I’ve decided that anytime I shoot, it’s practice! I just returned from a trip to the ghost town in Bodie, California, and it will take several more days before all the images are processed. That’s even practice. The more I shoot and practice, the more I learn. In May Greg, Marlene and I went to Folsom for some practice with our Neutral Density filters.
However, Greg, our guide and chauffeur, took us on a wonderful detour to the Old Folsom Historic District’s museum. Small and easily accessible, it was fun to walk through. After lunch, we went to the American River to practice with our filters.
I’m finding that nothing is easy and takes time to learn; but when you do, the results are amazing. I haven’t practiced with my filter since that day. I’ve posted several outings since then, but I’m now realizing that photo shoots like this one are important. They are helping me become a photographer rather than someone who just points and shoots.
And the 365 challenge also propels me forward. Yes, every time I press down the shutter, I’m practicing.
Yes, sunflowers were popping up again. But this time in a different field, in Davis, and different time of day. We, Marlene, Linda and I, found the field about 11 a.m., and the sun was getting high in the sky. A visit to the California Automobile Museum, in Sacramento, caused us to arrive a little later than we would have liked.
My goal was to shoot over the field and get a wide shot. However, we forgot to bring a small ladder. Okay, I’m short! I did my best, trying to stand as tall as possible. It was a different type of shoot than the last during sundown. There was no back lighting, just blaring sun. I’m finding that I now make do with the environment I shoot in, figuring what type of shot would work best.
For instance, at the Automobile Museum, the cars were so close together and the lighting poor so I decided to do mostly close ups. I went for the hood ornaments, the tires, the horns–whatever looked interesting and different. I’m now shooting with intent and not just doing snapshots. I’m actually able to pull out something good from what doesn’t look like a great photo opportunity.
I’m still learning, but I’m more confident in my abilities. There’s another sunflower shoot on July 5. Maybe I’ll join them, you never know what will pop up!
I love it when I learn, and I did learn when we went to shoot fireworks. I had good luck when using my old point and shoot by putting it on a special setting. It did all the thinking. When I tried to shoot fireworks with my D3100 it was a mess. I just didn’t know how to set the camera and I didn’t have a tripod.
Fast forward a year and a half, Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group is going the shoot fireworks–A chance to learn. Our local minor league baseball team, the River Cats, have fireworks after their home games. We used the Tower Bridge to set the stage and waited. During that time, Mary, the group’s organizer, gave us a lesson on how to get the best images.
And then they started. We were all anxiously pressing down the shutter button. The show was short and we did our best. I was happy with what I got. What I was not happy with was my camera’s processing length. With a short show, every second of processing time seemed like minutes.
Afterwards, we went to capture some light trails. Since I’ve done that before, I was able to help two other women succeed. So the student became the teacher!
What do the Milky Way, sunflowers and refrigerators have in common? Nothing really, except I experienced them all in one week.
Let’s start with the fridge. I bought a new fridge on June 9, it was delivered on June 11. By the time the installers were done, they had scratched one of the doors, and the ice maker didn’t turn off after 24 hours. Okay, they wanted to send out another fridge on Sunday. But I was supposed to spend the night up at Blue Canyon Airport with my husband Richard (our observatory is there) and a couple of my photo clubs were coming up to shoot the Milky Way. So I changed my plans and arranged to come home with another photographer.
While the Milky Way wasn’t spectacular, I did learn a great deal. This was the first time I was able to shoot it and not get a light tan background when processing in Lightroom. My fellow photographers were more than willing to help. And, they enjoyed mingling with the astronomers.
Back to the fridge which wasn’t delivered on Sunday because the order never made it to delivery. So the second fridge was to come on Monday, June 15. It did, but by the time the installers left, it had a dented door and again–the ice maker didn’t work. Richard discovered that the water had not been hooked up properly! The third fridge was scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday, June 17.
Meanwhile, Tuesday evening, Marlene and I went in search of sunflowers. By the time we found a field in Woodland, going to Davis first, the sun was low in the sky. Most of the sunflowers were in the process of turning around toward the sun and drooping. This was the first time I actually felt in total control. I decided to do close ups and take advantage of the back-lit flowers. I’m focusing on manual for about half my shooting time now. You’ll see the result. The old car was an added bonus. I shot HDR handheld.
