Right now in Northern California no one is shooting pictures. We’re experiencing a series of storms. I’m not complaining! My go-to-practice place, Dry Creek, has water past its shore line, and there are flood warnings in place for the rivers and other creeks.
Being stuck inside has its advantages, I’m catching up on a few things, completing this post and giving you exciting news.
For the exciting news: I’m being featured on, Australian photographer, Leanne Cole’s Blog, Introductions post this week. I’ve known Leanne since I started shooting and had the privilege of shooting with her when she visited the U.S. last September. She’s given me advice and watched my progress these 4 years. The post will appear in the States on Monday and Tuesday across the ocean. You can find the post at http://leannecolephotography.com/.
I’ve also submitted an article for the upcoming Dynamic Range digital photography magazine for women in the coming issue. This is a great magazine full of information and beautiful photography. And, you don’t have to be a woman to enjoy it. Check it out!
Now, back to this post’s continuation. Today I have pictures from Schweitzer Grove and McKinley Park. Schweitzer Grove is a 17-acre park tucked into suburbia, and McKinley park is known for its rose garden. Fortunately, there are people and other flowers at the park. Take a look while I continue to catch up on things.
People are sometimes more interesting than the flowers at McKinley Park.
This volunteer was tending to the area she planted.
Looks like love to me.
The flowers were simply beautiful.
Most of these are on trees.
Buds are ready to blossom.
Close look at the Bird of Paradise.
Looking at the whole flower.
The last flower from McKinley Park.
A small bit of color in Schweitzer Grove.
Remember the redwood tree burls, this tree has one also.
This Lazuli Bunting was posing! Yes, I have a bird book!
I’m not sure if blossoms will bloom from this or if this is the flower??
We all have a go to spot. You know, a place where you feel comfortable, familiar with and pretty much know what to expect. Dry Creek Park is that place for me. In the summer it’s teaming with families enjoying the water, wading and swimming. It’s green and lush.
However, in the winter, the trees are barren, with branches strewn all over. I wonder whether they come in during the spring and clean it out before the summer crowd hits. I thought I’d see more water in the creek because of this winter’s rain, but I didn’t notice much of an increase in height.
There is a playground, tennis courts and a covered picnic area in addition the creek separated by a concrete roadway and large grass area.
Marlene and I went for a quick shoot. I wasn’t raining and we both wanted to get out. That’s the kind of place it is–a go to spot.
Looking down the creek.
It meanders with the trees forming a natural canopy.
This sandy beach is a favorite summer spot.
What’s this alligator eating?
A big beach puddle and reflection.
I love the roots of these trees.
More creek. There’s a log and debris in the center.
The sun came out for a few minutes.
Someone replaced the old tire swing.
Marlene noticed this patch of fungi.
Away from the creek, the patchy grass is now green.
A family walks along the road that separates the creek from the play area.
When it rained in San Jose, it poured. Dedicated photographers never give up, especially when you don’t often get to shoot together. So photo buddy Nicci, of niccicarreraromance.com, and I went to to lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.
The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas; and, as an added bonus, we were able to photograph Christmas In The Park directly across from the hotel. I had a wonderful time talking with Nicci. This was the first time we went on a photo outing since Leanne Cole’s visit in September.
The only problem was our visit was way too short, and the welcomed rain!
The model village in the lobby.
The spinning Ferris Wheel attached to a gingerbread house.
The lobby has several sculptures placed in front of mirrors.
One of the Christmas Trees.
A zoom abstract of the tree.
Another zoom abstract shot just slightly different.
I don’t know why I went with expectations, but I did. I heard that the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary was more of a rescue venue than a real zoo, but I had to check it out with Marlene and Greg.
Here’s what their website has to say about the zoo: “Since 1963, this small unique California zoo has been providing sanctuary to some very special animals. All are non-releasable. Many were raised, and rejected, as wild pets. Others were injured or orphaned in the wild. Most are native to North America. All have names and personalities, and their individual stories are posted at the exhibits, along with factual, up-to-date information about their species.The distinctive educational focus of the zoo promotes responsible and appropriate behavior toward all animals. The zoo teaches about common and uncommon animals, both wild and domestic, and includes those in between, like feral pigs and wolf-dog hybrids. Zoo programs stress that wild animals don’t make good pets.”
After reading this, I had expected a small zoo, limited animals, but not the inability to photograph them well. This is not a zoo for photographers. I’m not sure whether it was the way the cages were designed or the type of enclosures, but we had a difficult time focusing through the wires. So, I decided I’d shoot through the squares in the fencing and do whatever closeups I could when I couldn’t make the cage disappear.
Did I mention that it was also cold and damp. Yes, we’re getting a little rain here in California, but when I found sun, I stood in it! I remember living back east and experiencing summer sun showers. Couldn’t it happen here in winter?
Again, too many expectations!
The parrot’s eye as I shot through the small square in the cage enclosure.
Here you can see the faint markings of the cage.
A wolf/dog blend.
He looks like any other dog–NOT!
The mountain lion.
This is the only shot I could get of one of the bears. Again, shot through an enclosure square. We couldn’t get directly on to the enclosure because outer fencing prevented it.
Okay, that was a sneaky way to get you to read this blog, but it’s true. Recently Marlene and I went to Negro Bar another popular spot along the American River.
