An artistic festival: Wide Open Walls, Sacramento City

I’ve said it before–I’m not an artist. But, I’m in awe of anyone who can visualize and create art. Recently, in August 2017, the city of Sacramento held a festival, Wide Open Walls, that enabled artistic visions to become reality, as murals, on various walls in the city. I wasn’t able to shoot during the festival since we were away, but was eager to see the results.

Murals are not new to Sacramento’s Midtown. Greg Morris (RIP) took me there a few times to view them in the alleys. He would tell me that the best time to shoot the murals was on Sunday because there was less traffic. But this time, murals were more predominate on the walls of businesses and out of the alleys.

I did go to midtown with photo buddies Karen B and Ray on a recent Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. We did a great deal of walking, shooting and resting. It left me in awe of the various artists’ talent. And, Midtown is not the only location. They are all over the city. Next time, we might walk downtown to see these amazing works of art.

Here are some of the murals I took pictures of. In some instances, I’ll show you the entire wall and then a portion of it. They were too large to do justice in one shot. No captions necessary.

Finally got it!: WPA Rock Garden, Sacramento

I am tenacious and never give up. I went back to the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park, Sacramento with my macro lens for more practice. Finally, I now understand my lens and how to shoot macro.

This was my second time shooting there, and there were new flowers and small critters to find. The first time, I learned that I needed a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed to capture the close up detail. This time I learned that I also needed to narrow my aperture (use a higher F stop) to get less of a shallow depth of field.

Now I’m ready to go back just to enjoy the shoot. Tenacity is a great trait, but offers little relaxation.

I also experimented with what else I could shoot with my 105 Macro Lens. Enjoy the pictures! (Captions not necessary!)

Up, up and away: Great Reno Balloon Race

Riding in a hot air balloon is high on my bucket list, but I still haven’t done it. They are so colorful and inviting. I did make it up in a small plane, thanks to my great nephew Daylen. And, twice the balloon ride was within reach, but not taken.

The first opportunity was the Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. I had just bought my D3100 in 2012, and this festival was my first outing with it. I was truly struggling to learn what this digital camera was all about. All my shots were on auto. Here are two images:

My second opportunity came this past weekend at the Great Reno Balloon Race in Reno, Nevada. I have improved since Windsor and was anxious to shoot on manual/RAW.  However, I wasn’t ready for the differences in the two festivals. At Windsor, some balloons went up in the dark; at Reno, they waited until daylight. At Windsor, the balloons left at different times; at Reno, most left at once–it was a race. So, I wasn’t able to capture shots like those above.

We did get an opportunity to shoot the balloons in the dark, but it was a challenge. They didn’t stay lit for very long. My exposure meter was all over the place. I did the best I could, and I got some good shots.

The other difference: They weren’t offering rides like they did at Windsor. It was a larger event and more people attended. So, I guess I’ll just have to find a hot air balloon ride somewhere. Next year is the year!

Here are some images. No captions necessary.

Photoshop fun: IKEA

Nothing! That’s what I did for a week after we returned from our month long road trip to Montana, Glacier National Park and Weiser Idaho for the eclipse. It took us a few mornings to empty out the trailer so we can sell it. It seems we came home just in time for a heat wave, so we only had the mornings to work.

I did gather up energy to shoot with my Toastmaster photo club, All About Photography Toastmasters. We went to IKEA because of the heat. If you remember, I had been there with my Tuesday group so I chose to shoot with my macro lens for practice. I can’t say I was totally successful, but I did learn. This lens has such a short depth of field, and that made it difficult. It’s a 105 mm so I had to stand far enough back to get what  I was shooting in the frame and in focus.

Since  the shoot, I’ve been working on the images and found the Photoshop filter panel. What fun! With no effort on my part, the software took my images of patterns and turned them into great abstract designs. I’ll show you the before and afters:

I may have been able to do more, but I was stymied with my limited knowledge of layers. Now I have to delve into Photoshop now that my energy level is back. I had fun with these.