Lens Artists Challenge #183: Memorable Events

When Ann-Christine introduced her challenge she admitted it is difficult to choose a memorable event. She wrote: “I had to reflect upon it for some days before I knew what to choose… because life gives us quite some of these very special events, does not it? Happy Birthdays, surprising hikes, meetings with faraway friends, interesting exhibitions, travels to special places…”

It didn’t take me that long! My memories went to our cross country trip in 2013. This was a dream of mine and we decided to do it to commemorate our 50th wedding anniversary. This also coincided with the purchase of my Nikon D3100 and the beginning of my photography journey.

But, what do I pick from a 3-month (not long enough) trip? Memphis Tennessee! But what about Memphis? Beale Street! Just thinking about it brings back the food and music. If you love cat fish, that’s the place to be. If you love music, that’s definitely the place to be.

On our visit, we arrived at dusk to find Beale St blocked off for autos, but not motorcycles, especially when it came to a powder pink cycle with long eyelashes!

Hungry? You just had to step into one of the restaurants where an employee told you of the great food. And it was good.

After dinner, we started our musical adventure. As you walked by club after club, the music streamed out the open doors. Some had cover charges, some didn’t. But, oh my, what great sounds!

Some clubs carried famous names like B.B. King.

In Jerry Lee Lewis’ club, an entertainer played and sang just like Lewis would.

In one club, the singer played a request for me “Walking In Memphis” by Marc Cohen. I could have sat there forever.

All great evenings must end and so Beal Street must close.

I want to go back to Beal St for a few reasons, fun, music and now I know what ISO is!

Thank you Ann-Christine for helping me re-discover this magical night. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s Interesting Objects in response to Patti’s challenge last week, and look forward to seeing what Amy has in store for us next week. Remember to link to Ann-Christine’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. I want to share in your memorable events.

Exploring Roseville at night

A modern day boom town, Roseville was stretching its borders when we first moved here in 2001. What was once a small railroad town is now a hub for corporations (At least before the pandemic hit.) and new housing. When I was doing business in Roseville there were four main areas: Downtown Roseville, the Historic District, East Roseville (corporate) and West Roseville (housing). A couple of weeks ago, we ventured into Roseville for sunset and night photography.

We began at the Roseville Sculpture Park. This large red metal sculpture can be seen from the Interstate 80 freeway. The sculpture is named “Cosmos” and was dedicated to the people of Roseville in 1990 by a local developer.

We did find a couple of mushrooms along the path to the sculpture. I didn’t have my macro lens, so I photographed these at 55 mm. Actually the car was in the parking lot and I was too lazy to go get the lens. I think if there had been more than two mushrooms, I would have changed lenses!

Next we went to Downtown Roseville and its main street: Vernon Street. There are two theaters, restaurants and shops around Roseville’s City Hall. Here are some of this area approaching sundown.

After we enjoyed dinner, we returned to Downtown to catch some of the town’s lights. The Christmas tree was up in the Town Square and a decorative display of a house caught peoples attention. These were taken without a tripod because you know, I’m lazy!

We ended our evening cold but happy.

Color and light: Night time carnival

I like to photograph at slow shutter speeds and zoom my lens in and out. So when I learned there was a small carnival at a the Sunrise Mall shopping center, in Citrus Heights, parking lot, my photo buddies and I got down there. We did the same visitation in 2018 and the carnival was much better: more rides, more people and a working Ferris wheel. I think the almost rainy weather may have had something to do with it.

But, I had fun anyway. Here’s some of what I captured that evening.

I’ve got my camera ready for next year. Hopefully there will be a working Ferris wheel and more rides.

Merry Christmas: Lights

We’re getting closer to the second miracle of this season. First was Chanukah and now it’s Christmas. I love to take images of the decorated lights on houses and in yards. So Jean and I went out for my second round of taking photos of lights.

I thought this house sent the religious message of Christmas along with some fun snow men, plus a snowman zoom.

