Just enjoying it: Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

We just wanted to go shooting for enjoyment, and not too far. So we found the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park in Volcano, California. This land preserves a large amount of marbleized limestone with about 1185 mortar holes–the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. Women would gather together and visit as they ground their grains in the mortar holes.

There’s also the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum and a reconstructed Miwok village on the grounds. The one building I had fun photographing was the Ceremonial Roundhouse which is used for various social gatherings and ceremonial events. Since it is used currently for those purposes, we couldn’t go in.

My challenge during this outing was the brilliant sunshine and the shade. This drove the camera sensor crazy–me too. I tried some handheld HDR (tripod wasn’t with me), and focusing on the shade and then raising the camera which blew out the sunny area. The best I could do was to focus on the sunny area and move the camera. Fortunately Lightroom has a graduated ND filter and a shadow slider. Both came in handy during post processing!

But, it was a perfect outing, and we did enjoy it. Sometimes you just have to get out!

 

Feelin’ the spirit: July 4th

It was a parade, it was lunch, it was fun! Every July 4, the residents in our new senior community decorate their golf carts, trucks, cars, and even bikes for the annual July 4 parade. I was invited to ride in my neighbor’s two-seater Miata that she decorated with flags.

I was amazed as we drove around to see how many other residents were lined up on the parade route. All were yelling “Happy fourth of July,” and some were throwing candy into the carts, cars and trucks. We waved and yelled back. I was also trying to take pictures as the car was moving of people moving. Not easy.

After the parade, we had a hot dog lunch, which fortunately was inside. It was a hot day. I had fun, and I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be decorating something–maybe. My Camry????

I can show you some of the carts and cars, but we are asked not to take pictures of the homes. I did my best, and you’ll get an idea of how this zany senior community celebrates. The last picture is of our honored guest, a World War II veteran who still fits into his uniform.

 

Getting back into the groove: Sunflowers

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July 2nd. Has life been that busy for me? I didn’t think so! Now, with this post, I hope to get back in the posting groove. I may not have been posting, but I’ve been shooting.

And, since this is about the progression of my photographic journey, I’m proud to say that I now close out of most article-type tutorials because I know the information. So this means I need to focus on post processing. I keep saying that, but I truly need to carry through with it. I’m competent with Lightroom, but Photoshop is still a mystery. I’ll have to just make the time and get into it. Maybe that will take my photography to the next level.

But, on to the sunflowers, or sunnies, as we Sacramento photographers call them. The images in this post are from two outings. These sunnies were located near the small town of Yolo in Yolo County. Photo buddy Karen was our guide for both trips. One is in the morning and the other was at sundown. Of course, when I try to catch a sunset, there are no clouds! However, the flowers had that golden light glow.

Enjoy this post. There will be more!

Now a yearly trek: Lotus blossoms

They are so beautiful, but only bloom once a year. But, that’s also what makes the Lotus flowers so special. The flowers in this post are from the Vedanta Society of Sacramento in Fair Oaks (Where last year’s images were shot.) and my chiropractor’s farm in Auburn. Who would have thought that a small Lotus pond would be on a farm!

At the Vedanta Society, the mature Lotus were more inside the pond and the buds surrounded them on the outside. That made shooting them a little tricky, but with the lens extended all the way out to 140 mm and creative cropping, I managed.

At the farm, it was just the opposite.  The featured image is a black and white from the farm. No matter, they are beautiful no matter where they are. And, pictures are a way of enjoying them all year round.

Getting a little country: A farm visit, Auburn, California

I suggested it and she said, “Yes!” Heather, my chiropractor has a farm in the Auburn Hills. After doing her newsletter for at least 10 years, which is sent out electronically, I asked if she’d like to invite patients to visit her farm. I received a positive response and the date was set. To be honest, I was anxious to see her farm after all these years.

Since this was a “Family Fun Day at the Farm,” I brought my two young grandkids and my friend Linda came also. It was worth the trip up the winding road to Rosenberg’s Green Acres farm in Auburn, Placer County. The property is just beautiful, complete with a small lake. We were introduced to chickens and goats by name.

The chickens provide eggs, and the goats provide milk, cheese and ice cream. We also met some recently born kids (baby goats). The males had their horns taken off, which is necessary to have them compete or sell them. Ryan and Olivia enjoyed interacting with the goats, feeding them grass.

Heather and her daughter Gabby took us on a tour around the property. When you live on a farm, there is work to be done. Milking the goats and gathering eggs is a daily chore. No sleeping in here!

After the tour, the kids were treated to a paddle boat ride on the lake. While the adults waited, Heather offered us two kinds of goat cheese–one creamy and one more solid. They were both delicious. When the kids got back, we were treated to goat milk chocolate ice cream. This was beyond delicious.

Of course, Linda and I were taking pictures all this time. Linda disappeared for a short time. She went back down the road to take pictures of the farm entrance. The photo credit on the featured image belongs to Linda Distler.

