Color and Texture Challenge: IKEA

untitled-3336

It’s either raining, cloudy, sunny–right now in California, we never know days in advance what the weather will bring. This makes planning a weekly photography outing difficult. We were running out of indoor venues and virtual meetings were also scheduled. We needed something different. We needed to shoot at IKEA! I called them and got the okay for my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group to shoot at their West Sacramento store.

What fun we had. If you’ve been to an IKEA store, you know they are large and set up like a maze. We met at 10 a.m. and decided to meet up again at noon in their cafe for lunch. Jim and I hung out together. I learned more about metering light from him. He’s great about sharing information.

At lunch everyone was talking about how much fun they had. For me, it was more enjoyable to see their posts. It’s amazing how imagination can be different from photographer to photographer. Even if they took the same shot, the processing was diverse, giving the image a unique look.

I know with Spring coming, we’ll be going to various outside shoots; but, maybe there will be an opportunity to go back to IKEA. After all, it does get sunny and hot here in the summer!

Here are some of the color shots. Black and white will be posted next.

 

Seeing things a little differently: Downtown Roseville

dsc_2788

Have you ever gone somewhere more than once and had a different experience each time? Downtown Roseville isn’t exactly a hot spot for photography. I posted on it when I took my friends there. I showed them the small area called Downtown and we watched kids play in the water fountains. However showing the area to Brian a fellow photographer was an entirely different experience.

He had two hours in Roseville and I was in the area for a chiropractic appointment. We met in Downtown and walked the area. Forget the Tower Theater, we went directly to the railroad tracks.

Before the dot com boom in the early 2000’s, Roseville was a railroad town. But the only place you’d recognize that fact is in Downtown Roseville. East Roseville is where all the office buildings are located, and West Roseville is suburbia. They also have a small section called Historic Roseville. You’ve seen some pictures of that area also in this blog.

So Brian and I spent some time near the rail road tracks and by Linda Creek. I also showed him the train sculpture that welcomes visitors to Downtown.

Just a disclaimer, I don’t live in Roseville or in Placer County. I live two blocks from the Placer County line in Sacramento County. Before I retired, I would network and look for new business in there. And, yes, in those days that city was a totally different experience for me!

 

In search of mossy trees & mustard: Napa Valley, California

dsc_2609

I just love road trips, and recently we went to Napa Valley to find mossy trees and mustard. We really start out with no particular destination in mind; just what we want to find. And, we were successful!

First we found a beautiful grove of oak trees that had moss growing on them. Next we found some wine vines with mustard growing under them. Then we stopped for lunch at the Buttercream Bakery in Napa–one of our favorites when shooting in the city of Napa.

After lunch, we drove some more and returned to the city for some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which is another of our favorite stops. Then we photographed the 911 Memorial. We shot it the last time we were there, but the light was different. This day the sun shined through the glass plates, illuminating the names of locals who died in that horrific attack.

Of course we made some more stops on the way home until it was too dark to shoot. What a fun day. I do love road trips.

Just a follow up on my previous blog: I am looking into what competitions are available for non-professionals and continuing my Photoshop studies.

Self evaluation: The California Automobile Museum, Sacramento

dsc_2443

I’m at a cross roads and seem not to be ready to make the next move. I think it’s time to take my photography to the next level. My goals in 2017 are to learn Photoshop and some of the other processing programs I have accumulated, and to enter competitions.

I am learning more about Photoshop. I have an accountability partner, and I’m doing the 52 week challenge. I started it last year, but fumbled after the first couple of months. However, I think I can do it with Karen B. keeping me moving. I will also encourage her to learn. So far, I’ve learned more about the removal tools because Karen and I sat down for a Scott Kelby lesson.

The second goal is where I’m more stymied. Every time I hear about a competition, I read the entrance instructions and decide there will be better photographers entering. I tell myself that I don’t stand a chance. I know I should enter and accept whatever happens. That way I’ll at least find out what the judges look for, etc. But, I’m stuck. I’ve tried self-talk; it didn’t work. I know I’ve got to just take the leap, but I don’t seem to be jumping high or long enough! Confidence–that’s what I need.

Maybe a few blog posts in the future will find me taking the right path at the cross roads.

Aside from this, Richard had never been to the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, so we decided to go. He loved the cars and I loved trying out my newest acquisition a F/2.8 – 4, 17 – 70 mm Sigma Lens. We both enjoyed our experience. As usual, I found it difficult to shoot there with cars stacked up in rows and ropes keeping us at a distance, so I did close up work again.

If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you might think the cars are what you’ve seen before. The good news is that they continually change the exhibit cars. So take a look at the fun parts shots!

 

A dedication to Carol Toth, RIP: Redwood Regional Park and the Cathedral of Christ the Light Church, Oakland

dsc_2249

My dear friend Carol Toth passed away this afternoon. She was my hero because she fought death for more than 20 years and won. I remember being with her when she was diagnosed with a degenerative muscle disease. The doctor wanted to put her in a wheel chair saying she wouldn’t live very long. She refused. He offered her a walker. She refused. She did accept a cane.

After that, she developed two additional auto-immune diseases and suffered a major heart attack. Through the 20 some years, Carol never complained about her health or the constant pain she endured. As her battle waned, she accepted her fate and was grateful for the years she had lived past the initial diagnosis.

Still, sitting at my computer, the grief is difficult. I was supposed to go there to San Jose this morning, but I became sick. I wanted to say good-bye to her. I couldn’t and now I feel empty.

