Daily Image: 07 December 2023 — Clouds over Mt. Scott

It was sure windy the afternoon I shot this. Weather was rolling over to Carson Range and put clouds over Mt. Scott. Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and Fujinon 28mm f/2.8 at f/8 and post processed in DxO Photolab 7 and NIK Silver Efex Pro.

After a long meeting and a little decompression (and some lunch), I got The Girl out for walkies at Silver Saddle Ranch. It is good we left when we did, because about halfway into our walk, I noticed clouds showing over Prison Hill. Further north, I could tell it was raining in Washoe Valley. The wind was up, gusting hard from the south/southwest.

The incoming weather added some impetus to making progress. I snagged three captures and then the battery in the Fujifilm X-E2 died. I should have known to bring a backup battery. Nonetheless, it felt like rain was coming and so we moved right along.

Even so, The Girl and I played a little. She picked up a huge stick that made me laugh out loud. It was just like all those memes in which a dog picks up a six-foot long stick.

At least she did not run into anything.

And, sure enough, it started raining when we were about five minutes out from the rig. It was good to get in and be dry.

In the end, it was a good outing. I came home with a keeper. We had fun. We got exercise. Life is good.

Daily Image: 06 December 2023 — Old Gate at Silver Saddle Ranch

Gate in the ranch compound, Silver Saddle Ranch. Shot with the Fuji X-E2 and the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 at f/4. Post processed in DxO Photolab 7 and NIK Silver Efex 6.

I was not really in the mood to do much when we left the house yesterday afternoon. I left the Pentax 645NII kit, the Fujifilm kits, and the pack at home. I was hungry, so we drove by Arby’s for a sandwich (shared). Then we headed for Silver Saddle Ranch to get in a walk.

It was a beautiful fall day in Carson City. The sun was shining with maybe a little high clouds. It was strong enough to make mid-40ºF feel nice with a light cover. There was not a lot of traffic at the gate at 1330h. All of this raised my spirits, especially getting out of the house with The Girl.

What I did bring (besides The Girl), was the little Fujifilm X-E2 with the 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens mounted. This is the smallest digital camera I own1. I have it on a wrist strap, so I can let it dangle when I am busy with The Girl or want both hands free.

I made a few captures as we walked along. I made sure she checked in with me frequently. There were only a couple other walkers that I saw and none crossed paths with us. That made for a really nice walk.

The Girl got frisky a couple of times along the way and we paused to play. Those interactions always raise my spirits, and the did this day.

I grew more cautious as we approached the segment of the trail that has more traffic, but we saw no one. We paused at the ranch compound to look for possible photographs. I noticed this old gate and the light was just about right to bring out the texture in the wood. There was a power pole peeking out above the cross bar, but a judicious adjustment to my point of view hid it from the frame.

I made the capture. I am glad I decided to carry the camera along.

We ended the hike with some more play. She brought a stick and we wrestled over it for a few minutes as we walked.

The drive home was uneventful. The Girl crashed on her bed under my work table. It was a good day. Life is good!

1Well, that is not *exactly* true — I have a Panasonic ZS-40. I used it as a field camera for the Wilson Creek project. Its EVF and image quality make it such that I do not want to use it. Neither a very good. For a slightly larger package, I have better options that are much more enjoyable (and easy) to use.

Daily Image — 07 November 2023

Captured on walkies using the Fujifilm X100V with its lovely 23mm f/2 lens at f/8. I used Reggie’s Portra 400 film simulation. Minor post processing in Iridient Developer (contrast, saturation, curves).

I am working on the hydrology for one of my projects. The weather is cooler and more windy, so I do not want to get out as early.

Once I made some progress on project work and the markets, The Girl and I headed out to walk Silver Saddle Ranch. The weather today was cooler than yesterday, but also less rainy. Still, I could see rain to the north in Washoe Valley and behind Mt. Scott. A curl of rain clouds pulled south to the east of Mt. Scott, but did not seem threatening.

The Girl continues to worsen the condition of her toe with the missing nail. If I am distracted for just a moment, I will catch her licking. So, she slept in the cone-of-shame last night, wore it all morning, walked without it (but limping), and is now wearing the cone. She will get to sleep in it again tonight, although I might remove it when we sit on the sofa to relax and snuggle.

I carried the Fuji X100V with me again today. Last night I read a bit on Ritchie Roesch’s website, Fuji X Weekly about those film simulations he recommends. He has a list of seven because most of the recent Fujifilm cameras have seven custom slots. I am already using several of his recommendations, but I have some empty slots to fill and will add his recommendations. Then I will use them.

