PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog en-us (C)Patricia Dennis Photography (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Wed, 06 Jun 2018 18:37:00 GMT Wed, 06 Jun 2018 18:37:00 GMT PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog 120 96 Faces of Cuba 3 days in Cuba was hardly enough!   Being on a cruise we did not enjoy the hospitality of the local Cuban B&B’s and only made it to one authentic restaurant.  Our experience was defiantly glammed over.  A 5 hour walking tour of Old Havana gave a nice taste of the surroundings and we were then free to wonder around on our own.  I felt we only got a peep into the nice side of Cuba, and to see the real story we would have had to venture to New Cuba and the out skirting villages. Between visiting a cigar saloon where we experienced the Cuban tradition of cigar smoking complete with the Mojito, Rum, Cuban Coffee and a Romeo/Juliet Cigar then off to see the very talented cabaret dancers at the Parisian, there just wasn’t enough time to take it all in.  I would have loved to see the museums! There was always the guilt factor too.  Here we were on a ship that had gourmet meals laid out and these people were working their tails off for whatever they could get. Needless to say obesity in Cuba did not seem to be an issue.  

It was very apparent that Old Havana besides being rich in culture and architecture was the tourist hub.   The streets were constantly being cleaned for the tourist and we only noted a few incidents of begging.

Cuba has a two tiered currency system : the moneda libremente convertible (CUC), and the moneda nacional (MN or CUP).In general, the CUC, which is pegged to the US dollar, is used to purchase luxury goods. For tourists, that means just about everything, from internet to hotels to meals at restaurants.

The CUP, which is equivalent to CUC by around 25:1, is used primarily by Cubans for staple goods like rice, beans, and flour. Obtaining a few CUP can be useful for paying for street food and public transportation, which Cubans also pay with CUP. The system is intended to keep necessities cheap for Cubans, while keeping luxuries expensive.

Cubans working for the government are paid a monthly salary in CUP, equivalent to around $40.00 a month. The system has pushed a vast percentage of Cubans to let go of their government day jobs in favor of working in  tourism, where they have the opportunity to be paid in CUC and earn a month's salary in a day.

 You tip for everything.  Toilet paper is a commodity so a $1.00 per trip to the Lou is pretty normal.  Those smiling colorful people aren’t smiling for free.  They are counting on your tips and believe me they notice as soon as a camera shifts in their direction. As much as we loved looking at them, they reciprocated and there was always someone watching the tourists from windows and doorways! 

 Dogs and Cats. Oh my goodness Cubans love their dogs!  Little bowls of water and food are left out and it's a community effort to feed the many free roaming canines.  It was explained that the dogs with little signs around their necks had been altered and were now considered ‘government’ property.  There  was no barking, and there was no fighting.  The fate of the overpopulation of cats were another story.  I seriously doubt that many of the little kittens would ever make it through the diseases to adulthood.  As much as I love dogs and cats, I had to refrain from touching any of them.  

What else I noticed was that everyone had their place.  That included people and animals.  Doorways and poles were always claimed.   

Old cars were abundant!  What a step back memory lane seeing the old Chevys and Buicks!  The taxi services were a mixture of horse & buggy, old cars, newer taxis and the bus system.  They all used the same stop lights and abided by the same ‘rules’.  

The Architecture coupled with the color and a splash of graffiti here and there were impressive. For this trip as I really did not know what to expect so  I brought the D500 and 18-200 Lens combination. Using a tripod was out of the question.  What would have been more of a benefit is to engage the long lens to shoot but that would have entailed hauling it around.. From a photography viewpoint I have to say the ‘’living faces of Cuba were captivating!  You see that school kids are school kids acting out just like at home.  There is a place and a time for everything. There are so many layers to history and culture of Cuba and it would be well worth it to go back.

What I would do different?  More time obviously, but lots of change.    What we had was a brief taste of Cuba and not even that!  We had an opportunity to talk to a woman whose daughter was in Cuba as a missionary and those stories are the true day to day struggles!  


