Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

Come join me on my journey!

Mama feeding Babette on Day 8

The unhatched egg is taking up lots of Babette’s room in the nest. You know what I’m thinking don’t you? Should I take the egg out to make more room? What do you think?


Doing inventory on my backpacking gear.

I’m going to use my McHale backpack again this year when I hike. Today I took everything out, checked inside all the bags, made changes and additions and have everything out on my bedroom floor.

Orange bag closest: I’ll start hiking with my Hubba Tent from MSR. It’s heavier than the Tarpent by a pound but because it is a double walled tent it’ll prevent sand from being blown inside the tent while in New Mexico.

Next: Marmot Helium sleeping bag.

3rd: Thermarest: http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=89&cID=1


Day 6 of Baby Babette’s life.

Today is the first day I have seen the Baby lift its head like this to feed. What a rush. And relief. Phew.

Mama flew back to her nest after I disturbed her and assumed this body language. See her spread tail feathers? I think she was trying to hide her nest from view to protect her Baby.


Mama is feeding Baby #1

Yeah! A half hour ago, for the first time, I witnessed Mama feeding Baby, Babette. Yes, I have named her. Even Ray doesn’t know that I’ve named her.

Mama flies away, comes back, arches her neck so she can position her long thin beak into Babette’s beak. I actually saw the baby’s head above the top level of the nest. I really believed that Baby’s neck was broken because she never lifted it up.

When I first moved to the Ranch in Calabasas back in 1989, I inherited the previous owners’ chickens. One of the chicken’s names was Babette. Babette was great. Ray had just moved in and we both loved both chickens. Babette would come running when I called her name. I’d have a carrot in my mouth, I’d stoop down to her level and she’d waddle over as fast as she could to eat the carrot from my mouth.

Unfortunately, my dog Chamo liked Babette too. One day I came home to find Chamo feeding on Babette’s back. I got Chamo off Babette only to find a round depression about a 1/4 inch deep, where Chamo had chewed down to exposed backbone. Poor Babette.

I raced Babette off in the car to the vet. The vet took one look at the bird’s chewed on back and said there was nothing he could do….that there wasn’t any skin to pull together enough to be able to sew the open wound closed. I said he had to find a way to close Babette up. He did and I kept Babette in our bedroom for two weeks while she healed. The doctor said that I’d have to keep her inside as any flies landing on her exposed skin would generate infection in Babette. $400 later.

I enjoyed having Babette inside for a while but only for a while. Ray and I put her outside. She was going to make it.

A short time later, I wanted to see how Babette was doing and I called for her to come get a carrot out of my mouth. Babette didn’t come running. That was strange. Well, maybe she hadn’t heard me. I called again, and still no Babette.

I walked around the ranch and couldn’t find Babette anywhere. Chamo was by my side so I knew Chamo wasn’t off with Babette again somewhere. I asked Ray if he’d seen Babette. No, he hadn’t.

Days went by. Weeks went by. Many years later Ray confessed that he’d seen lots of feathers in one of the horses open corrals. The feathers were the same color as Babette’s had been. Ray hadn’t wanted me to feel bad so he hadn’t told me. We had a resident Bobcat that I’m sure finished off what Chamo had started.

Ray hadn’t told me because he knows I care too much about animals. And now I care about our birds. And I’m soooooo relieved that Baby Babette is being fed.

One more worry left…. when will the other egg will hatch?


Two morning photos.

Cindy has been down here in the desert working for me first for two days and now Sandi. This morning I picked Cindy up at Sandi’s and we did the Bump & Grind at 6am. It was great walking and talking again with Cindy. Cindy and I (and Tina and I) used to meet rather regularly and do hikes near our house in Tarzana. I miss those hikes up Killer Hill in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Cindy seated atop Bump and Grind at around 6:45am.

I took another photo of baby hummingbird on my return from the hike. She looks like she is growing but her head is still not reaching upward for food. Her beak seems to be larger though and she is still breathing. What is going on with the unhatched egg though? In trying to move away from the nest after taking this photo, I jammed my foot right into a cactus. Ouch!

I just took a peak at the nest and Mama is perched directly on top of the baby and egg. She is NOT feeding her live baby!!! Come on, this is driving me and Ray crazy. Feed your baby Mama! Make us happy before we leave for LA today.


Something is wrong with the baby bird.

If you take a look at the photos on the link below, Mama feeds just hatched babies hours after hatching.