Today I used Reggie’s Portra 400 simulation, which is intended to produce results similar to the Kodak Portra 400 film stock. One of the things Reggie did was to set Auto White Balance instead of using the Daylight balance of the regular Portra simulation. This adds a little to the flexibility of the simulation. There are other details as well, but I consider them relatively minor.

I came home with a couple of decent images. That is, images that I like. I make images for me — that is, I am the only one who needs to like them. If others like them, that is good. I appreciate the acknowledgement.

Alex (The Photographic Eye) recently did a video on the subtle impact of social media on the photographs we produce. This resonated because I left Instagram a couple of months ago (again) because I was tired of doomscrolling through things I did not want to see to find those that I do. On my IG account, I sometimes posted photographs I knew would gather more “likes” partly as an experiment. It is a nice dopamine hit to see that my work is appreciated.

What Alex made me think about is the who and why of my photography. It is good for me to do something creative and that is why I do it. The photographs are for me, because there was something about the subject that attracted my eye (and my mind).

So, what I share here and also on FB are images that somehow spoke to me and caused me to pause, find a composition, and make the capture (usually several). I do not always like the end result, but I usually learn something in the process.

OK, so I do indulge a little and share a lot of Doggo images. Those are for fun (and I do love the subject) and for my dog-loving friends.

So, I like this capture of Mt. Scott and the weather over Carson City. The fall colors are mostly gone, with just a few hangers-on. We’ll soon start to see snow and some gray days and certainly cooler temperatures. But I still love the high desert and I am good so long as the sun is shining.

Daily Doggo — 30 October 2023

She is patiently waiting. For what I am not sure. Captured with the Fujifilm X-E2 and the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 (original version).

Today was another busy day. I worked most of the morning on the FHWA project, with help from a friend. Sera waited patiently for our daily outing, which we got about 1100h this morning.

I did not mind the late start because it was about 20F when I rose this morning. As it was, the air was cool but the sun was warm. The trail out at Silver Saddle Ranch is still plagued with sand burrs, which she always gets into her feet.

We pause now and again for me to remove them. Then off she goes in search of critters.

This afternoon was busy as well finishing up the last bit on the FHWA submittal and then with a meeting with another colleague to line out the next round of analytical work.

While I worked, she sunned herself in the backyard. I just went out to retrieve her and she is not a very dusty dog. I patted off what I could and then brought her into the house.

I am not quite sure what she wants. But I would be willing to bet it is a treat. I need to go get her a cookie.

The little Fujifilm X-E2 has a built in flash. It works.

Daily Image — 29 October 2023

One of my favorite places along the Carson River — Mexican Ditch Trail on the Silver Saddle Ranch. Shot with the Fujifilm X100V at f/8 with the Portra film simulation. #SOOC

For the last number of weeks, my daily walks have mostly been on the job site in El Dorado National Forest. By the end of the day, I was pretty much done and getting in a half-hour walk for The Girl was about all I had left in me. I sometimes carried a camera, but the creative juice just was not there.

Now that I am recovering from that slog, I have time and energy to play a little radio, work a little in my house, and do something with a camera. I am also walking an hour or so for both The Girl and I. We love those times together.

Today was a treat for a couple of reasons. First was the image above. An irrigation structure on the Mexican Ditch often returns flow to the Carson River at this location. The flow crosses the road and I love the sound and sight that it makes. With the colder temperatures of the last few nights, the cottonwoods are dropping their leaves as the color leaves them. The sight this morning made me pause for a couple of captures. I like this one.

On the way back to the rig, I was keeping an eye out for other walkers/dogs and heard a whistle behind me. For a moment I thought of the Mockingjay whistle from The Hunger Games movies. That caused me to pause and I looked behind us.

Sera came to attention. When Timber and Lisa started calling her I said “Go! See you peeps!”

She blasted off, of course and I heard Lisa call “Watch your knees!” as she blew in to greet them. Sera was all wiggles and soft looks as she interacted with some of her favorite people.

I walked back to greet them and retrieve The Girl and we walked back to my rig. We paused to visit for a few minutes. I so enjoy them and it was good to spend a few minutes catching up.

The capture was made with my Fujifilm X100V and its lovely 23mm f/2 lens. The capture was made at f/8 using the Portra-400 film simulation. I am running a light diffusion filter on the camera, which provides a more filmic look.

It was a good day. Life is good.

Daily Doggo

The Girl staring out the rainy window of the 4Runner. Shot with the Fuji X100V at f/8 with the Tri-X 400 film simulation.

After a long week working in the field, we drove up to our favorite place near Spooner Summit to walk this afternoon. Then we drove up to Reno to the Apple Store. It is time to upgrade my aging MacBook Pro (2015 model) after nearly eight years of service.

