Not packing or unpacking! Yes, today is a day off. Since we decided to move, I’ve gone on two photo outings, and, even then, I packed at night. Then, the next day, I unpacked at the other house. We are painting, putting in new floors and taking care of other things at our small home. The kitchen is almost set up. The rest of the move is easy.
Today, is a rest and blogging day. Last weekend I needed to take a break, drive somewhere and shoot. So, I rounded up photo buddies Laura and Linda and away I drove to Michigan Bar Road. This road is located in a rural area of Sacramento County. To get there, you drive on Highway 16 or Jackson Hwy through beautiful scenery, and in the summer, you can buy the best corn ever at the Davis Ranch produce stand. I’ve posted images from this road before, so I tried to get different angles, etc. Then we had the bright idea to go beyond the paved road and get home a different way. I do need to tell you it’s been raining here off and on for two weeks, and I was hoping that with a few dry days, the dirt roads would be more or less dry.
Not!! Going 7 – 10 mph can take about 45 minutes to go 4 miles! I made it through three shallow large puddles with the help of my valiant crew, but was stopped by this pool. We had to turn around.
On the way back to the paved road, I had to set down the law because my pals were still wanting to stop to take pictures. No more pictures, we needed to get home. This was a fun adventure, and it rained the next few days so my car got cleaned outside. (I looked for every puddle to go through to get the underside clean.)
Each of us had a reason to get out and experience a bit of photography, so we all enjoyed our adventure. The next day it was back to moving for me, but my break was great!
This shed is showing its age.
The horse heard us and is coming to visit.
It’s curious and friendly.
Fortunately the property owners don’t mind us taking pictures.
A lone tree.
Another shot of the shed.
The river and reflection.
This farm land is beautiful.
Almost to where the pavement ends.
Never saw a white faced cow.
Off roading now.
In the summer, this tree provides shade for the cows.
They still prefer it in the late winter.
Before we needed to turn around.
I’ve said it before–I’m not an artist. But, I’m in awe of anyone who can visualize and create art. Recently, in August 2017, the city of Sacramento held a festival, Wide Open Walls, that enabled artistic visions to become reality, as murals, on various walls in the city. I wasn’t able to shoot during the festival since we were away, but was eager to see the results.
Murals are not new to Sacramento’s Midtown. Greg Morris (RIP) took me there a few times to view them in the alleys. He would tell me that the best time to shoot the murals was on Sunday because there was less traffic. But this time, murals were more predominate on the walls of businesses and out of the alleys.
I did go to midtown with photo buddies Karen B and Ray on a recent Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. We did a great deal of walking, shooting and resting. It left me in awe of the various artists’ talent. And, Midtown is not the only location. They are all over the city. Next time, we might walk downtown to see these amazing works of art.
Here are some of the murals I took pictures of. In some instances, I’ll show you the entire wall and then a portion of it. They were too large to do justice in one shot. No captions necessary.
I got my sought after shot this year–a sunflower field so dense that when you shot over the top, all you can see is yellow. Thank you Karen A. for scoping the fields out. And thanks to a step ladder! Yes, I’m sort–too short to have gotten the image without a little help.
I remember in past years going crazy to find sunflower fields, only to be there too early or too late. This year things were different in Yolo County.
I’ll make this a short post so you can see them. Oh, what did I learn? Patience prevails and always have a step ladder in your car trunk!
Hope these make you smile!
Bees were busy.
Getting in the middle.
These fields are large.
Shooting over the Sunnies.
From the side.
They are beautiful no matter how you shoot them.
There were wheat fields opposite the sunflower fields.
Trees planted in a pattern.
Just taking in the sun.
Members of the Camera Totin Tuesday group.
You know what happens when one photographer posts a picture of something that doesn’t, last too long–we all go to shoot it.
That’s what happened with the Lotus located on the grounds of the Vedanta Society Sacramento in Sacramento. They were so nice to let us go to their pond and shoot these beautiful flowers. I had never seen lotus in person. They are stunning.
We were back yesterday to check on whether the hyacinths were in the pond, and we found the seed pods that were left from the lotus. We also found some hyacinths, but that will be for another post.
So please enjoy these beauties. I’m so glad one photographer shared her find.
I’m not sure whether all lotus are pink, but these were!
I tried to capture them in different ways.
I came up from underneath this one.
This one is opening up and starting to drop petals.
The light was changing fast on this one.
Shot from a distance.
The bridge going over the pond.
Not a lotus!
Again, the whole flower.
Another “Not a lotus,” but pretty.
The lotus seed pod captured a couple of weeks after the other images were taken.
