Monday, December 21, 2009

My Mean Face

My Mean Face

I've found it fascinating for quite some time that by far my most popular image on flickr is the the one above featuring "my mean face". This image has been viewed over 5,000 times, well above any nature image, or beautiful child portrait that so much of my stream features.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Burney Falls

Burney Falls

Every since moving up to Northern California two years ago, I have had two waterfalls on my mind that I absolutely had to visit. One was Mossbrae Falls, which I hit up earlier this summer on my Lake Siskiyou camping trip. The other was Burney Falls.

Friday, October 2, 2009



I spent last weekend paddling and camping at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park. Basically it is a huge collection of springs flowing into where Big Lake, Fall River, Tule River, Ja-She Creek, and Lava Creek converge. Together they form one of the largest collection of fresh water springs in the entire country. Yet this park only gets about 2,000 visitors a year making it the least visited park in the California State Park system.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Juniper Lake


Not wanting to give in to the end of camping season just yet, my wife and I decided to get away for Labor Day weekend and try someplace new. We had always wanted to check out Lassen National Park, and recently we read about a beautiful pristine lake there called Juniper Lake. What a magnificent place it was.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Artist Reception

My Display

My whole family and I made it down to the Urban Hive for the Vox Artist Reception night of the Second Saturday show that is going on tomorrow. A ton of great work up there. Didn't get a chance to talk to many people. Was too busy taking it all in and chasing my son around keeping him happy and out of trouble.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My First Art Show

VOX Sept flyer
Originally uploaded by jillallyn
So this weekend I'll be showing some of my photographs at the Vox Second Saturday Art Show. Every second Saturday in Sacramento there is a big art walk going on, so the people at Vox put together different showings with local artists. This month they are featuring local photographers that are part of the Sacramento Photographers group on Flickr. So it's not really like I was singled out for my talents or anything, but all the same I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fun in the Tub


Had a little fun with bathtime the other day with Andrew, and pulled out my Westcott Apollo softbox. That thing really puts out a great light. It doesn't take much either. I think I had the Strobe set to 1/16th power (maybe it was 1/8th, I don't remember). That power is perfect for shooting portraits at F/2.8 or so. Nice shallow DOF, clean crisp focus, nice soft yet directional light, and recycle time is nonexistent.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Paddling


Jennifer and I spent some more time paddling the backwaters and creeks of Lake Natoma. It was such a beautiful evening. Between the soft light of late day, and the rhythmic sounds of our paddles cutting through the water, our trip was so peaceful.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Learning to Swim


As you get older, you start to take for granted all the things you've learned in your lifetime. When you have kids you gain a whole new perspective on what it's like to learn these things when you're young. Watching my daughter Megan learn how to swim has been one of those experiences, and I can't explain how proud I am of her watching from the side lines (pool side in this case).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Paddling Lake Natoma

Our Canoe

We've been spending a lot of time at nearby lake Natoma, paddling around in our new canoe. It's a great spot to paddle, and is only 25 minutes or so away from us(no freeway needed). Natoma is basically a flow control reservoir in-between Lake Folsom and the American river that flows into Sacramento. Since the water comes from the bottom of Folsom it is always cold (which the trout love), and since it is used to make the flow into the American fairly constant the water level stays pretty much the same year round. It's a particularly good lake for canoes and kayaks as motorboats are restricted to 5mph on the entire lake (and hence, you almost never see any of them).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mount Shasta and Lake Siskiyou Wrap Up


There's something spiritual about spending time in the presence of a sleeping volcano. Shasta dominates the horizon at Lake Siskiyou; you simply can't help but stare at it in awe. Covered in snow even in the middle of summer, Shasta boasts the only known growing glacier system in the continental US. These seven glaciers help feed one of the purest water sources around (see my posts on some of the local waterfalls). The whole area just seems to resonate an energy that revives the soul.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Middle McCloud Falls

Middle McCloud Falls

Sunday of our trip to Lake Siskiyou had us exploring the McCloud river and stopping in to see the Upper and Middle Falls. The Middle falls were particularly breathtaking and had some nice swimming areas around (which the kids took advantage of).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kids Fishing Day at the Hatchery

Rainbow Trout

On the Saturday morning of our trip to Lake Siskiyou, we took the kids to the Mount Shasta State Fish Hatchery. Three days each summer the hatchery allows kids to fish the holding ponds and catch two rainbow trout each. They supply the bait (worms) and have loaner fishing poles and tackle if needed (we brought our own). The best thing, the whole event is free!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mossbrae Falls

Mossbrae Falls
The photo above look better larger.

