2014 - maggiekelstrom


*To see the photos bigger, just click on them!

Holiday Card 2014

December 31, 2014

Photo taken at Steamer Landing Park on McNear Peninsula, Petaluma. The David Yearsley River Heritage Center building, which still has the Ghirardelli sign on the opposite side to this window, (and added below the card) used to be the McKinney Livery stable located on the corner of D and First Streets. I believe they moved it to the Landing around 2010, and it is now named for the founder of the Friends of the River foundation which has does such great work preserving and improving our slough! The window reflection is of the Burdell building on Lakeville and D Streets...and the eastern hills of Petaluma.

Edited with Photoshop and OnOne Perfect Effects.

Whoops! The reflection in the window is not the Burdell Building...it is the historic Silk Mill a little further down on Lakeville. My bad, even put the wrong building on my card! No one said anything...

Critters Outside My Window

December 22, 2014

The first photo is of the Orb Spider that lived outside my window for months...she would rebuild and tear down her web every day, and on this day she caught a bee, and had it wrapped and eaten within hours! I took this through my dirty window...I haven't washed it because I did not want to disturb her. A short life span...she is gone now.

The next two are of what I believe to be a turkey vulture...a vulture with a beautiful feather pattern and that kind of resembles a hawk...except for the pointier beak and the red head. This one's head is not too red so I think it is young. Just took these the other day.

Hooray for the New Cuba Policy!

December 18, 2014 (edited January 16, 2015)

Let's go, let's go, let's go! Cuba is such a wonderful place to visit...and mostly because of the people. It is also so unique because the over-half-century embargo has caused them to be stuck in 1962...or so...which gives so much charm to the place...if not the needed forward movement by it's people. Classic cars, crumbling buildings that were so beautiful when first built that they remain a beautiful decay. A photographer's dream!

So, I am so happy for the Cubans, and for the Americans who can visit without fear. Please read about Cuba's very interesting history, and especially about their founding leader José Marti...a truly wonderful man who saw the troubles ahead, but who unfortunately was replaced by a US backed brutal dictator...Batista. There may have not been a reason for the revolution by Fidel, et al...who I truly believe had very good intentions...if the Cuban people were not so impoverished and exploited by the US and others. Not saying Communism is the answer, it clearly is not. (when we support the wrong side, like in Vietnam, they have to turn somewhere) But keeping an embargo on this island has not helped end communism, just the opposite.  So...if you want to visit a place where the people are all educated, innovative, artistic ...and just plain wonderful, visit Cuba! 

Had to cut out all my previous writings...uh, had to edit myself...too long, as usual! I just feel very passionate about the place!

Final Project: Joiners

December 10, 2014

Today  is our final presentation for my Digital Photography class. We are holding it at the instructor's studio and presenting all of our work since midterm. Love the studio...so much nicer than the classroom at the JC. He has all kinds of cool equipment in there...and lots of art on the walls to enjoy...and a little gallery too. The business is called Digital Grange, and the gallery Ice House.

For this project we are to make a Joiner ala David Hockney using 20 to 24 4x6 photos glued on a board in a collage fashion. See about David Hockney here: 


Since I was sick most of the past two weeks I decided to do mine on my apartment...the main living area. And I decided to try Hockney's original method of using square Polaroid photos. Since I don't have a Polaroid...do they even exist anymore?...I used my iPad on square mode. It did a fine job without using flash, which is what I would have had to do with my camera unless I used a tripod which I didn't want to do. I also would have had to crop each photo to a square. There was nothing easy about this assignment! I took so many photos trying to get the angels and perspectives right, and to get them to line up in a pleasing way. I had to take a minimum of 30 3x3 photos to do it all right. If you look at Hockney's Polaroid collages he used many more...

I asked the instructor if I could just do it all digitally since I have a good printer at home but he said no. Even though this is a "digital" photography class, he started out as a film photographer many years ago and thus has had us doing some things the old fashioned way. So...had to get sticky stuff to place the photos on the board...just like Hockney.

On the left is my digital copy and on the right the photos stuck on a board. My attempt in no way competes with the amazing Hockney collages, but I am happy with it.

The Burns Family

December 9, 2014

I got these photos from cousin Marsha yesterday. They live in western Washington. The group shot was on their Christmas card and  was taken last summer I think...and what strikes me is that it is so rare that all the Burns' are together like that. For one thing MB (Liz) and Simon are often on the road with Pearl Jam, and for the other Amy, Wayne and kids live in southern Oregon now. 