She filled my soul when I needed it, and encouraged me with my photography. Carol sent my blog on to her friends and I heard from them also. She built up my confidence and pushed me along as I advanced in my photographic abilities. I think she would appreciate the lady bugs and church in this post.

She is now soaring with the angels. I will miss you Carol, my dear friend.

 

 

Rain relief: The Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, California

dsc_2120

It stopped raining for a day, so Linda, Jean and I went off to catch the Fair Oaks Bridge in the golden light. Yes, we asked for rain in California, and we are getting it. The drought is officially over–at least in Northern California!

We chose Fair Oaks because it’s close and the sky looked like the clouds would dump rain at any time. It was a fun couple of hours. I had a chance to play with natural light and composition. It seems so easy now, and I realize that I’ve come a long way with my photographic abilities.

The bridge didn’t disappoint us and neither did the golden light. The next day, the rain resumed. I’m so glad we were able to get out for those two hours.

 

January, for the birds? Chasing wildlife

dsc_1974

The wildlife areas were full with water, the weather was cool, but there were few birds. I went to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge twice, Grey Lodge Wildlife Area once and the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area once, and was amazed at the lack of birds.

I experienced this during the dry years when there was little water to be found in these areas, but we have water this year! Where did the birds go? To make matters worse, at all but one of these outings, we were in overcast skies and strong wind.

Yes, chasing birds was frustrating and difficult this year. The Yolo Bypass trip was a dismal effort. We went to get the first sunrise of the new year and ended up with nothing worthwhile. It was a dark morning.

Our first trip to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was also difficult. The wind was blowing so hard that the small birds had difficulty flying. I did manage to get this sequence of a Snowy Egret fishing and eating its catch.

 

 

During our second trip, a week later, I was able to photograph a Red Tail Hawk, rabbit and deer.

At Grey Lodge, we found a Bald Eagle, Blue Heron and a show off Great Egret.

So there went January–for the birds!

Lights, camera, action: Indoor light painting workshop

dsc_1693

Frustrating fun! Do those two words actually go together? They did the night I attended an indoor light painting workshop given by Sacramento Photographers, a local Facebook group here in Sacramento. I love this group because they are willing to share knowledge, sponsor photo outings and will critique photos when asked.

The evening started with a slide show on light painting. They showed us how elaborate it can get and how integral it can be to photo composition. Then they showed us the “toys” or tools. They had bars with LED lights on them, steering wheels with LEDs, LED wands and more.

Our cameras were on their tripods and we were ready to shoot for the practical part of the evening. And, the fun began. The lights were turned off and we began shooting. First was an LED bar that was carried across the room in an up and down motion. Then we captured a rope that was spinning around as the person was walking in a tight circle. Our volunteer model was traced with an LED wand while wearing glow in the dark sun glasses. It continued from there.

The frustration came when they were showing us how to do multiple exposures. My ability to do this was not available in my camera because of its current setting! I couldn’t figure it out and neither could another photographer. He messaged me the next day saying it might be that I had left bracketing on. Sure enough–I had!

But it was an evening of fun learning. Now I have to make some of those “toys!”

 

Doing the 52: Point Reyes, Part 2

dsc_1029

I really need a shove, discipline and hand holding to learn Photoshop. So, I decided to try to post an edited photo once a week. I started to do this last year. Signing up for it was the shove, posting was the discipline, but I had no one to hold my hand. This year, I have an accountability partner. Hopefully, I can get through the year, learn what simple things I need to from Photoshop, and also delve into some other processing programs that are taking up space in my computer.

With this lofty goal in mind, I recently spent more than 4 hours trying to eliminate the transparency from a masked item so I can place it, without a background, in another photo.

I will not stop until I’m successful! It’s frustrating though.

I watch tutorials. Go to my computer. Open up Photoshop and can’t recreate the exact process. I need to bring up my laptop and work the tutorial and Photoshop on my desktop together.

Enough complaining, the pictures in this post are the last from our Point Reyes outing. It was a fun day. I wasn’t out there to take photos, but who could resist. In the last post, you saw some of Richard’s pictures and mine. Today, it’s all mine.

Take time from whatever is frustrating you and relax. I hope you enjoy these images. I don’t need a shove, discipline or hand holding to take the pictures; just to learn new editing techniques.

 

 

Couple time: Point Reyes National Seashore

dsc_0965

I shoot pictures during the day and Richard shoots pictures at night. You see, my husband, an amateur astronomer images the night sky. His observatory is in the Sierra Mountains, and he finds galaxies and nebulas via a camera attached to his telescope. Viewing is done through his computer.

My advantage is that I can shoot on cloudy, overcast and pretty much any kind of weather. The result may not be pretty, but I can take my camera out more than he can use his scope.

So when we decided to take a day and run away, I did take my camera. We ran, excuse me–drove, to the Point Reyes National Seashore. Once there, he wanted to see the Lighthouse. It was well worth the long drive. I had been there, and I wanted him to have the experience too.

When we got there, I got out my camera and set one up for him. Richard wanted to whale watch, but we didn’t bring binoculars. I hoped that my 55 – 300 mm lens on my D3100 would give him enough reach. Whale watching was a bust, but he did get some great photos that you’ll see in this post.

The Lighthouse was also a bust. It was closed. If it was open, I don’t think we would have made it down to it and back up. There’s 300 steps which they say is equivalent to climbing 30 stories of a building. I’ll put a picture of the Lighthouse stairs in the second part of this post.

Meanwhile, winter is definitely a tough time for astronomers. For photographers, if we can put up with a bit of fog, rain and clouds, we’re good to go. And, we take pictures at night also!