What we have here is one unhatched egg and one newborn that doesn’t lift its head up like the babies in the photos posted in the link.

Mama Hummingbird just sits on her nest and doesn’t attempt to feed the baby. Is the baby not healthy? Does Mama know its not healthy? It is still breathing but doesn’t lift its head up. Is the egg not going to hatch because something went wrong? Is Mama sitting on the baby and not feeding it because she believes she needs to do this so the egg will hatch? So many questions.

All I know is Ray and I are very upset with Mama. We want Mama to at least attempt to feed baby. Ray did say tonight he thought he saw Mama sitting on the edge of the nest with her beak inside. Ray said that he did not see baby’s head though. It’s so hard to sit by and watch and know we are powerless.

Anyway, below is something Tina sent me on The Birth of a Hummingbird:


This is truly amazing. Be sure to click on NEXT PAGE
at the bottom of each page; there are 5 pages in all. A lady found
a hummingbird nest and got pictures all the way from the egg to
leaving the nest. Took 24 days from birth to flight. Because you’ll
probably never in your lifetime see this again, enjoy; and please



One baby hummingbird has hatched today!

We have a baby outside our front door. One of Mrs. Hummingbird’s eggs hatched. Ray found the baby hummingbird had come out of her shell early this morning. If you could only see us. We are like proud parents, tip toeing ever so quietly whenever we go in or out the front door. Letting anyone else who comes by to walk quietly. Mama Hummingbird doesn’t like us near her young one.

At first glance baby wasn’t moving and I thought it was dead. We noticed some nights Mom hadn’t been sitting on her eggs. But after another peak I noticed some movement. Now 10 hours later, the other egg is still unhatched but the little black blob of a baby moves non stop, wriggling like a circle worm.

We haven’t had a pet in so long. It’s great caring again for our new pet birds. I hope I don’t leave on my trip before the babies fly away from their nest.

More photos to follow.


At the end of each class our photo teacher, Carol Leigh, posts a gallery of the student’s work during the class. Here is what Carol wrote in an email she sent out to all of us who were in her last class…………

And baby, do you all look great! What I did was select three photos
from each regular student, picking the three that I think are your
best. Here’s the web address:
<http://www.photoexplorations.com/Gallery012008/HTML/index.htm> This
gallery looks really good, and I think you’re going to be surprised at
the overall quality of everyone’s work. (Oops, that sounded sarcastic,
didn’t it? Not intended.) Let me know what you think.

I’m impressed with the photos we produced as the result of Carol’s instruction and critiques.

Hope you enjoy the gallery if you chose to check it out. Once in the gallery, click on a photo to enlarge and see the student’s name at the end of the URL in the browser. Carol picked my neon Elephant photo, the waterfall stairs and the lone gull flying over the Salton Sea as her 3 favorites to put in the gallery.


This morning I received the following email………
The subject to the email was:
A Humble Suggestion.

And we all know I am VERY humble.

Anyway, you might want to let your loving readers know you’re not going to be posting on your blog as much, now that you are in intensive pre-hike mode. We miss your stories and photographs, but will understand.

Shame on me. I’ve been so into finally taking action on the planning and training for my upcoming backpack trip, I’ve totally neglected this blog and all of you. I remember how frustrated I was when I was daily following my favorite Adventure Journalist’s blog and she’d let days go by without a word, and then later, when she stopped maintaining her blog all together because she got a “real” job.

I apologize for not having given you a head’s up on what I have been doing. I was wrong to not have taken the time to briefly let you know that I wasn’t able (as the title of my blog says) to “daily” making entries. I will continue to write in my blog until I leave on the backpack trip, even if all I write is….”I’m here, but swamped.”

What I have valued most in keeping this blog is enjoying how many of you follow along with me in my life. It means a lot to me. I feel your love, your interest and that I am important to you. Well, YOU are important to me too. I want to show how important you are to me by continuing to write until I leave on my trip.

Now, reflecting on what my thinking was that I hadn’t explained my lack of blog entries, I see that it was all about me and how I’d look if I simply wrote a simple sentence saying something like, “Sorry, I’m into planning and training my hike and won’t be posting as often.” I was afraid I’d look selfish and self centered! Ha. Well, what I feared, I created.

