Oregon Creek Covered Bridge

I recently discovered this covered bridge about 20 minutes outside of Nevada City.  The Oregon Creek is along the Yuba River in North San Juan. It is part of the Tahoe National Forest.  

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The bridge originally opened in the early 1870's and was totally restored in early 2018.  I searched the web and found that the bridge was closed to traffic before it was rebuilt, because it was in such bad shape. 

 The rebuilt bridge uses some of the same wood that was used in the original bridge. 

The rebuilt bridge uses some of the same wood that was used in the original bridge. 

Under the bridge you will find a beautiful creek that is used for fishing and swimming. 

 This is a panorama made up of 5 images. Because my tripod wasn't totally level, you can see a little distortion in the bridge shape. 

This is a panorama made up of 5 images. Because my tripod wasn't totally level, you can see a little distortion in the bridge shape. 

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 When you cross the bridge, you will find a large parking lot with bathrooms, park tables and a sandy beach that gives you access to this large open section of the river. You can swim and even use the rope swing. 

When you cross the bridge, you will find a large parking lot with bathrooms, park tables and a sandy beach that gives you access to this large open section of the river. You can swim and even use the rope swing. 

Dad's Restoration Project

My dad has been a geek since his early teenage years, with a love of all things ham radio. He supported the family by owning a small business that sold ham radio equipment. I grew up around dusty old ham radio equipment. I can still remember the unique smell you get from these antiques and seeing my dad work on these antiques bring up a lot of childhood memories.

He is retired now, but he still has a love for radios and radio equipment. He recently developed a passion for morse code keys, the history behind them and restoring these little communication devices.  Most of them come to him covered in grease and dust. He takes each one apart and restores them back to working condition. 

 Just a sample of over 100 in my father's collection. 

Just a sample of over 100 in my father's collection. 

Many of the 100's he has collected were made in the early 1900's and 1940's.  Below is a small handful that he has already restored or are in different phases of restoration.

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 The graphics on this box are really amazing. Inside is all the original documentation and equipment, in original condition. 

The graphics on this box are really amazing. Inside is all the original documentation and equipment, in original condition. 

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 This device uses a punch tape to transit sounds. It was used for training. 

This device uses a punch tape to transit sounds. It was used for training. 

 This was a military device, still waiting restoration. 

This was a military device, still waiting restoration. 

 Another still waiting to be restored. 

Another still waiting to be restored. 

Roadside Nevada County

Nevada county has a few roadside attractions that are unique and fun to visit:

 Grass Valley robot

Grass Valley robot

 This Tin Man and Tin Woman in Nevada City play Wizard of Oz music when you push his bellybutton. 

This Tin Man and Tin Woman in Nevada City play Wizard of Oz music when you push his bellybutton. 

 Rough and Ready has an entire mini town dedicated to Gold Mining history. 

Rough and Ready has an entire mini town dedicated to Gold Mining history. 

 More from Rough and Ready

More from Rough and Ready

 Clark's in Nevada City

Clark's in Nevada City

 Old Shell station in Penn Valley (Bridgeport)

Old Shell station in Penn Valley (Bridgeport)

Nevada City Dark Tourism

I always find cemetery shooting to be a challenge. I don't always know what compositions will work best to bring out the details of the old headstones and statues. This week I decided to try shooting with the Fujifilm 80mm macro lens and I think it was a perfect choice.  I think this will probably be my goto lens for future cemetery visits.  A few samples are below.

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Long Exposure on the South Yuba

I recently purchased a Lee Filters ProGlass 10 Stop filter. This impressive Lee Filter is designed to eliminate pink color casting found in many other 10-stop filters.  I am very happy with the results produced by the filter on the Fuji X-T2. I didn't have to spend any time changing white balance in lightroom or tweaking the image to remove unusual pink colors. 

 South Yuba River in Nevada City.  13 second exposure. f/16. ISO 100. 16mm lens. Mid day sun. 

South Yuba River in Nevada City.

13 second exposure. f/16. ISO 100. 16mm lens. Mid day sun. 

When using the almost totally black 10-stop filter, the Fuji X-T2 is able to accurately calculate exposure time with the normal light meter. I didn't need to spend any time calculating the exposure time before shooting, unlike using the Nikon D810, which requires the use of an exposure conversion chart. I was also able to compose the shot and lock focus, without removing the filter from the camera.  Just one more reason why mirrorless is ahead of DSLR cameras. 

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7 Portraits, 30 Minutes

I had the opportunity to shoot High School Prom photos in Auburn yesterday.  After a long search for an ideal location, we settled on The Ridge golf course, which is surrounded by beautiful oak trees. 

The biggest challenge for the night, beyond having only about 30 minutes to shoot 7 different kids, was the wind and cold. I think the temp was around 55 degrees. These are a few of the 30+ images I edited. 

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Tulip Gardens in Nevada City

For one month a year (in April), you can visit the Crystal Hermitage gardens in Nevada City. These impressive gardens feature around 17,000 tulips and flowering trees in a beautiful hillside location, about 25 minutes from downtown Nevada City. 

