Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California, part 2

Will we have a music festival? That’s the question we hear asked each year. This year the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society put on its 42nd festival and made money by working with an all volunteer staff and cutting down on venues outside of Old Sacramento.

We are not involved in the yearly pre-planning, but only work the festival during the weekend. It’s fun and I love listening to the youth bands, called the Next Generation bands. And you never know who will drop in and jam with them. This year our usual 3 1/2 shifts were lengthened to 4 – 4 1/2 hours. But, that still left us enough time to see acts and listen to wonderful music.

And, we have one of the half days off. Ours was Monday. Because we had the closing shift Sunday night and are not used to staying up after midnight, we didn’t go in Monday morning. We did help break down the venue. Why does it always take less time to break down than put up? It’s the same when you travel. It takes longer to get there than it does coming home!

Home was sweet on Monday morning. I had time to prepare for our out of town dinner guest.

Will there be a 43rd festival? I’m sure they will have it. This format worked, and the newspaper reported that a small profit was made. Till next year!

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California

Four days of music, music and more. The more resulted in a pound weight gain! I wait all year for the brats, kettle corn, and ice cream: jazz, dixieland, rag, rock and country. What would you do at a music festival besides listen to wonderful music and eat fun food? Well, we work at the Sacramento Music Festival too.

Should I call listening to talented youth bands work? Probably not, except for the night we closed and our last band set ended at 11 p.m. That was too late for kids and seniors! Our venue is free for the public while most other venues are by paid admission only. So, our attendance varies between 50 and 70 people who come and go during the sets. Some youth bands have a strong following and attendance can go up to 90.

We enjoy working here because it’s a small venue with little clean up and the kids are great. In fact, some are equal to the professional bands we listened to. Many of the local youths are graduates of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s, sponsor of the festival, music camp. In fact, local professional musicians are involved with these young musicians and their musical education.

I also used this 4-day festival to practice photography. Each day, I had a particular goal in mind. Many times, you cannot do photography and enjoy the event. But, while I was shooting, I could still hear the music. And, the performers don’t mind having someone take their pictures.

Confession, we did not go in on Monday except to help tear down our venue.  Yes, there is such a thing as too much music, music and more! This a 2-part post.

Practice, practice, practice: Dry Creek Park, West Roseville, California

They say that practice makes perfect, Well, I’ve been practicing every day even if it is only for the 365 challenge. It has helped, but I’m far from perfect! But then, who is perfect?

I like to go to Dry Creek because it is so close to my home and is beautiful. I’ve practiced with my ND filter, macro lens, 50 mm lens and just to shoot. The last time, I went with Richard and Gem. The boys walked while I went down to the water to shoot. In the summer, the area is a great swimming hole for children, and it’s harder to shoot.

In this post, I’m going to show you how beautiful this creek is. However, with the drought, the water level is really low. I’m not sure how the creek will hold up during the summer. Let’s hope we get some rain this fall and winter. After all I will still be practicing!

Back in time: Civil War Re-enactment, Gibson Ranch, Elverta, California, part 2

Politics, I really don’t want to get into that subject, but I am showing you images from a Civil War Re-enactment. So, indulge me with one question: Why has it taken so long to gain equality since that epic war? Okay, two questions: Are we there yet?

Last post’s commentary was regarding the Union camp Marlene and I just happened to walk into because it was closer. The Confederate camp was a little down the road, and the Gibson Ranch pasture land between them was reserved for the battle. I was amazed at how few participants the Confederates had. There were about 1/3 of the tents than in the opposition camp. One of our photographer’s husband was wearing a Confederate cap and was asked to join in the battle against the Union. They lent him a uniform and off he went on his adventure.

Of course, his adventure was the battle of Appomattox Court House , fought on the morning of April 9, 1865. It was one of the last battles of the Civil War and a Union victory. I was wondering how they would re-enact the scene. We did see gun fire (not real bullets) and men (and women in this case) fall to the ground. Soldiers came in on horse back, guns blazing. However they were at the other end of the pasture, and my 300 mm lens couldn’t capture the shot with pinpoint focus. It wasn’t until the battle came closer that I was able to get good shots (with my camera). All in all, they did a pretty good job of presenting a production of this battle.

You can see for yourself in this second post that contains shots of the battle and the Confederate encampment. All politics aside, it was a fun and educational day.

Back in time: Civil War Re-enactment, Gibson Ranch, Elverta, California

It was one of the most brutal wars, and one fought on our soil–the Civil War, north against south and sometimes brother against brother. It was something to enter a time warp and see the encampments as they may have been during the civil war. I felt immersed in the culture and people. But, it was a re-enactment at Gibson Ranch. That is the very same ranch that we photographers visit to shoot horses, ducks, and a sunset.