In the photo: Simon, MB with Chica, John, Marsha, Wayne, Sam, baby Alex and Amy. 

I need to mention: there was a time...a long time...John and Marsha were sure that Chica the Chihuahua was the only grandchild they would ever have! 

I need to get up to Washington and Oregon soon to see everyone...it has been a long time since I visited up there...I have family and some friends too...and I miss everyone!

Lagunitas Without Tracy!

December 8, 2014

Last Thursday a bunch of all went to the Rivereens gig at Lagunitas to surprise Tracy with a Retirement Party...and she was not there! She was on the road with hubby David Grisman. So we stayed and enjoyed Henry, Steve and Candace...three fourths of the Rivereens. We ate some good food, drank some good beer. Check out the light decoration on the fence...it's almost like they knew that a bunch of hospital staff were showing up!

We missed you Tracy! We are so happy for your retirement...though way too early...everyone is jealous! Except me...I am retired too...yay!

In the second photo is Nancy, Shari, Amy, Kelly, Dee, Paul, Leslie, Lisa, Zane, Valerie, Jack, Courtney and me. The next  photo is the same without me...but with Rob. A great turnout!

Assignment 9

November 23, 2014

For Assignment 9...our last before the final...we were to "produce a highly crafted 11x14 inch (or larger) black & white or color photograph or a similar sized collage (composite image). This image will be printed 13x19 inch heavyweight matte paper with equal borders..."

I chose to do a composite because I love to do those. So... using Photoshop, left the original photo unedited in Raw, added the ducks from a photograph I recently took of the Petaluma River on a similar glassy water day, chose several textured backgrounds to layer and blend, used a few Photoshop filters like Find Edges (because the tree on top did not stand out at all) then put it in Perfect Photo for Dynamic Contrast, and a little Summer and Glow. Then I also painted in a few fall colors with Photoshop.

I am hoping it will look good when it is printed at it's size of 10x16  (I am choosing that size because it centers perfectly on the Super A3 paper)! It looks a little dark here...

I added another edit that I did which lightened it up...I won't know til I print my proof which one will look better.

So...here is the original at the bottom, completely unaltered (and boring)...purposely left it the way I shot it when usually I would at least do some editing in RAW... my first edit above that, then the lighter one at top...the lighter one also has a few other differences...like decreases in opacity of the textures. Not sure which I like best! (on here the one on top looks best because for some reason photos on Smugmug are darker...)

12/8  Final day is coming this Wednesday! We have to present our portfolio of all that we have done. I am not finished with the final project yet...yikes!

I didn't like the way the prints on this assignment looked so worked on one that would look better....the one at top. It looks a bit TOO MUCH on screen, but it prints best so here it is. I think it best represents Fall, which was my intention with the texture layers. I increased the opacity of the texture layers back to almost where they started, added more color, more glow, a vignette...and finally curves, I got rid of the sharpening...it looked too sharp when printed. I wanted a soft look, and this is it!

Assignment 8: Working In Sequence

November 23, 2014

Still catching up...almost done!

In this assignment we were to take two to four photos of related images and present them together to " be interpreted as a group of images that when presented singly appear inconsequential, but when grouped and presented together reflect a complete concept or thought. It could also be more a cinematic approach depicting a narrative or simply a series of images showing the passage of time..."

As you can see I chose the latter...a narrative or passage of time. These photo are actually on one page with a white background that you can't see here. (Which looks different here...)

I had trouble with the black and white conversion on this one, was never happy with the tint, until I found a tritone I liked.

Photos from my archive for this one...from the Foggy Beach gallery.

Assignment 7: Creating Torn Edges With A Layer Mask

November 22, 2014

A little behind on my assignments for class!

This one uses layer masks. After tearing up a piece of paper and scanning the pieces into Photoshop I applied them to a photo, using the layer mask technique, which created the look of a photo torn into four pieces. I added drop shadow and inner glow to the pieces giving them a three dimensional look. Then I also added several textures to the background and blended them until I was happy! I also put it thru a few filters in Perfect Photo. Lastly, I added a border around the whole thing, and printed it on letter size paper for class. The completed image is 6x9. 