Do you think I could suggest that Heather share her amazing farm again next year?

Brightening up the valley: Barn Quilts, Rio Linda, California

What’s a barn quilt? A quilt sewn to hang in a barn? No. They are boards painted to look like quilts and hung outside of barns and houses. When I heard about this from a fellow Camera Totin’ Tuesday member, I was curious. I found that the practice is done across the U.S., and our local quilters have established the Rio Linda, Elverta Quilt Trail Project.

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The women gather every Tuesday afternoon in a member’s garage and paint. They paint on special wood boards and paints meant to handle whatever mother nature throws at the quilts, especially rain and wind. The women work from a thick pattern book. And, when there’s a special request, they do their best to work the theme into a pattern. Here’s where they work.

The only charge for a barn quilt is the cost of the materials, the labor of design and painting is free. Our hostess told us about a quilt they painted for a church, and when the pastor retired, they stitched him an actual quilt of the same design.

Their quilts can be found on barns, homes and businesses.

And, of course, we found other things to photograph. Also the featured image in this post, features one of our CTT members!

Normal? Indian Festival and Fair Oaks

e’re pretty much settled in, and hanging pictures. How many pictures can one small house hold? There’s still more stuff to find places for, and the sunroom to fix up, but that will just have to take time. It’s good to be back to normal–my going on photo outings and Richard running up to the observatory. Each day, we take time to hang two pictures or curtains, etc.

And, summer has arrived, so we try to plan our outings for early morning, local venue or inside. I have two outings to show you today. Linda and I went to the Indian Festival, hoping to get pictures of traditional dress and dance of our Native Americans. However when the dances were to begin, we were told we couldn’t take pictures, and the few dances that we were allowed to take pictures of, we couldn’t post anywhere. Oh, what a letdown for a couple of photographers. So, I’ll show you some shots I took of the festival and vendors before the dance started. This was held outside the State Indian Museum.

Now we move on to the small town of Fair Oaks and its chickens. Yes,

it’s known for being inhabited by wild chickens. They are protected, so no roasted chicken for us!

Now, which pictures should I pick to hang today?

 

 

Found and seek: Sutter Creek,California

Very early into our visit to Sutter Creek, I found a wallet on a bench. My first instinct was to just leave it, but I thought maybe the owners ID would be in it. So, I looked inside. I found a driver’s license with a PO box for an address, no other identification and a wad of $20s. With that much cash, I couldn’t leave it. So, began the adventure to find her or the Police Station!

And, yes, it was an adventure. Our photographing stopped, we asked in several stores to see if they knew this person and to ask where the Police Station was. After walking past the end of town, we finally were told that the Police were located in a small white house! Sutter Creek is a small town in Amador County. But it wasn’t open. We had to press a button and wait for the dispatcher to come and take the call. Then we waited for the officer to come and take the wallet.

I don’t know which was more fun, shooting or finding the Police Station! Having been to Sutter Creek before, I concentrated on shooting doors. Of course there were other things that I couldn’t pass up.

We bumped into the wallet’s owner coming out of a coffee shop–literally bumped into. She was rushing over to the bench to retrieve her wallet. We calmed her down and told her we found it and it was at the Police Station. Being grateful, she told us to go into her sister’s coffee shop and order what we wanted and she would pay for it. The coffee shop, Choc-O-Latte, ended up being a photographer’s wonderland. See, do good deeds and you’ll be rewarded. If you find a wallet or purse, try to find the owner. You’ll have fun!

 

 

Camera settings, check or not! Green Acres Nursery, Folsom

There are those days when…… You fill in the blank. It’s usually something you’ve forgotten to do like not buy everything you needed at the grocery, missed an appointment or forgot to change the ISO on your camera that was set for a prior outing. I did the last. Worse, I didn’t notice it until the shoot was just about over.

Fortunately it was at a nursery, flowers are forgiving and Lightroom helps to take out noise. But, I don’t think I’ll do that again. I’ll make other mistakes, but not that one!

We went to Green Acres Nursery in Folsom to practice macro work. You know you’ll find flowers and plants at a nursery. The plus was that we also found an abundance of water drops. They must have watered before we got there. I enjoyed the outing. Take a look, and let me know how I did during post processing. Was it really one of those days?

 

Didn’t you want to go there again? Nevada City, California

Challenges, I love them–most of the time. Visiting Nevada City in the Sierra foothills, was like that. If you’ve been following this blog, you have seen images of this quaint town and its neighbor, Grass Valley. We stopped there on our way to Downieville, walked and took photos and then went on to the city of no pizza!

I didn’t mind because it’s challenging to find something different to shoot, or maybe to shoot from a different angle which can give you different results. Exercises like these help improve your compositions and photographic abilities.

So here I am in Nevada City finding inspiration, seeing new opportunities and learning.