Lens Artists Challenge #166: Artificial Light

In Sacramento California, the weather forces us indoors during a triple digit heat wave or lots of rain (We could sure use some of that now!). When we can’t take photos outside, my photo group wanders inside. Most commercial retailers don’t mind if we come in with our cameras just as long as we don’t use tripods and a flash. These activities are perfect for Ann-Christine’s challenge this week.

One rainy season had us float into Ameigh’s Hardware Store. They were great about hosting us. I found a few treasures in their garden section to focus close up on. They were fun to photograph, and helped me create some abstracts too. The ambient lighting in this store was ample.

The Antique Trove is another of our favorites. I tend to shoot close up at these venues. I get distracted by all the enticing things around me and can’t separate them from each other. There have been a few times when I’ve moved something, but I put it back the way I found it. Price tags also get in the way and the lighting is not super bright–up goes the ISO!

We also go to museums which have recently opened up again. One favorite is the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker has an old wing (building) that was cleverly attached to a new section (building). I love the architecture and warmth in the old wing. This wing houses the ballroom and lovely staircases and ceilings. The lighting is not as bright here as it is in the new wing.

And, we always have IKEA. I can’t create a still-life, but when I see the opportunity, I use it. The ambient lighting is brighter here.

Last we sometimes shoot in the dark, especially at our State Capitol building during the Holidays. I love the way the rotunda is bright with the tree showing its lights. And, of course, I have to zoom a bit!

I mostly choose to photograph in ambient light rather than use a flash and enjoy the challenge of doing this indoors. Thank you Ann-Christine for this fun challenge.

When the heat turns up: IKEA

I’m just going to be blunt–It’s been a lousy summer here in Sacramento California. Our triple digit days outnumber our double digit days. And, then there are the fires that are raging in our forests. Our homes in the Sacramento Valley are not in danger, so I won’t complain about the smoke that blows in from the fires. All this means we take our cameras inside. One of our favorite places is IKEA.

We visited the IKEA store in West Sacramento on a recent Sunday and had a great time. Yes there were more shoppers than during the week but the place had a different vibe. I was looking to photograph something different than I had in the past. Fortunately displays had changed.

All the pictures below were shot with my macro lens which was the only one I brought in with me. I like the challenge of photographing with just one lens. This lens is an 80 mm so I got up close to take pictures of just a part of my subject.

Here are some of the images. Can you tell what they were?

After taking photos, we dined in the IKEA café. The food is great and the prices reasonable. My choice was a smoked salmon, potato salad and green salad plate. Yum! I guess I should have taken a picture of it!

Twice is nice: Crocker Art Museum

With Sacramento County opening up, we took the opportunity to visit the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento–not once, but twice! We wanted to see and photograph the Tiffany Glass exhibition from the Driehaus Collection.

Even though they are open, you have to reserve your spot. We were lucky. Our small camera group got tickets for the once a month free museum day in Sacramento! But our luck ran out because the Tiffany Glass exhibition wasn’t due until the following week. But the Museum is interesting in itself. It has two distinct parts: original and old and new and modern.

Here are pictures of the original and the new buildings. They are cleverly joined together so patrons can walk from one to the other without going outside.

Now I’ll show you some of the architecture inside the buildings. First let’s look at the old side. Rich wood and ornate moldings bring you into a page of history.

Now for the new more modern addition.

But what about the Tiffany exhibition? We did go back the following week. Paid to get in and were told after we took a few shots, that we were not allowed to take pictures! At least the guard let us get some pictures before he shut us down.

I’m going to end this post with a painting I thought was amazing. I don’t think my photo can convey the emotion it evokes and its artistry.

Lens-Artist Challenge #111: Everyday objects

Thank you Patti! This challenge made me stretch beyond my normal type of photography. What I finally came up with are a few things around my house that bring me joy.

First are my bamboo wind chimes. I love the sound they make even in a slight breeze. As you can see, they are old and cracking, but they still sound beautiful.

Also outside are my red chairs. I saw two red chairs during a visit to Volcano, a very small town in the gold country, and was instantly drawn to them. When I repainted the house I had to get some. They are a perfect accent for my gray and charcoal color choice.

