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“We’re crazy about this city.  First time we came here, we walked the streets all day, all over town and nobody hassled us… Los Angeles?  That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” – John Lennon

I left my heart in San Francisco . . . there truly is something about this city that draws one back to it over and over again.  It is a beautiful city – one I love to visit but care not to live in.  That’s because I’m just not a city girl.  I’m a country girl at heart – but love the lights and the history of this golden city.  I know it fairly well as I lived in the Bay Area for many years.  On this particular day, hubby and I were out and about looking to shoot the sunset.  We drove up in to the Oakland Hills, but were un-inspired.  The sun was still above the horizon when we decided to dash the 1/2 hour to Treasure Island.  It was well worth the effort.  I think it must be one of the best vantage points for photographing the lights of San Francisco.  We were a bit late for the good sunset shots . . . but this one I liked with the lights so crisp.  That’s my shadow as I was attempting to get in to the shot.  I had to clamber over some rather large boulders on the water’s edge . . . and finally just gave up and accepted this as my 365 shot.  

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“Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” – Leonard Freed

We arose at 3:30 this morning to catch the sunrise in the Valley of Fire – about an hour drive from the house we rented in Vegas.  It was pretty spectacular, as we shot in the dark at first – learning how to do light trails as MTM drove his car down the park road towards our bank of tripods all set with slow shutter speeds.  As the sun started to peek over the horizon, we all scattered in our different directions to capture the beauty.  This shot below was taken well after the sun was up in an area of gorgeous red-rock formations.  

I detest early mornings, but this trip was so well worth the effort of getting up before dawn!  

I would do it again in a heartbeat . . . 

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“To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters…”  Harry Callahan

Viva Las Vegas . . . Day Two.   We drove in a caravan out to Death Valley today.  We spent most of the afternoon exploring Rhyolite, a small ghost town on the edge of Death Valley.  I could have spent the entire day there – it was that interesting.  There were old buildings and rail cars, and a very eclectic Museum with very interesting statues and artifacts.  It’s really a Photographers paradise.  We spread from one end of the site to the other . . . all immersed in our own creative juices attempting to put our own unique spin on what we were documenting here.  We didn’t actually make it in to Death Valley because we ran out of time . . . and it was very cold and overcast by time nightfall came.  Our intention was to photograph the sunset, and then get some star trails . . . but that wasn’t going to happen with an overcast sky.  Oh well . . . we left Rhyolite feeling very pleased with ourselves and wishing we’d had more time there!  

This photo was taken in an old abandoned cabin.  I applied some HDR processing, and tweaked a bit more in Photoshop.

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“The real pleasure was having the chance to enjoy being weightless, and the other was to spend some time looking out at this beautiful Earth that we’re all lucky to inhabit.”  Robert Crippen

Today is Baby Girl’s second birthday.  Papa G and I spent the day out and about with her just having fun. We went to the Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills.  It’s a great place to take kids . . . fairly new and lots of great activities.  One exhibit was all about weightlessness in space.  In this one, I pressed the button on a touch screen, then stepped on to this mat with Papa and Ella.  A message said for us to JUMP!  When we did – it snapped out picture.  It’s supposed to look like we are weightless in space!  It didn’t turn out that great – but it was a lot of fun.  There was an option to e-mail it to yourself . . . so I did and thus it becomes my 365 for today!  

We head off to Vegas for the 365 Meetup tomorrow . . . I’m going to miss the little one so much.  I’ve been with her every day for the last four weeks!  

Hmm . . . I wonder who is going to go through withdrawal more . . . 

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