]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) architecture cuba landscape people scenery. Wed, 06 Jun 2018 18:37:05 GMT
Tis the season The season is changing!  The bees are buzzing, the birds a humming and the weeds in my garden sprouting!  Natures seasons keep us spellbound and the cast of birds is always intriguing.  If you are like me, i love watching the changes of spring.  The bird's color are dramatically enhanced as they become garbed in their breeding plumage.  The ducks head become more irridescent and shimmering, the avocats tan deeper and that funny knob appears on the pelican's bills.  Bird photography is always a challenge but I can think of nothing more fun than trying to catch these winged gems in their natural habitat!  While out in my yard a familiar old tune came on and i felt it appropriate to use it as the background of this short slide show.  Enjoy! Its in the air.fsproject

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) 80-400 birds colors d500 d810 feathers nature nikon spring wings Wed, 02 May 2018 15:09:05 GMT
Red rocks of Sedona  

Our April destination was none other than the red rocks of Sedona and phenomenal vastness of the Grand Canyon.   In our bag, a Nikon D810, 24-70, 16-35, 28-300- and a Siri Tripod with a right stuff ball head. The latter we were only able to use on a feeble night photography attempt.   Most helpful piece of equipment was the Polarizer which helped to reduce the glare of the afternoon sun and brought depth and color to the rocks.  I truly was not anticipating doing any panoramic shots but the technique helped in displaying the scene that we were seeing first hand.  There is something so serene about the desert.  As you walk along the trails, you are surrounded by a gentle flow of calmness and serenity. It is like stepping into another world. 

In order to make the most of our time and get a lay of the land, 4 tours were taken.  First off, we had a general view of upper Rim Sedona, Sunset Tour, and a 10 hour tour of the Grand Canyon.  I’m not a fan of carnival rides so the upper rim Jeep tour was a bit too bumpy to my liking!  The views however were outstanding and each guide was a wealth of information.  They love those rocks!   Helpful piece of advice would be ask your tour company ahead of time if they are actually stopping so photos can be taken.  We found the stops for the most part were short and there was no opportunity to use a tripod .  Our limited water shots were taken by asking a cottage rental that boasted creekside locations if we could go down on their property and take advantage of the views.  Motel and camping site officials were more than generous. One of our last stops was the Enchanted resort which nestles right at the base of the mountains.  What a gorgeous place and an extra bonus in being able to see the owls there.   In closing, there simply was not enough time to take it all in.  At home, I had a fun time with the post processing and utilized Topaz studio for a painterly effect on some of the shots.  Slideshow below.  Next stop is Cuba!



]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) arizona canyon grand landscape nikon red rock scenery sedona Mon, 09 Apr 2018 22:56:52 GMT
Kaena Point Albatross Sanctuary Len and I just returned from a tropical retreat in Oahu Hawaii.   While rain is a shortage in California, this was not the case in Oahu! Warm showers drizzled down on most of the days we were there. The scenery was still wonderful and the balcony of the condo gave a view that many could only dream of .  On many a night we were able to watch the setting sun glisten against the water indicating another perfect ending to the day.

We visited quite a few areas and one of the highlights had to be the hike to Kaena Point Seashore & Albatross Sanctuary on Oahu . Kaena Point is a natural area reserve where you can get up close to Hawaii seabirds and monk seals and is home to about 400 Laysan Albatross birds.

After the rains, the path to the nesting location was extremely muddy and partially flooded in areas.  The final stretch to the sanctuary was a little sketchy and had you climbing against the cliff on uneven ground.  Don’t look down!   I’m sure that more avid hikers would be laughing at this point but it was about 2 1/2 miles before we reached our uphill destination and Len and I were both tired! Within minutes after entering the wire gate enclosure we saw the white heads of the Albatross poking above bushes. ’The Laysan albatross is colonial, nesting on scattered small islands and atolls, often in huge numbers, and builds different styles of nests depending on the surroundings, ranging from simple scoops in the sand’.  This particular colony had simple nests scooped in the sand.

 Close to the road was a nesting hen with her chick poking out from under her feathery skirt.  There is only one egg laid so this little downy covered guy had a prime seat.  Overhead adult birds glided by keeping a watchful eye on us.  The view of an albatross, with wingspans of close to 6.5 feet,  in flight is nothing more than spectacular.   And yes, at this point I missed not having a long lens but this trip really wasn't about the photos, it was the experience.