The family and I met up with another family at Lake Siskiyou and had a great time exploring the area. Figured I'd blog about it a little at a time and start off with a falls I've been wanting to go to for a long time, Mossbrae Falls.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Paddling the time away

(Image taken by previous owner)

Haven't posted in awhile, but just thought I'd share in my latest passion. My family and I just bought ourselves a canoe! (See photo of it above)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Showing Some Class with the Lions

I see myself as your average guy who likes to do "manly things" like hiking, camping, fishing, and talking about lawns over a cold beer with the neighbors. Every once in awhile though, you've got to clean yourself up, put on a nice shirt, and go do something with some class. In this case it was taking the family (sans the littlest one) to a Broadway production of The Lion King, which was showing here in town (and I had to get tickets for almost 8 months ago).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fathers Day

Spent a great Fathers Day hiking in the mountains and fishing with the family. It was a nice day and I had one of those "this is what it's all about moments".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Family Camping in Yosemite


A couple of weeks ago (I know, I'm a slow blogger) the family and I did some car camping in Yosemite Valley. Was kind of a strange trip, even from the beginning. Pulling in to gas up at my usual last stop before the valley at Crane Flat, there was a dusting of snow all over. Snow in June! Crazy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bye Bye Boots!

The Boots I Grew To Hate

I tried to make it work. Alternating socks, laced up tight, laced up loosely, and everything in-between, but I've officially made the decision that I'm breaking up with my boots. My heels wanted me to burn them, but I think instead I'll take advantage of REI's kick butt 100% satisfaction guarantee return policy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Impressions of San Francisco


My company sent me to San Francisco for two days of training connected to the big JavaOne Conference going on all this week. I won't bore you with the details of Software Engineering training, but I did want to share some photos from my wandering in-between sessions.

Friday, May 29, 2009



"It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order - and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order." Douglas Hofstadter

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back on the Trail


Took a short hike out to camp at Island Lake up in the Sierras a little over an hour from where I live. It's amazingly beautiful up there, especially with all the snow right now, and I was glad to get in before it got too over-run with people.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's that time of year


I always look forward to my camping trips this time of year. I've been limited to car camping for quite some time, but here I am all packed up for my second backpacking trip of the season. This one is much more mellow, just a quick over night'r up to a small alpine lake called Penner Lake. Sounds like there is still quite a bit of snow up there, and the road in to the trail-head is still closed. The ranger seemed to think I can get at least half way down the last 2 and a half mile dirt road turnoff, so I'm figuring I'll leave my truck somewhere along there and hike in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day


Wishing the happiest of days to all good mothers out there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Eyes That Pop


One of the most striking elements you can add to a portrait is eyes that really pop. The problem is, nowadays people get lazy and try to do this too much in Photoshop, rather than with the camera using proper light. So my tip of the day is how to find that light.

Monday, May 4, 2009


We got an unseasonably wet weekend, so no new photos from me. I'm not complaining, I love the rain and thrilled that everything will get greened up one last time before the oppressive summer heat sets in. Felt like posting again though, so here is another older photo with a quote...


"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." -- Rachel Carson

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flashback October 31, 2008: Coarctation of the Aorta Artery

I've wanted to write about this for quite some time, but I have a tough time getting the words out. It was a really scary and draining ordeal that I wouldn't wish upon any little one or their parents.

