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“You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.”  William Albert Allard

Well . . . today I got out and started shooting with my new Nikon D800!  Hubby and I went to a local park just around dinner time, that we haven’t been to in years.  It was fun to try out the new lenses on both the D800E and the D7000.  The D7000 is a great camera and will continue to be my go-to for portraits and kid shots.  The files are more manageable considering I take so many pictures of the little ones.  The D800E will be my workhorse for Stock and Fine Art Photography.  I’m so excited after seeing the results from the shoot today . . . some really awesome nature shots that will soon be up on my Smug Mug site.    

This was taken with the D800E, and the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII.

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“Revered for its beauty, the stunning dahlia flower comes in diverse shapes, sizes and colors. The dahlia blooms for extended periods of time, surpassing most other garden flowers, and many gardening enthusiasts refer to it as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden.” The dahlia’s allure has a far reach: it is San Francisco’s official flower, an official emblem of Mexico, and is considered in Japan to be a sign of good taste.”  Michelle Fortunado, eHow Contributor

Canby, Oregon is known as the Dahlia Capital of the World.  We were lucky enough to be in town for their annual Dahlia Festival.  I have never seen so many Dahlia’s in one place, fields and fields of them!  And so many different shapes, colors, sizes . . . absolutely amazing!    It actually became a bit overwhelming . . . we spent a couple of hours there in the morning and then went back in the early evening so I could get some pictures in the “golden light”.  

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“Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude!”  Miley Cyrus
 

So here we are in Portland at our Son’s.  They have just moved in to a new home . . . after a very long, drawn out and stressful Short Sale process.  It’s their first home . . . so of course we are so very excited for them.  My Granddaughter absolutely loves anything pink.  I’m actually surprised that she’s wearing blue here . . . and her room is a mess because they’ve not had a chance to unpack everything yet.  I had to get this shot in her pink room though . . . and I did over saturate it, and moved the white balance to the pink side as well.  One person on my 365  forum said it looks like a bottle of pepto bismol exploded in there!  How could I resist though?  After all, she told me that she dreams in pink!

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“There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share an hour with you, and I can share a joke with you….as on our way we go.” 
—Maude V. Preston
 

We’re headed to Portland for the Long Weekend.  One of my fellow 365’ers lives just south of Seattle, and about the halfway point in our trip.  I had met up with her back in June when my Grandson flew out from Maryland for the summer.  Unfortunately at that time I didn’t get to meet her wonderful puppy Layla, who is the subject of every one of her 365 shots.  This time we met down at the waterfront at Chambers Bay for a nice walk and photo shoot.  Oh, and we had our Great Nephew with us so he and Layla got lots of exercise!  We couldn’t have had a more beautiful day either.  The top shot was taken in front of an Osprey next on top of the pier behind us.  

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“Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.”  Dale Carnegie

I’ve been a bit tired the last few days . . . I think the busy summer is catching up with me.  It’s been a pretty awesome summer starting back in June with the arrival of my Grandson from Maryland, then a trip to the Interior, sharing some of our Canadian sights and culture.  July found us in Oregon and California visiting West Coast family.  Since arriving home from that trip, I’ve been to Vancouver Island for a Wedding Celebration, and up to the Interior again to the Lake for a short respite.  We’re headed back to Oregon for Labor Day weekend to visit my Son who has just moved in to his new home.  I think I just need some down time to fill up the energy tanks.

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“I see the mind of a five year old as a volcano with two vents: destructiveness and creativeness.”  Sylvia Warner
 

We’re in Oregon today . . . just south of Portland.  My goodness it is hot!  100+ degrees!  Today is also my Granddaughter’s 5th birthday.  They are waiting to finalize a deal on a new home, so did not plan a party for her.  They had hoped to be moving in this weekend, but with Short Sales there are so many delays and crazy requirements . . . so they can’t move in just yet.  Because it was such a hot day though, we decided to spend the day in the air conditioned Clackamus TownCenter Mall  in Portland.  We thought maybe we could cool off while watching the new Ice Age movie.  Cute movie though a bit long for a 5 year old to sit patiently through.  (The shadow on the right of the top picture is my knee).  

Later in the evening, we had the opportunity to do a walk thru in the new house.  It turns out that the current owners have moved just down the street from where my son is living now – and they are so happy to have my son buying their house.  They are really nice people . . . so we got to get a good look at the place.  My son and his family will be very happy there for a long time . . . The second picture here is of my Granddaughter – she was getting quite impatient with us standing around talking, and so laid down on the tile patio complaining how hot it was.  I had to snap the picture!  Poor little munchkin!  We then went home and had birthday cake that she had picked out earlier in the day.  Yum!  Happy Birthday my little Princess!

