Tag Archives: photography

Photos by grandchildren 

Any time we are around the grandkids,  they ask to play with our iPhones, or now with Terry’s tablet. Leeya prefers mine because it has Internet capability whereas Terry can only get wifi on the phone and/or tablet. 

Leeya has used my phone and computer since she was 18 months old so she is quite the pro.  Judah is getting the hang of the devices and really enjoys the math game I have on mine. He has also liked the video apps. 

They both like to take photos and sometimes I find about hundred images have been stored on my phone. Judah is hardly still long enough to get a clear picture, but Leeya is pretty good and some of the photos taken during spring break are share-worthy. 



They love the faces Terry makes for them.  

She also took one with her brother and Thomas the train. 


Perhaps I should show her how to edit in Photoshop which I have on the phone. 


Taking photos

IMG_8263   There have been a few posts lately on other blogs about taking pictures with a smart phone. My iPhone 5s is really the only camera I use any more. There is a point and shoot digital camera I bought before I quit teaching, one that would fit in a pocket when I traveled, but I have banished it to a cupboard drawer. It’s too bulky, in comparison to my iPhone, for daily travels.

Someone said that iPhones didn’t take good pictures in low light. I haven’t had too much trouble. The above photo was taken in our dining area for our son-in-law’s birthday celebration right after the first of the new year. It worked for me.

One of my biggest complaints about iPhone camera versus a ‘real’ camera is when I am taking a photo of something in the distance. Although there is a zoom feature on the iPhone, it is still not as good as my husband’s SLR camera with all the fancy settings and lenses. Of course, even my point and shoot didn’t do as well as his big camera.

The big reason for using my iPhone exclusively–convenience. I carry my iPhone everywhere because I use it as my computer most of the time. Interestingly enough, I am writing this post on my MacBook Pro, but most of my recent blog posts, especially those with photos, have been written on my phone. I can write anywhere I go, not needing to wait until I sit at the computer. The nice thing about the MacBook is that I can sit anywhere in the house or yard with it to work, but I don’t take it on my trips around town like I do my phone.

Because I take the phone everywhere, I am able to take pictures wherever I go. Like today, when I have lunch with the first graders. I will pull out the iPhone, take a picture of my school lunch and upload it immediately to Instagram which also sends it to Twitter and Facebook. Convenient.

Local travels

Although not interested in foreign travel, Terry and I love to visit places in our own state, especially places so close by that we can make the trip in one day. After dropping the Subaru to be serviced yesterday, we headed down Highway 99 to visit a few towns on the east side of the Valley.

Exeter was our first stop. This little town is like stepping back to 1955. Very hometown, main street picturesque. It is surrounded by orange groves, and the downtown buildings are covered with beautiful murals. I had visited here with a friend a couple of years ago but Terry had never been. Mind you, like me he grew up in the valley but had never visited these little outlying towns.

You may remember the hat discussion I wrote about a few weeks ago. Terry wore his summer hat for this outing. Here he is, attempting to get a better shot of one of the murals:


A major stop on this trip was in Strathmore at The Orange Works. This is an old orange packing shed that’s been made over into a cafe. They do an amazing amount of business. And the sandwiches are delicious, but what people really come for is the freshly made orange ice cream. Not orange sherbet, but orange ice cream. It is so unusual and the best ice cream I have ever eaten:


We finished our trip with a stop in the tiny town of Lindsay. The temperature was in the 90s by now, the sun beating down on us, but we wanted to see the murals here, too. Far fewer than the 28 painted in Exeter, but nonetheless charming. This mural of the first town’s doctor, a woman, is on the side of the medical building in town that houses a dentist and optometrist.


By 2 pm we were melting so headed back to Fresno where I picked up my freshly serviced car. It felt good to be home early enough to get a few chores done. I didn’t have to fix dinner, though, as we had half of our sandwiches left over from our lunch at the Orange Works. We ate our ice cream first and brought the sandwiches home!

Writing (riding) on the train

Have you heard by now that Amtrak is considering a residency on its trains for writers? You can read a bit more about it here. It sounds like so much fun to me. To ride on the train, talk to people, hear their stories. Write about the people, the places, the train itself. Take photos. Spin the stories and photos together.

Then I wonder, will this work for most writers? Writers tend to be solitary creatures. Many of them are introverts who come alive in the written world but are mute when faced with people who want to chat. Would the writer in residency just sit and write at his/her laptop? Would passengers watch this or would they just be aware that a writer was onboard? Would the writer be an observer and do the actual writing upon arrival at their destination? Lots of interesting possibilities.

I have been thinking about a train trip to Oregon, along the Coast Starlight route. I have heard from friends that it can be quite long, with unexpected delays along the line. One friend who took it all the way to Seattle and then back to Fresno had to get on a bus for part of the trip due to the track being flooded or torn up for repairs after a flooding. I forget all the details except that it took her an extra day to get back. That wouldn’t be bad if you had no schedule to meet, no appointments to keep. Much like my current life.

