How we learn: The rest of Amador County

It’s time to say goodbye to Amador County; but, I’m sure not for good. I was looking over my images and there are still a few to show you. And, alas, I’ve duplicated some in prior posts. Hope you didn’t mind seeing them again!

With each outing, I learn. Sometimes I learn by watching. Sometimes by trying different things. And sometimes by making mistakes. Mistakes, unfortunately, seem to be the best teacher! How many time do you repeat the same mistake? Not too many I hope. It also pays to go with friends who remember to prompt you like, “What’s your ISO set at?” or “Did you bring your tripod today?”

I’m grateful for those prompts because it shows they care. I’m grateful for all the caring critiques I get on my photographs when I ask for them. This is especially true for the folks in Sacramento Photographers. Ask for help and you’ll get it. And my new Toastmasters Photography Club is also great for giving feedback.

So, as you look at the last of Amador County for a while, understand that with each image I have learned more about photography.

Tuesdays with seniors: Part two of Amador County

Isn’t it great that we can just take a day during the week and go shooting–with a camera! Now, I don’t want you 9 – 5’ers to get upset, but we’ve earned the right. You see we’re retired, older and want to do what we can while we can. That’s why a few of us decided to designate Tuesdays as our get away day. And its been great.

The town of Jackson was our destination this time, but you know we never know where we’ll end up. Greg wanted to show Marlene and I Michigan Bar Road. I had already been on part of that road with him, but got too self assured and shot HDR handheld. Mistake! So I was glad to be able to get a second chance. For, Marlene, it was new territory.

We simply drive around (Greg has 4-wheel drive and knows the area so he drives), stop when we see something to shoot and sometimes never reach our designated destination. It’s okay because there’s always next week.

Now, where are we going? The Gold Country Flyers RC Airplane Club.

When you go shooting with Greg, you never know where the next turn may take you. For instance, on a recent outing, we came upon some guys flying RC controlled airplanes on Michigan Bar Road near the bustling town of Ione–I jest! Of course we stopped.

The RC pilots belonged to the Gold Country Flyers and were very willing to share stories and have us take their pictures. While Greg was visiting, I started shooting. This was not my first experience with RC Airplanes since my husband tried the hobby once. However, these were very serious pilots with elaborate planes–even one helicopter. I did appreciate their answering my questions and letting me get to know them a little.

Mostly, they had a great passion for this hobby. In fact, the hobby turned into a lucrative business for one gentleman. The airport is owned and operated by the Club which was founded in 1972. The members meet once a month, offer free instruction to new pilots and generally have a great time.

After almost an hour, we left the airport to continue our adventure. That’s what we call it, because we never get lost; we just never know where the road will take us.

Now on to the pictures

Perspective and Progress: the 365 challenge

I’ve gotten complacent. I’ve gotten bored. I’ve become too comfortable. Yes, I haven’t currently pushed past my comfort zone with the 365 challenge. For those of you who are not familiar with this ominous task, it means taking a photograph a day for one full year. I’ve just started into my 34th week, and I can tell you there are some days I’m ready to quit.

But, I won’t because I realize what I have learned through the process. I was talking with Greg, a photo buddy, during one of our outings and he said that I was a good photographer. Others have said the same thing, but I wasn’t ready to hear them, being stuck in low photographic ability esteem. That day I said, “Yes, I believe I can finally say I’m not a beginner, but maybe call myself an intermediate.” He then went on to tell me all I needed was to learn the software. I agreed.

This is all part of the 365. I’ve become very comfortable and good at close up, macro, and landscape shooting. I’m having fun doing HDR and trying not to over process it. My camera is mostly on manual these days, and I’m helping new photographers. However, there are still things to learn. This is mostly in setting up and lighting a shot. This is what I need to work on with the 265. But, I don’t have the equipment and don’t want the expense of studio lighting. I’ll just have to ask my photo buddy if I can come over!

