Creating a calendar & website navigation: Apple Hill

I do this each year and each time it’s a different frustrating experience! I give photo calendars each year to friends and relatives in December. Hopefully, they will use it during the year and like my photos that adorn each page. Each year I use Costco Online Photo Center. Each year the website is changed. And, each year I need to call them!

Today, was the worse experience of all. I had to call immediately after loading my pictures. Here are my frustrations:

  1. I took the time to choose the pictures and name them by month for easy insertion into the calendar. But, when they were imported, they had no names or file numbers!
  2. I chose the custom calendar, but there was nothing custom about it. However, this year you could pick various holidays to print on the various months.
  3. To get started, I had to go through choosing my set up three times. The only way I could get my pictures into the calendar was to insert one of the pictures in each month. I was told I could go back and change the template after that.
  4. I was very limited in the length of the text I wanted to insert.

I’m done with it and will proof it tomorrow. I’m hoping that will go easy and I can send it off to print. I’m still wondering why they need to change the “how to” each year!

Okay, griping over–maybe! Today I’m going to show you some photos from our annual trip to Apple Hill. It’s an area above Placerville where all the growers have formed an association, and welcome visitors to purchase apples, pies, food, etc. Photographers go to buy pies and take photos of the beautiful fall scenery.

We’ve gone so many times, so we tried to find different places to shoot. Here’s what we found.

If tradition holds true, we’ll be back next year. I did buy a small apple pie for Richard!

Bone day: Sacramento Zoo

Truth. I wasn’t going to renew my Sacramento Zoo membership. While they are talking about moving to larger acreage, they invested in creating a larger enclosure of glass for the lions. Part of it was where they had the tiger. I know I can use a long lens and get through the cages, but glass? Smudges and dirt?

I remember trying to photograph the meerkats when they first arrived, but their glass enclosure was dirty and it was difficult to get a good shot. But, I reluctantly renewed my membership when my photo group visited the zoo last month.

One thing positive, I didn’t have to carry my heavy F/4 prime 300 mm lens. My walk-around 18 – 200 mm was perfect and much lighter and versatile. Here’s some of what I photographed.

So that’s my experience with glass enclosures at the zoo. I’m glad I renewed my membership. I just need to get there early in the morning so the glass is fairly clean!

Just to let you know–I’ve started Matt Kloskowski’s Photoshop course I purchased about 2 years ago. I’ve done two lessons which consist of many tutorials. So far so good!

Where we go for a local nature fix: Effie Yeaw Sacramento Nature Center

It’s a quick trip to see deer, coyotes, turkeys, hawks, and the river, so we go there often. It’s Effie Yeaw Sacramento Nature Center located in Carmichael along the American River. Actually, I’ve seen all of the above in my community, but we just have a creek, not a river!

But there’s something special about Effie Yeaw. I remember taking my younger grandkids there and while walking through the meadow, we passed a herd of deer, most of them bucks. Of course I was without camera! I find that my camera keeps me from enjoying the experience with the kids.

Recently I was there in October and November (this week). I usually see at least one deer, and if they are talented, they hide among the trees! Let’s look at my last two visits!

I love reflections!

The trees at Effie Yeaw are so expressive. And, in November we found some Fall color.

I did mention deer and coyote.

The pond is covered in some sort of algae right now. But, there are still ducks way back in the water.

Last, is the river. Last Saturday morning, it was beautiful with fog, and the sun periodically peaking through the moisture laden clouds.

I’m hoping that we have a wet winter so we’ll have green meadows and more deer coming out. I read in the newspaper that most of California is in a “low moisture” state. I’m hoping to show you a greener Effie Yeaw!

Just stopped for coffee: Murphys CA and more

Coffee was calling! So on the way to Big Trees State Park, we stopped in the small resort town of Murphys. This town was our lunch stop when we were shooting the Concours d’Elegance at Ironstone Vineyards. You can see that post here. Well, we got more than just coffee!

After our visit to the State Park, we stopped near a bridge to capture the scenery.

Last, we made a stop at Ironstone Vineyards just as they were closing. Jean had never been there. Fortunately, we had just enough time to see the grounds and shoot some flowers.

The challenge of big trees: Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Big Trees, CA

So, what’s the challenge? A tree is a tree! Not when they are giant Sequoias! This was my first time at Calaveras Big Trees State Park , and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite as amazing as Sequoia National Park, but it had the same enormous trees.

Sequoias are redwoods, big in girth and not as tall as the coastal redwoods. Jean and I took the short, supposedly 1 1/2 mile walk around the North Grove. I walk my dog 2 miles about 6 mornings a week, but this walk took twice as long! There was so much to take pictures of. We started at the Discovery Stump and continued past the Three Graces, the Mother and Son, The Abraham Lincoln Tree, and the Old Bachelor. Some of the other visitors were picture worthy too!

Back to the challenge of taking these shots, you can’t get the entire tree in the image, especially with a crop sensor camera. I did try though! Here, take a look.

Speaking of time: Millertown Sheep Farm & Martha’s Gardens

It’s that time here in the US to change our clocks back to standard time from daylight savings time. That means we gain an hour tomorrow. Wow, that almost seems like a gift, but we did lose an hour to go on daylight savings time! Some people can adjust immediately, but it takes a few days for my body to deal with the time change. I’d rather stay on standard time all year round. California did vote to stay on daylight savings time all year, but we have to get Federal approval. But that doesn’t seem likely! I just adjusted all the clocks and will try to stay up an extra hour so I don’t wake up so early.

