Me and my point and shoot: Return to Gibson Ranch

Now that the weather is cooler, I decided to take my young grandchildren to Gibson Ranch after school. There is so much for them to enjoy there.

First we visited the horses. They saw one getting a bath–actually a shower! They saw the ducks, a peacock, and the playgrounds. There are two. So much fun for a 4 and 6 year old. And we met a horse and rider on the way to the big playground, and they were able to pet the horse. That might have been a first for them.

I’m glad I had my little point and shoot in my pocket because trees were just asking to be photographed. The sun was low on the horizon and made for some nice light. The kids are learning patience and stopped for the few seconds it took me to shoot each tree. I doubt they would have been so agreeable if I had my SLR and actually took time to get the exposure correct.

Anyway here are the trees shot with the little camera that continues to amaze me. I’ll be taking the kids back to Gibson Ranch, maybe each week. They had so much fun.

Macro Photography Learn and Share: A Sacramento Photographers event

I didn’t share much, but I did learn. The Sacramento Photographers Facebook group offers a monthly outing or event. This month it was the learn and share. While I’m pretty good at close up photography, I wanted to know more about macro. And, I wanted to learn how to use my old (and I mean old) manual lens for my film camera.

So off I went with what I needed to bring: something to drop into a tank of water, tripod, and a lens more than 50 mm. Opps, I forgot to bring a towel. Everyone was so helpful. Two photographers tried to help me with my macro lens, but were puzzled by it. It’s very different from today’s macro lenses. Here’s what I learned:

* My old (again very old) macro lens is really not that good. I had a difficult time focusing it. And at 28 mm, how macro is it? I’m getting more comfortable with shooting on manual, but this lens offered a bigger challenge. It was also difficult because of the lighting in the studio.

* I have lousy hand to eye coordination; or, should I say hand to ear coordination. We were to drop an object (my choice was a tennis ball) into the fish tank and when we heard it hit the water, we were to press the remote shutter release. I’m posting my best effort!

* I now understand how to trigger an off camera flash. It’s just another piece of gear to buy.

* I truly enjoy field work more than studio stuff.

Now that you know what I learned, here are some of the images captured that evening.

Oh those zombies! A night of spooky trees and surprise zombies.

This was a first for me–to shoot zombies! Or any model for that matter.

What started out as a meetup to shoot spooky trees ended up as a fun filled evening of zombie antics. Thanks to Mary Gromer, organizer of the Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group, we had the opportunity to shoot models dressed as zombies. And, they acted the part too.

I had fun shooting them and enjoyed post production too. With a zombie shoot, your only limited by your imagination. Aren’t zombies tinged with green? I didn’t pose any of these. I think that was the only thing I feel I missed out on. There was so much going on, I just went from one set up to the other.

Here are some highlights.

On the road again; journey’s end: bits and pieces; Evan’s wedding

Don’t worry, I’m not going to have you wade through a massive amount of wedding shots. Well, maybe just a few! All the images in this post were shot with my new small, inexpensive point and shoot. It worked well for most shots, but didn’t do as well inside in the low-light room. But, I’m happy because I captured the essence of the day.

Speaking of the day, it was cold, cloudy and windy. This is not the most welcome weather for an outdoor wedding! I felt for the bridal party gals in their strapless gowns. Fortunately, the party was held inside, hence the low light. This small camera is actually fool-proof, taking charge and deciding on its own what settings to use.

And since it shoots JPEG only, it limits editing abilities in Lightroom. But, it went where no SLR could go–in my small purse! And, it didn’t interfere with the professionals and their SLRs. Overall, I’m happy with the small camera and had a terrific time at the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

Here are just a few images!

On the road again: Fall foliage found in Quakertown, Pennsylvania

It was like coming home–at least our home for a week last year. We camped in Quakertown during our cross country trip last year! This time we came for cousin Karen’s son’s wedding. She kept telling me that Pennsylvania had the beautiful fall colors, and she was right. I knew that our campground was in the country and would be the perfect area to find what I was looking for.  So off we went, and I wasn’t disappointed. Richard drove and I scouted.

I didn’t have a chance to edit the images until we returned home yesterday. I’ll show you the best. Most were shot with the D7100 and a few with the D3100. Next year I’ll look for the autumn colors here in the Sierras–just a little closer to home!