This next display starts in the front yard with a patriotic theme and ends with a “Frozen” theme on the side yard and around the corner. It was well done. Of course, I’m thinking of power and how much it costs to run the lights. But, this was an enjoyable exhibit.

Last, I’m showing you the first display we saw. It was simple and beautiful. And, yes, I had to zoom!

Have a great Christmas. Let’s hope next year let’s hope for another miracle and we’ll be back with families and friends! Stay safe everyone.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125: You Pick It!

For me, this challenge is like giving a kid a bunch of toys and saying okay pick one! Which one do you pick? Why do you pick it? So, what subject do I pick? What photos do I pick? Yikes!

This challenge by Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles caused me to think about how my photography progressed through the years. I went back to 2012 when I bought my Nikon D3100. This was a used entry level consumer DSLR. I was closing my business and looking for a hobby and didn’t want to invest a lot into something I might not enjoy.

I took the camera on a Mexican cruise that year and had fun photographing the colored lights aboard the ship.

I was still using my 3100 in 2013 when I made my first visit to a wildlife preserve (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge). Fortunately this little guy was on the ground and close. My post processing hadn’t reached the Lightroom stage yet.

In 2014 I had my first experience shooting light trails. I had upgraded my camera to Nikon’s D7100 which was Nikon’s highest level consumer camera. This was taken in Sacramento. I did have freeway shots, but I wanted to show you something more.

In 2015 I went to Bodie, a State Park and old ghost town, where I experienced my first bout with altitude illness. There I practiced HDR, popular then, on the old structures that were in danger of falling. By then I was processing with Lightroom and Photomatix Pro.

My first shot at the Milky Way came in 2016. I’ve had better success since, but astrophotography has never become a favorite of mine. This is strange because my husband is an astronomer!

Sometimes you take a leap of faith. This picture taken in 2017, provided me with an entry for what I thought was a small town photo contest my friend told me about. This was in Sonora in the Gold Country. Little did I know, the best of Sacramento were also entering. Two of my photos made it to the wall and one made it to the final choice table. My friend had one image make it to the wall. She was delighted to have been chosen among the talented photographers and so was I. This was the one that was so close to being a top winner in 2019. I didn’t enter that contest this year because it was nerve racking, and with COVID my nerves were already under pressure.

I love slow shutter photography and would go to our local mall when they had small carnivals to practice. I captured this in 2018.

While I’m not a birder, I can’t resist an easy shot. My friend took me to what I call the nesting trees. Egrets and other large birds choose to make their nest in the cluster of trees and put on a show for photographers. By then I got an old-used prime F/4 300 mm. Although heavy, it has clarity. So, here’s my 2019 entry!

And here we are in 2020, the year we thought we’d never experience. Photography is a little more difficult these days, but it still provides the relaxation and mental stimulation it always did. I’m so happy I started back in 2012. This has become my passion. I hope you enjoyed my photographic journey.

Our new normal: I can’t get motivated today!

I don’t think it’s the fact that we are under lock-down, I think I can’t get motivated because it’s raining or just damp outside. Yesterday we endured a large, wind blowing and rainy storm complete with lightening and thunder. California needed that storm, but I didn’t need the ceiling tiles in my sun-room ruined and having it rain in the room!

But that didn’t get me down. Neither did my experience with ordering groceries through a local market’s E-Cart service which ended up a disaster. Okay, I’ll tell you about it since you insist. I put my order in online and waited three days to pick it up. On the right day and time, we go to the store and call them to let them know we (Richard and I) were out in the parking lot. They tell me they’ll be right out with my order. Two cars drive up and get their order. I call them again and was told they’d be right out. You can see where this is going! It seems they gave my order to the wrong person. With all the apologies they could muster, they finally brought out my order which wasn’t complete! I’m now waiting for my refund to show up. So we ended up going inside another market to get the rest of the list. We wore our masks and gloves, and practiced social distancing.

