When it rains: Emigh’s Hardware

It’s great that stores allow photographers to come in out of the rain to shoot inside. On a recent rainy day, my Tuesday group invaded Emigh’s Hardware store–with permission! While our new house is being painted and floors are being put down, I have time to shoot. Even with the rain, it was good to get away from packing for a few hours.

And, we did shoot for a few hours. Emigh’s, located in Sacramento, is much more than a hardware store. They have a small nursery, an enormous selection of outdoor fun stuff, outdoor furniture and of course hardware. When you walk into the store, you are greeted and asked if you need help finding something. While walking through the store, I was asked several more times.

I totally enjoyed taking pictures in their outdoor decorations area. Really it was more of a separate room. I also ventured out to the nursery while the rain had slowed down to a mist.

It was a much needed fun morning. Moving is like riding a roller coaster. Our buyer fell out of contract, but our fabulous realtor resold the house in one day–for more money! But, that was a tough 24 hours for me.

I’m looking forward to Tuesday when no rain is predicted and I still can refrain from packing. We just have to figure out where we’ll go. That’s next on my list!

The more I shoot, the more behind I get: Mather Lake

Here I sit contemplating the 1 1/2 shoots I still have to edit. I’m thinking I enjoy shooting more than editing. I don’t even edit a whole lot, but I’m behind. Maybe it’s because the last two outings have been all-day road trips. You know how those camera clicks can add up!

Plus, I’ve started printing. My son wanted two of my images printed on canvas, size 32 x 48 inches. Now that’s a big number for me. I also learned that for the aspect ratio of my camera I should be printing out 8 x 12 prints instead of 8 x 10. And, then I learned how to export from Lightroom to support the pixel count necessary to print large prints.

To complicate my life, I’ve put my D7100 on back focus. After a slight learning curve, I think I like it. Now I have to get my D3100 on back focus also. It was fun on yesterday’s outing with one camera on back focus and the other not.

I thank my son and the Sierra Camera Club for pushing me to print out my images. The Club’s print competition has me gaining more knowledge in that area. I’m so glad I joined that group. I’m more charged up about photography, and more confident in my abilities.

So, maybe I’m behind because I’m learning so much–okay it’s a lame excuse! Enjoy a few shots from the small Mather Lake. I didn’t know what to expect, and brought a wide angle lens rather than a long telephoto. But I got beautiful landscapes and a few of the bird wildlife.

Rain, and I’m liking it: Tower Theater, Sacramento

What do photographers do when it’s raining or rain is unpredictable? Some go out in the rain anyway, some do studio work, some go through old images and edit or re-edit them, and then others run out when the weather breaks for however long.

I’m one of those who run out during rain breaks. Today would have been the perfect day to do that, but unfortunately my scheduled did not permit it. However, I am wanting to try shooting in the rain after seeing many rain shots in the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group. We’ll see. Apparently, the rain is here to stay for a while.

With this post, I’m wrapping up our visit to the Tower Theater. When we moved to the Sacramento area in 2001, we heard about the theater, but never made it down to visit it. Opening in 1938 as a single screen theater, the Tower was converted to a triplex in 1972. Tower Cut-Rate Drugs, a drugstore named after its next door neighbor, opened and starting selling records in 1941 and was the beginning of Tower Records. It eventually moved across the street.

By the 1980s, Tower Records sold records, books and videos.  succumbed to the digital age and closed in 2006. I remember the news coverage showing devoted fans mourning their loss at the record store’s closing.

Now Dimple Records is in that same place, the Tower Cafe, which opened in 1990, feeds movie goers and the Tower Theater stands above the tree line with it’s art-deco design.

Maybe during the next rain break, Marlene and I will go down to take more photos of the theater and enjoy lunch at the cafe; but, only if the weather permits during the week so we can avoid crowds at the cafe.

 

 

 

A new look for the New Year: Discovery Park

I’ve reached a plateau. After a year of taking a picture each day, I believe my photography has reached another level of competency. To celebrate, I wanted a new look for my blog–something clean and crisp that would show off my images. So here it is.

