Shooting RAW

I was totally embarrassed–but not really. I’ve come to accept that in the Shoot or Go Home photo Meetup group, I’m a novice. But I did think there would be a level playing field when I went to the Lightroom workshop yesterday evening. I was wrong. I was amazed at the level of these photographers. For me, it meant there’s more possibility for my growth.

So what was I embarrassed about? I was the only one in the room shooting JPEG! When I was asked why, I just replied, “I’m afraid to!” But, I did promise to shoot RAW from now on. What was I afraid of? I didn’t know how to process RAW! With Lightroom, it’s easy. I sat through the three hours just amazed at what this program could do in the develop module. It even corrected buildings that were leaning due to the wide-angle lens distortion. Of course I could have also done this in PE9, but never took the time to dig through the manual to learn how. It was easy with Lightroom.

In my last post, I said I was going to try to straighten out the Tower Bridge in Sacramento. I did and I’m posting it tonight along with some other Lightroom vs. PE9 edits. What a program–shooting RAW from now on!!


Lightroom and more

Now where did I leave off? Oh yes, I was griping about my new gear. Of course (Remember I said I was afraid to try it on!) when I tried on the new vest, it just fit! It couldn’t go over a jacket, and my wide angle lens barely fit into the front pocket! So, back on the phone to B & H Photo. I ordered a large because the salesperson said to order a size larger than I think I should. I thought I should order the medium, but the measurements were correct for the small, and one review from a woman my size said she was swimming in the small! Just another bump in the photography road.

I did practice on Wednesday evening, and discovered that I’m not all that creative. Well, I’ve always known that. I’ve read enough tutorials that suggest that when we don’t have anything to shoot, look around the house. One of my treasures are my grandmother’s brass candle sticks and mortar and pestle. She used the candle sticks every Shabbat (Sabbath) and used the mortar and pestle routinely. I discovered that natural lighting didn’t work well, and I didn’t have a proper back drop. But, I did practice with the new tripod and found it much easier to use than the old one. I’m not going to post the shots from the practice, because I didn’t think they were that good.

What was good, was the fact that I got in some reading on Lightroom today. I spent a good part of the day going through the Adobe manual through page 72 of 219! I can now import and export photos in and out of my file system on my hard drive. I really like the way I have my images organized on my computer and want to load new photos directly into it and then bring them into Lightroom for editing. I’m relieved to have gotten that much figured out because I’m going to a workshop tomorrow on the Develop module. I’ll spend more time on it before the workshop begins.

This evening I’m posting some more from our scavenger hunt. That was a fun morning and forced us into some creativity. I also tried to do some street photography with my long lens. When I get a vest that fits, I’ll really look like someone who knows what she’s doing–wearing a photographer’s vest and a two camera sling! Well, maybe I’ll grow into the role!!



Oh my, the wonders of photography

Highs and lows, that’s how I would describe this past week. On the plus side was a fun meetup that was a photo scavenger hunt. Marebeth Gromer of the Shoot or Go Home Meetup group gave us a list of 50 objects (or ideas) to shoot. We had 3 hours and I didn’t find everything. But, I had fun and did well with most of what I shot. I’m going to put in some images for you to see and probably finish off in my next post.

Frustration came as I bought some more gear. It all began with a Black Rapid 2-camera sling I bought so I wouldn’t have to keep switching lenses. It works well. Actually I love it because it makes field shooting easy and it’s more comfortable than the regular Nikon strap. However, I was still not using the tripod because of the inconvenience of taking off the sling’s “O” ring that fits into the camera base so I could mount the camera on the tripod. My photo buddy suggested I get a ring that would lay flat into the tripod’s quick release so I could easily go from tripod to sling.

So, off I went to Action Camera in Roseville, California to purchase the ring. It didn’t work with my tripod’s quick release. Back to Action Camera. I found out that the ring only works with Manfrotto tripod heads! In the end, I ended up with a Giottos tripod body and a Manfrotto head. I needed a new tripod, but was trying to make the old one work. Everything worked out okay, but it was frustrating.

