Night shooting on the river: Viewing Old Sacramento

Busy as a bee, I be! Okay, that’s not proper English, but it seems to fit. I’ve been learning more about event shooting at our District 39 Toastmasters Conference this past weekend. It was not only shooting, but editing, or trying to, on the spot. I was editing my images and two other All About Photography club members’ images.

What did I learn? I’ve learned the comfort zone with my speed light. I brought a chair up front and plopped it down in the middle of the stage area. I noticed that when my subjects were more to the back of the podium, lighting was more of a problem. The closer they were to the front, the better the flash handled it. Most of what I was shooting was candid so I couldn’t say, “Please come forward!” Also, the District does not have a lighting system. Working with ambient lighting was a challenge.

I worked in Lightroom mostly and did very little in Photoshop. I do need to learn how to work with layers to lighten background, etc. I hope to have that knowledge before the next conference.

I would show you the challenges and how I handled them, but all pictures taken on behalf of District 39 Toastmasters have their copyright. But I can show you my images taken a couple of weeks ago with the Camera Totin’ Tuesday group. We went down to the Sacramento River during the blue hour. I was able to use my ND filter at night for the first time. It was fun.

Just keeping busy!

 

If the shoe fits: River Walk, West Sacramento, California

This evening about 3 hours ago, I wore a pair of tennis shoes for the first time in 10 1/2 weeks! And, just in time for the rain!! I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to wear a shoe other than Birkenstocks again. Foot surgery has certainly been a bummer and has had an effect on my photography.

First, I found a difference in my energy level. Second, I had to choose places to shoot that were flat and not rocky. And, third, squatting down was difficult. Now I’m hopeful.

With my problems and Greg’s new physical difficulties, we decided to take the River Walk path in West Sacramento. This is located directly across the Sacramento River from Old Sacramento, and I have wanted to shoot from that side for a long time. While the trail goes for a long way, the River Walk is short and easy to walk, even on the grass areas.

Our bonus for the day was Tuesday’s farmer’s market. It’s so much fun to shoot produce! We were also on hand to capture lunch time as the workers came to enjoy food from the catering truck and some of the food booths.

Next Tuesday, I’ll be wearing my shoes, but I’ll bring along Birkenstocks just in case. Hopefully the shoe will keep fitting and keep my feet in comfort.

 

 

A photo a day keeps Anne busy: images here and there!

I’ve learned a lot this year. More than I did in my first two years of shooting. Why did it take me so long? I know the answer. I psyched myself into believing that learning was too difficult. Why did I do that?

I had just closed down my business of writing marketing text and articles, and coaching business owners who wanted to sell their business by speaking engagements. That I knew well and had expertise in. But photography?

When I bought my D3100 and read the manual (I always read manuals!), I was amazed at how complicated digital photography seemed to be. And, that’s how I started out. From there I took baby steps with urging from photographers I met on meetups. Some even challenged me. I took on Jayne’s HDR challenge and was amazed at how easy the software was to use. Why did I wait so long. Shooting RAW instead of JPEG–that took 1 1/2 years! Mary pushed me towards the manual setting. I’ve been shooting manual since January 1st. I procrastinated because of fear. It’s easy and gives you the most control.

Taking on the 365 challenge has helped propel me forward. I now help new photographers on occasion and have started a photography club within Toastmasters International, District 39. Next year, I want to tackle processing. I do minimal editing in Lightroom, and want to do more.

I love photography, and it won’t take me as long to move forward. Here are some reasons I love it so much.

A surprise at the end of a long day: The Santa Fe 2925

It sits rusting, attracting graffiti artists and welcomes the occasional visitor. The Santa Fe 2925 sits just outside Old Sacramento waiting for the Sacramento Railroad Museum to find the funds to restore it and move it into the facility.

Just imagine this train when it was racing the tracks of America, pulling passengers and cargo. What a history it must have. I did try to do some research, but all I came up with were some conversations. I did try to do my best to capture its personality in pictures. HDR was out of the question since I had left my tripod at home. While Greg was shooting with his tripod, creating great images, I took some long shots of the train and concentrated on the small rusted parts.

Maybe, one day, we will get another surprise and the Sacramento Railroad Museum will receive funding to restore the 2925. In the meantime you can view my images of this once magnificent train.