A few weeks prior to Halloween, my wife took my son in to see the pediatrician due to him picking up pink eye from one of the neighbors boys. It was during this visit that we heard the first words that nobody wants to hear. The doctor was listening to his heart, and heard a murmur. She felt it was serious enough that we should make an appointment with a specialized pediatric cardiologist as soon as possible. Within a week, my wife was at the UC Davis Medical Center where my son would undergo a echocardiogram.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Lavendar Girl

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein ~

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vernal Pools


Today I tagged along with my wife and daughter as they had a little outing to the Mather Field Vernal Pools with their girl scout troop.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Clean New Look

Wiley and Clean: 17-40mm F/4L @ 29mm, F/4, 1/200th ISO 200,
Manual flash at 1/4 power fired in Softbox about 2 feet away.

Making some changes with the blog, and I hit on it a bit with the last post. I think it's a much cleaner, streamlined look, and I'm liking it much better. None of the templates were doing what I wanted, so I figured 'what the heck, I'm a software engineer', and I went into the html and fixed it myself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flashback(December 19, 2008): Old Town Auburn

Continuing my flashback series, partially because I have nothing new, and partially because I regret not sharing all the interesting places I've discovered over the last year....

Justice Looms
Placer County Court House: 17-40mm F/4L @ 17mm, F/8, 1/500th, and ISO 400

Auburn is a cool little town only about 20 minutes from where I live, and I figured it would be the perfect place to test out my new camera. I had talked about meeting up with somebody from work for this little outing, but he ended up being busy so I was left to explore on my own.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flashback (December 18, 2008): New Camera


Okay, so I was a lazy blogger over the last year or so and I have decided to flashback on a few events in no particular order.

This one was a key event for my photography. I had been using a Canon 20D camera over the last four years or so. It was a great camera, and I took some amazing shots with it, but over time I grew to know it's limitations all too well. The main problems to me were the flaky autofocus and crop sized sensor. I admired the 5D from afar for quite some time and envisioned myself going after the successor to it. Well, the successor came, and though an amazing camera, I wasn't blown away by the new features enough to sink that much cash into it. My decision therefore was to get a good condition used 5D instead.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts on The Lost Coast


I really enjoyed my journey down the Lost Coast. Like all good trips, it was much more than the footsteps that made up the 25 miles. There's something about being out in the wild, with everything you need on your back, to make you feel like you're alive. You become more aware of the air you are breathing, the sun that is on your face, and beautiful sights that your eyes are witnessing. Sounds are more clear, thoughts more focused, and everything just feels right with the world. It is a feeling I used to know well when I was younger, and I am thankful to have it rekindled in my soul.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Leaving The Lost Coast


Day 4, Racing the waves out:

The final morning started early at about 6:30. I broke down my tent and packed everything up while boiling water for our final breakfast on the coast. We ate fairly quickly and headed out around 7:30, which was a good thing because we were surprised at how high the water had come already.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hiking The Lost Coast


Day 3, Last Camp:

I woke up early this morning, got the fire going again, and ate some instant oatmeal and warmed up tortillas. Our sheltered spots in the Beachwood Inn proved to be nice and warm out of the ocean breeze, and I had slept pretty well. We were in no rush, and I took the time to try and tape up my blisters as well as I could.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lost Coast Trail


Day 2, my struggles begin:

I tossed and turned a bit the night before, with my knees aching and my feet feeling a bit tender. Yet, it was a beautiful morning. The winds had died down, and the weather was feeling a bit warmer. After a breakfast of instant oatmeal, I broke camp, packed up, and was ready to move on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Lost Coast


Being a father of two young children, I don't often get the chance to get out and be adventurous. So when the opportunity presented itself when my wife planned a trip for 12 days to visit friends and family with the kids, I jumped on it and started planning a trip as wild as I could come up with. I knew I wanted to go backpacking, but the prospect of camping in the snow wasn't as appealing as it once was when I was a crazy youth. Thus, I thought about exploring somewhere near the coast. What better coast in California than the Lost Coast. So I got a hold of my buddy Rob and talked him into joining me on a 25 mile journey down one of the only remaining stretches of pristine coast line in the country. Below is day one of our trip. I'll be adding the rest over the next few days.