All in all it was  a magnificent opportunity to get a glimpse into the wonderful world of the nature surrounding us.   An extra benefit was that the hike back down was a lot easier than the one up): Would I do it again?  Absolutely, but I'd look at taking the other entrance point.

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) albatross birds hawaii hike scenery Wed, 28 Feb 2018 21:31:51 GMT
Looking back at 2017 Click here for slide show:

  As I sit and reflect back on 2017, I have such fond memories of all the places visited and friends and family that accompanied me on these adventures.  While the scenery was lovely, it was ever more special having like minded folks to journey with. And for those that weren’t photography buffs—thanks for putting up with me!  The photos compiled in this short slide are just a sampling and more can be seen on my web.  I relied on the Nikon 800, 810 and Nikon D500.  Without a doubt my favorite two lens were the 24-70 and the 80-400.  The 28-300 came in handy as a general go to but lacked the sharpness of the more prestigious lens. I also picked up an infra red conversion D3200.  Definitely a different perspective and when used in the right circumstances can produce some very interesting images.  Pleased to say in the juried shows I entered took some nice 1st places as well as honorable mentions.   Then never in a million years did I think I would be a ‘’birder’’, but the thrill of capturing our feathered friends in action is fast becoming another love.  It also gets me out with long time friend and neighbor talking, walking and stalking:)  So bring it on 2018!  Looking forward to more adventures.



]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) landscape nikon photos scenery travel wildlife Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:38:37 GMT
Once Writing this brought back so many fond memories of childhood friends! What a pleasant surprise  to have it published by NLAPW.  Leslie, Lisa, Dianne do you remember when?:)


Poem of the Week: Once

March 7, 2017 By  3 Comments

Patricia Dennis, Santa Clara Branch NLAPw


We were young girls
holding hands
playing hop scotch
whispering secrets
sneaking into forbidden rooms
trying on the jewels of our mothers
and dressing up in their gowns

With skirts held high above our knees
we would twirl and swirl around
landing only for a brief second
just long enough to strike a saucy pose

With hands on our hips we would wiggle our derrières
Then turn around tilting our heads this way and that
Puckering our lips and blowing silent kisses

We’ll never be old! We would cry
Always young at heart and
meeting adventures head on
We gave nary a thought of what lay beyond

Years later, children grown, I see you again

We cry in unison, Where have you been!

Our minds flicker to when we stopped trying to stay in touch
when other needs and wants filled the space.

A silent prayer of gratitude for here we are again.

No longer youthful, no longer slim. The years have added wisdom to our faces.

Giggling and laughing we take a moment (to) step back in time
pause and remember those years of innocence
It seems just like yesterday
we were those two young girls
prancing unsteadily in mother’s high heels
and playing make believe

A long heartfelt embrace and a vow: to not let time separate
friends of the heart. Distance and time should never tear apart.


]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Wed, 08 Mar 2017 02:00:42 GMT
The Christmas Puppy  


It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, a friend had lost her cat. I told her I would check Craigslist to see if there was any mention of a found kitty matching Mitten’s description.  Instead what I came across was an ad that read  ‘Urgently needed!  Foster home for a 2 pound dog over Christmas’ . That’s interesting I thought.  A 2 pound dog.  Maybe we could help out.  Len’s daughter was coming over the holidays and  this would be perfect to keep her occupied.  She confirmed it sounded like it would be fun.


The plan was in motion and Catherine and I contacted the rescue center and made arrangements to foster this 2 pound dog over the holidays.   ‘We’re really a cat rescue’ the lady explained ‘but someone dropped this dog off and he is so small he wouldn’t make it without extra help.’  She then brought in a little crate and sat it down.  When the door was opened out stumbled a puppy that couldn’t have been more than 5 weeks old.  Not a full grown 2 pound dog like I imagined!  Catherine and I both exclaimed at the same time, ‘he is so little and so cute! ‘  ‘Only for the Holidays ‘I quickly chimed.

He was a strange looking puppy with a small head, and an underbite that made him look like he was smiling the whole time.  His body looked like it was sandwiched between his head and tail and his legs were way too long for such a structure. He also had a very needy personality, which was probably to be expected considering his young age.  There was no doubt he was cute at this age, but it was questionable how good looking  of a dog he was going to be in the future. 