 Fujifilm 16mm lens. The building in the background is a small church. 

Fujifilm 16mm lens. The building in the background is a small church. 

The gardens are visited by 1000's of people and it seems like everyone is taking pictures with either cell phones or full size DSLR cameras.  With all of the colors and different types of flowers, you can imagine why it is so popular.  

 Fujifilm 16mm lens

Fujifilm 16mm lens

 Fujifilm 16mm lens. Only about 60% of the tulips are flowering when this image was taken. 

Fujifilm 16mm lens. Only about 60% of the tulips are flowering when this image was taken. 

 Fuifilm 16mm

Fuifilm 16mm

If you are a Macro shooter, these gardens are a great opportunity to get close to some flowers and maybe a few bugs. 

 Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens

Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens

 Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens

Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens

 Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens.  In addition to flowers, you will find status and water features. 

Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 Maco lens.  In addition to flowers, you will find status and water features. 

Fujifilm 80mm Macro Lens

I recently picked up the Fujifilm 80mm Macro lens and from the moment I held this lens, I knew it was special.  First thing you will notice about this lens is the size. It is a pretty large and heavy lens, made of all metal and glass. The only plastic seems to come from the lens hood. Even with the weight, it seems to balance well on the Fuji X-T2, even without a grip.  When I really noticed the weight was when it was in my camera bag. 

As other people have said, the sharpness of this lens is insane.  But even more impressive is how smooth the backgrounds are when using this lens.  It is by far the highest quality glass I have used and I expect to be using it for a lot more then just close up macro photography.  

 The image stabilization made it possible to shoot sharp images like this without a tripod. 

The image stabilization made it possible to shoot sharp images like this without a tripod. 

 Shot handheld, thanks to the outstanding OIS features included with this lens. 

Shot handheld, thanks to the outstanding OIS features included with this lens. 

 Shot in the blacksmith shop at Empire Mine State Park. 

Shot in the blacksmith shop at Empire Mine State Park. 

 Another handheld flower image.

Another handheld flower image.

Like all Macro lenses, the depth of field is very shallow, so locating the ideal focus point can be a challenge. Overall I thought the lens focused quickly when used inside and outside. Being able to work without a tripod gives me the freedom to quickly move around the subject. 

 Empire Mine blacksmith shop

Empire Mine blacksmith shop

 I really like how well this lens gives you a feeling of depth, even when shooting directly at something like this old rusty gear. 

I really like how well this lens gives you a feeling of depth, even when shooting directly at something like this old rusty gear. 

Model Bridget Pelzman

I had a chance today to work with a 16 year old professional model Bridget Pelzman.  For a a teen model, she really has very talented and made for a wonderful shooting experience. A few of my images from the shoot can be found in today's blog update. 

 The studio (located in a 2 car garage) using a black backdrop and 3 continues lights. 

The studio (located in a 2 car garage) using a black backdrop and 3 continues lights. 

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 The outdoor images were shot with natural light in Folsom. I didn't have access to a flash or reflector, which I think would have really been great to help the eyes pop. 

The outdoor images were shot with natural light in Folsom. I didn't have access to a flash or reflector, which I think would have really been great to help the eyes pop. 

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I really love getting the chance to do portrait photography. If you are ever interested in shooting portraits with me, shoot me an email. 

Red White and Blue

I have always loved shooting rusty things and Empire Mine State Park is the motherload for rusty history. Add some snow and everything changes.  I went out early on Sunday morning to try and see if I could capture the snow mixed in with the gold mining equipment, before the snow melted.  

 The park was closed when I first arrived, but i was able to shoot this over the fence from the parking lot. The sky was pretty dark still at this time of the morning. 

The park was closed when I first arrived, but i was able to shoot this over the fence from the parking lot. The sky was pretty dark still at this time of the morning. 

 When I returned 2 hours later, much of the snow had already melted. 

When I returned 2 hours later, much of the snow had already melted. 

Shooting in the snow is new to me, and the biggest challenge has been to keep the white balance as close as possible, without the snow turning blue or the highlights being blown out. 

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Inn Town Campground

When you think about Nevada City, you have to think about the outdoors and the unique camping experience offered by the Inn Town Campground.  Located only 5 minutes from downtown Nevada City, the campsite offers you an outdoor experience that includes glamping, RV camping or you can just pitch a tent for a few days. 

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 The office and front desk, complete with gift shop.  Inside you will also find a common area with couches, a fireplace and a full kitchen. You will also find a new swimming pool to stay cool. 

The office and front desk, complete with gift shop.  Inside you will also find a common area with couches, a fireplace and a full kitchen. You will also find a new swimming pool to stay cool. 

When you get into the campground, you will immediately see a collection of buildings and tents that you can call home for a weekend. 

 Across from the tents are bathroom and shower facilities. 

Across from the tents are bathroom and shower facilities. 