The photo is a composite of photos from the recent Halloween party at the DCR...wanted to use something from that gallery...such fun photos to play with.

Assignment 6: Create a Duotone

October 24, 2014

For this assignment we were to convert a digital photo to black and white, change to grayscale mode, then create a duotone (or tritone or quadtone) using Duotone Mode in Photoshop. We were to experiment with variations of colors and manipulating the colors using the Duotone curves.

My succulent photo is a variation of Pantone Black and Pantone 158 C, the Zane print is a variation of the preset Mauve 4655 bl3. There are many presets to play with.

So much fun!

I am turning in the photo of the succulents, and did the other one of Zane for fun. After finishing the duotone, I converted back to RGB mode and tinted his beautiful eyes back to blue. 

Assignment 5 (midterm): Digital B&W

October 15, 2014  

In this assignment for my digital photography class, our midterm, for the first part we were to create an effective black and white photo through digital imaging. We were to use Photoshop's basic tools to adjust contrast and highlights to achieve a good tonal spread. In the second part of the assignment we were to manipulate and enhance the image as much as we liked to produce a print that "reflects our imagination." He said we could use any editing programs we liked...I used Photoshop and Perfect Effects from onOne Perfect Photo Suite.

I took a new photo of the boat and mill at McNear's peninsula because there were some good clouds in the sky...and because I wanted to shoot using my new manual skills (!), but the clouds were not where I wanted them...so took some shots of the clouds, and then thought I could easily blend them into my photo with Photoshop. Well, it was the part I spent the most time on...and never was completely satisfied. The blue of the sky was so different in each photo that I had trouble blending...to get the colors close I would lose most of the cloud! I tried different things and the one that worked the best was to select the cloud with Color Range. 

I used a modified Gorman version to convert the image to black and white, then used Shadows and Highlight, Curves, and Levels, and Burn and Dodge to increase contrast and open the shadows. After it was converted I also opened it back up in Raw editing to make sure the exposure was good...it is so much easier to control the histogram in Raw editing I have found...with all the sliders so available all on one page, and a live view of the histogram changing. 

I really don't know what an "effective" black and white photo should look like, but am happy enough with my image. I really do not like black and white that much and found it is really hard to get it look good printed. It was flat and boring. I used Epson Ultra Premium matte, and my Epson Stylus Photo R2880. It took quite a few printings, after further editing, to get it even close to what I was seeing on my monitor...not the color, but the brightness of certain areas...which is always a challenge, even with color prints, but it seems an even harder thing with black and white. Photos always look better with the back light of a screen.

For the second part, I took my original photo and after RAW editing, I opened it in Perfect Photo. I wanted a more dramatic sky for one thing...and I did first try to do it in Photoshop but the masking of the mill was just too much for me. I knew I could easily add it in Perfect Photo.  I decided I wanted the photo to look like an old black and white that had been hand tinted...hope I achieved that look. I used these presets which I further manipulated: Powerful Clouds, Modern Antique, Tint with Clean Whites, Tea Stained, Summer, Shadows Lighter, Vintage Postcard, Tattered Paper Gray, and Antique Rounded border. Than I added some hand tinting to areas of the boat and a few green plants...and a little pink to the mill. I will probably get docked for not manipulating a black and white photo...oh well...too boring! I guess I will make a black and white conversion of it for teacher...I will put here if I do.

Okay, I made a black and white for teacher. Not too bad...

Of course all of these have been optimized for the printer so they may look a little too strong for the screen. Prints are pretty great tho!

10/24  The instructor really liked my photos! I added the last one because I kind of like it...did not turn it in tho. I want to change the framing because it cuts off the boat, but love the colors the best I think...

Assignment 4 - Abstracts: Shape, Pattern and Texture

October 5, 2014

I have been taking a digital photography class...the first photography class I have ever taken! It is  a lot of fun...and I am finally learning how to shoot manually, etc. I will start putting my assignments here...the first three were very basic so will not include those. For Assignment 4, called Abstracts: shape, pattern and texture, we were to take a photo concentrating on a subject that incorporated elements of design; we were to isolate a fragment of a scene: a close up, removing the context. The design could be curved, straight, horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines, circular or oval shapes, etc. These elements could be in combination, balanced or unbalanced, repetitive or complex, or simple and straightforward. For textures we were encouraged to to work closer and pay attention to lighting...as light coming from an angle accentuates texture. We sent the image as a transfer to our instructor, Joe Mcdonald,  and he printed it on film. We all met at his studio here in town...Digital Grange  (www.digitalgrange.com)...and he showed us how to transfer our film image onto this very absorbent paper (will find out exactly what it was and add to a post script) using Purell of all things. We wet the paper with the Purell, then layer down the transfer, and rolled it flat with rollers. Most of them, including mine, came out with both splotches on the edges and areas where it did not transfer. He said it takes a few tries to get it right. The image looked so fantastic on this paper tho! Wish I could have done a better job.