The first few days he cried and cried and cried.  Catherine would pick him up and just cuddle with him on the couch.  He quickly developed entitlement issues and the couch was to be his domain.  To this day, he hasn't given up that spot.  There were some adjustments, but for the most part, Cricket, the poodle tolerated him.   The cats were horrified and  most important the grandkids loved him.  

Christmas came and he frolicked among the presents tearing at the wraping paper. He made himself at home and admittedly looked quite cute when his head would poke out of a gift bag.  I had to remind everyone we were just taking care of him until a home was found. This statement had replaced ‘only for the holidays’  and soon began to stretch out longer than I anticipated.  Christmas came and went as did New years and Easter.  Brody hadn't budged.   I mean we really, really tried to find him a home.  Each new candidate  just wouldn’t work out for one reason or the other.  I would screen families. They would sound really interested and then they would see him and back out. He wasn’t what they were looking for. Granted he wasn’t the most attractive dog but he was a good dog. The issue was each time we had a prospective family Brody was given a bath, fed his favorite meal, and we would all take him on a last family walk.  He was getting to be a pretty clean little dog. After the last 'no show'  Len just put his foot down.  ‘Look ‘ he said, ‘Brody can’t handle this anymore.  He has feelings. He is getting way too many baths and a little pudgy from all of the last dinners. You get his hopes up and they are dashed.  He’ll just stay here.’  Brody must have known what that meant.  He jumped up on the couch, turned his head up and gave us that 'smile' as he posed for his first family photo.   I could have sworn I saw him wink!  Brody the Christmas puppy, was here to stay! 

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Brody christmas dog puppy rescue Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:12:06 GMT
Working with the light The use of light in a photograph can be a major factor in whether a digital photo turns out and makes its way to print or finds instant demise with the delete button.   My favorite time to shoot is early morning or early evening because the rising sun or setting sun can have such wonderful tones.  I also love reflections and find myself drawn to using them in my subject matter. Different angles can give totally different results so it is a definite plus studying the area and seeing how the light plays out.  While I can always click away and hope for the law of averages, the great shot is the one in which I feel connected with the subject matter and there is that intake of breath that says OMG this is so beautiful.  Of course there are those instances in which for all due respects a shot should simply not have worked and it does.  One day we were shooting Sand Hill Cranes flying overhead. They headed directly into the sun and while I’d rather work with the light than go towards the light the result worked and produced some pretty cool silhouettes!  Not everything can be fundamentally and technically right all the time but if it has captured something special then it’s a job well done!

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) camera dennis digital hobby landscape light nikon patricia photography scenery sunrise sunset Tue, 03 Jun 2014 00:29:05 GMT
New Orleans a day at a time New Orleans is a city brimming with so many different cultures and styles.  The joyful colors, wonderful sounds of jazz, blues, and rock and roll echoing throughout the day and night.  A musical mecca with many no cover charge clubs and of course the street performers were on every corner, tapping their feet, and playing the tunes.  This guy parked himself down and was oblivious to the crowd that was coming done the street.

SmokinSmokinTaking a drag oblivious to the oncoming crowd down the street


  The mule drawn carriages lined the front of Jackson Square beckoning the foot weary tourist to jump on board.  At first I hum humed this.  After all what more could we see after walking the area for the last few days.  Wrong!  The guide, with his New Awleans drawl, added a different twist to the tales of the City. It was over too quick.  Definitely a must do.


Horse Drawn carriageHorse Drawn carriageThis is a must! A city tour that includes the famous graveyard where the voodoo priestess is buried. The guides give a real insight on City lour.

 Of course what trip to New Orleans isn't complete without a tour a plantation!   Our lovely docent with her southern accent gave another lesson in history on our plantation tour.  Here she strikes a classic Scarlett O'Hara pose!

Docent at Houmas House Plantation and GardensDocent at Houmas House Plantation and GardensStraight out of Gone with the Wind! Our guide was charming and informative!


More later!


]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) New Orleans d800 denis drawl hobby landscape patricia photography rain southern vacation Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:07:43 GMT
Rain Rain Rain Crazy weather now days!  When it should be cold, it’s hot.  When it should be hot it’s cold. We learn to compromise and adjust.  . 