Selfish self centered….that is the root of our trouble. p.62

I’m back and I’m never too swamped to say thank you to my loving readers.

p.s. Photo of me yesterday crossing the “raging” (tee hee) Whitewater River while on a hike with the Hiking Group. Not to make an excuse but…taking on being the facilitator takes a lot of time (especially the way I take on the commitment). To encourage continued participation and interest for those who haven’t signed up yet, I write hike day information emails, take photos during the hike, post the photos later, write an after hike writeup. Here is yesterday’s writeup:

Hi Hikers,

What a great hike today. Thanks to Ginger, Jaqueline and Joe for making this hike so nice.

I wish more of you could have been there. Temperatures never rose over 84 degrees. The wind kept us from being too hot. Flowers galore!

Our hike began from the parking lot at the Wildlife conservancy (The old Whitewater Trout Farm). Robert, the manager, was there to welcome us. I’ve talked to him a couple of times and he now knows me and our hiking group. You see, the facility isn’t open for another 2 months or so. But they let us park inside their close gated parking area.

As you will notice from the photos I’ve uploaded to the MHCC Hikers album, we crossed the Whitewater River a number of times. What troopers everyone was. No complaints – just laughter.

We hiked along the south side of the river bed for about 1.5 miles. We then crossed the river for the third time and climbed another mile to the ridge.

After a short break we headed back down the flower filled canyon switchbacks. It was on the way down that Ginger spotted an orange and black beetle on flowers. When we looked closer, we noticed there were orange and black beetles on ALL the flowers in this one area. It’s mating season and they were into it big time. I do intend to go back when it isn’t windy to get some good macro shots of these beetles.

There was more talking on the return hike and I enjoyed getting to know Joe and Jaqueline. Ginger is a regular MHCC hiker and I always love when she is on a hike.

Jaqueline led the way through the trail less river bed.

Then Jaqueline ran across a rattlesnake making its exit into some bushes off the side of the trail. I think Jaqueline said that she only saw the last foot of this huge rattlesnake before it was out of sight. Once I realized what she was excitedly pointing out, I gently put the tip of my trekking pole on the rattle that was barely visible under the brush. Mr. Snake was a big one. Mr. Snake let us hear his distinct rattle letting us know he did not want to be disturbed. We respected his wishes and hiked the last ½ mile back to our cars.

This hike was a little sampling of what life on the trail is like for the through hiker. Everyone said they had a great time and enjoyed the hike.

I know these hikes require a big time commitment, but the flowers won’t be out the way they are now for long.

So save the date……..Next Saturday, March 29th there will be another PCT hike….

We will repeat the shuttle hike we did two weeks ago when we hiked 7 miles through the back Mary Poppins-type flower filled hills. We will change up the ending of this hike though and go a different way.

Hike: Moderate

Time commitment: 6 hours.

Meet at Pavilions, near the WAMU bank parking.

Meeting time: 7:30 am!! (It’s getting hotter.)

Bring at least a quart to quart and a half of water.

Look forward to seeing you,

Linda Jeffers

p.p.s. Maybe you know this already, but in the top right hand corner of my blog there are 3 small photos. These photos change as I update my flickr.com online photo site with photos. I have a folder on flickr for the Mission Hills Hikes and Hikers inside my Dayhiking folder. Here is a direct link to my Dayhiking folder: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gottagolinda/collections/72157603498143009/


Critique for my last, Assignment #6 – Emptiness and Vastness

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers (Emptiness/Vastness, etc.)


I absolutely love what you were going for
in this shot. Look at the soft feathery
clouds in the sky, the pale blues and
greys, the hills in the distance in the mist,
the silvery blue tones of the water, the
way we can see into the water where the
silvery blue turns to a more golden
brown, and then you’ve got rocks up
close to give your entire photograph a
feeling of depth.
But this isn’t an easy scene to compose.
It’s not an easy scene to expose for. You did remarkably well, however. The close-up rocks
aren’t overexposed; the rocks a bit farther out, however, are definitely overexposed. But what
could you have done? If you’d metered for the bright white rocks, the rest of the scene would be
very underexposed.
I’m thinking that the heart of your photo is the space from where we can see down into the
water all the way out to the hills in the distance. The close-up rocks, even though they give us a
feeling of depth, are just too stark and ugly to deserve a spot in your picture.
What MIGHT have worked is if you’d waded out a couple of feet into the water and, using a
wide-angle lens, began your photo with a shallow-water foreground leading our eye out into the
distance. Or, wade out not quite so far and splash some water on your foreground rocks. That
would make them much less stark than they are, would tone them down, and so they wouldn’t
end up as glaring white blobs in the scene. However. I personally have waded a bit too far
offshore at the Salton Sea only to find myself stuck in the most disgusting smelling foul muck
ever. If you saw an aged, moldering sneaker during your visit, that was probably mine. Gross.
My main point is this. Hold your hand over the very bright foreground rocks. See how
beautiful (more beautiful) the rest of your scene becomes? You knew there was a photo here —
good eye. You just included a bit too much of the contrasty stuff.