This week we are enduring triple digits every day. Relief may come on Saturday, and it’s only Tuesday. So here I sit, editing photos in my air conditioned office, trying to catch up. I’ve almost finished the San Francisco trip, I took with Linda, at the beginning of the month.
In the meantime, I’m hoping to opt in on some online courses. Yes, I’ve decided the next path on my photographic journey will be education–at least more than the free tutorials offer. When I realized that I knew most of what those tutorials offer, I felt accomplished. So now I’m moving on.
Triple digits are more normal in the Redding area than here in Sacramento. These photos were taken in May when the temperatures were lower and the weather beautiful. I’m posting some afternoon images of the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. This is a relatively new addition to this park which also is home to the Sundial Bridge.
When we came back to shoot the bridge at sundown, we were slightly disappointed. I called it a wimpy sunset. Furthermore, they didn’t have the bridge lit up. I was told by a staff member that it would be. Oh well, I did practice some slow shutter , smoothing out the water. I don’t think captions are necessary here.
You’ve got to love Laura’s enthusasim when it comes to photography. I do. So, on a recent weekend morning, about 8 a.m., when she suggested we go down to Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), a nature preserve of 46,000 acres, to catch the tail end of the morning’s golden hour, I scrambled. I always need that push to get up early, stay up late, etc. Laura gives me that push.
In my rush to get out, I left my backpack that contained, snacks, hiking shoes etc. at home. Another truth about me: I will shoot in Birkenstocks whenever I can because my feet don’t like to be confined (a bad arthritic toe). Luckily, we were walking on the dirt paths around CRP.
But we weren’t lucky enough to catch the last of the golden hour because there wasn’t any! Fog! This was the second time we caught the morning fog at CRP. The last time we were able to catch glistening spider webs on plants. That morning there were none. The rains had washed away the webs and the spiders hadn’t returned yet.
Because of the fog, I decided to use my Sigma 2.8, 17 – 70 mm lens; but, that meant I didn’t have the ability to catch the birds out in the distance. When the fog lifted, I switched to my Nikon 55 – 300 mm lens so I was able to catch a few birds.
In the end, we did get the sun’s glow and the moody fog. All in all, it was a fun morning.
A scene of fog and reflection.
The water was so still.
No neutral density filters needed.
The fog jus sits on the water.
The fog has lifted off the water here.
Wide angle view of the marsh.
A great blue heron is fishing.
He goes for his prey.
After success, he moves on.
A red-winged black bird.
I couldn’t find this one in my bird book. Maybe a young Goldfinch?
A rooster of course.
I move slowly–I know it. So, when people started telling me I should enter my photos in competitions, I was reluctant. I didn’t know how to prepare them, didn’t know where to enter, etc. To help push me along, I joined the Sierra Camera Club.
This is a big step for me because they have two monthly juried competitions. Last week I put two images in competition. Wow, that was intense. I was really looking for guidance and constructive criticism. Scoring was 8 points at the low end and 12 at the high end. I really did not have any expectations of what score my photos would bring, I just wanted to hear what the judge had to say.
He went through more than 100 images in the open category and half that in the artistic category. I learned a great deal that night from listening to him. Oh, my images scored an 11 and 12. Below is “Capitol Moon” the one that earned 12 points. Not bad for the first time. And the expertise of many members is tremendous. Their photos were outstanding. Some of them warned me from experience not to get upset when I score my first “8” since judging was subjective.
Next month, I need to print out some pictures for the competition. I’m still looking forward to it, knowing the judge will be different and may be more tough. For me it’s a big step towards learning more.
For this post, I’m taking you back to the Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley. My Tuesday group went there recently. I was hoping that with all the rain, the flowers would be blooming. No such luck. So I tried to shoot close up and do a little HDR. We did take the Cottage tour, bringing us inside the cottage (not the small cottage you may be picturing). See it again, but differently, through my camera lens.
This flower looks more like a cactus. Spider web: a bonus.
This is an HDR image of the stamp.
Another part of the mine.
An HDR image of the mining offices.
One of the rooms. I shot this through chicken wire.
Part of a machine being readied for display.
I just loved her hair and boots!
Looking through the spokes.
Approaching the club house.
One of two fountains.
Have you ever felt like a dog that’s chasing his tail? I’m sure you have at one point or another. March felt like that for me. Between getting ready for my Georgia trip, going on it, and doing photography to help with the emotional stress I knew it was bringing, I forgot to post my trip to Capay Valley.
Our Camera Totin’ Tuesday group went there to shoot the blossoms of the almond trees. There are many orchards in the valley, and fortunately they are all on different time tables of blooming. We were too late for some and just in time for others.