I love moody atmospheric shots and a light rain, or early morning fog gives just that opportunity. Rain (in moderation) presents a whole different set of challenges for photography. I'm dealing with the number one concern - You! One should be dressing for the occasion to start with, but having these extras with you can be invaluable when traveling in a car.

My own vehicle ‘’suitcase’’ contains:


Ear muffs

Light weight rain pants

Rain coat (a poncho is great for emergencies!)



For snow:  Shoe treads for traction and to help prevent slipping! COPYRIGHT_PDennis

Water and energy snacks.

A fun experience can take a pretty rapid about turn if you are not prepared.   Camera equipment needs to be protected too!   While they have the covers specially made to fit over the body and lens, in a pinch, a good old plastic shopping bag can be used.   

The main thing of course, is have fun and be safe...and dry:)

Happy shooting!



]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Rain adventure camera hobby photography waterproof weather Sun, 02 Mar 2014 16:14:38 GMT
Take a breath...and laugh! I took today way too seriously.  My stomach was in a knot, my head ached.  It really was so silly.  My GPS failed to work and without it, there was no sense of direction.  Or common sense.  Yep, sad how we rely on modern technology too much.  It was only a 1/2 hour of wasted time trying to find our locale, but so frustrating.  Around this block, down this street, around and around.  Now how hard could this be?!  Lost in Golden Gate Park.   Eventually the puzzle fell into place and we arrived at our destination.  The scenery was still there.  No big deal.  We simply  had taken the wrong turn.

  I took a deep breath and started laughing.  It was so ridiculous.  AND then it struck me how great it felt to laugh this away!!  I mean how beneficial is that!  What does a laugh mean?  It is a healthful exertion.  It takes the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a helpful way.  We all have experienced the wonderful cleansed feeling after a good belly laugh!   So today I vow to have a daily dose of laughter! 

A simple solution to a healthier, happier you!

  1. Laughter is a  tranquilizer with no side effects.  Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress
  2. Laughter is part of the human survival kit.  I invite you to remember the time you felt like you’d have to laugh or I’ll cry!  Laughter provides a physical and emotional release. In addition, our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a 'threat' or a 'challenge'. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as 'challenges', making them less threatening and putting them in a more positive light.
  3. Shared laughter is a powerful tool:  Laughter connects us with others and it is rip roaring contagious. If you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you laugh more.  They in turn will benefit by an elevated mood and reduced stress levels as well.  
  4. Laughing is also the best of entertainments as it livens up many a situation and brings people together in the moment.


]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) 24-70 800 Nikon adventure camera day dennis fun gps health landscape laughter photography Sun, 09 Feb 2014 04:28:48 GMT
Fall travels and tales While there is always something interesting to photograph, the fall holds special promise with the many variations of autumn color.  The vegetation and scenery unique to an area take on their own individual display and offer something different.   But where to go?  My research on the internet was definitely interesting but how is one to tell when the peak autumn actually hits an area? Having to plan time off and arrange plane flights don’t always coincide with Mother Nature!  But, we gave it a shot!  It wasn’t until I took a breath and looked back at my calendar that I  realized how much travel I had packed the two months in search of those autumn colors!!  And as I reflect back I realized that somewhere along the way, the focus of the quest for the  'perfect leaf' diminished and I was content to savor the moment.

It all started September 21st when I went with Suzanne to Oregon. We stayed at the Red Lion on Janzen Beach where restaurant view looked out at the bridge crossing over into Vancouver Washington.  The weather kept true to tradition and rained off and on.   Pretty forceful at times, but  in the end , it resulted in some pretty magnificent clouds.  We joined an 8 hour tour of the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped at Chanticleer Point and were able to see the incredible views overlooking the Columbia River.  The historic Vista House was on the route and awarded   another spectacular view of the river.  Stopped at several waterfalls, including Latourell, Wahkeena and Multnomah where we were able to walk up to the Benson Bridge for a view of the upper and lower falls.   Then onto Bonneville Dam to see the migrating salmon and onto the Hood River area.   The finale of the day was   Timberline Lodge, at 6000 feet.  It was too foggy to see the alpine views but we had a chance to walk through the historic lodge best known for the location of the thriller the ‘Shinning’.   Throughout the tour our guide, Jeff, gave us an ecological history of the area.  Did you know that the largest mushroom in the world is in Oregon?  AND that mushroom is underground and co mingles with the roots of the trees in a symbiotic relationship.    Well worth the $74.00 tour fee!!  But alas, just a few dashes of color among the greenery.  The following day we drove to Albany Oregon to meet up with Jan who then took us to some of the famous covered bridges of the region as well as to Newport Beach where the spectacular Yokina Bridge loomed proud and tall.   Bay Boulevard on the wharf is a popular tourist area, where restaurants, galleries, shops, and attractions such as Ripley's Believe it or Not; the Waxworks Museum and the Undersea Gardens are side by side with working canneries and fish-packing plants.  We watched as shrimp were being unloaded and fish packed.  It reminded me of Pike Market Place in Seattle.  The stay was too short and before I knew it, it was time to head on back to California.  