Okay the fridge again, It was delivered on Wednesday and I warned the guys that they were to take care not to scratch or dent the doors. They were told to also install it properly and hook up the water. They thought I was a controlling nut case until I told them that this was the third unit.
No scratches or dents, but when my husband checked, the water was not hooked up! Richard hooked up the water while I thought I was living in a script of the Twilight Zone! This morning, my 72nd birthday, I went downstairs and saw about 10 ice cubes in the freezer bucket. I started singing the birthday song. This was a great present!
So was my week of the Milky Way, sunflowers and refrigerators!
It wasn’t supposed to be a journey’s end, but it was. We were going to take a day on our way home, from Sedona, to drive through Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks, but I fell on the way to Bakersfield. It’s amazing how people rush to help when you have gray hair! I’m okay–just a couple scrapes, one big bruise and a sore shoulder. With that happening, I decided it would be best to head home.
Yes, I’m disappointed because those National Parks are my favorite. I’ll try to get there in the fall. In the meantime, I want to show you a little of the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. This isn’t like a safari park where you drive through and the animals are walking about. This park is a sanctuary. On this trip, we saw a small animal show, a tiger swim and play show and rode through an area where the animals roamed free. You’ll see from the pictures that these animals are very used to humans, especially the giraffes! The zebras can become a little testy!
Tuzigoot is a National Monument of Native American ruins. When you see the small rooms, you’ll wonder what the Southern Sinagua tribe would think if they saw our large dwellings! We decided not to visit their other dwellings, Montezuma Castle and Well, because we saw them during our last visit.
Caterpillar Point was our last stop on this trip. It was a rocky stream bed, some small water falls and lots of wildflowers including a century cactus bloom.
Take a look at our last two days before we ended our journey and headed home.
But, our time here has been wonderful. I didn’t tell you that we met our friends Sandy and Ken here. We also came to Sedona five years ago with them. It’s been great sharing this beautiful area with them. Tonight I’m going to show you some more highlights. Please understand that we did not go into Sedona proper, just through it. It’s become crowded and commercial with so many timeshare companies wanting to sell their plans. And, now if you don’t want to go on one of the many jeep tours, you can rent your own.
We didn’t rent one, didn’t go on a jeep tour, but decided to take the scenic Verde Canyon Railroad 4-hour ride. None of us was up for long hikes this trip. We also walked and stepped over the stream at the Call of the Canyon, state park. So here are some images from those activities.
Yes, the week went by so fast that I’ll have to continue showing you this trip on the way home.
Days! I do wish we had more days here in Sedona. Full days push us to the point of exhaustion, so we try to just go to one or two places each day. That’s not enough to see all there is in Sedona or the surrounding area. But, at our age we do the best we can.
Today, I’ll show you some of the better known sights. Since we were here in 2010 and visited these areas, we didn’t do too much during our visit. One sad fact is that Sedona has haze that was not here in 2010. It does make it difficult to do photography, at least for an amateur. The saving grace is the breeze/wind that comes in every afternoon. Not only does it help to cool us off, it pushes out the haze.
I’ll be finishing the Sedona series at home since we have only one full day here and then we start the trek home. Yes, I’d like more days in this area.
Beautiful red rock is what will first catch your eye when you venture into Sedona, but for me, the attraction is the vortexes. What, you ask! A vortex is an energy field that affects you in various ways.
A masculine vortex will energize you and a feminine vortex will calm you down. And, it works. Today we spent the day in a calming vortex and I’m so relaxed even though we went for a short hike. Because of these vortexes, Sedona has become the center for all things spiritual. You’ll find all sorts of shops dedicated to the spiritual arts: readings, crystals, massage, and more.
In addition, sorry to say, Sedona has become some what of a tourist trap. We are staying in West Sedona away from the heart of the tourist frenzy. I will tell you more about this area in subsequent posts. We are here until June 6, so enjoy the red rock beauty with me.