When on  a train, plane, bus, or trolley car, I am the person who sits down next to you and attempts to strike up a conversation. Some of you absolutely hate this. If rebuffed, I usually shut up and just sit quietly. Many, though, enjoy engaging in a conversation. I’m also the person who will tell you MY story if you are reluctant to share your own. Today, on Cowbird, I read the story of a man who took a bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. On the bus, at the front, was an elderly man who was of interest to the writer, and the story had the old gent as the main character, but the writer never engaged the man in conversation. I thought that was just too sad. I would have sat down, right beside the elderly gentleman, and learned his story, first hand.

Photos by grandchildren

My two year old grandson has recently discovered my iPhone’s camera. He, like his big sister, enjoys watching pbskids.org videos on my phone, and just like Leeya, Judah also likes to take pictures. Most of his photos are of his knees, feet, and the couch he’s sitting on. He gets a few good ones, though.

My friend brought her granddaughters along to our last Ladies Who Lunch, and just like my grandson, her eight year old granddaughter likes to take pictures. Gladys let the girl have the camera to capture our moments at lunch.

Both grandchildren took pictures with me in them, and with a little Photoshopping, I combined the photos to show off their talent:

Photos by grandchildren


The picture on the left was taken in our home’s hallway by my grandson. The one on the right was taken by Gladys’ granddaughter just two days later outside the restaurant where we met for lunch. I think these kids did a pretty good job.

At the salt marsh

The little town of Alviso was our destination on Saturday. We went there about two years ago with our granddaughter and kept saying we had to return, but usually we have to get somewhere when we passed the turnoff so we kept pushing it off. Saturday we made the turnoff.

Stopping at a restaurant I found on Yelp, Rosita’s Cafe, was the perfect place for lunch. I ordered carnitas burrito and found the best carnitas I have ever had. We asked for an order of chips and the green salsa to take to our son-in-law who is a fan of such food. We definitely want to come back here to eat again.

Alviso is an historic town on San Francisco Bay where once fishing boats brought their hauls. As the town sank into the bay, things changed. The canneries closed, people moved. The salt, though, kept coming. The marshes continued to fill the shoreline.9111395769_19ba5efdb0_z

A park with trails through the marsh is here now. These doorways are built along the edges, leading one onto trails. There is a train track on the east side of this salt marsh. As we walked along, the train passed once, and then returned. As I captured this photo 9113629786_b8689238dc_z

Terry snapped this one of me. It was very windy that day and his hat kept trying to blow away. I took it and pulled it down tightly on my head not realizing he was going to make a permanent record.


Retired people activities

Keeping busy is not a problem around here. Terry has been getting more and more requests to take pictures of events. We were invited to a formal dinner at one of the downtown historical buildings last month to celebrate the work of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Terry takes lots of photos for this organization so it was a nice “thank you.” Even though they didn’t request photos, Terry took a few (100) or so. This shows an overview of the room:


In just the past two weeks he has done photos of their monthly breakfast and then of the grand opening of a new business of one of their members. Someone snapped a  picture at the grand opening, and Terry was in it, doing his job:

Terry at yougurt etc


The business is a yogurt shop, and this photo was taken of people with their samples of the product that were given out that morning. You can see Terry back there, camera to face, taking a photo of some other people from the Chamber, chatting.

Friday, while my friends and I went to Kingsburg, Terry went to another grand opening, this time a residential development in downtown Fresno, to take a few photos:


Taking the photos is the fun part. Then he spends hours editing them, putting them on CD, making a cover, and delivering the CD to the organization. On Friday night he took photos for a meeting at our church.  I don’t know when he will get time to edit those as he is doing the editing of our church’s video of the Sunday morning service which is broadcast on TV each Sunday morning. Not only will he do the editing, but drive the finished tape across town to the TV station. Oh, and he also operated one of the video cameras this morning that tapes the service for the one-week delay.

Me? I’ve been doing school tours at Kearney Mansion again. I did this last year and had so much fun, and I guess I was good enough, that they asked me back. The students who come are local third graders. I usually give two-45 minute tours, back to back, but if the school has a large group, then I will do three tours. I’m pretty tired on those days. Since we are in the last days of school here, the tours have finished, and I’m planning to work on a scrapbook project this week depicting a party I helped give one of our church members who was moving away.

Kearney 2


Here I am showing the students a panorama picture of the Fruit Vale Estates as it looked in 1903.

This photo, taken in the farm management office that is in the house, shows an advertisement that M. Theo Kearney used to sell his development in 1889:

Kearney tour guide


So, those are a few activities we have been doing the last few weeks of May, first part of June. The next big thing is to take care of our grandchildren for six days while their parents are doing a summer mission project. I’ll let you know how that works out.

How did it get to be May 11?

