flash.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Discovering Lost Material

My new camera has this wi-fi capability and I was trying to learn how to use it.  This involved installing an app on my prehistoric iPhone, connecting the two and then images from my camera magically jumped over into the iPhone.  Wow!  So I wondered if I could then put the image onto my blog using the iPhone.  Well, yes I could.  This opens up a door of a whole new opportunity for me.  If I have a signal out in the wilderness during my travels, I could post camera pictures on my blog without having a computer.  I did a test post.  It worked!  I then clicked on "drafts" on my blog to check the test post out on the computer and discovered this draft post (gee, I had 18 of them in there) from something I was messing around with over six years ago!  So I am posting it now for your viewing pleasure.

This photo is from when I used a film camera long ago.  I wondered how prints would scan and if they could be used for the blog.  Not so well as can be seen.  Either I had a crappy camera back then, have a crappy scanner now, or just don't know what I am doing.  Probably a little of all three.

At any rate, moments like this don't happen often and I look forward to the day when I am presented with a rainbow shot like this again. Only this time having a digital camera I can make several tries to position myself directly beneath where the rainbow touches the ground. That would be a great image.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Problem with Blogger

I have this video to post and for some reason when I click on the "My You Tube Videos" link in the video upload window, it says "No Videos Found".  I've never had this problem before.  It must be some settings issue with Blogger, You Tube, Google Chrome, the NSA, CIA or something.  If anyone has any ideas or suggestions it would be greatly appreciated.

I found a way around the problem but the quality of the video suffered greatly.  Well to be honest, it wasn't that great to begin with what being zoomed in to the max and the heat waves shimmering in the meadow.  I'll leave it here anyway for some my enjoy seeing a coyote taking leave when I stumbled into his domain.

Still, if I could access my You Tube Channel through Blogger it would be much better to view.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Not a Good Place

to be parking your car.

This appears to be the top half of the main trunk that split away.  We had a tremendous wind storm a few days ago.  Made a mess of everything.  I suspect this happened then and it was evening when the wind storm hit so the park would have been closed and no cars in the parking lot.  Still, it did a number on that fence, and would have been kind of cool to have seen happen a safe distance away of course.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bee Action

The bees were happy and active because my big cactus bloomed again.

There were a lot more but evidently they are camera shy.  They'd scatter when I'd get close.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

One For All

On the left is my hand-me-down iPhone 4 I inherited from my wife when she had to get the new model, which now happens to be an old model by two generations.  Surprisingly, Smartphones take really nice pictures.  But not when they are in my hands.  I cannot seem to hold the phone still enough while tapping the screen to make adjustments and "snap" the picture.

In the middle is my DSLR another hand-me-down from my wife when she had to have a newer model some years back.  It takes great pictures.  But I have grown tired of lugging it around on my hikes especially when I include two extra heavy lenses in the load.  So it has come time to say good-bye to the DSLR.  I sold my 70-300mm zoom and my 105mm macro lenses on eBay but will hang onto the camera itself, for after all it really is my wife's camera.

On the right is my trusty old point & shoot camera.  It used to take great pictures, but things have changed a lot since it was born and now it takes just okay pictures.  It is now in semi-retirement.

This is my new camera that will replace them all.  You cannot tell by the picture but it is the same size as the point & shoot up above, only a wee-bit fatter with that lens.  It has a 20.2 megapixel sensor. Now I am not all into counting megapixels as some people are.  But as it was explained to me by the guy at the camera store, the sensor on my old Canon was about a quarter inch square in size. This camera has a sensor the size of a large postage stamp.  Sony came out with their RX100 that has the same large sensor and this was Canon's response to it.

I compared both brands to each other reading all the "experts" reviews online and went with the Canon for I was already familiar with how they are set up (I didn't have to re-learn all that much), it had some qualities I was looking for and the Sony had some features that were not important to me. Also the Canon was cheaper.  I took my new camera out for a test ride on a hike yesterday.  I am not one that really notices all that much difference in pictures taken by one camera to another.  But even I could tell a whole world of difference, especially in the video I shot!  I like my new camera and so does my back.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trail Courtesy

Horses reign King on the trails.  This lowly peasant has to walk through their poop.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Blogging Respite

For awhile, postings to my blog are not going to be as frequent as they have been in the past.  Simply said, I just do not have any new material to blog about.  I haven't had anything all summer so that is why we've just completed re-visiting the Bodie Ghost Town trip from two years ago.  Although I have many other trips from the past I could re-visit, I just do not enjoy rehashing old material.  I learned this while re-doing Bodie.  I'll try to continue visiting the blogs I follow meanwhile.

I am loosely planning a fall trip to the desert but this kind of hinges on Sinbad's health.  He just turned 17 (as near as I can reckon his birth date based upon his age when I adopted him) but if the trip seems to be taking a toll upon him I'll abort and return home.  The well-being of my scrawny little deaf cat is of high priority with me.

So if I post anything, it will stuff like this: Here is a beautiful fat rattlesnake, around four feet long, I discovered on my bicycle ride yesterday.

Here I have greatly cropped the photo (you didn't expect me to get up real close did you?) so you can make out the rattles on his tail next to the X.  A rattlesnake will add a rattle each time it sheds it's skin and if generally snakes shed their skin once a year then that would be a good judgement to its age.  Not necessarily so with rattlesnakes.  In their first year they shed their skin multiple times.  As they mature their growth rate slows down to where they may not shed their skin over the course of a year.
In case you are wondering, no he wasn't rattling at me.  He was quite calm.  So was I.

These photos were taken with my old iPhone and whereas some people get really good pictures from their phones I don't seem to do so well.  I just cannot hold the phone all that steady while trying to tap on the screen to set focus and exposure.  I need to take my regular camera with me more often.

Friday, September 25, 2015

We Say Good-bye to Bodie

The entrance station which is greatly protected from being smashed into by the distracted tourist driving a motorhome.  The boulder will stop you on a dime.

The long dirt road leading into and out of Bodie.  You can see why a driver might not be paying attention.  After miles and miles of this, you see the town; "Finally we're here! Ooo...look at that!"

Me, I enjoy the scenery wherever I am.  
Here the Sierra mountain range in the distance provides a wonderful view.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One Final Home in Bodie

I'm sure this at one time was a fine home with nice furnishings.

This jar of mayonnaise may be a bit past its "Best by" date.

A cropped close-up of the label.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

One Last Bodie Car

What is so unusual about this car, what's left of it, is the fact that the motor is still in it.
Many of the vehicles there have had the motor removed to serve some other purpose.

Only reason I took this photo is I am a inline six cylinder fan.  I had owned more cars with 6 cylinder engines than those with a different engine design...I think.  I'm not going to try and figure out if I am right on that or not.  Too many cars in my lifespan.  The valve cover looks as if it has been polished.  Maybe so with numerous visitors rubbing their hands across it.