Hey, you said this trail was flat! Auburn Quarry Trail, Auburn, California

He really didn’t lie; but when my dear photo buddy Richard promised us a flat trail with one or two hills, he under exaggerated.  You see, Richard is an experienced hiker. We are not! The hills were a huge mountain for us. Now, am I exaggerating?

I do like to complain and Richard gives it right back. We, in our little Camera Totin’ Tuesday group, have a lot of fun. Through all the griping (I wasn’t the only one!), we had fun. After all, it’s the interaction of the group that makes a photo outing great.

We followed the Auburn Quarry Trail, part of the California State Park system, along the American River, and when we reached the top (as far as we were going to go), we were fortunate to come upon a few mountain climbers practicing. The sun was powerful that day in Auburn, so I had to deal with exposure issues. I shot mostly handheld HDR, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So I basically edited one of the three shots in Lightroom. In the end, I was satisfied. Take a look. No captions needed.

So what have you been doing? Wrapping up October

My October was busy with routine stuff and photo outings. However, these outings didn’t produce a super amount of images, well any that I would post here! But practice is great and I’m still learning. So I’m just going to separate them into outings.

Folsom Lake, late afternoon shoot. This outing was with our local camera store, Action Camera. They are great and are always willing to help.

Davis Ranch: This was with my All About Photography Group. We went out to Davis Ranch, in Sloughhouse, where all sorts of produce is sold. They are known for their delicious corn. At this time of the year, they also have a corn maze, a pick your own strawberry patch and more. And, of course, pumpkins!

Jensen Botanical Gardens: Marlene and I visited this garden in Carmichael. It would be beautiful in the Spring, but during the Fall, not much was blooming. It was a great exercise in shooting what was there!

Carnival Pictures: My Camera Totin’ Tuesdays group took the day off and did a night shoot at the Citrus Heights Sunrise Mall’s small carnival. This was a great way to practice slow shutter speed and zooming. I was amazed to see everyone’s pictures and what they concentrated on. Some didn’t zoom, some did street photography. But I enjoyed zooming. I also brought along my neighbor and friend, gave her my D3100 and showed her how to do slow shutter and zoom. She was amazing, especially since I didn’t give her too much direction! You’ll have to guess what some of these were because I don’t remember. But I did have fun!

 

 

Finishing up: Maple Rock Gardens, part 2

Finishing up is not exactly correct since there is so much to see at Maple Rock Gardens in Newcastle. But, I’ll focus this post on the small touches and sculptures. If you missed the first post on this fantastic place, here’s a summary.

The garden is a private residence associated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. When you visit, you’ll walk from one themed garden into another. It also has acreage that supplies flowers to the nursery. It’s only open to the public twice a year and is available as an event venue for special occasion parties, like weddings, the rest of the time.

Look back at my last post to view the grounds, and now for the rest!

Only twice a year: Maple Rock Gardens, Newcastle

It’s some place you’d like to visit often, but this home and popular event venue is only open to the public twice a year. Other times, you need to be at a wedding or some other event to see the beautiful gardens. I’ll admit that at the end of summer, the flowers aren’t blooming and the lavender fields are hiding, but the property is beautiful just the same.

Maple Rock Gardens is a private estate, in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. Its 30-acres is host to one of the largest garden railroads in Northern California. There are themed gardens, like a Japanese Tea Garden, and a 4-acre farm that supplies flowers to the High Hand Nursery. We spent almost 2 hours walking from one garden into another.

Each garden was decorated with sculptures, plants, small water falls and more. The easiest way to describe it is to show you. I did take a lot of pictures, so this will be a two-part post. Oh, you’ll also notice that I am now using a logo rather than a copyright symbol. Since I’ve made a little money with my photography, doing some real estate shoots, I decided to be more professional.

So, come along with me and visit Maple Rock Gardens.

Wild but gentle: Searching for wild horses

You know, one person photographs something, then everyone is after the same thing. And, of course, I’m no different. A few photographers recently went on a tour to photograph wild horses in Nevada. Their photos were great and spurred Me, Laura and Marlene on to find a herd.

We did, just outside Reno, Nevada. The other photographers found their group near Minden, Nevada. Laura knew of a herd near Reno and had their approximate position. When we got there, civilization had encroached on their territory, but they were still there. We drove through a housing complex, found the gate, drove beyond the gate and there they were! That easy!!

I couldn’t believe how used to people these Mustangs were. One came up to me straight on. I had to tell him I didn’t have anything for them. I did see someone feed them some carrots before he left the area.

It was amazing. These horses live just outside a residential area with a small stream as their water supply. They were grazing on whatever they could find on the ground. At one point, I saw a bunch galloping down the hillside. I yelled galloping and ran to the spot. Laura turned around and got some excellent shots. Mine are not so good, just a little soft, but I’ll show you one anyway. I was having a difficult time handholding the heavy F/4 300mm lens. Next time I’ll bring a monopod like Marlene did!

I want to find more wild herds. And, maybe my post will spur other photographers on to find herds to photograph.

Never forget: 9/11 Flag Tribute, West Sacramento

Growing up, I heard those words, “Never Forget,” but they were talking about the Holocaust where 8 million Jews were slaughtered. We are still remembering today as most of our survivors are dying.

