I love this place: The Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a favorite of my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group. Why? It’s close and the animals are fun to photograph. We’ve been back often enough that we’re beginning to learn their names, learn their behaviors, and watch the babies grow.

Baby giraffe Rocket is almost as tall as his mom now. Too bad he won’t be staying at our zoo. Yes, we learn all about what’s happening! The little Red River Hogs are almost as big as their parents, but not any more cute. And, we’re getting a new tiger soon.

I say “we” because most of my group are members. As members, we get monthly newsletters and advanced notice of any special events. But, I also enjoy going to the zoo because it helps me perfect my photographic level. I’m doing much better with the F/4 300 mm lens now. It alone weighs 3 pounds! I carry it on a monopod. Sometimes I also take my Nikon D3100 with my 18 to 140 mm lens so I can get a better angle on the giraffes and flamingos. The F/4 is excellent at getting through the enclosures. Sometimes I have to stand way back!

Now that you understand more of why the zoo is featured so much in this blog, meet the animals!

When photographers say goodbye: Bodega Bay

Memorials are for the living, and this one was a long time coming–with good reason. Photographers from the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group had gone to Bodega Bay in April 2015, and my deceased photo buddy Greg Morris was among them. This trip turned out to be great but not without stumbling blocks that bonded the group. Greg had a flat tire and another photographer locked his keys in the car.

Greg had always said that he did not want a funeral or memorial, but on the anniversary weekend of their fun and problematic trip, the group planned this outing as a memorial to Greg. Marlene and I were also invited. I then invited Greg’s daughters and friend.

It was a wonderful experience. When we got to Goat Rock Beach  the photographers quickly got into action. We placed flowers we brought on a large rock surface. Then some gathered small rocks and spelled out his name. They all gathered around and spoke about how Greg affected their lives. Then, they did what photographers do best, and what Greg would want them to do, took pictures.

I gathered Greg’s family and some flowers, and asked them to come down to the beach to throw the buds into the ocean. I felt the family needed some sort of closure. I know I did.

After lunch, we went to Bodega Head beach to shoot some more and then headed home. I did practice some more with my ND filter, but it was too bright out there. I’ll have to get to the beach earlier or later for that, meaning an overnight stay.

I hope you enjoy this memorial trip as much as I did. I hope Greg didn’t mind!

 

Almost caught up: Going home from the Sonora area

Yes, I just have this week to edit and then I’ll be caught up. But, that won’t happen before our next outing! I went on two shoots this week–fun, fun, fun. It will be even longer before you get to see the images from my adventures. So much to do and so little time.

I’m delving more into the Nik software. It’s fun and not too difficult to figure out. However, I need to pay more attention to Photoshop which is intimidating and not so easy to figure out. So I’m going to challenge myself to learn layers next. Someone keep me to it!

While I’m pledging my time to software, this post is about our trip back to Sacramento from Sonora. Some people would just go home; not me and Marlene. We decided to take many back roads. I wasn’t worried as long as we were going north and west. We found Copperopolis , Farmington and Lockeford after leaving our hosts and Tuolumne City.

This drive was fun, but eventually we had to find the highway and head home. It was a great tip. Thanks again Sandy and Ken!

No time to edit: Day 3 in the Sonora area

The more I shoot, the further behind I get in editing! Right now I’ve got three photo outings still to edit, and I’m going out to shoot tomorrow. The more I understand what processing software can do and the more I load onto my computer, the longer it takes me to edit individual images.

And, then there’s the fact that I’m shooting better images–more to edit. I’m getting better at tossing out a lot of them and getting more critical of my work. I’m at the point of saying to myself, “If someone else posted this, would I think it was outstanding?”

I guess it’s great to have this problem! And, it’s great to have friends like Sandy and Ken who devoted two days to taking me and Marlene on a fantastic photo journey. Today’s post  is on our journey to Cherry Lake on Cottonwood Road and on Highway 120. We opted to skip visiting Yosemite because of rain in the Park. But, we were near it, and Ken probably drove many more miles.