October 6th I took  a day trip joining a boat tour of the Elkhorn Slough at Moss Landing. No leaves here but certainly an assortment of wildlife!  Elkhorn Slough is one of California's largest wetlands and located in central Monterey Bay, California, just a short trip from the Monterey Peninsula and the Santa Cruz area. The wildlife rich reserve winds inland many miles and provides an important feeding and resting place for wildlife. Expertly guided by Captain Yohn,  it was delightful to see otters with pups in hand cavorting in the water. In the background a lone dolphin glided through the area.  Pelicans were in abundance as were the sea lions and harbor seals. The tour is only an hour and definitely one that can be enjoyed by all ages.  The only motion in the ocean was the sway of the boat as photographers shifted angles!  I vow to take my grandsons on this tour!

October 11th and there was time for another day trip.  This time towards Napa. The leaves had started to turn and we were hoping to capture some shots there along the Silverado trail.  It wasn’t as fulfilling as we had hoped, but none the less we were graced with some spectacular views of red ivy climbing up old buildings. We stopped at a few spots of interest to capture a lingering grape or two.  Peju winery is always one of my favorite places in Napa as the interior of the building is so colorful!  Then, there is Chimney Rock with those vine planted hills in the background.   The vines at both locations were just starting to change color and the grapes remaining were dried.  We were late for those plump grapes and too early for the full affect of the autumn colors.  

October 17th  Len and I were holding our breath that the Government would re open the National Parks and we could take our mini vacation.  Luck was with us and on the 18th we headed into Yosemite.  One of our first views was of Bridal Veil Fall.   This fall flows all year with the peak flow in May.  What we saw was nothing short of spectacular. A glorious rainbow against the rocks which was pretty amazing considering how little water was actually flowing down. 

We then continued visiting some of the standard points of interest in the park. Word to the wise, read the signs that a lot of the lakes and falls are dry during certain seasons.  We failed to do this and after a mile hike, ended up at Mirror Lake only to find it dry as a bone.    Yosemite is as always a magnificent place to visit and from one day to the next the colors changed before our eyes.  The dusky greens changed to orange and gold.  I held my breath.  There was promise of the illusive fall foliage but we would not be there long enough to get the full glory of it! 



From the heart of Yosemite, we headed into Tuolumne meadows where the mountains of the Sierra near the meadows have some permanent snowfields. We stopped at one point and there was still ice covering the streams!  The temperature certainly had become chilly enough to warrant a sweatshirt. We drove onto  Lee Vining where a glorious cove of aspens fluttered at the end of the road revealing a utopia of delicate color.  A little  further up the road and there was Mono Lake.  This is a large, shallow, alkaline lake.  It is impressive enough from a distance but close up has added interest in the form of unusual tufa (calcium carbonate) pinnacles. The sedimentary rock loams from the bowels of the lake with an eerie out of this world look.   The color around the lake was limited to a few wildflowers but oh my goodness how fascinating these tufas are!

After Mono Lake, Len was a sport and made the detour towards the historical town of Bodie.  No leaves here in this desert town, but well worth the drive.  Bodie is authentic Wild West ghost town which runs on highway 395 near Bridgeport, Ca. To get to the actual town you must travel the last 3 miles of it on a rocky dirt road.   Slow going to say the least and definitely a kidney buster.  As hard as it is getting to it by car, you can imagine how difficult it was to the gold miners.  Today, Bodie is preserved in a state of suspended decay.   There are about  110 structures still standing, including one of many once operational gold mills. Many of the interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods.  This town is a  prime candidate for HDR shots!  If you look real close you can see Len standing next to the old building.