Speaking of time, learning Photoshop has become an almost necessity. The realtor I work with needed help with removing a sign from a photo she took and asked me for help. She assumed I could take it out of the photo. I had to tell her that I didn’t know how! I’m sure it’s easy, but I have to learn how to do it! Procrastination isn’t working any more! I will start my PS course tomorrow! I will start my PS course tomorrow! I will start my PS course tomorrow!

After all, I’ll be gaining an hour!

In this post you’ll visit two farms taking part in the Placer Grown Farm and Barn Tour. We chose to visit two farms. The first was Millertown Sheep Farm in Auburn. I was a little disappointed when upon arrival they had some goats in one pen and donkeys in another. I was expecting an actual tour of their facility. They also had a couple of food vendors. Oh, they had some sheep too.

If we were disappointed at Millertown, we were totally surprised by Martha’s Gardens in Newcastle.

After touring the gardens, we were back to the entrance.

In the end, we had a great time!

Painting the walls: Wide Open Walls 2019

These paintings are not new to Slow Shutter Speed. I try to photograph the new additions each year. This time I thought, since we were going on our adventure during the week, we would avoid the parking meters downtown and look for the murals on Del Paso Rd. in Sacramento. Wow, was I disappointed!

This is not the best area in Sacramento, but I didn’t think the murals would also not be the best. Also the map on the Wide Open Walls site was incorrect. The highlight of the morning was having to buy something to eat to use the bathroom at a fast food restaurant. We all managed to use the facilities on one small order of hot dog something or other!

I did find a couple of gems before we headed toward the California Automobile Museum and surrounding area.

Next we headed to a different part of town, but still away from the parking meters and downtown.

And, finally, the garage doors at the California Automobile Museum.

The next time we schedule to photograph the murals, we’ll go on a Sunday–parking is free!

Blast from the past: Concours d’Elegance, part 2

I’ve been seeing them everywhere! Old cars and not just at the Concours d’Elegance at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys. The other day I went to Martha’s Gardens in Newcastle and a restored car was in the parking lot. Today I bought a used leather love seat and the owner had an old Edsel in his garage! Oh, if you missed part 1 of this post, you can see it here.

But let’s get back the the event at Ironstone. Here is part two, and I want to show you some vintage trailers that have been restored, car close ups and a few other things. So let’s look at some pictures!

Cars, cars and more: Concours d’Elegance at Ironstone Vineyards

I have been to car shows, but not one had this many vintage vehicles! I’ve been to Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys before to photograph flowers and the grounds. That alone took most of the day! But there were cars and trailers all over, including an amphibian car that I missed!

We stayed until about 1 p.m. (got there at 10 a.m.) but had to leave after lunch. I would have liked to have gone back to shoot the flowers, but I needed to get to my son and daughter-in-law’s house warming. The drive each way is 2 hours. However, I did get to photograph most of the cars. No, I’m not going to show you all of them! But, this will be a 2-part post.

While editing these photos, I came upon a dilemma. I come from a journalistic background, and as a non-fiction writer, we did not embellish our stories in any way. We basically wrote the facts in an interesting and readable way. Photographing this car show is basically telling a non-fiction story through photographs. So, do I do some image altering edits, or stick to the basics. Most are basic edits, but I did add some filters to some to make them look older. What do you think?

Let’s begin with hood ornaments which were straight edits. I do like to get up close and some were beautiful.

Now for some of the scenery and full or mostly full images of the vehicles. If I had my way there would be greater separation between cars and only me at the show! I can dream, but I truly don’t mind crowds. I just make the people part of the image.

Slow September: The Foothills and River Bend Park

Confession: I haven’t been shooting much this month, except for real estate. I’ll admit that my abilities have grown in that niche, and I enjoy the challenge. Otherwise, I think I need something different to shoot. Tomorrow may just give me that chance. We’re going down to the Ironstone Vineyards, in Murphys to take pictures of their annual Concours d’Elegance, featuring old vehicles and their owners in period costumes. I’m hoping that will perk me up.

On a good note, I’ve taken the time to prioritize watching Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom course that I purchased a couple of years ago. I do like his teaching style. But, Matt, I need help on re-organizing my folders! I didn’t know what I was doing when I started Lightroom, and now I’m paying for it. The years are all mixed up and it’s difficult to find stuff. Marlene helped me, and we got it into months and then years. However, the new additions are not following any sequence! It’s just frustrating. I’d like to start over, but that would be worse. But I’m glad that I spent the time on the course. Next is Photoshop!

The small amount of time I’ve spent shooting hasn’t yielded any amazing photography, just some interesting pieces that I’m showing you in this post.

In this first set, Jean and I just wandered around the Sierra Foothills for interesting things. We didn’t find too much. Here are some:

The next pictures were taken at River Bend Park. I was amazed at how glassy the American River was.

Tomorrow should be more exciting if it doesn’t rain. Yes, they are predicting rain for the morning. Light rain, but…..

Have a great weekend everyone!