Still A Kid At Heart

Fireworks ImageI still love fireworks.  As a youth, it was the fun of shooting them off and whatever other mischief we could get into by making them louder.

Today, I really enjoy trying to capture images of them (less burned fingers this way). This year we were invited by friends to the Visalia Country Club for their celebration on July 3rd.  It was a very toasty night after 107 degree day but the slight breeze kept the skies relatively clear of smoke.

Fireworks image 2Besides the friends we were with, there were two other reasons I liked this display of fireworks.  1) There were much smaller crowds.  In fact most of the crowd was much closer to the shooting point and I was all alone on one of the back fairways.  2) What makes these photos special is there is a lake to capture reflections!

Fireworks Image 3Fireworks Image 4  One minor gripe about the evening – the clubhouse left its outdoor lights on and it shows in most of the wider shots.

There are 116 photos from this evening if you are so inclined to browse through the gallery:  3rd of July Fireworks 2013 – Visalia Country Club.   Enjoy.

Posted in California, Photography - General Topics, Tulare County | Leave a comment

Cup Of Jazz

210 Patrons Enjoying Saturday Morning Jazz

210 Patrons Enjoying Saturday Morning Jazz

Do you enjoy music or having a good time?  Enjoy food and good company?  I know a place where you can find it.

For some weeks I have been hearing rumblings of fun times and good music coming from the Saturday morning gathering of musicians and music fans at 210 in downtown Visalia (210 Center Street).  Last Saturday I was able to break free from work and experience it myself – and I plan to return soon!.  Of course, camera in hand, I took some photos.

Musicians, singers and dancers making music together.

Musicians, singers and dancers (some from the audience) making music together.

I have not done any proper journalistic investigation on how this all started, but I gather the very talented man behind the piano, Richard Garoogian, has gathered some friends to  play a variety of jazz each Saturday morning from 10:00 AM to Noon.  And the talent is tremendous!  Did I mention, this musical event is FREE too.  (Apologies up front that I could not stay longer and get the names of everyone).

Richard Garoogian

I liked that Richard gave stories of how some of the music/lyrics were created from the artists he has rubbed elbows with over his career.

Jazz on the Flute

Jazz on the Flute

Jazz on the Harmonica

Jazz on the Harmonica

Add some delightful singing

Add some delightful singing

Larry on the Base

Larry on the Bass

Singing with audience participation

Singing with both musicians and audience participation

A little Soft Shoe next to a Barista doing Tap Dancing

A little Soft Shoe next to a Barista doing Tap Dancing

When I took this next photo, it was with the idea of showing the yummy goodies to eat at 210 – and the person eating it had character.

Eating one of 210's delicious pastries

Eating one of 210’s delicious pastries

Then I watched as he grabbed the microphone and belted out a number of hits.  Clearly “New York Dave” has done this many times before.

“New York Dave” belting out the hits

Latin Dancing to Beethoven's Für Elise

A little Latin Dancing to Beethoven’s Für Elise – probably my most favorite creative piece of music for the day

Once upon a time in another life, I dabbled at the piano.  When I was young my Aunt Sue played magnificently Beethoven’s Für Elise in our home and over a long time I pecked away at it until I had memorized it.  So I was surprised when Richard starts playing the traditional piece on the piano and soon it magically morphs into a Latin Tango, yet you could still recognize Für Elise in it.  Magnificent!  Wished I had shot video of it to capture the music.

I had a delightful time and cannot wait to return to more musical enjoyment.  Hope you stop by 210 on a Saturday morning and take it all in.  Bring your appetite too – the food is good.

146 more photos of this morning posted here: Cup of Jazz

   Ron Ludekens 2-13-13

Posted in California, Personal Reflections, Photography - General Topics, Tulare County | Tagged | Leave a comment

Frosty Morning at Deep Creek

In the Central Valley of California, the most diverse agricultural area in the world, deep freeze is not the farmer’s friend.  Over the last 3 days, that is exactly what was forecast and the farmers were scrambling to protect their crops – especially the citrus growers.  Temperatures were going to drop into the low 20’s for long durations.

Saturday morning, I set the alarm to wake extra early for the purpose of going to the citrus belt to the east of us.  I wanted to make images of the icicles on the orange trees made when the farmers spray their trees with water to keep the freeze from damaging their crops and trees.  I did this during the freeze of 2007 and hoped to improve on those images.

When I got to the closest citrus groves I was surprised to find most of the wind machines not even running and water running out of the groves instead of ice.  Much to the relief of the farmers, a narrow band of clouds arrived in the early morning and prevented the deep freeze.  So my goal was thwarted.

Instead I was in for another treat.  Clouds are a photographer’s friend and the sunrise was promising to be nice.  I stopped along Road 196 where it crossed Deep Creek.  I had always wanted to photograph this area and the old train trestle that crossed the creek.  Today was my chance.  Unfortunately I missed the best part of the pre-sunrise skies while trying to negotiate the slippery slope and barbed wire cattle fence.

None-the-less, I was happy to come away with a number of “keepers” from the morning’s efforts.Frosty Sunrise

Abandoned TrestleSunrise

Rolling Fog

I liked how the ground fog was billowing in the morning light.


Frosty Trees

Complete gallery of images here: Frosty Morning Sunrise at Deep Creek

Now all I need to do is find some good gloves for photographers because when I got the feeling back into my fingers, they really hurt.

A most satisfying morning enjoying God’s beauty.

Ron Ludekens 1-13-2013

Posted in Agriculture & Horticulture, California, Landscapes, Nature - Displaying the Handiwork of God, Photography - General Topics, Trains & Railroad, Tulare County | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments