February Photo Challenge at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School

One of my creative goals for 2016 is to improve my photography skills by completing at least six photo challenges. In January, I used the CaptureYour365 Challenge List to do a photo wrap-up of the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show. This month, I brought the February CaptureYour365 Challenge List with me when I chaperoned the 4th graders from Trevor's school at the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School.  

This was quite a challenge. I was in charge of 14 girls, with responsibilities 23.5 hours a day. I took pictures when I could, wherever I was. I didn't have the luxury of leaving the group to get a better shot, or double back to something interesting we breezed by. I tried to get photos of Trevor whenever I ran into him, which wasn't very often. With that said, here we go!


FROSTY: These curtains in the general store look like snowflakes, right? 

FOLDED: Here's my bunk, with jammies folded and ready.

COARSE: This tree bark is coarse and I love that the stubs of the branches make a smily face.

ROCKY: Nothing more rocky than rocks.

SILKY SOFT: Not quite silky, but close enough.

DUAL: More of a duo than a dual, but I was glad to have gotten a photo of Trevor and his friend on the bus. 


DETAILS: I love to get up close to trees and really see the details. This tree was thriving despite some bug damage. 

DISCOVER: Nothing could be more appropriate for this prompt than Sutter's Mill, where James Marshall discovered the gold that started the California Gold Rush. 

PIECES: Trevor used a tic-tac-toe board and pieces from the checker set to teach his friends how to play Tant Fant.  

DAILY SCENE: We gathered together as a big group for meals, campfire, and town meetings. 

A DREADED TASK: My girls didn't mind using the washboard to clean clothes, but that's only because it was a one-time thing and not a regular chore. Ugh.

WHERE I STAND: All the students, counselors and naturalists were divided into towns, named after real towns from the Gold Rush era. My group was You Bet

CLUTTER: I could have chosen a photo of what our bunkhouse looked like after three days with 14 girls and 2 women in it, but instead I'll share some of the awesome clutter from the General Store. The girls were busy bartering for supplies, so I couldn't get close, but you can see some of the neat stuff on display behind the shopkeeper. 

RED: That's Trevor's teacher in the red sweatshirt. The other two women are also 4th grade teachers at Trevor's school. 

HEART: Our cornbread was made with love.

STRIKING: The views from the top of the Monroe Ridge were gorgeous. I used the trees to frame the American River, where we started our hike.

BUNDLED UP: We were blessed with absolutely perfect weather for our trip. I only wore my jacket for evening campfires and was comfortable in short sleeves during the day. Here you can see that Trevor and most of his friends are wearing lightweight jackets, which is about as bundled as we ever got.

BLAZING: With gorgeous weather, we didn't have much use for blazing fires. And blazing trails is both destructive and foolish (lots of poison oak growing beyond the trails). This fire isn't exactly blazing, but it was warm enough to cook our dutch oven cornbread perfectly.

COVER: Apparently, even metal rabbits need to seek cover.


APERTURE: So aperture means an opening, hole or gap, right? I think all the gaps and holes in this log should count.

REST: This is where I chose to take my rest break one day, sitting at a picnic table, working on my CreativeLive projects.

SUPPLIES: We followed a very limited packing list, but the gear adds up quickly when you have so many campers.

CENTERED: Yes, I took photos of my meals. I have been to a LOT of camps over the years and this was the best food I've ever had at a camp, bar none. Like, lightyears away. I went to a church camp as a kid where we were served chicken that was completely black on the outside and completely pink on the inside (which, obviously, no one ate), so you might think my standards are low, but no. I've had plenty of decent camp food, but this was outstanding. Homemade strawberry preserves with our homemade biscuits. Real eggs, cracked and cooked with butter in a frying pan. Fresh salsas. Homemade ketchup. And lots of options. I ate vegetarian all week without any effort because there were so many great choices.

MOTION: We spent a lot of time panning for gold. Our naturalist taught us to scoop up dirt, then FLOOD (fill the pan with water), EARTHQUAKE (shake the pan vigorously) and TSUNAMI (use the ridges of the pan to slosh the water and lighter sand out). Here's a picture of one of my girls doing EARTHQUAKE.

FROM THE TOP: Oh, the stories these trees could tell... 

OVER: All too soon, our trip was over. Time to load the buses. 

TOGETHER: Here are 12 of my 14 You Bet girls saying goodbye to our naturalist, Arrowpoint Ariel. 

BONUS: A fabulous trip with great kids, immersed in history in a beautiful location with perfect weather. What could be better?! Coming home with some gold! Bonus! There are three small pieces in my pan, two in the upper right and one left of the two center pebbles. 

Thanks to everyone who helped make this such a fantastic trip!


  1. How fun! LOVING all the photos!!!!!!!!!

  2. You did such a great job w/ the prompts...especially since you didn't have the luxury of time to set up each shot.
    Bonus: you captured so many aspects of the trip you may not have thought of if you hadn't have had the photo prompts! In the end I think the photos truly tell the story of your adventure!

  3. Great job! You really thought outside of the box for these shots. :)


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