Wandering Camera – Sunset Hour

High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to October’s Wandering Camera!  I love October for many reasons, but this particular one is very special to me.  Twenty years ago, this east coast girl packed up on the last week of October and left for the west coast in pursuit of something she had read in a science fiction book.  I fell in love with the author’s description of California, and sight unseen I moved here.  I fall in love with her more with every passing day.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



Last weekend we were without power for a very long time due to major Santa Ana winds.  The trees were swaying as if the ground itself was shaking them.  Colourful autumn leaves were swirling everywhere. Despite the drama, it was a tragic event, really.  I was wondering what keeps me here.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies


As you know, I love camping in the high sierras at 10,000 ft. for the cold weather it brings in September.  It is a respite for me from the summer heat.  Despite my wish of seeing the sun colouring the rolling clouds over the high mountains at sunrise and sunset, the day started out quite mundane.


Nonetheless, we got up before sunrise at 5:30 AM and drove up to one of the many glacial lakes to see the sun blazing on the mountains.  We were not disappointed.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



As if mother Nature heard me, she started rolling in a few clouds later in the day.



Camping At The High Sierras Watercolour Painting | Whims And Fancies



I was trying hard not obsess about photography this time, and busied myself the next day with a bit of sketching of my new tent at the campground.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



However, when the clouds continued to billow overhead, it was very hard not to heed that call.  My husband, who knows me very well, smiled and we drove to one of our favourite spots on Tioga Pass a little before sunset.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



The 360-degree amphitheatre play of light, shadow, and colour unfolded around us slowly over the next hour.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



The clouds turned from white to orange to purple and pink.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



Then back to orange again on the other side of the mountain.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



It was getting really dark around us and we were the only living beings there apart from the trees to witness the drama that only Mother Nature can create.



High Sierra Sunset | Whims And Fancies



We finally left when the last light of the day had truly started fading away into night.  There was an intense pink glow around us still, and it was very hard to part myself from it.  Mesmerized and hypnotized, I wanted to stay there forever and become part of the mountains and the trees.


That’s why stay here in California.  I wanted to write something summarising my life here, but how do you capture twenty years of photographic journey in just one single article!  So I decided to share just one intense hour with you. 


Celebratory Giveaway


Today is my favourite holiday, plus as a celebration of life here in California, I am doing a giveaway.   This giveaway is for those who subscribe to my blog via email.  This is where I share my photos and work in context and I get to communicate with you directly and the most. Thank you for reading and for all the wonderful comments!

Please make sure you follow me and leave a comment.  If you spread the word about the giveaway online, leave another comment mentioning that.  To make things fun, tell me at least one thing that you love about where you live in the comments, I would love to know. 


Giveaway has now ended.


Also, don’t forget to link up on Wandering Camera. I love visiting you and reading a bit about your world, where you have been visiting, and what you have been creating.


Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


You can add any number of links to your posts, or write a new post to link up.

Please add the badge or a text link back to this site on each post that you link up. You can also add the badge to your blog. I am happy as long as you link back :-)

Wandering Camera is a monthly event that runs on the last Thursday of every month.  If you follow me via email, you will get a reminder.  All photography and creative-themed posts are welcome.

Have fun!!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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Firefighter’s Drive

Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Purchase Firefighter Quilt Pattern


I feel exceptionally lucky to be able to sit here at my desk today, writing this post.  As you have probably heard, last week California was burning to ashes.  After working in the garden last Sunday morning, we spent a quiet day at home since my broken toes are still healing.  As we were getting ready for bed, the wind started howling around us.  I had an umbrella shading one of our gardenias.  We went outside to remove it and then we smelled it, that all too familiar wildfire smell in the air.



Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Firefighter Embroidery Pattern


We went to sleep wondering where the fire was.  Next morning, as I sat down to work, I noticed the sun.

I started reading the news, and shock took over me.  While sleeping Napa got lucky, the same wind that we heard the night before spread the fire across the mountains to the West and ravaged the city of Santa Rosa.



