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Red Fox at Mt. Rainier

My recent trip to Mt. Rainier, in Washington State was a never-ending journey of beauty. Every turn brought a new sight more glorious than the last. 
After entering the park on the South side and rolling through turn after turn on the way to Paradise, I made my wish to see some wildlife.
This little beauty came strolling into view after the very next corner, just for me. Right place, right time? Luck? Something more powerful? Does not matter, I am extremely grateful I was blessed with these special moments to watch and photograph this gorgeous creature.
For fifteen minutes this darling walked, stretched, yawned, sat, winked, crooked his or her head, faced me directly, and came within 5 feet, posing just for me.

 

This image depicts the Red Fox in its most natural state from the many poses I was lucky to capture. 

Red Fox at Mt. Rainier

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Aaahhhh  ZaZa Gallery, how could I resist your offer, free 8 x 10 canvas for a link and review on my blog. They considered me worthy, lucky me!

Digging, digging , digging through images…. I finally chose my Grapevine Glow to test their capabilities.

The criteria I used for measuring quality were: color matching, clarity, vibrancy, color adherance, and canvas quality. ZAZA Gallery exceeded my expectations in all aspects. I have had moderately priced canvases done before which I thought were good, wrong, no comparison. Makes me very glad I am willing to try additional sources. Yes, there are some big names out there who also deserve my attention, however, I love giving new and emerging businesses the opportunity to show me their stuff.  The overall quality produced by ZAZA Gallery, has captured my attention and my business. In addition, ZaZa Gallery’s customer service is exceptional throughout the entire experience; and to top it off, the speedy delivery surprised me so much, I think the canvas arrived two days early, and in perfect condition.  Delivered by FedEx and protected in a cellophane bag with air-filled packaging, they leave no doubt about the care taken with their products.

When the canvas arrived I was so excited, I called to express my enthusiasm and thank them for delivering an outstanding product. During this call,  I snagged an invitation to stop by for a tour of the gallery and business the next time I visit Sonoma, CA. You can bet I will be visiting soon.

Be sure and visit their website www.zazagallery.com and see for yourself the pride they take in their products, and learn about the owners, Hugh Parker, an artist and art collector, and his wife, Senta Parker, a wedding and landscape photographer.

Thank you ZAZA Gallery and the very best to you in this new endeavor.  

Cheers,

Go2Grl

Lightroom 3 BETA Review

Review, Accolades, and a Bug

Disclaimer: This review is based solely upon my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. No bribes, coercion, reward, discount, or product has been offered. I claim no connection to Adobe and Lightroom other than the use of their products and have no personal connection to any individuals mentioned in this review. I refrained from reading any other reviews to maintain objectivity and freedom from outside influences.

As a new convert to Lightroom 2 (LR2), for post-processing images, I learned to use the product through trial and error along with instruction on the Adobe Lightroom 2 Learning Center, tips and tricks found through Twitter postings, and working through The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers (Paperback), by Scott Kelby.

Excited to learn what Lightroom 3 BETA (LR3), has to offer, I read the list of upgraded features, based on user requests,  posted by Victoria Brampton, aka The Lightroom Queen, a member of the Lightroom Team at Adobe.  I played my way down this list gaining a feel for the features found missing, wanted, or needed in LR2. Knowing you are not interested in a play-by-play commentary, I  listed the features I favored, the one bug I encountered, and conclude with my overall impression of the product.

Image Quality

  • Improved

Performance

  • Clear previews in thumbnail grid

Program opening

  • Backup window moved to program exit

Import

  • New easy to use page with panels
  • Visible selections
  • Right-click folder selections

Library

  • Publish and Sync to Flickr and hard drive

Develop

  • Noise reduction improvements
  • New Edge Detail slider
  • Sharpening visible at less than 1:1
  • New Effects panel
  • Crop choices

Print

  • Custom layouts
  • Drag and drop
  • Background color

Watermarking

  • Allowed in all functions

BUG:

While testing different export features, a few original (test) files were lost. Poof! Vanished! Completely disappeared! I did not change the folder name, move it, or touch anything else. I finished with my post-processing and saved changes to original images. Then, I attempted to export images back to the original folder….the window popped up saying it could not find the originals and I selected OK. Closed LR3, re-opened…… Cannot find Originals! What?  I hunted, searched, scoured the computer, every folder, gone.. Previews still show up and I cannot do anything with them. Cannot save new jpeg’s, edit, or print.