Beautiful picture. The horizontal lines of the lenticular clouds echo
the horizontal lines of the hills in the distance, which echo the
horizontal line of the spit of land at the very bottom of your frame.

And then the bird’s wings are also quite
horizontal, adding to the overall look.
Your picture has very soft and subdued
blue, silver, violet and brown tones to it,
giving it a quiet and serene look. The bird
seems to be just gliding past on stationary
wings. And there’s definitely a feeling of
isolation, emptiness, loneliness
The picture looks rather noisy, especially
at the bottom. I’m thinking that maybe
the “Despeckle” filter might help you a bit to tone down the grain. Probably not much, but a bit.

I used the “despeckle”filter, just below, after Carol told me to try it. Can you tell a difference? I also cleaned up the photo a bit by cloning out some dirty sensor spots (more noise).

There are also other Photoshop tricks you can use to get rid of noise, but I’m not going to get
into them here.
The only other thing I might suggest is blowing up this photo in Photoshop or some other photo
manipulation program and look at it at 100%. I think I’m seeing some sensor dust here and there
which would be easy to clone out, making your photo even better than it is. And it’s very, very
good. Congratulations to you.


Whew! What a contrast from what we’ve
been looking at! We’ve gone from misty
silver and blue tones to bright desert
What grabs me first is the way the path
snakes through the landscape, creating
lazy, sensuous curves as it goes. We
begin the path up front and it leads us
back and back, disappearing for a
moment, only to show up a little farther
into the scene. Great way of depicting
depth. The fact that the pathway is darker than the surrounding grass is effective, making it
really stand out and catch our attention.
Your exposure situation was a tricky one. You’ve got dark shadows up front and what looks like
an almost white sky in the distance. The mountains are rather light and washed out, but that’s a
natural look for the desert around Palm Springs, Palm Desert. I’d say you handled the exposure
situation well.
I’m wondering if you could turn this shot into a vertical and still keep the feeling of an empty
golf course early in the morning. Why go for a vertical? Because that’s the way the pathway
goes. A vertical format would confine our eyes even MORE to the pathway. Let’s try it. Well, I
couldn’t turn it into a vertical! Not without
clipping off the pathway in the distance.
So I compromised with a square (below).
What do you think? I’m thinking that
maybe I like your version better. It creates
a more spacious, more empty feeling, and
that’s what we were going for here.
Thanks for posting all three of these,
Linda. You’ve come a long way in the past
two months. You should be very proud of
Carol Leigh

Linda here…..
I learned more from this critique on Emptiness than all the previous assignments. I can’t believe I didn’t see the blown out smaller rocks in the Salton Sea Secluded photo.

I knew I liked all three photos very much but something was keeping me from loving them. Carol is unbelievable in the way she sees, and exceptional in her delivery of our critiques. I’ve learned as much from reading Carol’s critiques on the other 27 students’ work in the class as I learn from my own.

I haven’t had this much fun in a long, long time. I have felt more alive and interested in my days. I can’t wait to take another class. I signed up for another class that starts Sept 1st. I’ll be missing two classes because I will be off backpacking. Life is a bitch and then you die!!!!
tee hee.

What I learned is how I can’t learn something if I don’t give “it” time in my day. Just because I read about photography, look at other’s photos and talk about wanting to learn, I’m just living by my intentions, not really living at all. Living by intentions is just another word for procrastination, sloth or better yet, not wanting to look at my fears.

I’m sad the class is ending. I’m thrilled I found Carol’s online classes and, hopefully, am always able to continue taking more and more. Carol offers photography workshops throughout the year. I will look into going to one after September.

Thanks to all of you for following along with me during this class. Thanks for all your support and wonderful compliments. When I hear from you or read the comments you leave on my blog, I begin to trust you all more than I trust my perception of myself as a photographer.

Much love and gratitude,