Maple Rock Gardens – Bloomtastic 2018

High Hand Nursery hosts a “Bloomtastic” event every year at the private gardens of Maple Rock Gardens in Newcastle, California.  The gardens were prepped and primed like a floral Christmas.  The weather was perfect, the bees were buzzing, and the macro lens was out.  It was a pleasure to see so many families out enjoying the garden with their children in the beautiful weather.  In a world of video games, malls, and traffic, it was heartening to know that people still love a great garden.  Please enjoy a snapshot of spring from my favorite macro perspective.

In coming weeks I have prepared multiple posts from these beautiful garden each focusing on a different aspect.  Thanks for visiting the garden with me!  Enjoy your tour.

*For those of you camera nerds out there I was playing with my friend’s Sekonic C-700-U color light meter during this outing and I am totally and utterly in love.  I don’t just like it.  I love it. I wish I could marry it I love it so much.  The accuracy of this tool in conjunction with my Nikon D800 is a match made in photography heaven.  I must have one.

Crystal Hermitage Abstracts

In my third and final tulip post I found my macro lens in heaven capturing the tulips at Crystal Hermitage in the mountains outside of Nevada City, California.  I took the liberty of taking some unusual angles of the bright and happy tulips which I hope you enjoy. I have taken a lot of flower photos in my day and I just never get tired of it.  I keep hoping for a better one or another one or a different and new one that takes my breath away.  Thank you readers/followers for giving me a medium to share their fleeting beauty. It memorializes them forever long past their current form.

Happy travels everyone.




Crystal Hermitage

Every now and then I get bored with where I live.  I have lived here all my life and occasionally think there is nothing left to see.  I know this is a silly thought but it occasionally comes in my mind nonetheless.  Then as quickly as that thought comes it goes again when a place like Crystal Hermitage presents itself.  I had never heard of this place.  How has no one told me of this place?!  I happen to catch a post on a friends facebook page and was enthralled.  This hermitage, located outside of Nevada City California, plants a tulip garden each year.  The tulips were in full bloom!  I knew if I was going to photograph them I better drop everything and head over because tulips don’t last long especially in this HEAT.  These days with a toddler at home the idea of dropping everything to do anything is an act of congress (and you have seen our Congress in the news these days).  So, like any good Mom would do, I played hookie one afternoon from work and zipped over by myself with camera in tow.  It turns out it was a good idea because, true to its name, this hermitage was in the middle of nowhere and it took a long time to get there.  Part of the Ananda movement and communal, the surrounding area and hermitage aim to help individuals find joy in themselves and their world.  It’s hard not to get behind a mission like that.  Behold some of the images I captured while on my short visit.  While I may not understand Ananda entirely I can let them know that they helped me find joy in my word on this day.

I am submitting this post in response to Jansen Photos “Rise” Challenge.  It certainly doesn’t get more basic that a flower rising upward toward the sunshine!

Barn Find Cars

Here is the third and final installment of my Barn Find Car posts.  There were just too many strange/odd ball and interesting photos to keep to just one post.  I have spent a lot of time over the years photographing beautiful and pristine cars without a scratch, issue, dent, or fingerprint.  Throw all of those photos away friends.  Barn finds are where it’s at!  Tell me these photos are not more interesting than a perfectly restored and excessively expensive classic car?!  These cars were part of the landscape some already halfway down in the ground.  Some had trees growing through them. Others had impressive levels of alien lichen growing on them as if we were actually living somewhere wet and cool. The amount of dust and dirt on each of these cars is palpable.  (The smell was extreme. I took one for the team to get some of these photos for you friends.)  Hipsters today spend crazy amounts of money and time trying to mimic the patina on some of these cars.  There might not be much value to most of these cars but they were amazing “models” for my camera.  This was an experience I will never be able to duplicate and I hope you enjoy seeing the results.

Black and White Barn Finds

I’ve mentioned on the blog before that my husband is a huge “car guy.”  I get dragged all over the place to go to car shows and museums.  Alas, I really don’t mind because it typically gives me some good photo opportunities.  This time was a little different…  We attended a local car auction related to an estate that had multiple “barn finds” still on the original property.  Most of these cars were part of the landscape at this point.  Some were very likely parked when I was a kid riding my bike in the 70’s! They were far more interesting to me as pieces of art at this point than useable cars or even parts cars.  As part of Cee’s Black and White Challenge I thought I would take a shot at seeing what some of them looked like in B & W.  I hope you enjoy.  (For those interested in the results of the auction some of these cars went for $50 and some went for thousands…)  For me they are priceless as relics used for my art.

Woodland Celtic Games

My brothers and I have been going to the Highland games for as long as I can remember.  It’s a fun little festival with something for everyone.  Music, dancing, athletics, animals, food, vendors…  Well this year and last have been special for me because I get to take my wee one and show him off in a tiny kilt.  He danced to the bagpipes and did a little Irish dancing, chased Highland Warriors and Vikings, smiled confidently at Mary Queen of Scots, stared intently at a Scottish Highland Coo (cow), tried his hand at curling, and mostly just ran free like all little boys should.


He might be a little young for a heavy curling stone but kudos to him for trying.


I might be biased but I think my little one was the best dressed at the Celtic games this year. And yes he walks around everywhere with a flower in his hand.


Pipe bands abound.


Not sure where these guys find the time and money to put these outfits and choreographed spectacles together but we were the beneficiary.


One of my favorite things to watch…big guys hurling heavy things.


The girls are fierce in their flinging of heavy things as well!


Birds of prey were on display.