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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fort Pickens


Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida
(I'm pretty sure)

See, these are some more pictures I found in that iPhone camera app and this goes back to our road trip earlier this year.  Since some asked, this app doesn't automatically save the image into your camera roll or photo stream.  You have to manually do it, then retrieve the photo in order to edit it.  Now these images were edited using the Snapseed app.  This app is more user friendly and I like the results better.

Here is a simple black & white conversion.

This I left as it was taken for I liked the rust stains.

This was converted to black & white then given a 'style' treatment within their Vintage selection.

This was left in color and given one of 6 choices within their Drama selection.

This one I wouldn't even use for it is blown out.  But I wanted to show a rescue attempt done with my photo program that I would not be able to do with the app.  You'll notice my finger in the way - upper right corner.

It was easy to remove with the dull overcast sky of that day.  Overcast days are good for changing images to black & white I think.  Still I didn't have much to work with as the original photo wasn't that great.  Someone who is a better with photoshop techniques probably could do more with this.

That's it for lost and found photos in that app.  I've deleted it and will just use the default camera in the iPhone and play with the images with Snapseed or the photo program in my laptop.





Monday, September 29, 2014

A Missed Opportunity


The lake is up in my "playground" Annadel State Park.

This photo was taken with the iPhone default camera.  What is the camera focused on?  I don't know.  Probably some part in the middle of the lake.
The water was perfectly calm and the scene looked much better than this.

The same photo fixed up a little bit with my photo program in my computer.

Another photo taken with a camera app and given 'clarity' treatment from within that app.
This is the same camera app that I discovered the 4 month old cactus flowers a couple posts ago.

On another day there was this lady fishing in the lake and I tried to zoom in on her then treated it as in the above photo.  As you can see it is not sharp (I was hand holding the phone resting it on my bicycle handlebars) and it has a lot of noise in it.  Also I feel the colors are much too vibrant.

This is another shot after I tried to reduce the noise with my laptop photo program.  
Still not sharp because I had zoomed in and the phone wasn't that well stabilized.  

I learned that once I save the image with adjustments made in this app, there is no going back and undoing it.  That's not good.  Also I shouldn't zoom in on anything and need to pay closer attention to the focus point when using the iPhone.  These photos of the lady fishing would have been really nice had I had my Nikon with me but that just isn't practical while riding a mountain bike.  
A very nice photo opportunity lost.







Sunday, September 28, 2014

Driving Savannah Georgia


A lovely street in Savannah.  It would be even more so had it not been raining at the time.
It may appear we are moving fairly fast but as you will see not fast enough for Mary Kay.


Here at home last Friday, some much needed rain but it was all too short.
You can hear thunder at the end, rare for us.  Sinbad took off seeking shelter under the bed. 

video

The above video was an experiment taken with the phone and put onto the blog not using You Tube.  
It works but has its limitations.







Saturday, September 27, 2014

Coffee on the Road


We were somewhere in Nebraska one late morning and I was feeling the need for a boost to get us to the next town many miles down the road.  When travelling I'll stop at a Starbucks for they are everywhere and it just makes it easy when you are not familiar with the area.  However this town - I've forgotten which - did not have a Starbucks which they are to be commended for that.  I stopped and asked a local where I could get a coffee drink and was told to go to the movie house on Main Street "just around the corner".  And sure enough, they had the usual espresso drinks to choose from.  I always get an Americano and was shocked to see their price - $1 !  Starbucks gets $2.95 for their "tall" which is really their small.

When handed my drink it was as big as Starbucks "grande" which is really their medium.  Why does Starbucks do that?  Just have small, medium and large.  Who are they fooling anyway?  Well evidently millions of coffee drinkers. The movie house drink was every bit as good too.  That is the one thing with Starbucks is consistency.  No matter where you are are you know your drink will be just as you have known it to be.  

It was a neat old theater still having the nostalgic charm to its lobby.  I think the little girl was their usher.  Remember ushers in movie theaters?

I was so excited to have a coffee drink that I forgot to take a picture of the theater from out front.
Ever since returning home I haven't been in a Starbucks.








Friday, September 26, 2014

Four Months!


The other day I decided to devote some time in exploring this camera app I have on my iPhone in the hope I could understand it better.  When I opened it up I discovered these pictures in it.  They've been languishing in there for 4 months!  I didn't even know they were there.  Gee I wish I could understand how these things work!  Oh the story I could tell just trying to understand and get my music sorted out with iTunes between my phone, iPad, iPod and laptops.  But I finally accomplished that last week.
Too many devices.

These are all cacti in our yard





and some poppies along the side.

Still, the iPhone does pretty good with flowers except the Beaver Tail at the top.  But even my Nikon has a hard time with the brilliant magenta of the Beaver Tail blossoms.  And even though you cannot see any stickers, they are there!  They are very tiny little things that if you get them in your hand they are very irritating and next to impossible to see and remove.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Good Fence on the Seedling Mile


Grand Island, Nebraska

You may be wondering what is so special about this fence to be on Good Fences?  Or even the fact that it is more of a barrier than a fence.  Well it is there in order to preserve the only remaining
Seedling Mile of the Lincoln Highway in America. 

So what is a Seedling Mile you ask?  The middle paragraph explains it.

This is it. This is all the wider the highway ever was 100 years ago.  In fact the majority of the road from New York to San Francisco was just a rutted dirt track.

So you can well imagine what a relief this must have been for the tourist
to drive on even if for only a single mile in some towns.  

Some people like to go see the big tourist attractions like Times Square, Las Vegas Strip, Niagara Falls, Disney World, but for me it things like this that blows my dress up.
This is history.  This was an important part in the growing of America.
And I enjoyed walking it more than you can imagine.

For more fences go to TexWisGirl's GOOD FENCES







Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Golden Spike Tower


North Platte, Nebraska

I kept having people tell me "Oh you just have to go to the Golden Spike Tower" and so as it was along the way on our trip towards home we made the point of finding this tower.



This is the Union Pacific's Bailey Yard - the world's largest train yard.  Here 10,000 railroad cars are handled each day on a yard that stretches out for 8 miles.

There was a nice railroad museum downstairs.  I am not all that into railroad stuff so I just took this one picture for the facts it contained.

I paid the $6 admission fee and as I am not all that fond of elevators I took the stairs up the 8 story tower.  I liked the nice view of the Nebraska flat lands.

See the Little House on the Highway down there?  Sinbad is sleeping inside.

Not a great view of the railroad yard I admit.  

 You see I got to visiting with these three guys and forgot all about picture taking.  They were funny to talk with and really interested in every aspect as to what was going on far down below.

The guy on the left was 83 and retired from the railroad having been a conductor for 30 years.  The other two were visiting from Illinois.  The one on the right was 75 and it was his birthday that day.  He also worked with the railroad but I didn't get in what capacity or for how long.  The guy in the middle, his name was Chuck (I didn't get his age, darn it) and I don't think he was all that into the railroad.  He decided he had had enough and was going back down and I too had had enough so I rode the elevator down with him.  I could see myself in Chuck in his mannerism and appearance plus he was hard of hearing too.  As we rode down the elevator together I thought to myself this is me in the not too distant future.   Yep folks, that'll be me.  I'll need to get some suspenders, but not red. 
Oh my wife will love that!

I had questions and knew these two old railroaders would have the answers.  I wanted to know how long a train of railroad cars can be.  138 cars is the limit for a coal hauling train.  "How long does it take to stop a train?"  If the train is moving 50 mph it will take it a mile and a half to come to a complete stop.  There was a long train of coal moving far down below and I asked where it was coming from and going to.  They said it was coming from Wyoming heading for the power plants back east.  When the train gets to the power plant it just slows down to unload the coal, but never stops moving.  There is a device that flips the entire car over and dumps all the coal out while the train keeps moving on.  Now that I would like to see.  They also informed me that one power plant alone will use an entire trainload of coal each day.  That is mind boggling.  I hope these two weren't just buffaloing this California boy.

I also learned that the engine has 5000 horsepower and carries 500 gallons of fuel.  Also, the diesel engines do not power the engine.  They turn a generator which produces electricity and electrical motors are what propels the engine.  I did not know that.

So in all of this learning, I forgot to take any more pictures of the railroad yard and evidently left my little Lego man standing on the window sill taking a picture for I never saw him again on the remainder of the trip.  He was listed as Missing In Action.

If you are into trains here is a link that has better pictures, a video and a live webcam
of the Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, the world's largest railroad yard.







Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday


Everglades, Florida

Roseate Spoonbill






For more birds visit Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday





A Forest Scene


This small section of trees in the forest had a silvery sheen to one side of them.
That's all.  I just thought it interesting.





Monday, September 22, 2014

A Little Rain Brings Them Out


 I haven't seen these guys - California newt - since last rainy season.  It just makes me wonder where they are all those dry months.  Well for one they must be busy making little California newts.

I spotted several of these little ones and only one adult during my hike.  You have to be really careful walking on the trail for they blend in so readily with the ground, it is only their slow movement that gives them away.  Oh my day would be ruined if I accidentally stepped on one.  Of course his day would be more than just ruined.

As it is with birds, I grabbed this shot first just to get something in the camera.  Then I was able to slowly move in on him with my macro lens in the first two pictures.  I was surprised he posed for me for as long as he did.

As cute as they are, you don't want to pick one up for their skin produces a potent toxin.  
This is why they are free and safe to move about so slowly.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Things That Move - Monday Mural


These scenes are on the service bay doors of a Big O Tire store in Santa Rosa, Ca.
I drive by this shop all the time and never knew these were there.  But when I went by on a Sunday and they were closed, the doors were pulled down and there it was.

I like the simple elementary style to this artwork
These are all scenes of places in Sonoma County, California

This would be downtown Santa Rosa

Out in the west county where the Redwoods are

Along the Russian River

The Sonoma coastline along the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1

Well done guys

For more murals check out Oakland Daily Photo Monday Mural