Marlene and I first visited the Union camp just because they were near the parking lot. Except for a few cars, portable toilets and large trash bins, we walked back in time. As much as I appreciated the effort to keep things as realistic to the time period, it was tough to photograph because of all the modern day stuff visible. But it was just a challenge.

This will be another two part post. Today I’ll focus on the Union encampment and tomorrow the confederate encampment and the battle.

Here’s what it was like pre-battle in one of our bloodiest wars.

Yes, this is Scotland or as close to it as we can recreate: Scottish Highland Games, Woodland, California, the games.

Athletes who train, bands that practice, dancers who start at an early age–they were all there and from different countries. I didn’t realize how big time these games are. Children came from Ireland to compete in what I call the “Drum Major” competition. I’ve tried to find the correct name, but was unsuccessful. Who knows, I might be right! But they were there at the Scottish Highland Games.

I was impressed about how precise everything was. Uniforms had to be just so, routines had to be exact and the throw length in the games was measured. It was pure talent. So take a look at these people of all ages who trained and practiced. I hope you will take the time to view more than the normal amount of images.

Wait, this isn’t Scotland: The Scottish Highland Games, Woodland, California

Photography has pushed me to experience events that I would otherwise ignore–like The Scottish Highland Games in Woodland California. Too bad it took me so long to enjoy this festival because it was fun!

I went with photo buddies Marlene, Greg and Linda and got there shortly after they opened the gates. This was the festival’s second day, but there were still crowds. When we walked in the action was gearing up–athletes, dancers and bands were practicing.

Once they started, the field was bustling with activity. At least three activities at once were being judged. Off the field, contestants were getting ready for inspection, vendors were selling food, crafters were selling their wares and participants were in their camps.

This fair, presented by The Caledonian Club of Sacramento, is an all-volunteer effort enhanced through various sponsorships. I was amazed at how the participants immersed themselves into character, giving visitors a glimpse of what life was like back in the day.

In this post, I’ll focus on people who made the visit so worthwhile for me. I’m so glad photography brought me here.

Talking with the animals: Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento, California

It’s not big as far as zoos go, but that’s the beauty of it. You can get around the Sacramento Zoo in about 2 hours–more if you have children with you. You know kids like to snack and play at the playground.

Marlene and I went to the zoo to shoot (gently with a camera) the animals. I had taken the grandkids there a few weeks before and discovered you’re either a grandparent or photographer! However, we were surprised by the bus loads of school kids there on a Thursday morning. It made shooting a little more difficult, but it was fun to watch the children as they reacted to the animals.

So we walked, talked and shot the zoo’s inhabitants. It may be small, but it’s mighty.

I had to go there too: Beeks Bight, Folsom Lake, Granite Bay, California

I saw images, read posts, heard about taking clients there; but I had never been there. Where? Folsom Lake! So photo buddies Greg and Linda joined me and we went to Beeks Bight, a popular photogenic spot. Greg had been there before, but Linda and I hadn’t.

It was sad and beautiful at the same time. The lupine were blooming (the reason most professionals take their portrait clients there), but the lake’s water level is so low. You could imagine what it would look like with a full water level. The drought is really taking its toll.

Drought or not, this area of the Lake has always been called Beeks Bight. A bight is a geographical term for a bend or curve in any geographical feature,or can refer to a large (and often only slightly receding) bay. Beeks has something to do with whom it’s named after.

This name is often written incorrectly, it’s strange. But, the area is pretty. Since Beeks Bight, I’ve been on other shoots, and you’ll be seeing those images as soon as I can finish editing them. Meanwhile look at what I saw, read and heard about.

An amazing find: Rush Ranch, Solano County, California

The best things are the ones you don’t expect. And, I didn’t expect Rush Ranch to be so beautiful and fun to shoot. We went there after we visited the Suisun Wildlife Rescue Center. Photo buddy Laura suggested this and Marlene and I were agreeable. Oh, did we have fun, and we didn’t even take any of the nature paths. We stayed and shot old equipment, etc.

Rush Ranch is a working ranch, with cattle and sheep grazing under a wildlife habitat management program. Prior to its purchase by the Solano County Farmlands and Open Space Foundation in 1988, this ranch was owned by the Rushes (a pioneer family).

Now it is open to the public with three hiking trails that take you through different ecosystems. These are the trails we didn’t have time to walk. So we need to go back. Who knows what we’ll see, especially when we don’t expect to.

Meanwhile, enjoy these images from the immediate property.