We came home with a new computer about mid-afternoon. I was hungry, so we stopped at the Black Bear Diner for me to get some food. The Girl waited for me in the rig because I did not know how busy the restaurant might be. It turns out she could have come with me in her training vest and would have been fine on the floor next to me.

Nonetheless, she got my leftover turkey and mashed potatoes and will not need much supper. Neither will I.

I thought the rain provided a nice effect with her looking through the glass. It might be cliche, but I like it anyway.

The new MacBook Pro is transferring files from my old unit. It should be done in another hour and then I will go through the remainder of the setup process.

The Joy of It

I often see one of these beautiful raptors working the sage and wetland area of Riverview Park in Carson City.

Over the last couple of years, I have watched these beautiful Northern Harriers work the sageland and wetland areas of Riverview Park in Carson City. It took me a couple of attempts to identify the raptor, but I finally got a view of the bird’s head and with the aid of the Merlin application from the Cornell School of Ornithology I made the identification.

They are now easy for me to identify — that big white patch on the rump is one giveaway. The second is their mode of hunting is to soar about ten feet over the surface listening for mice.

With the acquisition of the red-badge Fujifilm 100-400mm super zoom lens, I now have the capability to capture an image of these birds. They generally do not allow me to get too close, although they will sometimes glide just overhead, teasing me.

On this particular morning, I saw the harrier glide over the field. I made a couple of attempts to capture an image but was not satisfied with my attempts.

However, the bird soon began a climb, having caught a thermal. I watch it rise up and up until it was a couple hundred feet overhead. It soared in large circles, overwatching its hunting grounds.

I stood there a few minutes, knowing that the bird was not hunting but simply flying.

Many of the animals encountered during my life have shown an intelligence that is impressive. They do not simply eat, sleep, and procreate. They interact socially among their species and sometimes others. They play. They do things that please them. Otherwise, why would they waste the energy to move from place to place?

The best teacher of all is The Girl. She showed me there is intelligence without language. She often talks to me, speaking volumes without making a sound. I get it.

As I stood there on the trail, watching the harrier soaring far above me, I got it. This was not about a hunt, or about turf protection; the soaring was simply for the joy of it.

Carson City Open Space (Silver Saddle Ranch)

This guy works for Carson City Parks in the Open Space Unit. He was maintaining the trail by the Carson River on Silver Saddle Ranch when I met him. We spent a few minutes visiting and I left with a good impression.

The Girl and I spend many hours walking along the Carson River on the Silver Saddle Ranch. One morning we met Jarrod (I hope I got his name right) working on the trail. He was clearing the weeds that are no longer kept down by ranch traffic. He had paused for a few minutes to clear the radiator of his rig from the accumulation of dust resulting from the brush hog mounted on the front of the vehicle.

I learned that Carson City received proprietorship of the ranch from BLM some time ago. It should remain as open space in perpetuity. Carson City spends part of its resources maintaining these areas and I really appreciate it. As I said, The Girl and I spend a lot of our time out along the river and it is one of our favorite places.

I appreciate public servants like Jarrod, who take both their work and their relationship with the public seriously. He was willing to spend a few minutes talking about the work and the place. It was a good visit and I am thankful that he agreed to pose for an informal portrait next to his rig.

Silver Saddle Ranch

I love walking the Silver Saddle Ranch open space area. It’s jointly managed by Carson City and BLM.

Since nearly being carried away by mosquitoes at the Riverview Park, The Girl and I have spent our morning walks to south on the Silver Saddle Ranch open space area. The ranch is still a working ranch with cattle and hayfields. I often meet the ranch manager while walking as he tends the irrigation system.

The capture is my morning view of the ranch compound. At one time this was a bustling ranch with a number of ranch hands all working from this area. It is nothing of what it once was, but remains a reminder of Nevada heritage. I am thankful that it is maintained as a place where I can spend time outdoors with The Girl.

It is also a place where I see many wild animals. There are mostly birds (and I do enjoy the raptors), but we see other species as well.

I shot this image with the Fujifilm X-H1 and the marvelous Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro lens that was built by Tokina, otherwise knows as the “Bokina.”

Crystal, Nevada

On the road to Pahrump, there is a little town called Crystal, Nevada.

On the road down to Pahrump, Nevada, we paused for a leg stretch and to watch the Sun set. Everyone else was hurrying on their way to wherever they were going. We watched them rush by while The Girl and Older Son puttered around the desolate landscape.

There are some odd places in this part of Nevada. Hoy’s “Lovership” appears to be one of them. [shudders] No, we didn’t stop there.

This morning it will be time to head back to the house. I think we accomplished what needed to be done here. Now it is time for me to work on the project and finish it up.

I’m going to enjoy the drive home. I love Nevada.