Updated paper info: The paper was Arches 88, a heavyweight 100% cotton fiber paper that is unsized for high absorption. 

I added my attempt...as you can see, it would take a few more times to get it right!

Super Moon

August 10, 2014

Walked out to Steamer's Landing to the end McNear peninsula here in Petaluma...which is the place where the Rivertown Revival is held...to try to get photos of the super moon. I did not think I would be able to because of the smoke from the fires, and the fog/clouds so did not take my long lens nor my tripod. Too bad because had a good shot of it for a short bit. The scenery was not great tho...the highway! Oh well...next time I will try to be more prepared!

As you can see, the moon quickly hid behind the clouds...and smoke from our state burning up! Also there was a reddish haze from same mixed with sunset hues. More photos will be in the Places folder...I think. Took some late afternoon shots while I was waiting for moon.

These look very dull on SmugMug...they do not look quite like this on my computer screen...I'm gonna try to brighten them up a bit with PS!


July 3, 2014

I just learned that my old friend Buzzy died in March. He was part of a large group of friends who all came together in Santa Cruz in the 60s. Buz was one of the stars among us, destined for great things. He was married, and going to university when I met him, while the rest of us were mostly still trying to figure things out: some having returned from Viet Nam, others perfecting their music and art...and some of us perfecting our art of hanging around,  just trying to "find ourselves".

Buzzy and Vickie and the boys had an apartment on campus at UCSC and he used to invite us all into that world by showing old movies (The Night of the Living Dead) and  slide shows (the Mayan Indians). He loved videotaping and I remember a party for Jackie's 30th birthday where we all gathered at the ranch to eat, smoke and listen to the band play (were they calling themselves Swamp Steam then?) ...the usual, and then at sunset we watched the whole thing on a monitor. Very modern for 1972! He had borrowed all this very sophisticated  equipment from the campus. How I would love to see that tape!

It  has been about seven years since I last had contact with Buzzy, he was still living in Santa Cruz county at that time, and I guess had become rather reclusive. He was the one who broke off communication after a bit, but I am glad I at least was able to express how much he meant to me.  It is so hard for me to imagine him a recluse...he was such a people person. But I guess all the tragedies in his life, starting with Vickie's murder in 1976,  finally brought him down.

Vickie, a beautiful woman who was born days apart from him at the same hospital where their mothers actually shared a room, who had a similar last name, and who I believe went to school with him all through their childhood, and who was the mother of his two beautiful sons, Christian and Damien, was so tragically taken at only 31 years of age. I think he and Vickie had a good marriage in that he was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted...many didn't even know he was married, but those of us who knew both of them understood how tight their bond was.

I will never think of my Santa Cruz days without thinking of Buz. He was such a big part of my early experience there...so many memories, such a great character.  He was someone who always made me feel special, who always seemed to show an interest in me. I remember how joyful he was, his giggle of delight over so many things. I left Santa Cruz early 80s at the height of his career...I did not see much of him then, but could still run into him and it was like no time had passed. 

Buz dabbled in many things...he even had a local TV show for a while , I remember him coming to Zachery's Restaurant, where I worked in the early 70s, to film us for an ad. I remember Vickie also being involved with the show but cannot remember exactly how now. I particularly remember he had the Pointer Sisters on and interviewed them. He ultimately became  a print journalist...music critic, founding editor of one of Santa Cruz's best papers and  was a big part of the thinkers and writers in that town. From reading all the obits and in memoriams for him now, I can see how he shared with new friends the spirit we all knew and loved.

