We're in the middle of this driest of winters, and the Gold Country is showing a parched landscape while thirsting for a taste of rain. One of the January Photo Challenge assignments includes 'Abstract,' so my eye was on the lookout for all things esoterically patterned. This called for shooting close-ups, so I opted for the 55-300mm zoom. We drove to Sutter Creek, then on to Jackson, and the pictures are mixed between them for a greater color and interest balance. It was unusual to see a little car with Russian license plates, plastic boots and an old red chair by the road.