I have two passions: Photography and Toastmasters. Toastmasters changed my life and Photography enriches my retirement. So I decided to combine these two diverse activities and formed a Toastmaster’s Specialty Club: All About Photography (AAP).
At AAP we follow the Toastmaster format, but as our name suggests, we speak on photography and our table topics are on photography. We have photographers of all levels. Last week, I presented my images from IKEA for table topics. The participants were to give a 1 – 2 minute mini-speech on how they would edit these mostly abstract photos. I do crop well in the camera, so they had a difficult time imagining the total scene.
It was a fun exercise, and I picked up a few hints on what I could have done–next time. So what is your passion? What has changed your life? What enriches your life?
Here are my remaining images from IKEA in West Sacramento in black and white.
Zooming in on a chandelier.
These clocks were all lined up. I zoomed in.
This was a stainless bowl, but I think it looks better in copper. Okay, it’s not black and white.
This is actually a colorful barrel type chair!
The same chandelier with a twist.
A hanging light.
It’s either raining, cloudy, sunny–right now in California, we never know days in advance what the weather will bring. This makes planning a weekly photography outing difficult. We were running out of indoor venues and virtual meetings were also scheduled. We needed something different. We needed to shoot at IKEA! I called them and got the okay for my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group to shoot at their West Sacramento store.
What fun we had. If you’ve been to an IKEA store, you know they are large and set up like a maze. We met at 10 a.m. and decided to meet up again at noon in their cafe for lunch. Jim and I hung out together. I learned more about metering light from him. He’s great about sharing information.
At lunch everyone was talking about how much fun they had. For me, it was more enjoyable to see their posts. It’s amazing how imagination can be different from photographer to photographer. Even if they took the same shot, the processing was diverse, giving the image a unique look.
I know with Spring coming, we’ll be going to various outside shoots; but, maybe there will be an opportunity to go back to IKEA. After all, it does get sunny and hot here in the summer!
Here are some of the color shots. Black and white will be posted next.
A preset in a processing program helped added fire to this range hood shot.
A little bit of texture on a lamp shade.
Okay, they are hokey, but kissing zippy cups are cute.
Another lamp shade with color changes.
A stainless bowl with added color.
Lamp shade. I shot a lot of them.
Here’s another one.
More lamp shades. Go to IKEA for lamps.
A feather duster.
Guess what? Another lamp shade.
I really can’t remember what this was. I can see it’s a reflection and something else.
Have you ever gone somewhere more than once and had a different experience each time? Downtown Roseville isn’t exactly a hot spot for photography. I posted on it when I took my friends there. I showed them the small area called Downtown and we watched kids play in the water fountains. However showing the area to Brian a fellow photographer was an entirely different experience.
He had two hours in Roseville and I was in the area for a chiropractic appointment. We met in Downtown and walked the area. Forget the Tower Theater, we went directly to the railroad tracks.
Before the dot com boom in the early 2000’s, Roseville was a railroad town. But the only place you’d recognize that fact is in Downtown Roseville. East Roseville is where all the office buildings are located, and West Roseville is suburbia. They also have a small section called Historic Roseville. You’ve seen some pictures of that area also in this blog.
So Brian and I spent some time near the rail road tracks and by Linda Creek. I also showed him the train sculpture that welcomes visitors to Downtown.
Just a disclaimer, I don’t live in Roseville or in Placer County. I live two blocks from the Placer County line in Sacramento County. Before I retired, I would network and look for new business in there. And, yes, in those days that city was a totally different experience for me!
I just couldn’t resist shooting the theater from this angle.
Trains and tracks.
The fence line above the tracks.
Working on the train.
The train sculpture from the back.
A neat mural.
The bridge going over Linda Creek.
The Veteran’s Memorial Hall at Royer Park.
Flowers are beginning to bloom.
This guy was washing his hands.
Walking on the bridge.
A mail man and his reflection.
I just love road trips, and recently we went to Napa Valley to find mossy trees and mustard. We really start out with no particular destination in mind; just what we want to find. And, we were successful!
First we found a beautiful grove of oak trees that had moss growing on them. Next we found some wine vines with mustard growing under them. Then we stopped for lunch at the Buttercream Bakery in Napa–one of our favorites when shooting in the city of Napa.
After lunch, we drove some more and returned to the city for some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which is another of our favorite stops. Then we photographed the 911 Memorial. We shot it the last time we were there, but the light was different. This day the sun shined through the glass plates, illuminating the names of locals who died in that horrific attack.
Of course we made some more stops on the way home until it was too dark to shoot. What a fun day. I do love road trips.
Just a follow up on my previous blog: I am looking into what competitions are available for non-professionals and continuing my Photoshop studies.
Mossy trees were on either side of the road.
A close up of how the moss hangs on the bare tree branches.
Poetry in motion.
The moss has a lacy quality.
A Napa Valley landscape.
Mustard growing in the vineyard.
I just love tree canopies.
A closer look.
The 911 Memorial. A homeless person is annoyed by our presence.
The sunlight filters through.
Another view of the Memorial.
I can’t resist a bit of street photography.
A sheep herding Llama.
The Buttercream Bakery.
The restroom sign at the bakery. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
I’m at a cross roads and seem not to be ready to make the next move. I think it’s time to take my photography to the next level. My goals in 2017 are to learn Photoshop and some of the other processing programs I have accumulated, and to enter competitions.