On the road again: Looking for Fall foliage at Hyde Park, NY

Coming back east for an October wedding had a promising bonus–shooting the Fall foliage! So with that in mind, Irene, Neil, Richard and I went upstate to Hyde Park for some Fall color. I was ready with my cameras, lenses and tripod, but alas, we may have been too early for full Fall color. However, we did have a great time at the FDR library and home. It was a trip worth doing.

The library was as interesting as the Lincoln Museum we enjoyed in Springfield, Illinois last year. I have a few pictures to show you. I wasn’t able to take many in the library because of the no flash rule. And, we were too late to book a house tour. But just to be there was terrific.

As for Fall foliage, there is some promise in Pennsylvania. I did take some shots at a highway overlook while going through New Jersey. Time is getting short, so let’s cross our fingers for some great Fall colors in Pennsylvania.


On the road again: Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY

Long Island is. It is a long island, and my cousins live about 30 minutes from each other. We visited with Morty and Mary who are my cousins on my father’s side. (Irene and Neal are cousins on my mother’s side.) Morty took us to Port Jefferson which was further down the island and to the north side. It was beautiful. We ate lunch, walked, had ice cream and walked. The bonus was the weather. Sunny!!

I’m so glad Morty and Mary are healthy and doing well. I’m younger and it’s fun to hear stories about relatives who I didn’t get to know.

Since we are leaving for Pennsylvania tomorrow, these images are the last from this very Long Island!


On the road again: Long Island, New York at Planting Fields Arboretum

When you’ve flown to the east coast what do you do? You start south and work your way north! We’ve been in Long Island visiting family for almost a week now. I’m sure my cousins feel like it’s been more than that since we are staying with them. They are gracious hosts, driving us, feeding us and fitting our needs into their lifestyle.

They took us to the Planting Fields Arboretum on a cloudy day. It seems that last year we brought extreme heat and this year humidity and rain! We did go to there last year, but at 99 degrees (Fahrenheit) it was too hot to stay. I was thrilled that this time we were able to walk most of the grounds of this beautiful arboretum and hear stories of how they’ve enjoyed the grounds for years past. Also, there were three bridal couples having their wedding pictures taken at the park. Yes, I did take some shots of that activity, but in the end deleted them, keeping one showing the bride’s gown in the distance.

On the one sunny day, we went north in search of fall foliage, and I’ll cover that in the next blog. Meanwhile, enjoy these floral images. I’m not going to caption these because I don’t know the names of the flowers. They range from orchards to cactus. I did get a small amount of the autumn colors in the trees.




On the road again: Peachtree City, Georgia

Well, we’re not exactly on the road again, but we are on the east coast. Last year we took an amazing trip across the United States in our 5th wheel trailer, and this blog was essentially a travelogue for three months. We’re back on the east coast again, but this time we traveled via airplane.

Coming out for a wedding, we are visiting relatives who live on the east coast. Our first stop was Peachtree City. We wanted to visit our niece, Roberta, last year, but they were traveling. This time we caught them at home, and since my brother and sister-in-law have moved here, we were able to see the entire family. Two teenagers can keep a family busy with sports and other activities. Roberta’s family is extremely busy. She has got to learn how to use the word “no!” During our two-day stay she made 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies while running a taxi for Daylen and Evan and taking care of her parents.

We did take an outing to a Fayette County park. From a photography point of view, it was a typical park. We walked the path, had a picnic lunch and then the clouds came. Picture perfect! There are a lot of images so please be patient. And they are out of order–software problems today!

It was a great two days; and then we flew to New York where we are now, and then on to Pennsylvania.


Just a little exercise: Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, California

Walking on river bed rock can give you a workout. The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a place you can continually go back to and see different things each time. This time my photo buddy Rita and I walked near the American River which is low due to the drought. I keyed in on trees and mostly used my 55 – 300 mm lens that was mounted on my D3100. They were so expressive. Meanwhile Rita kept her eyes on smaller objects like birds and crawling things.

You see, I was raised in the city and suburbs, and I’m not used to finding the small wonders of nature. I’m learning though. We do want to go back for sunrise so we can catch the sun’s beauty and the deer. Getting there at 7 a.m., Rita saw a lot of deer. However, I didn’t see one, getting there at 8 a.m. The last time we were there, we saw one deer family.

After a two-hour workout, we left. I’ll be going back on Sunday for their Nature Fest. They will have many activities I’m sure my young grandkids will enjoy. We won’t be walking along the river though!