Timing in landscape photography is critical, and so is knowledge of the area. What I’m realizing is that I’m not the most patient photographer! I also rely on other photographers’ knowledge rather than research it for myself. I guess that makes me lazy in addition to impatient! I’d like to climb out of that rut but there are other things grabbing my time. I keep reading that a good photographer should do the research on the area they are shooting, go during the right time of the day and have the patience to sit there for the shot. I’m lucky I have people I can rely on!
Back to Capay Valley. We had a fun day of driving, finding almond orchards, farms and more. We took off with an end in mind and wandered until we got there. Cell phones helped us keep the three cars together.
I did enjoy it, and I’m sorry that I didn’t post sooner on this beautiful area, but………..you know!
An almond orchard in overcast skies.
One farmer let us shoot on his mother’s property.
His mom was just placed in a home and he is taking care of her land.
This is a large farm. Good for collecting stuff.
Some of the stuff was old and rusted.
A mirror reflection! If you look in the window, you can see a reflection of the mirror.
Watch out for those turkeys!
A house with an adobe type exterior wall.
I thought it was pretty.
More of the same.
A artistic rendition of the almond orchard.
A different angle.
Mustard and an almond orchard.
Landscape from Cache Creek Casino.
Stained glass door at the casino club house.
With my GPS to guide us, Brenda (my sister-in-law) and I set out to find the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first outing that brought us a good distance out of Peachtree City. After driving around town with me, Brenda was used to going around in circles, and this trip was no different! We did find the museum and a parking lot, and only went around the block once!
When you first go in, there’s a reception area where visitors are given a soda. You wait and then the tour begins. The kid giving me a soda was doing his welcome bit and asked where I was from. When he heard California, he said, “I want to visit there someday. I hear you have some nice hills.” Well, I just had to tell him that those hills were called mountains and were more than 7,000 feet high! I do love living in California.
The tour was fun and took most of the day with time out for a lunch break. When we got back, we went to see my brother for my last time. For me this was, barring a miracle, good-bye. That night, I sat feeling so empty inside.
After a few days home, we did have a miracle of sorts. My nephew sent me a picture of my brother with his head up. He couldn’t lift it up for more than a week. At least he can see people and eat if he wants.
I’m just hoping his angels and internal GPS guide him on his journey. Love you Chuck!
I helped this young man make mountains out of hills!
Lots of color in the first auditorium where the history of the soda was explained.
You all know who this is!
The first batches of soda were blended in a bowl.
An old delivery truck.
Old soda machines.
An old dispenser.
A wall that had reflections.
Handheld slow shutter of a moving object.
A conveyor belt.
This was in the pop art room.
Another piece of pop art.
My favorite piece of pop art.
The door to the vault containing the secret formula.
I’m not sure what this was. I think a display where kids could create these colors and patterns.
We had a couple of schools there that day and the kids were crowded around this area, having fun.
You can live in a neighborhood and not know what beauty is close by unless you get out and explore. During my visit to Peachtree City, Georgia, I wanted to take my sister-in-law out beyond the boundaries her golf cart would take her. She’s been busy caregiving to my brother and doesn’t drive. I found Starr’s Mill on the internet and was astounded that it was so close to her home. The original mill was constructed in 1825. The current mill was the third built on the stone foundation and is over 100 years old. Currently it is used as a day use park, photographic spot and fishing hole.
I found it to be a beautiful and calming spot. This trip also helped me realize that photography grounds me, taking my mind off what’s going on around me. When I’m shooting, I’m concentrating on my surroundings and what I need to do to get the image I want. The rest of the world goes away.
I brought my camera along, not to create photo outings, but to give me a different purpose during my visit.
One such outing was my first ride in a small plane. My great nephew, Daylen, offered me a ride. The first day we couldn’t go because of the weather. Fortunately, he was able to take me up the next day. What fun! I’ve become good at shooting out of open car windows while on the road, but this was entirely different. I had a great time. Daylen explained what I was looking at. At one point, I stopped shooting and just looked out the window. Fantastic! Thank you Daylen!!
If this post has to have a moral, it’s to stop and look at your surroundings (even in the sky). Good possibilities can be so close.
The mill stone foundation.
A closer look.
The small lake behind the mill.
Looking at the mill beside the lake.
The plane I flew in.
Daylen goes through his check list.
Inside the cockpit.
We’re ready to fly.
I’ve never shot from a plane before.
Daylen just got his pilot’s license.
He’s licensed to fly just below the clouds.
I think this is the clearest shot I got.
There are lots of small lakes and ponds in the area.
I did my best, shooting through the window in a moving plane.
The ride is over, and the plane is parked.