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“Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.”  George Eliot
 

I’ve spent a fair bit of time in my car driving over the last few weeks(Canada to Oregon to California, with lots of sightseeing in between).  Today I was able to sit back and relax while my husband did the driving, as he had flown down to California to spend a bit of time with the grandkids, and drive home with me.   I caught this reflection in the car’s mirror as we were driving along. I was feeling quite satisfied with the past 6 weeks of activities since my Grandson had flown out from Maryland to spend time with me.  I am so incredibly blessed in my life, and am so happy to be able to create value in the lives of those around me.  Today though, I was really enjoying having someone else take the wheel!  

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“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.”  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
 

We woke up in our hotel in Ashland, OR this morning with disappointment in our hearts because we hadn’t been able to visit with my niece the night before due to the Salt Creek Fire on I5 in Northern California.  Instead of dwelling on the disappointment though – we looked forward to our day ahead.  The plan was to make it to just south of Portland where my son lives – which is about a 4-5 hour drive.  My husband mentioned that he’d never been to Crater Lake and would love to take the side trip if it would work out.  We have driven the I5 corridor from Canada to California for years and years . . . never stopping to enjoy all the beauty along the way.  Turns out it was only a few hours detour to do . . . so off we went!  I’d never been there either (not that I remember anyway) so was pretty excited to see this amazing natural landmark.  My picture does not do it justice at all.  Stunning is putting it mildly . . . and we arrived under perfect blue skies with just a slight breeze cooling off the mid 80’s temperatures.  If we had not been detoured by the fire, we would not have taken the time to drive to Crater Lake and enjoy the views.  An unexpected, very enjoyable, bonus in our trip . . . 

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“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”  Bernice Johnson Reagon

Today it’s time to head north – home to Canada.  I’ve been gone from home for three weeks now.  Hubby flew down over the weekend, and is driving back with me.  Tonight we were to spend the night in Northern California – just north of Shasta Lake – with my niece and her family.  However, as we approached Shasta Lake, this is what we saw . . . a huge plume of smoke billowing above the trees.  As it turns out . . . a vegetation fire had started in the median of the highway about two miles north.  As we were stopped in traffic, fire trucks and police cars and fire-responders kept flying by.  We even saw several PG&E trucks.  At that point it was growing to about 350 acres on both sides of the highway.  After two hours of sitting still in 100 degree F weather, traffic started moving – only for us to find out that we were being re-routed and not allowed through.  We had to go back to Redding, east on 299, and then north on 89 to Shasta City.  From there – we were not allowed south again on I5, we had to continue north.  My niece lives about 20 minutes south of Shasta City.  Therefore, we did not get to see her.  We ended up finding a hotel in Ashland, OR – just across the Oregon border.  We had left the Bay Area in the morning about 9:30am for what should have been a 4-5 hour drive.  We arrived in Ashland about 10pm – over 12 hours later!  

I was SO disappointed to not get to visit with my niece and her family.  I could have let it completely ruin my day, my experience, the time my husband and I were spending together.   Happily, I am married to an incredibly supportive and amazing man.  We both realized that the whole situation was out of our control.  After discussing the alternatives (just going back to Redding and spending the night, or finding a way around the fire), we decided that we’d explore the route around . . . not knowing how long it would take us or how bad the roads would be.  Well, the roads were quite amazing  . . . as good or better than I5 . . . and though there was alot of detoured traffic we moved along at a good pace.  All in all, it took us about three hours to go around.  And we did what we always do – talk about life and listen to good music and just enjoy each other’s company.  

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This is shot with my iPad as the sun was setting and we were back headed north on I5, just south of Yreka.  Gorgeous sunset with the full moon on the horizon . . . 

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“They say genes skip generations.  Maybe that’s why grandparents find their grandchildren so likeable.”  ~Joan McIntosh

Every year for the past six years I have brought one of my East Coast Grandkids out to the west coast to spend time with family they would not see otherwise.  This year was my 13 year old Grandson’s turn.  He flew out June 20th, and sadly, today is the day he flies home.  We’ve done a lot in the last five weeks including three weeks in Canada (where I live), some time in Oregon, and the last 10 days in California.  He’s a wonderful, caring and loving spirit with that 13 year old boyish zest for life.  It has been my distinct pleasure to “host” him for the past six weeks.  I’m gonna miss you Ty Ty!

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