 

Shooting in the dark: Fireworks and light trails

I love it when I learn, and I did learn when we went to shoot fireworks. I had good luck when using my old point and shoot by putting it on a special setting. It did all the thinking. When I tried to shoot fireworks with my D3100 it was a mess. I just didn’t know how to set the camera and I didn’t have a tripod.

Fast forward a year and a half, Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group is going the shoot fireworks–A chance to learn. Our local minor league baseball team, the River Cats, have fireworks after their home games. We used the Tower Bridge to set the stage and waited. During that time, Mary, the group’s organizer, gave us a lesson on how to get the best images.

And then they started. We were all anxiously pressing down the shutter button. The show was short and we did our best. I was happy with what I got. What I was not happy with was my camera’s processing length. With a short show, every second of processing time seemed like minutes.

Afterwards, we went to capture some light trails. Since I’ve done that before, I was able to help two other women succeed. So the student became the teacher!

I do love both teaching and learning.

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California, part 2

Will we have a music festival? That’s the question we hear asked each year. This year the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society put on its 42nd festival and made money by working with an all volunteer staff and cutting down on venues outside of Old Sacramento.

We are not involved in the yearly pre-planning, but only work the festival during the weekend. It’s fun and I love listening to the youth bands, called the Next Generation bands. And you never know who will drop in and jam with them. This year our usual 3 1/2 shifts were lengthened to 4 – 4 1/2 hours. But, that still left us enough time to see acts and listen to wonderful music.

And, we have one of the half days off. Ours was Monday. Because we had the closing shift Sunday night and are not used to staying up after midnight, we didn’t go in Monday morning. We did help break down the venue. Why does it always take less time to break down than put up? It’s the same when you travel. It takes longer to get there than it does coming home!

Home was sweet on Monday morning. I had time to prepare for our out of town dinner guest.

Will there be a 43rd festival? I’m sure they will have it. This format worked, and the newspaper reported that a small profit was made. Till next year!

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California

Four days of music, music and more. The more resulted in a pound weight gain! I wait all year for the brats, kettle corn, and ice cream: jazz, dixieland, rag, rock and country. What would you do at a music festival besides listen to wonderful music and eat fun food? Well, we work at the Sacramento Music Festival too.

Should I call listening to talented youth bands work? Probably not, except for the night we closed and our last band set ended at 11 p.m. That was too late for kids and seniors! Our venue is free for the public while most other venues are by paid admission only. So, our attendance varies between 50 and 70 people who come and go during the sets. Some youth bands have a strong following and attendance can go up to 90.

We enjoy working here because it’s a small venue with little clean up and the kids are great. In fact, some are equal to the professional bands we listened to. Many of the local youths are graduates of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s, sponsor of the festival, music camp. In fact, local professional musicians are involved with these young musicians and their musical education.

I also used this 4-day festival to practice photography. Each day, I had a particular goal in mind. Many times, you cannot do photography and enjoy the event. But, while I was shooting, I could still hear the music. And, the performers don’t mind having someone take their pictures.

Confession, we did not go in on Monday except to help tear down our venue.  Yes, there is such a thing as too much music, music and more! This a 2-part post.

Dem bones: back to the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery

Is it wierd to keep going back to a cemetery just to shoot photos? This cemetery draws me back, and back. It’s large enough that your get shoot it all in one visit, and, for me, I seem to focus on different things all the time. This time it was the statues. They are beautiful, and are non-existent in today’s graveyards. They express the sadness of loss and hope for an afterlife.

This time I also found some masoleums worth shooting, some small grave stones and flowers. History is in this cemetery, so I guess I’ll keep going back until I’ve shot it all!

The 365: Old Sacramento with Sharon

I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with my friend Sharon from Los Angeles before she went on to San Francisco last week. I picked her up at the airport after my Toastmasters meeting, we went to lunch and then headed to Old Sacramento. Now I would never had pulled out a camera before the 365 day challenge, but I did. After feeding the parking meter, I explained the 365 challenge to her. Not only was she okay with it, she was pointing out interesting things to me.

Old Sacramento is an area, located on the Sacramento River, containing quaint shops, old architecture, a train station, a few museums (most notably the Railroad Museum).

I enjoyed that day with Sharon, not only catching up with her, but realizing that I will probably pull my camera out from now on–365 challenge or not.

This challenge is amazing. I’m learning more than I thought I would and also found the support of a long-time friend.