I have not written a blog for the past few days because it has been very busy around here lately. We are still dealing with the house fire we had back in January 2021, the siding on one side of the house has been removed. The crew is working on replacing stuff that has been damaged, now it’s leading into the kitchen, the cabinets may have to come out. Now that will mean a new kitchen floor, refurbishing the cabinets, rewiring and replacement of some appliances. We had been planning on doing that after the repairs had been made but life has a way of speeding things up. So we’ve been messing with all of that, emptying the cabinets was the first priority. I’d like to take the easy road and declare it a big complicated mess and blame someone. But the truth is everyone is doing fine, this work takes a long time then considering the decisions that must be made it’s tough.

I’ve been taking Landscapes lately adding animals in as available, there is beauty in Cattle as depicted above. The scene was taken from my side of the slough, it’s 100 yards from me to the Steers; sixteen miles to the foothills in the far background. The colors of our side of the valley come out in grand style, they are all basic earth colors as everything is natural.

I have purchased a new set of binoculars (in July) I used my old pair until they wore out.

I will search the area within my view for activity around the pasture, once in a while a Fox, Coyote or other animals will be out and about.

I have taken several pictures of the Hay Barn in the above photo, it holds an interest for me. In this image I attempted to take advantage of the rising Sun in its Golden Glow. The early light complements the colors of the Hay and the dark shadows it casts as well. The Hay is grown, bailed and stacked on the Ranch I am fortunate to be able to watch the entire process. When the Sun first rises the barns roof apex which is exposed on the end, it will glow as a light in a dark hallway. I have captured it in photographs on occasion however none were of the quality to post. I will continue to take a usable picture; Winter is the best time. The fog, Sunlight and moisture combine to present the opportunity to take some stunning images.

I captured this image a few days ago (yesterday I think) again all natural colors, I could have done better by choosing a more clear animal subject. But I like the way it came out with all of the Trees, Water and the Foothills 16 miles in the distance. The hills make a nice background when it works which it doesn’t always. The quality of images when the subject is far away depends entirely on the lighting. If there are too many shadows the hills take on a funky look, it’s partly due to the distance and the shadows. The greenish tinge on the forefront of the water is a bit odd, I don’t know where it came from. However it is an accurate copy of the actual conditions. I suspect the sky may have had a tinge to it then reflected by the water.

I am preparing to begin a project with Mount Diablo our local extinct Volcano. It was named by the Spanish Explorers as they approached the San Francisco Bay from the South. The Spanish Ships followed the coast North and was waiting North West of this photo about 10 miles away. The meeting place was where the South approach to the Antioch bridge is now. As they passed the peak it rumbled, groaned and creaked which may be typical for a dormant Volcano. At any rate the Conquistadors exclaimed it must be the home of devil, hence it’s name Mount Diablo.

Back to the photo, this is a practice shot which gave me a chance to experiment with Photoshop. There is (in my mind) a huge problem taking pictures of Mt. Diablo, the Island across the slough is criss-crossed with utility power lines and structures. They have destroyed many of my pictures that otherwise would have been good images for posting. I purchased Photoshop with my only intention to eliminate those wires, it’s not as easy as the word “Photoshop” drops off of the tongue. It’s a giant program, although I took a one month long tutorial on it I struggle mightily. It’s to be expected as the learning curve is extensive, the tutorial was involved and rich with information. Each time I use P.S. going back to the classes is imperative. Just to remove the Utilities lines there are more than a few choices of tools. I must say though for a person with curiosity P.S. is not only a challenge to learn but one has a feeling of victory after making a new process work.

My Landscape photography skills need work but I am happy with the progress I’m making on them. If there is a major issue with it that would be I have a tendency to over edit. Either I am too dark or the colors are way too vibrant, it’s in my learning curve. All photos taken in RAW, which I do, must be edited to bring out the colors and detail.

This blog has been all about Landscapes, if I can include a critter or two it satisfies my nature and wildlife niche. I have never liked boxing myself into any identity, I like to identify as a Nature Photographer. However I am able to include Landscapes in my chosen category as well; I really like photographing flying birds. Now the migration is beginning presenting many opportunities for some good images. During this time of year it’s easy to take 1,000 plus images in one sitting. That takes a couple of hours, editing takes a couple of days at times I have upwards of 2,000 on the waiting list.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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