I know I need to move past my complacent, bored and comfortable self and expand my knowledge. I’ve set a goal to have that done before the 365 ends. If I’m persistent enough, I can do it. Greg, when can I come over?

Here are some of my 365 images. There are others that I posted directly from outings already shown in this blog.

Love at the fountains: The Fountains, Roseville CA

I did fall in love at The Fountains–love with the ambiance of this outdoor shopping center and its beautiful flowers, fountains and decorative benches. This center is a great place to take a camera and practice! You just have to keep saying over and over, “I will not shop.” You can say, “I’ll enjoy a cup of coffee, ice cream, candy, cookies, salad, sandwich and more;” but you could easily spend money in the fabulous stores.

Oh, back to practice. See how you can get distracted. I’ve been there twice to practice. The first time, not knowing what to expect, I just had my 18 – 55 mm lens. I was meeting a friend for lunch and arrived early to catch a shot for my 365. The second time was today with my friend Marlene. This time I had my macro lens with me. I was ready to get deep into the flowers; however, there was a heavy breeze. Even the blossoms that seemed to be not moved, were moving when looked through the macro lens. I think given the breeze, I would have been better off with the 18 – 55 mm lens. But, that’s what practice is for.

In this post, I’ll show you some images from both outings. And, yes, I’ll be going back soon. I want to get there early in the morning to get the best light and maybe less breeze. After all, I did fall in love.

Puppy time: A photo shoot with Marlene Frankel and CCI puppies

They’re cute, fun to watch, a comfort to hold and a gift of independence for the handicapped. They are Canine Companions for Independence dogs or CCI for short. I recently accompanied my friend Marlene on a photo shoot to capture her friend Jan’s latest CCI puppy litter. Jan, a volunteer breeder, names her litters according to the alphabet. This was litter D, meaning all the dogs names began with “D.” A small litter of one female and three males, these puppies, Labrador and Golden Retriever mixes, were soon to leave Jan’s care and go to their volunteer foster homes where they will be raised and trained to help their soon to be owners.

Canine Companions is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of adults with physical disabilities, alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds, and help children and adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. They also train dogs who partner with a facilitator working in a health care, visitation or education setting.

These sweet dogs begin their journey with a breeder who oversees the entire breeding process and works with the puppies once they are born. They check the pups for temperament, ability to be trained, health, and physical attributes. CCI oversees the entire process from breeding to placement.

Faced with the puppies moving on to the volunteers who would raise and train them, Jan asked Marlene to take a picture of Litter D. Easier said than done. After arriving, we played with the pups, got them moving about the yard, and, hopefully, got them a little tired. The goal was to have them sit still in the wagon while Marlene took their picture. It almost worked!

It took four of us to get them settled down and looking at Marlene who patiently manned the camera. Of course, I was shooting the whole scene, being glad I wasn’t in Marlene’s position. My friend showed me that not only is she a good photographer, she has a great deal of patience.

Meet litter D and take a look at Marlene’s finished image.

Wandering with my camera: Amador County, California

Well, I was wandering with my camera and my photo buddy Greg. He’s my guide and driver. When you go out shooting with Greg, you get the history of the area along with some back roads scenery.

Amador County is in the gold country. Its history goes back to the gold rush days when people were coming west to find their fortune in gold. Today its hills are covered with ranches, farms and grape vines. Wineries welcome you in to taste their finished products. It’s rural and beautiful.

This trip took us to Michigan Bar road and a small ranch. We didn’t trespass, but we weren’t invited either. You need to be careful not to go onto properties, but shoot from the road. After shooting what we could of the ranch, Greg took us into Jackson via the back roads.

Jackson is Amador County’s seat of government, and is in the heart of the Mother Load. This town blends the old and the new. We found some of the buildings in need of repair, and some were newer but made to look old. Others were rich in history.

There is so much to see, and we will be returning soon with photo buddy Marlene. Just call us the photo wanderers.