Northern California Wildfire Napa County | Whims And Fancies


This was the view just outside my window


I love fire.  I make excellent campfires, BUT I also have great respect for fire, a reverence if you will.  

Having lived in southern California where October is wildfire season, wildfires themselves are not new to me.  I have gotten ready for evacuation once before.  We have seen smoky skies and  burning hills more times than I care to remember.  We have camped under a red sun looming overhead, but it’s different.  Seeing this right outside our home still makes me very nervous.



Northern California Wildfire Sun | Whims And Fancies



Tuesday, as I saw smoke growing on the west side where the fire was closest to our home, I started packing.  Soon thereafter we got notification that the very north end of our street had received evacuation orders.  A young man wearing a particle mask was going from door to door, making sure we were aware of the notice.



Napa California Wildfire Sunlight | Whims And Fancies


Charlie has taken the colour of Quinacridone Gold from the wildfire sunlight


The hardest part is that if you do need to evacuate, you don’t know what you will come back to.  I started with the kitties’ supplies, their boxes, food.  Then came the necessary items for us and after that, a box of would-be-nice-to-save things.  On Wednesday, I packed a few more things ignoring the throbbing in my broken toes.  Whole place reduced to 2 boxes.



Napa California Wildfire Map | Whims And Fancies

Fire burning on both sides


All of us are ever so thankful to our First Responders.   They worked around the clock, shift after shift, 80 hours straight without any sleep to keep the fires away from us.   When the wind died down they made progress, only for the wind to return again the next day.

We got help.  All the neighbouring states, and states as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, New York and Alaska came to our rescue.  13 states in total.  We also got help from Canada and Australia.  The National Guard, police, firefighters – everyone pitched in stop the insatiable fire from raging across the state.  Our heroes!!



Thank You First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies



Our city was saved thanks to these wonderful people. After multiple wind advisories, we finally got a respite on Saturday. On Sunday the evacuation orders were also lifted for our Northern neighbour, the city of Calistoga, our usual weekend haunt.  A bit of blue sky even showed up. The streets were still quite empty, but signs of life were returning slowly: A couple of children playing outside, a group of teenagers walking together, a few open restaurants.


Elsewhere however, others didn’t fare as well.  First Responders saved quite a few homes, but a great many were destroyed.  Nothing was left of entire neighbourhoods except for fireplace chimneys and foundations. 

I learned that the line between the destroyed and the saved homes was called the Line of Sorrow.



Love Our First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies



Everyone showed extraordinary compassion.  That’s the thing about humanity.  We saw the worst of it last week, and we also keep on seeing the best of it alongside.

Well wishes continued to pour in.  Neighbours checked on each other like the young man who came by our place, while people offered their places to the evacuees.  Multiple animal rescue areas opened up for both large and small animals.  These are only a few examples.  The number of volunteers and donations in goods were at max capacity.

Businesses started collecting donations, and we gladly stepped up.  However, I wanted to do a bit more.



Firefighter Quilt Pattern / Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Purchase Firefighter Quilt Pattern

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern


So, on Monday, I started drawing these Firefighter pictures.  That was followed by creating the pattern and writing the pattern file, testing and making the block, along with making the necessary edits, all in the last 3 days.  Every time I wanted to stop and rest, I kept myself going thinking about the firefighters who didn’t give up.


Firefighter Quilt Pattern

It is my 12″ Firefighter quilt pattern.  I included instructions to make the block without fire for easier piecing.  I am sure any child or adult who gets wide eyed by firetrucks will love it!

I would really love it if you purchase this pattern from my shop.


Firefighter Embroidery Pattern

For those of you who want to do a bit of hand sewing, I have a Firefighter embroidery pattern for you too.  Sadly, I ran out of time to stitch a sample, but the pattern is colour coded and has suggested stitches.  You can get that from my shop too.


I will donate all proceeds from both patterns to the Firefighters Fund. 


Heroes are not born, they are made.


Lets help these heroes a little further.

Thank You!!


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!



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