Finding new in the old: Michigan Bar Road, Sacramento County

Did you ever get the idea that you’ve been some place before? I didn’t just get an idea, I know I’ve been on Michigan Bar Road before–two times. My outing with Laura made the third time.

You can always find something new to shoot: new composition, new things to find and new challenges on what you’ve already shot. Since my other two visits involved HDR, I decided not to bracket my shots. I also looked for small details to shoot. And, believe it or not, I found new things to shoot.

We did get off Michigan Bar Road and onto Latrobe Road, but not the road we know with the same name. The Latrobe Road we know is a curvy, paved highway. This road was dirt, and after a few rainy days it was full of puddles and ruts. Laura did a great job of navigating until we came to a puddle too large to navigate. Back we went. In addition to photography, adventure is part of the fun!

We did try to catch a sunset on Scott Road before heading home, but that was not very satisfying. All in all, it was a fun day of exploring and shooting even though I had the feeling that I’d been there before!

Sacramento has bars…along the American River: Negro Bar, American River

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!

 

An unexpected gift: Sailor Bar, American River, Sacramento

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

From one pond to another: William B. Pond

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!

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Down the stairs to the viewing area. Marlene is capturing some alone time.

 

 

Rain, Rain–stay don’t go away! Knights Landing, part 2

Yes, its been raining here in parched Northern California. And, we do want it to stay. Gem (my dog) and I got caught in it while we were out for our morning walk. He got slightly confused when I wouldn’t let him stop, sniff and pee. He doesn’t mind getting wet, but I do!

This post is dedicated to my friend and outing chauffeur Greg who was hospitalized last week. He’s so cagey that he hasn’t let the doctors diagnose his symptoms yet. However, he is feeling better and is back to his old sarcastic self. In fact, our Knights Landing trip was the last one he was able to attend. I’m glad he’s feeling and doing better. Either Marlene or I will be driving for a while, but we will still have him guide us in back road adventures.

In my last post, I promised to show you images of Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk and Marina. While the name sounds fancy, the place is not. This is a place to have good old fashioned fun. Mostly operating during the summer months, folks come here to eat, listen to music, camp and enjoy the company of good people. It’s also a photographers dream. Marlene and I shot handheld, but Greg shot his usual HDR on the tripod. I’m looking forward to seeing his pictures when he’s up to it.

Why is this place a photographers dream? It’s full of surprises: a small boat in a tree, a bus sawed in half with each painted, a grandstand decorated with outboard motors, and lots of small collectibles. Even though it was mid day and the stage was empty, I had fun, and the owner/manager was gracious and easy to talk with. And let it rain!

So, take a look at Stingrayz on the Sacramento River.