One thing about me that you may not know: I’m a huge Mickey Mouse fan and love almost everything Disney. So Mickey is in my house big time. One Mickey treasure is my toaster given to me by dear friends. It’s really not good to use since the outside gets hot. So, it sits as a decoration on top of my kitchen cabinet. Who could not enjoy that first cup of coffee after looking at Mickey!

My fondest Mickey treasure is a big puzzle my older grandson, Christopher, made for me. Each piece is a scene from a Disney movie. He framed it and it hangs at the end of my hallway. Here’s the puzzle and a close up so you can see the puzzle pieces. It’s amazing.

And finally, my dog Gem. He’s a Schnoodle and is 10 years. We walk every day, so I guess he’s an everyday thing!

Thanks again Patti! It was fun!!

It’s been a long time! The Haggin Museum, Stockton California

I’m still here! I just haven’t been shooting for fun lately. It’s been so hot and I’ve been lacking the incentive to go outside to take photos except for real estate shoots. I’m enjoying those, and I do a good job now. Practice makes perfect!

It seems we went from rain right into the summer heat waves. No Spring! Hopefully Autumn will be better. Last week we ended August at the Haggin Museum in Stockton California.

The outside was simple and pretty:

It was a lovely museum. The exhibits were well placed and accessible. The interior was sleek and very photographic.

We went there to see a black and white photography exhibit, Masters of American Photography, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. The exhibit was outstanding! The collection featured images from Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others spanning from the 1880s to 1980s.

Since shipbuilding is Stockton’s oldest industry a Stephens Bros. Boat Builders exhibit was locate in one of the galleries.

On loan from the Smithsonian Institute, an exhibit explored Dolores Huerta’s public life as an activist and showed the multi-ethnic aspects of the labor movement.

There was also an exhibit of J. C. Leyendecker’s work for magazine covers and advertisements. This gallery was cleverly placed in the hall spanning the entire circle upstairs.

The museum has three levels. The bottom level showed store fronts as they looked in Stockton’s early days.

They also had small galleries featuring rifles, etc. and American Indian items.

They also had vehicles, agricultural machinery, old fire engine and European Art. One of my favorites was the globe clock.

I also tried to shoot through glass windows without a tripod or polarizing filter!

And, a museum featuring famous photographers would miss a great marketing opportunity if they didn’t cater to photographers in their store!

I hope you enjoyed this visit!

Feeling the sun: di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

Oh, it’s wonderful: two days of sunshine, and one more to come! After, that showers begin again. I have managed to get out with my camera during the sunshine, and you’ll see those images later after they’re processed.

Today, I’m taking you to the second half of our journey into Napa that began with the Quixote Winery (in my last post) and ended with the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

We drove to the art gallery after lunch and stopped along the way for more picture taking. You know photographers, we just keep clicking when we see something pretty. On approach, the gallery is pretty, the grounds are beautiful, but I wasn’t feeling the art. But, as I’ve learned by having my images critiqued, art is totally subjective. (I did find out that my “Droplets” picture did make it to the table from which the winners were chosen!) While I may not like something, someone else will.

The grounds that the two galleries sit on are beautiful, complete with a lake. I did the best I could with the limited access we had to the grounds. The highlight of the trip was the stop at the Lake Berryessa, in Napa County, and its spillway or Glory Hole.

So, here are the images of the country side, art gallery and Glory Hole!

Pre-competition jitters & a cold: Emigh’s Hardware, Sacramento

It’s 4:50 a.m. and way too early to be up, but I can’t go back to sleep. Today I’m taking my photos down to Columbia in Tuolumne County for the competition. Since I blogged about two of my images making the finals, a lot has happened, and the person responsible is my photo buddy Lucille.

I was talking about my 8 x 12 prints and that I wasn’t thrilled with them after getting them home and seeing the difference in color on my monitor. I’m also thinking she wasn’t happy with the idea of me taking small prints to the competition. She invited me to her home and together we worked on producing larger prints.

When I left, a whole new world opened for me. I couldn’t believe how wonderful the pictures looked larger. I thought I couldn’t resize them and not lose any of the image. The whole new world is that of do I want to start investing in printing and selling my pictures. I thought about it and decided to wait to see what happens in Columbia. I’m not sure, even if I do well, I want to walk through that door. Do I really want all that pressure at my age? Do I want to turn this photography passion into a small business? I have lots of questions and, right now, no answers.