So, of course, since this is testing; I repeated the experiment with new test images…nothing bad happened. Images were all there… I more than likely failed to click on the use new names instead of overwrite however, tried this both ways here and in LR2. No loss….. a fluke? I don’t know. I searched the Lightroom forum, one other person had asked the same thing about LR2. That got my attention however, only found answers about having moved the folder or some other action. Nope that is not what happened. Folder is still in the same place with the same name, it’s just empty!

Conclusion:

Overall, I am impressed with previously unknown, missing and needed upgrades, and look forward to the future release of Lightroom 3. This was an exceptional learning experience and I commend Adobe for actively listening to the users and transforming the input into simple, friendly, and powerful features.

If any of you can solve the missing images issue, or enlighten me on how to save something usable from previews, in case this happens again, I would appreciate your advice.

Please feel free to comment.

Signing off,

Go2Grl

Explore Beyond the Frame

Your frame encompasses all that you are, all that you know. Factors affecting the size of your frame include your age, experience, education, relationships, everything you read and watch, and the subjects you are interested and involved in.

Paul Brandt’s lyrics from Outside the Frame describe what happens when you allow your frame to limit your creativity, success, growth, and happiness.

“‘Cause outside the frame
You’re getting on with your life
I wonder if I ever will………

Outside the frame
I keep waiting for something to change
But the picture inside stays the same
And the fact of the matter remains”

Exploring beyond the boundaries of your frame requires the willingness to listen, observe, learn, dig deeper, and ask questions. Being open to ideas which are in direct opposition to your perspective allows you to see and understand different points of view. This means extending yourself beyond your comfort zone and accepting ideas foreign to your usual way of thinking. Openness to differences and acceptance is essential.

Final result is your frame has now grown to encompass the new additions and you can continue to Explore Beyond the Frame with new confidence. How far will you Explore?

Passion For Wine

 Learn about my Passion for Wine and the Wine which could Replace Chocolate on the Wine page!

Up not-so-bright, but early Saturday morning, hoping for the same clarity as the morning before, found a light marine layer forming a misty shroud over the bay. Once again Cannery Row was empty and quiet.
 First stop of the day was the corner of Foam Street and Hoffman Avenue, for a picture of  SEA HARVEST Fish Market and Restaurant. 
 
Sea Harvest
 
Fresh fish arrives off the boats every morning to fill the cases and lobster tank. You can buy your fish and shellfish here and enjoy a nice variety of meals. My favorites include the crab sandwich, oysters and chips, scallops, and clam chowder. The owner pulled up in his Chevy station wagon
 
Chevy
 
and  I told him Sea Harvest is a favorite stop of mine whenever I am in the area. His step-brother and brother-in-law run the other two locations: one in Carmel in the Crossroads shopping center and one at Moss Landing Harbor. 
 
You will find the inspiring images of local, award-winning photographer Douglas Steakley displayed in the Carmel location.
  
Off to Pacific Grove to hunt up a new spot for breakfast.  I found  Aliotti’s Victorian Corner,  a great choice and local favorite. The menu contains the perfect breakfasts for all tastes with very reasonable pricing. I indulged my sweet-tooth with fresh raspberry pancakes which were hot and flavorful. Another BEST added to my list. Next time I’ll have to try lunch or dinner and switch up the standard routine. The sight-seeing drive around Pacific Grove after breakfast netted a beautiful collection of Victorian homes, hidden Inn’s and B&B’s. Looking forward to returning and staying here next time.
 
Back over to Carmel beach for a last dash and splash with the dogs. Had to dodge the blocked lanes for the Halloween Parade and 93rd birthday celebration before scoring the ultimate front of the stairs parking again. Little did I know more fun was waiting as a large school of fish were swimming just off shore and the sea lions were ecstatic as they leaped and rolled,  feeding on the fish, and surfing through the waves. Pelicans were dive-bombing right and left catching their meals. I expected to see Dolphins around with so much fish and activity going on but, either missed them or they didn’t come in for the feast.  
 