Well, I was upset, but that didn’t get me down. Neither did the fact that I had to get a urine sample from my male dog Gem. Have you ever tried that? After several failed attempts with unique ideas, Richard followed the vets advice. He attached the cup to the end of a cane! My neighbor promised to help so off we went on the dog walk of a lifetime. I held the leash and she operated the cane. We were successful. Fortunately, we only had one witness!

We laughed a lot at the absurdity of the task, and it didn’t get me down either! Actually, we laughed a lot and that felt good. Laughter is the best medicine.

I truly believe the weather is my downer. And, I can’t do anything about that, can I! I think I’ll have some fun looking through past photos to post here. After all, this is a photo blog. Maybe it will motivate me to take some images of things around the house for some of the local camera club challenges.

Here are some photos from a night outing in 2014. We were shooting a full moon with silos as a background. This was early on in my photography adventure, and I learned a lot about night photography.

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.

Go again next year? Water Lantern Festival, Folsom Lake

I saw the picture of the activity and thought, “I’d like to do that too.” The water lanterns glowed in the dark while their reflections glowed in the water. That’s what drew me into going to the Water Lantern Festival at Folsom Lake in Folsom.

Now, I do understand about expectations and how the environment can change our ability to get perfect shots. What I don’t understand is how an event of this size can be so mismanaged!

Arriving was easy. Photo buddy Ray and I got there about 5 p.m. (gates opened at 3 p.m.), parked in the second parking lot and immediately jumped onto a shuttle. This was easy. I was able to carry my camera bag, tripod, backpack, chair and dinner. We checked in and walked down to the beach, agreeing that getting right near the water was necessary for good photos. I took note, however, that the bathrooms were up at the top and the lake was down, leaving more beach to walk through.

We knew that getting that picture perfect photo wasn’t possible (didn’t keep me from trying) because of the wind blowing that day. So, we took pictures of our surroundings: families, kids playing in the water, anything that amused us. Of course, in the evening, I made the trek up to the bathrooms; I didn’t want to do that in the dark. We also got our lanterns ready for launching.

I think they started the kids games too late, because at dusk, they were still playing them and saying that the official launch would be soon. People being people started coming down to the beach to launch their lanterns before the official launch. Ray and I started shooting, hoping to get whatever we could. Slow shutter speed and a moving target just don’t do well together. It was difficult to get a single shot since the breeze had turned into a wind. Ray suggested I put the camera on “auto,” which I tried, but didn’t necessarily like. We did the best we could and decided to make the trek up the hill to where we could get the shuttle back to our parking lot.

Here’s where the worst began. We got there just as the shuttle left. It was about 45 minutes until it got back (Remember I was carrying my camer bag, backpack, tripod and chair.) with a load of people. I asked one woman where she came from. She said the parking lot. It took them 2 hours to get from the front entrance to the destination. We climbed aboard the bus which took us about 30 minutes to get to the very close parking lot because of cars leaving and taking up both lanes.

Once back to our car, another 30 minutes or more (I stopped looking at the time by then.) until we got to the entrance. So, would I go again? I don’t think so. One enjoyment from the evening are our photos!

 

A promise is a promise: Happy New Year

I always try to keep my promises. The operative word there is “try!” In my last post, I said that I would be going out to shoot Christmas lights when my friend Jean got her new camera, and I kept that promise. I was really dragging that night, and I’m so glad that my promise got me up and out. We had a lot of fun in the short time we were taking photos.

Our adventure took us to the Fab 40 area of Sacramento–an area of old beautiful homes. This neighborhood’s holiday effort didn’t compare to the residents of Dove Court in Orangevale; but with my fatigue and Jean’s knee, it was perfect. We walked the two blocks, shooting and talking with some residents. I saw two displays I liked and had fun zooming my lens.

Oh, Jean’s new camera is a tiny Panasonic mirrorless that does a lot. It made my Nikon D7100 look huge and feel heavy! I hope she finds a great deal of joy in using it.

Happy 2018 everyone. My wish if for you to have good health, prosperity and fun!