Who moved my chairs? Back to Volcano

My red chairs. The simple, inexpensive patio chairs I shot, during a prior visit, as they were positioned in front of a Volcano, California store were moved. And, I was moved. I don’t know why, but when I saw that they were not in the same photographic set up, I was taken aback! Did I want to shoot them again? Did I want to make a good shot even better? Probably not, but I did look at the composition–no, not as good.

I did take a shot from a totally different angle. Of course you’re thinking, “Why didn’t she just move the chairs back?” Good question, I’m going to have to start setting the scene when I can. I’m sorry that I don’t have the original on my laptop here in San Jose. If you want to see it. It’s archived in this blog. Anyway, here’s the shot I took.

DSC_2412-1

This was my second and Marlene’s first trip to this small town. Except for the red chairs it hadn’t changed! It is full of historic buildings that have been re-purposed and still used.

Volcano was a cultural center in this gold fever valley. It was the first to have a lending library and many other civic and private offerings. I love the look of stone on Main Street’s buildings.

We had just come from the Black Chasm Cavern tour and were hungry. We were directed to the General Store and had burgers. We then walked beyond Main Street and saw more of the town.

I may go back to Volcano in the future, and I’ll definitely move some chairs!

 

 

It’s a long way down: Black Chasm Cavern, Volcano CA

You don’t notice how far down you travel until it’s time to walk back out of the cavern. Black Chasm was so interesting, I didn’t notice how far down we climbed. We joined a group of children for a 45 minute tour at the last minute.

The tour guide was wonderful, placing us in the back of the tour so we could stay back and take as many pictures as we wanted. In fact, the entire group accommodated our picture taking. However, we were listening as the guide explained the dramatic features of the cavern.

The most important feature of the Black Chasm Cavern are the rare and delicate helictite crystals that adorn the cavern walls along with the traditional stalactites and stalagmites. I’ve been in other caves and caverns, but have never seen helictite crystals.

The cavern has three main chambers. Although we thought the last one at the bottom was the largest, it wasn’t. At the end of our tour, we climbed the same stairs, but this time going up, and up and up! I said to Marlene, “Did we go down this far?”

Here are some images from this amazing cavern. No captions this time.

 

 

Great feedback: Back to Jackson, part 2

Wow, I am so grateful for all the feedback I received from my last post. Most of it was on Facebook. It really helped me shape the next part of my journey.

I began this blog as a way to talk about my new hobby and document my chosen paths. I chose not to take classes, but study tutorials, practice and join Meetup groups. And, it’s worked. It took about 3 years, but I am confident now and ready for the next step–learning more about processing and putting my work out there. I’m not looking to sell anything, but to get more feedback. Most of all, I’m having fun and have met new friends and wonderful, helpful people.

In the meantime, I promised you the images from Jackson and here they are. I will always be open to feedback, and I’m willing to listen and try new things.

 

 

Thinking: Back to Jackson, CA

I’ve been thinking about my photography. I know I’m getting better, but why am I processing more images than before? Do I have to be more discerning? Am I truly picking good images?

Today, Marlene said I was posting very good pictures. So, then how do I become more critical of my work? How do I process the best of the best? I think, right now, I’m processing what I like. This is okay, but in 2016, my focus is going to be on processing. So, this is what’s going on in my head!

Last week we did go back to Jackson. I was hoping eating hot dogs at Fat Freddy’s would cheer up Greg. He’s been ill and, as of this writing, is back in the hospital. We hope he’s back with us soon.

As usual, we stopped on the way there and home, taking advantage of beautiful scenery. In this post, I’ll show you the before and after stops.

As I follow my own path on my photographic journey, I’m feeling positive I’m taking the correct turn, but I keep thinking about how I can do it better.

 

 

 

Rain, rain–stay, stay: All About Photography Toastmaster club

It’s finally wet out there, and Mother Nature is being very kind. It’s raining in the evening and through the night. At least it did last night. But, what’s that got to do with my Toastmaster photography club? Nothing! California is just happy that it is raining.

And, I’m happy with this Toastmaster club that is like no other. Wanting to combine my two passions, I started All About Photography almost a year ago. It’s been fun finding our way, keeping the Toastmaster structure and making the meeting all about photography. Now you see how we got our name.

We are the same as any other Toastmaster club except all our speeches are on photography and our table topics are basically critiques of images. Last Monday I was the Table Topics Master. I selected some images I wanted feedback on and presented them to the club. Before I selected the member participant, I gave a brief background on the picture. The selected member then gave a 1 – 2 minute critique. We do vote on who did the best job and present them with a ribbon.

I’m going to try something new and insert the pictures in the blog individually, not in a gallery.

DSC_0400-1
This image from the ghost town Bodie was well received, mostly for the color and texture.
DSC_1144-1
When I shot this, I was trying to show the musician’s emotions. However, the participant felt there wasn’t enough contrast for his face to be predominate. I need to figure out how to darken the tent top.
DSC_6272-1
I put this one in because I happen to love it and it didn’t get great play on Facebook when I posted it. I wanted to know why and what I could do to make it better. The participant loved it as much as I do, but she noticed the neon open sign in the window furthest away. Can you see it? She thought it was distracting. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed it until she mentioned it!
DSC_1513
This, from near Sedona, AZ, was liked because of the action and depth of field. I thought it might be too busy, but the participant didn’t think so.
untitled-6704
I showed this one because I almost didn’t process it. I thought the vertical orientation made it too tight. The participant thought so also. He thought a horizontal orientation would have shown more of the landscape, giving the viewer an idea of the image’s context. I agree. However, I do like the texture of the wood and grasses.

So there you have it–a glimpse of what we do during an All About Photography meeting. And, to top off the meeting, the former District 39 Photographer told me how much he enjoyed my pictures and thought I had a great eye for composition.

It’s going to possibly rain again tomorrow, so I’ll be busy processing this week’s Tuesday With Seniors photo outing.

Taking a different course: Plymouth and Fiddletown, California

It was Tuesday with seniors. I was still hobbling. it was the three of us me, Marlene and Greg. But, we took a different course into Plymouth and Fiddletown.

I’ve been to Plymouth, but not to photograph the sights. We used to square dance and went to a yearly festival there. And, just the name Fiddletown was attraction enough for me. So off we went, with Greg taking us down every back road he knew! I was still in the back seat with my foot up.

Plymouth is a city in Amador County, and the 2010 census shows a population of 1,005. This is a very small town with the downtown area maybe three blocks long. It looks like they are trying to create an upscale yet old look with new construction on the main street.

This is in contrast to Fiddletown where the main drag shows buildings empty and almost falling down. A census designated community in Amador County, Fiddletown’s population was 235 as of the 2010 census. It  is registered as a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. But, it has a charm to it.

Our guide, Greg, also took us to D-Agonstini Reservoir which I thought was a large pond! And we had crossed the county line into El Dorado County. I’m sure I mentioned in a previous post that you never know where you’ll end up when Greg is driving!

So that’s where our course took us last week. See for yourself in this two-part post.

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.

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.