This bar was quite different from Sailor Bar. You couldn’t walk along the shore line, but it had a small beach and a boat launch. Most noticed were the absence of birds. We knew our sunset would be wimpy and there would be no birds to dress it up.
And, there was much more activity at Negro Bar. Kayaks, paddle boards and small fishing boats came and went while we were waiting for the sun to set. I’m still trying to capture distance with an 18 – 140 mm lens. I think now that I’m more sure footed, I might go back to carrying two cameras so I could put a longer lens on my D3100. Also different was my using my new monopod and wearing tennis shoes. Both worked out fine!
I’m also feeling a shift in my photography. I’m seeing the picture better before I shoot. This could also be stated as, I’m seeing the possibilities and taking the opportunity to finish it in Lightroom. My framing and composition is also getting better.
I still have a way to go in processing. Working only with Lightroom is limiting, and once I learn Photoshop and other programs, I’ll be able to see more opportunities. I’m looking forward to doing that next year.
In the meantime, take a look at the second bar I’ve visited…along the American River!
The golden hour adds a beautiful color to everything.
Even a goose.
Looking out from the beach area.
The stairs up to the parking lot.
A paddle board ready for its rider.
The rider paddles out into the river.
A guy in a kayak is nearby, having just launched.
The paddle board is like a surf board. I’m sure his feet are cold.
A bridge eye’s view. Two in one.
A couple is coming back into the dock.
This woman came in on the blue kayak. I’m not sure who owns the yellow one.
I liked the way the bark is just falling off this log. Some logs had already lost their bark.
We walked away from the shore and along the path.
Two fishermen talking.
Here’s the paddle boarder again.
The setting sun. This was as spectacular as it got.
Sometimes you just have to ask. Let me explain. Greg, Linda and I were at Sailor Bar, a popular boat launch area on the American River in Sacramento County. We arrived late afternoon to shoot and catch the sunset. Greg, who enjoys meeting and talking with people, was talking with a man who offered Greg a free monopod. Not liking monopods, Greg graciously declined.
I thought, “That’s what I get for not being outgoing and striking up conversations!” They talked some more and again the question about the monopod came up. I then decided to act upon my need for one.
I walked over and said to the gentleman, “Did I hear you offer a free monopod? I could use one.” The guy was happy to go back to his house and bring it back to me. All it needed was a ball head and it was a Manfrotto. Great, I have a Manfrotto ball head on my extra tripod. This monopod, without ball head, is worth $200. What a gift! The sunset wasn’t much, but getting that monopod was something, and all I had to do was ask!
The river scene from the boat ramp.
More from the boat ramp.
Walking along the rocky shoreline.
This goose was thirsty.
He didn’t mind being photographed.
Grasses along the shoreline.
The river as seen from the shore.
It slowly goes behind the horizon.
Not a big display of color, but interesting clouds.
I’m not saying I’m lazy, but…I do like to keep things close, especially when I’m driving. When we were leaving McKinley Park, Marlene suggested we go to the William B. Pond Recreation Area which was close to where we were going to eat lunch.
This park is named after the first Regional Parks Director, William B. Pond and is a man-made lake. We first went down the stairs to the viewing area. From there we saw the lake, ducks, and geese. The highlight for me was the standoff between two Mallards and their mates. We then walked along the river, shooting puddles and sights.
Before we left, we walked over the bridge for another vantage point and saw to cyclists each on what would be a low profile tricycle. You’ll see the image.
I still can’t believe that I had never been to these two beautiful areas that were so close. Sacramento has a lot to offer in recreation in addition to the American and Sacramento Rivers. It was a day of fun and we didn’t have to drive a distance to get there. Again, I’m not lazy; just practical!
Sacramento does have Fall Foliage.
On the bridge looking down on a fisherman.
Another beautiful capture. The clouds were awesome.
River view from the bridge.
Looking at the lake from the viewing area.
Look how calm the lake is to show a mirror reflection.
While we were walking along a path.
Here’s Marlene, her shadow and reflection.
The one on the left turned to leave. This took a few minutes. Ducks are stubborn. I’m wondering what it was all about!
I’ve heard of McKinley Park, but it took 14 years of living in the Sacramento area to visit it. Now I’m wondering why I waited so long. And, it’s funny what brought Marlene and I to visit it–I still can’t wear anything except Birkenstock sandals! Enclosed shoes still hurt the surgery area on my right foot. The park was an easy access walk. However, it had rained the day before and my feet still got wet from the grass.
There are two areas to visit in McKinley park: the rose garden and the pond. I loved the rose garden. Without a macro lens, I did close up shots of the colorful cast in the rose play. The pond offered beautiful scenery and a lot of ducks.
Best of all, McKinley park is relaxing and peaceful. See for yourself. It won’t take another 14 years for me to return.
It’s one of my favorite places to practice. I’ve learned how to shoot sunsets, sunbursts, animals, water fowl, events and buildings there. And, best of all it’s close to home! Gibson Ranch is a park where people board and care for their horses. They also train them there. It’s a place to hold large events like the Civil War Re-enactment. Most of all, it’s peaceful.
When you visit you may see children feeding the ducks and geese, or a father and son fishing. With two playgrounds, it’s also a wonderful place for a family to picnic and play.
For me, it’s a great place to practice photography. On a recent visit, that’s what Marlene and I did. We walked through the horse grounds, caught peacocks high and low with our cameras and tried to have as much patience as the egret had as it was trying to fish.
Here’s our visit to Gibson Ranch and my practice session.