Now in the United States, we have another reason to “Never Forget.” On September 11, 2001 we were attacked by terrorists using commercial airplanes as weapons. I remember listening to my radio as I drove to a networking meeting that morning; It was unreal. During the meeting, we were all stunned. Later, millions watched videos on TV as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down. Another plane would crash into the western side of the Pentagon. Then came the word about the brave souls of Flight 93, crashing their plane in a Pennyslvania field before it could hit another building.

On September 11, 2018, my photo buddies and I, went to the West Sacramento Memorial Flag Tribute. This is put up each year to pay tribute to the lives lost through the attacks and the first-responders who tried to find survivors. We went specifically to capture the scene during the golden hour, and it didn’t disappoint. The sun lighting up the flags made the memorial more significant. The tribute was set up beautifully.

I remember that day in 2001, and the days after, when the world mourned with the U.S. and patriotism rose. We came together as a nation. No, we will Never Forget.

Zoo at 140 mm: The Sacramento Zoo

For the past year, or more, I’ve used my F4/300 lens when going to the Sacramento Zoo. While it’s great for getting through cages and shooting the big cats, etc. up close, I’d have to stand a block away to get a whole giraffe in the shot. So, when Marlene, Linda and I went to the zoo recently, I decided to use my 18 – 140 mm lens. No close ups for me that day!

It was a great experience. I concentrated on the ducks, ducklings, and othe small animals that were not caged (just behind enclosures). It was a totally different zoo experience. My gear was lighter to carry, and I didn’t get as tired.

I’m not giving up on that great heavy F4/300 lens. It does a wonderful job at getting through the cages and showing the detail on the animals. Maybe when I get back to the gym, I’ll have the upper body strength to carry two cameras.

I hope you enjoy this zoo experience!

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Somehow I got this Jaguar. I’ve had a difficult time getting him with the long lens! Opportunity and timing!

An annoying cold in the summer: Catching up

I thought I was over the 2-week cold, but I guess I wasn’t. I’m in my fourth week of it and not feeling really well. Can I continue to complain a bit? The worse part of it is the fog brain that keeps me from posting, etc. I didn’t even realize that I haven’t posted in a long while. Okay, that’s enough complaining.

I’ve been on a few shoots since my trip to San Francisco, and I’ll try to post about two of them here. My Tuesday group visited The Fountains Shopping Center again. It’s always a challenge to come up with something different at a place you’ve photographed many times. So here’s what I came up with:

Another visit was to downtown Sacramento and the third year of the Wide Open Walls Festival. This time we shot on the second and last days of the week’s artistry. On the second day, we found only one artist at work. On the last day, we were treated to two amazing murals: Johnny Cash and Monkeys (which was three-dimensional with metal parts and paint). Here’s some of what we saw:

While shooting our first set of murals, we stopped by William Land Park in Sacramento to photograph the lotus pond:

And, of course, I do enjoy shooting buildings:

That’s it for now. Have to rest. I do hope this cold is over before my next post!

I didn’t do that well Tuesday night at the Sierra Camera Club, in Sacramento, competition, but then I expected I wouldn’t. Sometimes pictures look great on the monitor, but not so great when they are printed. That was my predicament.

When I looked at the prints, I was dismayed. I decided to enter them anyway. After all I’m there to learn, and I did. The scores range from 8 to 12. I got two 10s and two 11s. I’ll confess that the judge didn’t give a score under 10! Print is just one of several categories, and for me, the most difficult. I’m not the only one printing out 8 x 12 images, but we are in the minority. However, I don’t think I’m ready to invest the money in larger prints.

In the digital categories, I have been awarded 12s, but never made it to the golden “13.” But, I’m happy. I joined this group to learn, and I have. I’ve also learned how to look at images. It’s amazing what details the judges see that I haven’t trained my eye to look for.

Toastmasters has trained me not to take critiquing as an assualt on my abilities. So, I understand that judging is subjective. There have been a few times when I dissagreed with the judge; but, after a few weeks, I saw that the judge was so right! Sometimes we get attached to our product and what we see in it that we don’t view it with a critical eye.

I thank the fantastic members of the Club. They are most eager to help, and just seeing their work gives me something to shoot for. Most of all, I feel great when my images are competitive with theirs.

If you are a new photographer, I urge you to join this type of club. There’s always something new to learn. You’ll find some of my entries below.

 

 

Country life: Yolo Art and Ag

I’m not a country gal, but I do enjoy the opportunity to experience it. And, fortunately, I do get the chance. During the summer months, Yolo Arts brings together artists, photographers and farm owners in an effort to  raise awareness about the importance of preserving farmlands. This is accomplished through the Arts and Ag Project in Yolo County.

It’s amazing how close urban and suburban Sacramento is to farms and orchards. Drive one hour and you’re in a different world. A world I often get lost in! This month we visited Meeks and Sons, Inc. farm. A large farm that grows crops. This was a much different experience than in the past when we visited small farms–maybe two or three at a time. Karen B. and I got lost driving up and down the dirt roads. We did manage to find almond pods on the trees and some old and new farm equipment to take picture of.

Afterwards, Karen B. and I drove about 30 miles north to scout out a venue for our Tuesday group–a resting place for old busses and trucks in Williams. This is a photographers dream shoot, but not in the summer. It’s way too hot with more triple digits days than ever before. We ate lunch in the town and took some pictures.

Take a peek at what this city gal found on the farm.