Those miles took us to Cherry Lake a man-made lake about 25 miles east of Sonora. This lake is large and is a favorite for boating, etc. It was effected by the Rim Fire in August 2013. You’ll see some of that devastation in my images.

We also stopped at Rainbow Pool where I practiced again with my neutral density filter. Sandy and Ken hadn’t been up as far as Cherry Lake so it was an adventure for all of us. After lunch, we visited Columbia State Historic Park. Set in an old the old Gold Rush era of the 1950s, Columbia is a real town that has been preserved with shops, restaurants, and hotels.

We enjoyed the day and reliving it through the editing process–shoot, edit, post. That’s my life and I love it.

 

 

 

The photo journey continues: Day 2 in the Sonora area

It’s living a dream. I wake up in the morning and my friend asks, “Where would you like to shoot today?” Of course, I didn’t have a clue, but it felt great to have someone willing to guide you through a day of photography. Our second day of fun was about to start.

Sandy and Ken first took us to the Red Hills ACEC, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. This land was designated ACEC in 1993 to protect flora, a rare minnow  (Red Hills roach) and the bald eagle wintering habitat. We didn’t see any eagles and wouldn’t know a Red Hills roach if we saw it.  Sandy and Ken had never been there, but Sandy heard that wildflowers were blooming in that area. So this was an adventure for all of us.

It’s a good thing Ken’s Subaru has all-wheel drive because our adventure took us through some very rough and ready dirt roads. We had to cross three streams. I think Ken enjoyed the drive. There’s a daredevil in that body! While we were being jostled around, we did get some beautiful images of beautiful scenery.

After lunch, we went to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Ken serves as a docent there so we wanted to see what captures his heart. Another docent, Paul, took us around. This is a working facility. They rebuild old trains, give train rides on the weekend and house several stars! Do you remember a television series called Petticoat Junction which ran from 1963 to 1970? Train number 3 was on that show. It was also featured in many movies and is still in demand.

Paul took us through many areas of the roundhouse and showed us the grounds. It was a great tour. When I wake up tomorrow, where will my dream take us?

Been shooting too much? The Gold Country

I never thought I’d say that I’ve been shooting too much! But here I am, way behind in editing and still shooting. I’ve even fallen behind in posting my 52-week images. So I’ve vowed to not shoot any more photographs until our Camera Totin’ Tuesdays group goes out on Tuesday.

I have been exploring the new Nik software I recently downloaded free from Google. I love it, especially the Silver Efex module. It helps create great black and white images. I’ve also started using some Lightroom features I hadn’t tried before. I have created an editing haven.

Okay, so just what have I been so busy photographing? Today, we’ll begin a trip to the Sonora area I took with Marlene. We were graciously hosted by my friends Sandy and Ken who are also photographers. Unfortunately, Sandy’s small Sony broke the day we came down and she had to use her heavier Canon. This wouldn’t have been a problem if she still wasn’t recovering from thumb surgery on her right hand! She shot as much as she could.

Ken was our driver. I’m sure he had fun going over a very rough dirt road with his all-wheel drive car–actually he did! They took us off the beaten path.

Today’s post is from our first day. We stopped at Mokelumne Hill, an old town along the Mokelumne River. The town had the usual old charm, and we had the good fortune to talk with one resident. He filled us in on what happened to all the businesses and people.

We stopped along the river, and I practiced with my neutral density filter. We then went to Ironstone Winery after meeting up with Sandy and Ken. Although it was overcast, windy and raining at times, it was beautiful.

So, here’s day one of our four-day photographic trip. And we did shoot every day!

Discovering history: Old Folsom

There are many old towns with history in California, but this one is close to home. Old Folsom or the Historic Folsom District as they it’s correctly called is a typical shopping and dining area like you’d find elsewhere. However the difference is their free parking garage and Historic Powerhouse. This hydroelectric plant, which is now a State Park, began delivering electric power to Sacramento in September, 1895 and continued to do so until it was shut down in 1952.

Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside because it was closed, but we did shoot the outside. But, fortunately, Tom was able to give us a complete history because of his association with the local newspaper and having lived in Folsom. One of these days, we’ll go back when we know it’s open. By the time we walked around Old Folsom, we were tired. Remember, this was the second half of a Tuesday outing. I’m sure Tom will have more interesting and historic stories to tell us.

 

Getting lost: Folsom Lake

We weren’t lost, we found the exact parking lot, went down to the trail head, but couldn’t find the Old Salmon Falls Trail. This trail was supposed to be flat and a 2 mile loop. Yes, I could do that. However, we ended up walking about ½ mile up and came back down. But, what landscapes there were to be shot!

We think the trail was under water now that Folsom Lake is full. One photographer suggested that we didn’t drive far enough to find the correct trail. It all comes down to the fact that we were lost, didn’t find the right trail, but had a great time roaming around Folsom Lake.

After our lake shoot we did our usual out to lunch routine and then on to walk Old Folsom. This part will be in the next post.

What did I learn? I dabbled a little in the Nik software I downloaded (Silver Efex and Color Efex). I am now a Nik fan. What fun! I’m also getting better results in Lightroom.  Remember, this is the year for learning to use the software programs I have.  I’ll admit that due to personal stuff, I haven’t been as diligent as I want, but that’s life. However, my commitment is still there.

The moral to today’s story is never give up. I’ll learn the software; and when we get lost, we find wonderful landscapes to shoot and have lots of fun.

More Tuesday fun: Rutherford, California

I asked fellow photographers in the car, “Who knows where we’re going?” None knew, except that we were meeting at Karen’s and were taking off in two cars with Karen in the lead. This was sort of a first for us. We’d never had two cars, and we were reasonably sure of where we were going. Fortunately Karen knew exactly where we were going and the cars were able to stay together.

So, you’re asking, where did we go? To Rutherford! Where? It’s a small Napa County town that caters to wine tasting and  delicious but high priced lunches. We ate, but did not wine taste. Of course we stopped at various places there and back to shoot, and we shot in Rutherford. We also re-visited the city of Napa. And, now that Tom is shooting with us, we stopped for ice cream! Ben and Jerry’s to be specific. Yum!

What did I learn? I learned that with good friends you don’t have to know exactly where you’re going–trust and your friend will get you there. Oh, I also started using some Nik software. Google is giving it away free right now. It’s probably being discontinued.

 

On a mission to find one: The Santa Clara Mission, Santa Clara, California

Imagine living in a place for 12 years and not knowing one of California’s Missions was nearby! I’m no longer unaware, but the Santa Clara Mission was difficult to find. It is hidden within the campus of Santa Clara University. Well, not really hidden. It’s the centerpiece of the campus. However there is no sign saying, “Hey, Anne, look here for the mission!”

Fortunately, students were at the Starbucks where I stopped and told me how to find the Mission. It’s location and lack of signage got me wondering: I know the mission came first, but how did Santa Clara University manage to build around it?

Here’s the answer from the University website.

Historic Mission Santa Clara is a beautiful icon that sits at the center of our campus.  First established in 1777, the Franciscan Order handed the Mission over to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1851, who then started Santa Clara College, the first institution of higher education in California.  Today, the Mission serves as the student chapel for Santa Clara University.

If you’re not familiar with the California Missions, they are a series of 21 missions founded by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, in an effort to expand Christianity among the Native Americans along the California coast. I’ve visited many, but not all, of the Missions. This one blends so well with the College architecture.

I did get inside the chapel, but wasn’t prepared with my tripod. I did the best I could with a high ISO and Lightroom. The images are little grainy, but you can still see the simple beauty.

The surrounding campus is also beautiful. It must be nice to be a student there. Enjoy your Mission and campus tour. I did, once I found it!