The photos are from the 70s and 80s, the first is from a New Year's Eve party 1971 (no! Not a beard without a mustache!); the second is from 1974 and is actually the only photo I have of Vickie taken at one of our crazy "pool" parties at Joan and Brian's...around the kids pool; third a going away party for Joan and Brian in 1978...with Buzzy in the background; and then three in 1985 from Kathy's Campisi's 40th birthday party. (Christina in one )  I wish I had more photos with Buzzy, we just didn't take very many photos back then, and the ones we took are pretty awful! I borrowed two of him from the net...both from the article below. One is the cover of Good Times and the other, with the hat, just makes me smile when I see it because it is so Buzzy! Gleeful, playful, ...full of the devil...that is what I think of when I think of Buzzy.

Please read this great article written by those who knew him best in his later years and who also have the gift to describe him so perfectly.  I never met Geoffrey Dunn, but did meet Christina Waters once or twice..she and Buzzy were a couple for a long time and seemed so well suited to one another. http://www.gtweekly.com/index.php/santa-cruz-news/good-times-cover-stories/5556-printers-devil.html

My Walking/Jogging Playlist

June 28, 2014

Here is my walking/jogging playlist. I found a site that lists songs by BPM so I could easily pick songs at my pace, which is apparently 120-130 bpm. It really does help!

A few months ago I washed...and dried...my activity tracker (it is also a pedometer), the Fitbit One. So I thought it was for sure dead. I plugged it into it's charger and sure enough, nothing. I was going to throw it away, but instead put it in a baggy and into a drawer. 100.00 plus tax down the drain. Today I got my new Fitbit, this time a Flex band, same price, thought I wouldn't be as likely to wash a wrist band.  But I don't like it so am sending it back. While I was on the website, I saw a reference to accidentally washing the Fitbit! So I read up on it, followed some instructions and Voila! It is working again! Amazing...

Alexandra Marguerite Buchhold

April 28, 2014 

Welcome to my newest cousin,  Alexandra Marguerite, born to Amy and Wayne this am. Sammy's baby sister, and my cousin Marsha's first granddaughter!  Thanks for the photos Marsha! 

*Photos updated 6/28, Alex still only a few days old...

The Butter and Egg Days Parade

April 27, 2014

Yesterday I took the 40D to the Butter & Egg Days parade to take some pics. With the bright cloudy sky, many of them were overexposed. Also I discovered my light meter was set way to the right...do not know how that happened. (???) But many of my photos have blown out areas that needed to be fixed in Raw editing. I am not too great at doing that...so they will need more help.

Because of this... today I finally looked up how to meter the camera to the bright light without losing auto focus. I discovered AE Lock, and where to find the button on my camera. What a difference this is going to make!  Progress to becoming a real photographer! I do not know why I am so resistant to learning these things when I love to take photos so much.

Butter & Egg Days pics to come. Didn't get too many, was late to the parade, then ran into Nancy Corda and hopped in with Gary to ride in the parade for the last part. They had killer jello shots! I wasn't really in the mood to shoot, but got a few that I will post. Got a tee shirt that says "we love our parade", and that's the truth!

(5/3 Update) This is Nancy's family float for the parade...it says Homegrown Petalumans, which they surely are! The theme this year was "homegrown" and so I tried to get as many of the homegrown companies here as I could, but since I was late missed some. We have many good ones like Three Twins ice cream, Rocky and Rosie  chickens...etc! Most of the photos are pretty bad, had to do a lot of post editing and still they are not right. But I am posting them anyway...and mainly for Nancy...some of the ones of her family did not come out too bad. And BTW...Nancy's float won the prize for best!


April 27, 2014

Sadly, I just learned my friend Wayne Sheffield has died. He fought long and hard against his prostate cancer. My heart aches for my friend Jackie who has been married to him for almost 50 years...I believe their 50th anniversary would have been in June. I was a bridesmaid at that wedding, and knew then this couple would last forever; skeptic that I am about these things, I was not wrong. They were an amazing couple and I cannot imagine them apart. They have four children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who I am also thinking about with sadness today.

Here is a photo of Wayne in his beloved Buick he restored himself.  He was so much fun, laughed so easily...a very passionate, honest guy who also got very animated when arguing  with me about politics! He will be missed by so many.

7/4 More photos added: Jackie and Wayne about 1996, at the 40th high school reunion 2001, in my patio with me and Lee  2007, and with Lee  at their dining table 2012. Lee and I both were Jackie's bridesmaids 50 years ago June 20th.

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