I also bought a vest to carry my gear into the field. It came today. It’s still in the package. I’m afraid to try it on! What else can go wrong? Practice Tuesday has now turned into practice Wednesday evening because I cared for my younger grandchildren on Tuesday.

What am I learning? I’m learning that photography is like life, you need to remain flexible and have a good sense of humor to get through those highs and lows.




Toastmasters and the rest of Capay Valley

Confession: I’m shy. I’ve always been a leader, but could never announce anything before a general meeting of any organization. Toastmasters changed all that. In fact, it changed my life. I went from being totally freaked out when speaking before an organization to giving workshops and seminars.

People join Toastmasters for all sorts of reasons. Some just want to punch up their speaking skills, some came because they got a new job that requires they speak before groups, and some need a self-esteem boost. Whatever the reason, I have seen, during my many years with Toastmasters, amazing growth in both speaking skills and leadership, and it fills my heart with joy.

Where else could you go for continued support in developing speaking and leadership skills for around $50. per month? Probably nowhere but Toastmasters. It’s now contest season for Toastmasters International, and I’ve been lucky enough to be the Toastmaster at two contests. And, I loved it! It’s wicked good fun to interview someone whether it’s for an article or at a contest.

I’m still shy, it doesn’t go away, but Toastmasters has taught me how to handle it. Yesterday, at a photography meetup in Old Sacramento (You’ll see some images soon.) I was able to go up to complete strangers and ask them to help me out with a picture.

Confession: I’m so happy to be involved with Toastmasters. And now for the last of Capay Valley.


Tuesday practice: I finally made friends with my tripod and more from Capay Valley

I made a promise. When I make a promise, I usually keep it–even if it is to myself. Yes, it’s Tuesday, camera practice day. Even though I didn’t go anywhere except for my back yard, I still made progress. I’m confident now with using the tripod. I went back to Action Camera and bought a remote shutter release that will bracket. The cordless remote would do single shots, but not bracket. And, I’m comfortable with using the remote.

In fact, I did take a lot of bracketed shots–of my rose tree and a bush. Don’t worry, you won’t have to look at them. Now on to learning what to do with the bracketed shots. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I’ll download some trial software and get ready for a little frustration.

So, with the first week of Tuesday practice done, I’m posting some more shots of Capay Valley.



Capay Valley–after almost a month’s absence

Do people really forget about you when you don’t blog for a while? I hope not! My spirit was wanting to blog, but that 4-week long cold kept saying, “Stay home. Rest!”

Resting is boring; shooting photos is exciting. I had a wicked good time when Jayne West and I joined other photographers from the Exploring Photography meetup group in Capay, California. I’ve never been on a trip like this. We met each other for lunch at the Road Trip Bar and Grill, had lunch and then went on our individual road trips. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if Jayne hadn’t been in the car with me. Two women from the group met a landowner prior to our lunch, and he invited the entire group to come and explore his property. It was amazing. A literal junk yard for old cars and other stuff. Jayne encouraged me to try some bracketed shots. I managed to set up the tripod myself (A feat!), but I couldn’t get my new remote shutter release to work. It worked the night before! So I’m not sure how the bracketed shots will work on Wednesday when Jayne shows me how to use the HDR and Lightroom software.

After that, Jayne and I went to find Peacocks that were supposed to be at a park nearby. They were there, but stubborn and didn’t want to spread their beautiful feathers. After that, we drove on to find Lake Berryessa. But, it was closed by the time we got there. We did shoot some images from the side of the road just to prove we were there.

Just going out with this group makes me feel like I’m still spinning wheels. Most of the photographers do HDR and are more advanced than I am. So, I need to catch up! I’ve decided that every Tuesday will be practice day. Most of it will be local, maybe even my back yard! But, I will practice!

The added bonus to learning will be the routine blogging I hope to do. I have quite a few images from the Capay Valley so this may be a two or three part post.