I am learning more about Photoshop. I have an accountability partner, and I’m doing the 52 week challenge. I started it last year, but fumbled after the first couple of months. However, I think I can do it with Karen B. keeping me moving. I will also encourage her to learn. So far, I’ve learned more about the removal tools because Karen and I sat down for a Scott Kelby lesson.
The second goal is where I’m more stymied. Every time I hear about a competition, I read the entrance instructions and decide there will be better photographers entering. I tell myself that I don’t stand a chance. I know I should enter and accept whatever happens. That way I’ll at least find out what the judges look for, etc. But, I’m stuck. I’ve tried self-talk; it didn’t work. I know I’ve got to just take the leap, but I don’t seem to be jumping high or long enough! Confidence–that’s what I need.
Maybe a few blog posts in the future will find me taking the right path at the cross roads.
Aside from this, Richard had never been to the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, so we decided to go. He loved the cars and I loved trying out my newest acquisition a F/2.8 – 4, 17 – 70 mm Sigma Lens. We both enjoyed our experience. As usual, I found it difficult to shoot there with cars stacked up in rows and ropes keeping us at a distance, so I did close up work again.
If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you might think the cars are what you’ve seen before. The good news is that they continually change the exhibit cars. So take a look at the fun parts shots!
I love the old horns on the horseless carriages.
This is the way they used to light up the road.
I like unusual hood ornaments.
Rumble seats must have been fun to sit in!
Another hood ornament.
Lights and horn.
Grills are also fun to photograph.
Some are very expressive.
A pink Caddillac with fins.
An old motorcycle.
Wheel on an old motorcycle.
This beauty was at the entrance.
My dear friend Carol Toth passed away this afternoon. She was my hero because she fought death for more than 20 years and won. I remember being with her when she was diagnosed with a degenerative muscle disease. The doctor wanted to put her in a wheel chair saying she wouldn’t live very long. She refused. He offered her a walker. She refused. She did accept a cane.
After that, she developed two additional auto-immune diseases and suffered a major heart attack. Through the 20 some years, Carol never complained about her health or the constant pain she endured. As her battle waned, she accepted her fate and was grateful for the years she had lived past the initial diagnosis.
Still, sitting at my computer, the grief is difficult. I was supposed to go there to San Jose this morning, but I became sick. I wanted to say good-bye to her. I couldn’t and now I feel empty.
She filled my soul when I needed it, and encouraged me with my photography. Carol sent my blog on to her friends and I heard from them also. She built up my confidence and pushed me along as I advanced in my photographic abilities. I think she would appreciate the lady bugs and church in this post.
She is now soaring with the angels. I will miss you Carol, my dear friend.
The walk down to the lady bugs was steep and muddy.
We found them bunched together on the ground and branches.
I was amazed at how they would climb over each other.
Some found refuge in leaves.
I caught some traveling on a branch. They were very busy.
A black and white of the redwood trees.
Fungi was all around.
I wish I had my macro lens with me.
Beautiful orange, yellow and green colors.
A color image of the redwoods.
The Cathedral of Christ the Light Church.
I have never seen a Catholic church like this one.
The sanctuary was designed to capture the light and have it reflect through the wood and glass.
We could shoot more in the mausoleum.
This was also designed beautifully.
The marble walls were simply beautiful.
The reflections on the walls were amazing.
It stopped raining for a day, so Linda, Jean and I went off to catch the Fair Oaks Bridge in the golden light. Yes, we asked for rain in California, and we are getting it. The drought is officially over–at least in Northern California!
We chose Fair Oaks because it’s close and the sky looked like the clouds would dump rain at any time. It was a fun couple of hours. I had a chance to play with natural light and composition. It seems so easy now, and I realize that I’ve come a long way with my photographic abilities.
The bridge didn’t disappoint us and neither did the golden light. The next day, the rain resumed. I’m so glad we were able to get out for those two hours.
Approaching the bridge.
A different angle.
The sun is beginning to set.
This area along the American River is popular with families and cyclists.
Roots are totally exposed.
Fishermen are coming back.
A family enjoys time along the river.
Lichen on the trees.
A view of another bridge.
The underside of the bridge.
The bridge peeking through the brush.
Trees in the golden light.
Sunset on the American River.
Sunset shot through gates on the bridge.
The deep colors of sunset.
The wildlife areas were full with water, the weather was cool, but there were few birds. I went to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge twice, Grey Lodge Wildlife Area once and the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area once, and was amazed at the lack of birds.
I experienced this during the dry years when there was little water to be found in these areas, but we have water this year! Where did the birds go? To make matters worse, at all but one of these outings, we were in overcast skies and strong wind.
Yes, chasing birds was frustrating and difficult this year. The Yolo Bypass trip was a dismal effort. We went to get the first sunrise of the new year and ended up with nothing worthwhile. It was a dark morning.
Our first trip to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was also difficult. The wind was blowing so hard that the small birds had difficulty flying. I did manage to get this sequence of a Snowy Egret fishing and eating its catch.
During our second trip, a week later, I was able to photograph a Red Tail Hawk, rabbit and deer.
At Grey Lodge, we found a Bald Eagle, Blue Heron and a show off Great Egret.
So there went January–for the birds!