And, now for the cold. I’m not talking about the weather even though it has been cold and raining for weeks. I’m talking about the sneezing and coughing kind. I’ve been tired for a few days, thinking it was just jitters and being anxious. I’m anxious especially since streets in Tuolumne were flooded a couple of days ago, and I don’t drive a boat!

But, last night at a Toastmaster contest, I realized I had a cold. Just my luck! I fully intend to take my photos down. However, whether I say for the weekend events will depend on my friends Sandy and Ken accepting me with a cold. I’m due to stay with them in Tuolumne City.

Right now my mind is in a quandry and my body is working hard to get me through the weekend. Since, this is a blog about pictures, here’s a few from another rainy day outing at Emigh’s Hardware in Sacramento. When I shoot in a crowded store, I try to isolate my subject and shoot mostly close up.

It’s raining, it’s pouring: Antique Trove, part 2

Yes, it’s still raining here in sunny California. In fact, we are getting atmospheric storms. A woman in Toastmasters this morning told us that her neighbor’s tree ended up in her pool! They are preparing for floods in certain areas that usually flood in rains like this. Discovery Park, a nice picnic area on the American River has been closed off. Many years in the past, those tables were under water!

Today, I was able to walk my dog, Gem, on his usual 2-mile trek. But, as I write this, the rain is coming down.

So, back to the Antique Trove in Roseville. I always bring money in with me when I shoot inside because I mignt find something I can’t live without. It’s also nice to buy something as a way of saying thanks for letting a photography group invade the store. Here are the last of the images I took.

Shooting inside: Antique Trove, part 1

If the weather is forcing you to shoot inside, try an antique store. The bigger the store, the better. One thing: always ask permission before you go. The Antique Trove in Roseville is becoming my Tuesday group’s favorite inside place to shoot. It’s huge, has a lot of vendors, and the items change frequently.

We’ve been there twice now and have not been disappointed. Okay, some of us bought things we couldn’t resist. The plaques I purchased are now hanging with my photos in the kitchen dinnette area.

I do have a problem though, I don’t like clutter and price tags. So, I tend to do closeups with a short depth of field. I look for lines, texture and items that tend to tell a story. I also don’t like to use a high ISO, but I do what’s needed. Stores don’t take kindly to tripods! Fortunately, I have a 2.8, 17 to 70 Sigma lens expecially made for crop sensor cameras. It typically gives me enough light. Flash photography is not allowed.

During our first visit in January, I didn’t find much to shoot. Maybe I was having an off day and didn’t find items that inspired me. However, last week was a different story. With our outing three weeks apart, the stock in the vendor stalls had changed and, since it wasn’t raining at the moment, the back outside stalls were open.

Because I have edited photos from two visits, this will be a two-part post. There will be more images from last week’s shoot. So here we go. Enjoy my take on the Antique Trove.

Discovery: Christmas at the Capitol Building, Sacramento

I have discovered Color Efex Pro, and I love it. I love it just as much as I do Silver Efex Pro which I use all the time when editing for black and white. I don’t edit my photos that much because I still have not gotten into Photoshop or other programs. So, these presets are a great way for me to give my images a fresh look and a start at creativity. I do work on them after I apply the preset.

I’ve been using Color Efex on my outdoor landscapes. You’ll see some of it when I start posting my Kauai pictures (I still have the last day to edit.). I can see the opportunity. I can compose the image. I can do the basic editing. But, when it comes to giving the image that creative touch, I’m unable to do it on my own. I can’t see the final image in my mind, let alone know how to get it there! In comes the preset or profile. They give me ideas to jump off on. Then, away I go. Maybe with practice, I can do it on my own in Photoshop with layers, filters and more.

Every year, I promise myself that I’ll get into Photoshop, but it never happens. Life takes up the time I’ve set aside. I remember when I ran my home-based business, and I actually blocked off office time. I’ll have to do that for studying processing. It’s not only Photoshop, I’ve got other programs that I haven’t learned.

In the meantime, I’m so happy with the Nik collection. Take a look at a recent outing to the Capitol Building in Sacramento and the beautiful tree on the front lawn.