I almost wrote May 10 for the title of this post and then realized we just finished  another night so it’s a new day. The time is flying by. We have not been at home  this past week and the next few weeks will be much the same.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is getting ready for a major renovation and will close for three years beginning June 2. A major photography exhibit by Garry Winogrand has been at SFMOMA the last few weeks and one we really wanted to see. Winogrand died in 1984 with over 4,000 undeveloped rolls of film sitting in black plastic bags. Another 2,000 rolls had been developed into contact sheets but not edited. All of this work was culled to be included in this exhibit. It was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing it. Just as we completed our tour of the fourth floor exhibit, the fire alarm sounded and we



were evacuated from the building. Since it was free Tuesday, we decided we had gotten our money’s worth and went on to enjoy the Yerba Buena Gardens which are across the street from the museum.



A lovely spot for lunch in Yerba Buena Gardens

A lovely spot for lunch in Yerba Buena Gardens


Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens

Not more green beans!

The banquet hall

Terry and I attended the Red Heart Ball for Ronald McDonald House Central Valley last night. We had been asked to attend so that Terry could take photos of the evening. It was a lovely event with over 700 people in attendance to raise money for the local Ronald McDonald House for whom I have been doing some volunteer work.

Enjoying a glass of wine with the executive director

I got a good friend to volunteer at the house, and I went along for support and found lots of places where Terry and I could use our skills. Because Terry does photography for another nonprofit organization, one of the Ronald McDonald House employees asked if he would do likewise for them. Of course. It’s our way of giving back.

Last night, not only were Terry and I in attendance, but so was my friend who has been volunteering at the house. Here she is, pouring wine:

Another dear friend, who just retired from the same school where I taught for 21 years, was there last night with her husband who serves on the board of directors for Ronald McDonald House.

Dinner was a fabulous meal with filet mignon as the main course. The vegetable was green beans. I would usually be happy to see green beans, but we have been getting this veggie in our CSA box for the last four weeks. We have been eating a lot of green beans, so when I saw the ones last night, I sighed. Not more green beans.

Today, after operating the camera at church and teaching Sunday School, Terry and I came home to work on editing over 400 photos that were shot last night. It took much of the afternoon and suddenly it was dinner time. I quickly threw together some chicken patties, carrots, cornbread dressing, and, guess what?Green beans. Yep, we still have some left from that last CSA box.

What’s your passion?

Just read this list of ways to figure out your passion in life. I am going to give you my answers, in italics.

What puts a smile on your face?
Following what makes you truly happy is a wonderful way to figuring out what you were put on Earth for. Think about something that you do or that perhaps you used to do that brings you total happiness!

I love to talk to people, to meet new people, to ask them about themselves, to learn about people. It makes me smile when I can help someone solve a problem they are having.

What do you find easy?
What we find easy for us to do, will be related to what we are passionate about. It’s very hard to hate something that is very easy for us!

It’s easy for me to talk to people. It’s easy for me to get up in front of a large group and talk.  It’s easy for me to strategize. It’s easy for me to multitask. 

What sparks your creativity?
Think about something in your life where you seem to always expand its horizon, always coming up with new, fun, and exciting ideas relating to that subject. Whatever makes you creative is something that you are passionate about.

Taking photos from different angles. Taking photos of things many people would pass by. Using my photos with my stories. Talking to people and hearing their stories.

What would you do for free?
Think about something that you would just love to do, even if you were not getting paid. Think about something that you look forward to do, something that you wish you could do all the time.

I love to write, tell stories, take photos, meet new people. I enjoy walking the streets of a big city, a small town, looking for the quirky. Working right now on a book layout of pictures and stories, for free. 

What do you like to talk about?
Most of the time, we aren’t aware of this. A good way to figure this out properly, is to ask your friends. Ask them what they believe you like to talk about the most, what topic makes your eyes brighten up, and changes your entire behaviour.

I love to talk about my grandchildren (which probably drives people crazy). I like to ask people about their lives and what they are doing. I enjoy discussing good books and how the stories relate to our lives.

What makes you unafraid of failure?
When you do what you are passionate about, you have total confidence in your abilities. This makes you not worry about failing, because in your mind, how can you fail when you do what you love?

Failure is always in the back of my mind. This one I have trouble with. I guess the best area I’m not too worried about failing in is taking photos. I can always delete the ones I don’t like.

What would you regret not having tried?
If you were at the end of your life, what would you regret not having pursued? What would you have liked to do, that you didn’t get a chance to?

Here I feel so fortunate. I always wanted a studio apartment in San Francisco, overlooking a street. For 15 months I got to do that. I would go back in a heartbeat. I also get to spend time with my grandchildren which gives me great joy. I would be sad to know I lived without getting that opportunity. I am truly thankful that I was able to retire at such a young age and enjoy doing things on my own time.

And since I love adding some pictures to my posts, here are some of my SF neighborhood: