My heart is full: Sacramento Zoo

Funerals are for the living, and without one, there is no closure. Tonight we had a memorial for Uncle Chuck and my dear friend Carol. We also invited Richard’s friend John whose sister Mary passed away this morning. We were Jews and Christians united in an effort for sending our loved ones on their way.

We did traditional Jewish prayers, John sang the 23rd Psalm and taps. We all told stories about our departed family members and ended it with dessert. What a wonderful evening. Uncle Chuck would have been pleased at the variety of religions and camaraderie in the room.

This is what caring and love is all about. He would have also loved the zoo animals and probably given them nicknames. He always gave people he loved nicknames. His girls were Rotten kid 1 and Rotten kid 2. My youngest was just Rotten Kid. My grandson (Chistopher) was JJ.

So as you smile at the Sacramento Zoo animals, send a smile up to Uncle Chuck and Carol; Arthur and Alina; and Mary.

 

RIP Uncle Chuck: Light painting

We were aunt and uncle longer than we were just brother and sister, and we called each other Uncle Chuck and Aunt Anne. Last March, I went to Georgia to say “goodbye.” Lewy Body dementia¬†, a form of dementia and Parkinson’s like diseases, had already robbed him of his memory and abilities to speak, walk and recognize what was happening around him. The one response I saw from his body, was his foot taping to music that was being played. I hoped at some level, he knew I was there to see him.

Just like any brother and sister, we had our share of fights (he was 5 1/2 years older than me), he was protective of his baby sister and, as adults, we were always there for each other and our families.

He died this morning with family love surrounding him. It was a tense three days as family took turns to be with him, giving them their final goodbyes. It was difficult be out here in California. I remember with my mom, no matter how much you prepare and know it’s a blessing, it’s still hard when the journey is over.

Thank goodness, I had photography to pull my attention away. Monday and Tuesday were both evening shoots. I must have been working on pure Adrenalin because I didn’t get tired during the outings. I’m just so glad I have this outlet.

This morning, after I awoke to the news, I sat and edited last night’s shoot where we practiced light painting. Those who had them, brought light toys. Some of us just brought our cameras and tripods. I learned a great deal about light painting and exposing for it. I’m also ready to do it again.¬†Here are a few images from the session.

Editing the images, let my emotional and physical being take in the news. He left my life in a burst of color. To me, the featured image looks like an angel gliding across a field of red carpet. My family will be having a memorial service for my brother soon here in Sacramento. Whether near or far, we all need closure. You will be remembered with love Uncle Chuck.

In search of Fall color: Hope Valley

The great migration has begun! Each year we photographers go to the Eastern Sierras to find those amazing rich yellows, greens, oranges and reds. This year we may have gone to Hope Valley too soon, but Marlene was ready for a day trip. With Linda along, we made the 2-hour trip to Hope Valley.

Linda had never been there and had never shot the famous cabin. I just went along, not expecting much color. As I’ve said before, an outing with friends is great!

By the time we reached the valley, hunger had set in. The only place to eat is Sorensen’s, a small resort featuring cabins and campsites. We love their cafe. The food is delicious. After filling our tummies, we set out to find the cabin. This old cabin has been photographed by all the photographers who come in search of Fall color.

After finding the cabin and shooting it from every vantage point, we went on a scouting trip to find anything else. We weren’t the only photographers out there. I stopped to talk to a guy who was a little disappointed in the colors. He thought it would be at the peak in a few days. I thought it would peak in about a week.

We did find a couple of other places that had nice color, and then started the trek home. It was a fun day of shooting with friends. Since we were up there, about two weeks ago, photographer’s pictures still don’t show the rich colors we saw last year. Maybe that’s the way it will be this year. Those who went further south, got better color.

This was our only trip to seek the amazing rich colors of Fall. Next year!

 

Navigating the not so perfect: Various outings

I learned long ago that we all can’t be winners and neither can outings. I’ve made lemonade so many times recently. It’s not that the outings were truly “lemons,” but either the potential for great images was not there or I was off and not seeing opportunities.

For instance, the John Muir National Historic Site was one I had been to before, but forgot. Basically it’s a tour of his home and orchard he inherited from his father-in-law. The movie shown in the Visitor’s Center did give us great insight into his life and dreams.

Another venture was to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area a small preserve near West Sacramento. Seeing wildlife here is either okay, great or bad. The morning we went viewing, the wind was blowing so hard even the birds were taking cover! After we drove the route, Linda, Teresa and I went to see if any burrowing owls were brave to fight the wind. They burrow in Davis, California. We spotted two little owls.

Last, is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Summer is not the best time to view the many deer, roosters, coyotes and birds that live there. This visit was in September, and I guess it wasn’t cool enough for the wildlife to come out and smile for the cameras!

Even though there may not have been great photo opportunities, these outings were fun. When you’re with fellow photographers who enjoy getting out with their cameras, the camaraderie is what makes the day. I guess I’m saying a day out with a camera and friends is always a winner.

A scavenger hunt: Old Sacramento

Sometimes you just want to have fun, so I borrowed a scavenger hunt list for a Tuesday morning outing. With camera in sling, four of us hunted the streets of Old Sacramento for items on the list. They ranged from “Something you can taste through the lens” to “bokeh” to “lines and patterns.” We exercised our minds and imaginations!

Here are some of my trophies.

This was a fun exercise. And, of course, photo buddies who help and joke around made it an extra special morning.