Oh that “M” word again: Shooting manual at Treasure Island, San Franscisco

I am determined to learn how to shoot photos on manual. Why? Because I think it will give me greater control over my camera. Once I have it mastered, I’m not sure I will use it all the time. It really comes down to how much time you have to make that shot. Aperture or shutter priority allows you to shoot more quickly. But for my visit to Treasure Island, I shot on manual. And it did take time, patience and a lot of bad images to get the good ones.

The big factor we were all struggling with was wind. The water was choppy and things just weren’t at a stand still. The second disappointment was that the Bliss Dance sculpture did not light up that evening. Some of the photographers light painted the statute, but by then, I was too tired. We all did our best and got some great images.

And, looking at the other photographers images is a learning experience. Since we are all shooting the same thing, it’s interesting to see the composition you missed or didn’t even see. You can also give yourself kudos for your own unique composition of the same thing.

There’s a lot of things I’m determined to learn in addition to shooting manual, and it will all come in time!



The meeting of astronomy and photography: the Milky Way at Blue Canyon

If it were coffee, it would have been a perfect blend–astronomers and photographers sharing the same airport tarmac.  Richard invited my “Shoot or go home” photography group to shoot the milky way up at the Blue Canyon airport near Truckee, California. It ended up being an outreach activity for the Sacramento Valley Astronomical  Society and a great time for the photographers. And, it was my first time shooting the Milky Way. We went up on Friday afternoon and the gathering was on Saturday. I was tired and didn’t shoot Friday night, but Saturday morning we went into the small town of Blue Canyon. It was a small neighborhood of cabins, and was very eclectic. The fun started that night.

We started the evening with a potluck, and the astronomers lent us chairs and a table. Dinner was followed by a short teach on how to shoot the Milky Way, and then we went out to set up. Meanwhile, the astronomers were getting ready to show off. After they had enough of shooting the Milky Way, the photographers visited with the astronomers, including Richard. Everyone enjoyed it. With some help, I became more comfortable shooting on manual. My camera is still on manual. It gets a little frustrating at times, but that’s the learning curve.

Our photographers learned more about astronomy too. And it wasn’t a long way home; just a little over an hour to Sacramento. Since Richard and I were staying over in our trailer, it was a very short time to home for me!

The next time I go up there, I want to try star trails in addition to shooting the Milky Way. At least for Richard and I, it will be a perfect blend.




Out and about with Goose: Dry Creek Falls and Gibson Ranch

Photographers are willing to go out and about whenever they can and they are willing to help.  “Goose” Simmons has been a big help to me. I recently went out during an evening with him and shot on manual until I realized my GPS was stolen. Then I went back to aperture priority.  I was too upset to think. I think I was so excited to be shooting with Goose that I forgot to lock my car. I won’t forget again!

Tonight, I’ll be learning how to shoot the Milky Way, and I hope I’ll be posting some great images for you soon. Meanwhile here are some (because I ended up with more than 20 shots I liked) shots from my outing with Goose.


A fun time with the peeps: Sacramento’s Tower Bridge at night

Yes, I’m trying to learn the new lingo. That’s one of the reasons I retired. I couldn’t keep up with the “20 and 30 somethings” colloquialisms, and it was time at 69 years! Hanging around with the peeps from Sacramento Photographers, a group on Facebook open to people who like photography, was fun.

I went out to the Tower Bridge with the intent to put my camera on manual, shoot with it on manual and get some light trail shots. I accomplished my task and also did some HDR. I don’t know why I didn’t shoot the HDR shots on manual rather than staying in my comfort zone at aperture priority. There’s always a next time.

Hopefully that next time will be with the Sacramento Photographers. They have one event a month, and the members are eager to share and help. They will also go out and invite the group at the spur of the moment like last nights activity. I’m looking forward to going out with the peeps again.


Missing photo time: The farmers’ market at Sun City, Lincoln, California

I missed a couple of photo Meet-ups because I had (and still getting over) a cold. I was so bummed. I think I’ve gotten very attached to my camera! So, when I went to scrapbook with friends, I brought my camera and manual to study. You see, I didn’t have much photo cutting and pasting to do and I just love being at Betty Carol Smith’s home. I explained that I was going to fill time (we had four days) so I could stay at least three of the four days. That’s when she told me about the farmers’ market in her community–Sun City, Lincoln, California I’ve never shot produce before; what an opportunity!

I had fun. It was cool that most of the residents thought I was from their local, internal newspaper. I also had an opportunity to talk to a gentleman about photography; I was able to help him sort out his photo needs and send him to Action Camera (Where I’ve left a fair amount of money!) and get their professional opinion. And, of course, there was the dog lover who I chatted with, swapping stories about our pets. Oh yes, I did take some photos. The funniest part was right after I set up a group of tomatoes to shoot, a woman came and picked up the largest. Oh well, I’m still learning how to do street photography.

I’m hoping to get some photo shooting time in this week. I do miss it!

If you knew Peggy Sue: Peggy Sue’s 50’s diner

How about a “Frankie Avalon Philly Steak Sandwich,” a “Patti Page Patty Melt,” or a Tina Turner Tuna Sandwich? Are you hungry yet?

We don’t travel Highway 58 over the Tehachapi Mountains very often, but we’ve been that way twice since May. About 30 minutes from Baker, California you start seeing signs announcing Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner; and I mean large signs! But the timing wasn’t right for us to stop and experience the cuisine and decor.

This time we did, and it was amazing. The food was good and there was a lot of it. However, roaming the diner was the real treat. Originally built in 1954, the diner was reopened, after being closed after an unknown amount of years, by Peggy Sue and Champ (last names unknown) in 1987. With a history of Peggy Sue working in the movie industry and Champ for Knox Berry Farm, the diner became a place to display their extensive collection of movie and TV memorabilia. Peggy Sue used her grandmother’s family recipes and made food the old fashioned way. The diner soon became a popular with locals and truck drivers. In 1995 they added on a 1950’s style dime store, then a soda fountain, ice cream parlor and a pizza parlor. You just roam from room to room taking in the photos and other mementos from the era, and dining is available in all rooms.

Outside they have a pond, ducks, dinosaurs and other things to delight young and old. I thought it could have been better planned, but just like the diner it rambled on. I’m sure they didn’t import the huge red ant colony that prevented me from taking a picture of the weirdest duck I’ve ever seen! Those ants didn’t look friendly.

So if you want to eat a “Frankie Avalon Philly Steak Sandwich,” listen to 50’s music and enjoy some 50’s memories, stop by Peggy Sue’s Diner, 1-15 Ghost Town Road, Yermo, California. You won’t regret it.



A change of attitude: The Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island, part 3

When you need to change attitude, it’s best to get away. That’s what we did. We took our new/used trailer to Las Vegas, Nevada for its “shakedown run.” I know it’s hot in Las Vegas this time of the year, but it was our cousin Jim’s 70th birthday–so why not! The good news is that we were able to outfit and situate the trailer to our liking, but the bad news is that I didn’t take any pictures except for Peggy Sue’s Diner on the way home. I’ll show you those in my next post.

Today, I want to wrap up the Otainium Cup Race and show you some images that are a mixture of what is happening on Mare Island. I did not do any HDR on these, and, yes, there are some buildings again. But, don’t click off, there are some new sights too. Hopefully, if I can get into a carpool, I’ll be going back there for a full moon shoot on Saturday. Fair warning–more Mare Island. Hopefully I can do better with my images. After all, a change in attitude is mostly accepting that what you’re doing is good and you can also improve.