Brighton upped the ante as the Uber-Velcro dog, getting even closer than before, keeping barely two inches between us. She tripped me up again but I didn’t go down, phew. I feel part of a comedy act when taking her out in public. She does not mis-behave exactly, but her silly behavior is like a clown act with one folly after another, and she drags me into the game with her. She’s always good for a laugh! When we walk through town she thinks  every open doorway is her personal invitation to enter and shop, usually choosing the shoe stores and small boutiques. She did not get that from me…. Wineshops and Oyster bars are more my style.
 
Speaking of wine; the final destination was Chateau Julien Wine Estate in Carmel Valley for a taste of their latest offerings.
 
Chateau Julien 
 
The wines they produce are dry, fruit forward, well balanced, with beautiful aromas, and a lingering finish. My favorites this time around were the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Black NOVA II, a blend of Zinfandel and Syrah. This wine received 94 points from Wine Spectator and is a burst of flavor. The beautiful estate and tasting room is very welcoming with a large airy feel enhanced by the tall windows and open patio doors in celebration of the gorgeous weather. Dog friendly, you can walk your pets through the tasting room, out to the patios and enjoy your wine-tasting in the beautiful courtyard.
 
Thus ends a smattering of adventure highlights for my two days in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel.
 
Cheers!
 
My weekend journey to Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-by-the-Sea was once again filled with old-time favorites, new views, memories, experiences, and tasty treats.
 
Arriving in Monterey Bay, on a crystal clear Friday morning, mild temperatures and soft, salt-scented air accompanied the rosy dawn. 
 Monterey Dawn
  
Navy officers and recruits were out for their morning jog, while bicyclists soared up and down the path next to Monterey Bay Kayaks. This is the best place for renting kayaks and joining tours to the kelp beds to view the sea otters. Do not be surprised if the sea lions, some longer than your kayak, swim next to and underneath you, bumping the bottom, while you catch your breath, begging them, please don’t tip me over, please don’t dump me in there with you.
 
Cannery Row before seven a.m. is an empty place without the tourists.
 
Cannery Row
 
A stop for a sticky bun at Austino’s Patisserie, across from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is a morning treat not to miss.
 
Driving along the coastline on Ocean View Boulevard takes you past the famous Lover’s Point and into Pacific Grove, offering views of sea otters floating on their backs in the kelp beds, harbor seals reclining on rocks, and deer families walking through neighborhoods.
PG Cypress-3
 
The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, located in a Eucalyptus grove at the top of Ridge Road, is the resting spot for the annual migration of thousands of butterflies. Arriving a little early in the season, only a few Monarchs were visible. As the sun warms the tops of the trees, a small handful of orange, golden, and black-winged fairies begin to flutter about.
 
Monarch
 
On the way out of town, a stop at the Bagel Bakery is a must for ordering a Kuperman or California Nosh for lunch.
 
Carmel beach is up and over the hill, past 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach, down Hiway 101 to Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road, where a parking score in front of a set of stairs makes your day. My two goldens could barely wait for me to get ready to go play in the water. Brighton, my seven-year-old girl, was the Velcro-Dog; sticking to me as close as possible she tripped me over….. ker-splash! I didn’t go all the way in or under, however she made sure I was plenty wet, the wicked, little thing. Paying her back, I hauled her out where she had to swim back in. Not to worry, she loves it! Sabre, my nine-year-old golden fell in love with a ten-week-old, yellow Labrador puppy, Izabel (Izzy). I have never seen him fall in love before and she wriggled her way into this golden heart. He looked at me with his big brown eyes as if he were begging me to bring her home. Her owner wasn’t ready to let that happen, although he did think it adorable, the older fellow falling for the sweet, young thing. Parting was difficult as he tried to stay with his new found love.
 
Carmel Dogs2
 
Tired, sandy, and wet, we head back up the stairs to dry off, comb sand out of fur, and drive to Carmel State Beach, where the water is bluer than the sky. Almost finished with the favorite list for the day, a trip into Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea for a short walk, peeking in the shop windows on Ocean Avenue is in order. Even more tired than before, we wander out to the Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant in the Crossroads shopping center, for oysters and chips. Dinner is done and Sabre scores the oyster I couldn’t finish.
 
Thus ends our Friday adventure.