 From Bodie we headed through Bridgeport and over to Highway 89 towards Lake Tahoe.  At the peak of 89 there was a glorious pink sunset that was a perfect ending to the day.  

But wait, we are not done!! On October 24th we hopped in a plane towards Oklahoma. Ah, yes a lot of eyebrows rise on this one.  I have relatives in that area and had read that the fall foliage trail was a good one.  I was joining up  with my cousin Barbara who is also a camera buff.  Well we must have gone the opposite direction of the acclaimed foliage trail.  We headed from Oklahoma City to Shawnee, through Little Rock Arkansas, Memphis Tennessee to Behula Mississippi. With all due respects,  I must say that Arkansas with it's mountains was absolutely lovely. Well known for Bass and crapie fishing, the lakes in Arkansas were huge and there were many little swampy outlets.  For this California native, it was very intriguing.  A bit spooky at times as local hikers at one park on the Davenport Lake would all say the same thing “watch out for the alligator”.   As we stopped at one swampy location I felt as if I could feel the eyes of the critter upon me but luckily he kept hidden.  

  And there are wineries in Arkansas as well!  We stopped at a cute little German one, had a sumptuous meal and I managed to convince Barb to stop so I could photograph a  few hay bales.  She took it in stride.   We continued our adventure to visit another relative in Mississippi who assured us that the fall color there was glorious.   The only problem was the frost hadn’t hit yet to turn those leaves and the color he was referring to were vast oceans of poison oak.  There was however an absolutely marvelous garden spider that I spent way too much time photographing.  Those things are huge! We did get a chance to go to the outskirts of Memphis and stopped to see the Mississippi River which is over a mile in width.  It was large and grey.  Did I say it was really large and grey and the famous Beale street is only two blocks long?  It was something new that I hadn't seen though.  Back in Oklahoma City, Will Rogers Park also had some lovely views with trees and ponds.  The trees  were just starting to show promise of full color when I left.  One week more and it would have been prime.  The time I treasured the most was the visit with my relatives!

Back home on the 31st and then off again to Sonoma wine country where there was still color among the vines.   The scenery as always was lovely  and as an extra treat, we delighted in tasting wine along the way.  Mixing wine with photos in my case does not work.  The results become an artistic blur.  A fun time though!

Here it is November and I must say as I look around my own little neighborhood, fall is truly at its peak.  The apricot tree outside my window is laden with shades of yellow and amber hues.  Across the yard, I see Chinese Pastiche glowing in bright orange. Further down the road, other trees glitter in  shades of gold  and  a splattering of Holly berry trees with their red fruit  can be seen here and there.   The crip air causes you to draw your sweater a bit closer.  Driving down the street, even with the telephone wires emmeshed in the striking foliage, I catch my breath with the beauty of it all.  Here is one place where we did hit the perfect timing.   We just had to sit and wait. 




]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Autumn Bridges California Elkhorn Fall Lakes Napa Oklahoma Oregon Photos Swamps Travels adventures hobby landscape Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:59:51 GMT
The modern day Granny  

The fresh air, the exercise are all extra bonuses of being a photo tog.  Most of all, I would say that photography has allowed me to really take the time to really ‘see’ and appreciate the things that are around me.  It is also a hobby that will never be lacking for companions.

There are tons of meet ups, seminars, and gatherings that are always available, and there is never a lack of what to talk about.  As much as Len expresses an interest in my hobby, it is just not the same going with him on a trip as it is with someone who has a camera around their neck.  I am sure he feels the same way about his music. 

I’m fortunate that my neighbor and friend of many years also picked up the same hobby.  The funny thing was that neither one of us found out that the other had gotten a digital camera until almost a year after the fact.  We lost no time making up for that and it goes without saying that it makes it a lot of fun having a like minded person to share with.        

She recently told me a story about sharing our upcoming slough safari trip with an acquaintance.  Their mouth dropped open in surprise. “You are going on a kayak with your expensive gear?”    They must have missed the part that it was a paid tour and we were sitting high and dry.