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Once you go inside a glamping tent, you will be impressed with the care and detail put into each unique overnight visit. You can't get closer to a hotel experience while still enjoying the fresh air of being in a forest. 

 Open the back flap and you can relax on a private balcony with a view. 

Open the back flap and you can relax on a private balcony with a view. 

 Each tent has a unique custom headboard, lights, power and fan to keep you cool on hot nights. Don't forget the comfy bed. 

Each tent has a unique custom headboard, lights, power and fan to keep you cool on hot nights. Don't forget the comfy bed. 

The Inn Town Campground offers 17 different glamping tents with different decorations and features that will make you want to try them all.  Different bed configurations are available for the entire family. 

 A lot of detail has been put into each room, from the wood floors to the chairs. 

A lot of detail has been put into each room, from the wood floors to the chairs. 

 You will be impressed with how clean and new the tents feel. 

You will be impressed with how clean and new the tents feel. 

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The campground offers a place for your own RV or you can bring the family and spend time in a Retro RV with beds and its own bathroom. 

 The new retro RV available for the entire family. 

The new retro RV available for the entire family. 

 Near the Airstream (used as a campground business office), you will find the remains of a historic Chinese Cemetery from the gold mining era.  Don't worry, the ghosts are long gone. 

Near the Airstream (used as a campground business office), you will find the remains of a historic Chinese Cemetery from the gold mining era.  Don't worry, the ghosts are long gone. 

 Next to the campground is the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, which is a great place to visit with the family. 

Next to the campground is the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, which is a great place to visit with the family. 

Cabin in the Woods

If you like old shacks and cabins, then check out the Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in Nevada City, California.  The park is the location of an 1800's gold mining town and what is left is a mini ghost town. 

My first trip to this park was last year in the middle of summer. When I decided to make my 2nd trip to the Malakoff Diggins park, I didn't realize it would be 1 to 2 feet deep in snow, but that really made for some interesting images. 

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If you visit the park, you will find an old cemetery, historic church, lake, hiking locations and you can take guided tours of some old general stores. 

Winter in the Foothills

It took a really long time for winter to finally happen in Northern California. Between storms and bad driving conditions, I managed to find time for a few photos before the rain returned to melt the snow. These are my favorites. 

The biggest challenge about winter in Nevada City is how fast the snow melts. I want to shoot the snow in 3 or 4 different locations, but I seem to run out of time before the snow is gone. 

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 Broad Street, Nevada City

Broad Street, Nevada City

 Broad Street, Nevada City

Broad Street, Nevada City

 Deer Creek in Nevada City

Deer Creek in Nevada City

 Nevada City

Nevada City

 Empire Mine State Park, Grass Valley

Empire Mine State Park, Grass Valley

 Empire Mine State Park, Grass Valley

Empire Mine State Park, Grass Valley

The National Hotel

The National Hotel in Nevada City is the oldest continuously operating hotel in California.  It was recently purchased with a plan for total renovation. When you see the pictures below, you will understand why it will cost upwards of $2 million to re-open the hotel. While the hotel has historic charm, it also looks like a candidate for an episode of Hotel Hell. 

 The hotel offers some of the best views in Nevada City and the public balcony is a great feature. 

The hotel offers some of the best views in Nevada City and the public balcony is a great feature. 

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 The hallways remind you of The Shining. 

The hallways remind you of The Shining. 

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 These rooms were available for rent only a few weeks ago, and the bedding looks about 20 years old. 

These rooms were available for rent only a few weeks ago, and the bedding looks about 20 years old. 

 Everything in the hotel rooms is currently for sale, $25 for the bed

Everything in the hotel rooms is currently for sale, $25 for the bed

 I always like a sink next to my head. 

I always like a sink next to my head. 

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 One of the bigger rooms. 

One of the bigger rooms. 

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Smith Vineyard and Winery

I joined a very cold winter photowalk to Smith Vineyard in Grass Valley. It was nice to finally get a chance to visit this beautiful property after driving past it almost every day. 

 A little red barn in the trees.  Fuji X-T2, 23mm at f2.0

A little red barn in the trees.  Fuji X-T2, 23mm at f2.0

 Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm

Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm

 Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm at f3.2

Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm at f3.2

 Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f3.2

Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f3.2

 This was my favorite image of the day.  Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f4.0

This was my favorite image of the day.  Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f4.0

 Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f8.0

Fujifilm XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS at f8.0

 XF35mmF2 R WR at f2.0

XF35mmF2 R WR at f2.0

 XF16mmF1.4 R WR at f1.6

XF16mmF1.4 R WR at f1.6

 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS at f4.0

XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS at f4.0

 

 

Deer Creek Tribute Trail

In Nevada City, you can find a unique suspension bridge that hangs over Deer Creek. It's a pretty easy and short walk from downtown Nevada City.

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The creek that runs under the bridge is always changing, and today seemed like a good day to get some updated long exposures.  Because of fallen trees and giant rocks, it is a little tricky reaching the ideal shooting spot, but I did manage a location I am happy with. 

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