 Our photos of various wildlife, bears, tigers (all taken at the zoo mind you) can give an exaggerated vision of how we are perceived.  I must admit I had a brief moment of a romantic vision of camera slinging, mountain climbing, kayak boating grandmas swinging from the mountain sides and paddling down rivers looking for the best shot. 

It goes without saying though that having a hobby that gets you out and about is not only medicine for the soul, but keeps one ‘young at heart!’ While we are adventurous and do get out as much as we can, the caveat is that we really prefer that it doesn’t involve heights, or  deep water , and there are definately times that we would love to have a camera caddy that likes driving:) 

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) adventures friends hobby photography Mon, 04 Mar 2013 17:59:12 GMT
What a difference an hour makes Last week we trudged over the hill to one of our favorite spots!  Santa Cruz is always brimming with good opportunities for image taking and we were holding our breathe for favorable conditions.  Now granted, we are limited in the amount of days we have free to do this trip, but I can tell you the weather forecast is not always correct.  What the morning news may say is favorable ends up being a challenge for us.   Sun can be no fun.   Give me some good old fog any day!

 I love that 2nd cup of coffee, so it wasn’t too surprising that we got a late start.  The sun was beaming before we arrived at our destination.  The ocean however was in rebellion, and the waves crashed angrily against the rocks

 We stayed at Natural Bridges for an hour or so then headed off to some other locations. Come afternoon, we were getting ready to leave but decided to head back for one last look, and what a look it was!  It was hard to believe that this was the same place we were at just hours before.  And harder to believe in all of our years in the area we rarely stuck around long enough to see the spectacular sunset!  (Of course that’s before we got the camera!) Wheres the sunset you ask?  The opposite direction of the rock)

 So here we were gazing at the awesome sight of Natural Bridges through the mist.  The ocean had now resided and the sand glistened like a new walkway.

 I had never thought of going ‘’through’’ the Bridges before, but here was our chance.  It stunk like moldy seaweed, but to see the molecules against the rocks up close was a real treat.  It was a rush to think that a few hours earlier this would have been impossible if not fatal.

 We also had an extra visual treat watching surfers, silhouetted against the setting sun, riding the now rolling waves to shore.

So what’s the story here? Foremost, research sunset and sunrise times-- but give anything a few hours, take a few breathes and the outlook will be different.  Just stick around long enough to see it through.




Natural Bridges Sunset

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) Beach Camera D800 Fog Natural Bridges Nikon Ocean Santa Cruz dennis landscape Fri, 01 Feb 2013 14:53:41 GMT
Looking forward to 2013 Christmas came and I was my own Santa.

Starting this year off shooting with a Nikon D800.  W O W.  So as much as I enjoyed my DS50...I was years behind and took a real quantum leap.  For my purpose maybe it was an overstep,( but don't take it with you when you go, so kids, I am spending your inheritence:)

There wasn't one thing the same except the name Nikon and color black.  Live view...OMG...knock me over with a feather.  I still haven't used it...but its there. 

First thing I noticed was the ease of switching ISO settings and toggling between programs. Nikon put all of the controls not only in the menu, but the main ones are right there within easy reach.  What had given me so many problems before, not now - I can switch iso settings in a breeze. Hand held at 3200 problemo!!!   Not that you shouldn't be using a tripod, but it's just not practical when you are breezing in and out of crowds or following a bevy of geese. 

 Oh, I didn't stop there--after careful deliberation, I also purchased a 24-70 to add to my collection.  Christmas time and after the first 100 clicks of ecstacy...everyone was glaring and shouting 'get that thing out of our faces'.   At least the geese weren't as vocal. 

Yep, as always...old dogs take a little bit longer to train, ( I admitting I am narrowing in on the senior citizen category?) and we are still plugging through the owner's manual.  Highly recommend David Busch's photography for Nikon 800/800E.  It truly is a bible...packed with information and it may be my imagination, but the font is easy to read.  This isn't any little pocket manual though..nor something easily transported, but well well worth it. 

Off to shoot:)!!

]]> (PATRICIA DENNIS PHOTOGRAPHY) 2013 D800 Nikon birds camera dennis landscape ocean patricia photography senior Wed, 09 Jan 2013 16:44:59 GMT