Of course nothing is perfect! Wouldn’t it be nice if it were? The one and only thing I don’t like about this template is that you have to scroll down to the bottom to get to the archived posts. And, as my photography level has grown, my technical capabilities have not. What does CSS mean anyway! I mean, it isn’t going to change. So, I hope you don’t mind scrolling down. Let me know what you think.

Now on to Discovery Park in Sacramento. Lately we’ve been concentrating on short, local outings. It’s amazing what photographic opportunities Sacramento City and County have to offer. This park is at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, is 302 acres, and is the beginning of a 32-mile bike trail that runs along the river. We were there about 3:30 and the park was still hosting runners, bicyclists and boating enthusiasts.

I had never walked on the I-Street Bridge that links West Sacramento (which is in Yolo County) to Sacramento. There we found homeless returning to their camp and workers returning to their homes on either side of the river.

It was a beautiful evening and set the stage for a New Year and this new look.

 

 

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!

An ending and beginning: Christmas lights

Happy New Year. We ended 2015 shooting Christmas Lights, after the holiday but better late than not getting there at all. Going during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we thought there would be less crowds. Wrong! It was crowded on Dovewood Court. I guess everyone had the same idea. This court is one where all the houses are lit up beautifully. We went there last year also, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures. I tried to shoot differently for variety. And, this year, I felt more comfortable with my ability to shoot correctly.

Also ending is the 365 photography challenge. This being January 1, 2016, I didn’t have to shoot a picture, I could walk the dog without bringing a camera and both husband and dog are breathing easier now that they don’t have to be models. I’ll talk more about the 365 soon. It was an amazing experience.

Beginning is my attempt to learn more photography software. I’m going to do the 52, meaning I’ll post a photo once a week. My twist on it: I’m going to post a before and after image, showing a new editing skill I’ve learned. And, I don’t think I want to be tied to assigned themes. I just want to learn.

This year, I’m even more enthusiastic about shooting and learning new editing techniques to bring my photography to the next level.  Does that sound like a resolution? Maybe I’m just looking forward to a new beginning.

Here are some of the Christmas lights. (No captions necessary.)

 

 

Rain, rain–stay, stay: All About Photography Toastmaster club

It’s finally wet out there, and Mother Nature is being very kind. It’s raining in the evening and through the night. At least it did last night. But, what’s that got to do with my Toastmaster photography club? Nothing! California is just happy that it is raining.

And, I’m happy with this Toastmaster club that is like no other. Wanting to combine my two passions, I started All About Photography almost a year ago. It’s been fun finding our way, keeping the Toastmaster structure and making the meeting all about photography. Now you see how we got our name.

We are the same as any other Toastmaster club except all our speeches are on photography and our table topics are basically critiques of images. Last Monday I was the Table Topics Master. I selected some images I wanted feedback on and presented them to the club. Before I selected the member participant, I gave a brief background on the picture. The selected member then gave a 1 – 2 minute critique. We do vote on who did the best job and present them with a ribbon.

I’m going to try something new and insert the pictures in the blog individually, not in a gallery.

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This image from the ghost town Bodie was well received, mostly for the color and texture.
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When I shot this, I was trying to show the musician’s emotions. However, the participant felt there wasn’t enough contrast for his face to be predominate. I need to figure out how to darken the tent top.
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I put this one in because I happen to love it and it didn’t get great play on Facebook when I posted it. I wanted to know why and what I could do to make it better. The participant loved it as much as I do, but she noticed the neon open sign in the window furthest away. Can you see it? She thought it was distracting. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed it until she mentioned it!
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This, from near Sedona, AZ, was liked because of the action and depth of field. I thought it might be too busy, but the participant didn’t think so.
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I showed this one because I almost didn’t process it. I thought the vertical orientation made it too tight. The participant thought so also. He thought a horizontal orientation would have shown more of the landscape, giving the viewer an idea of the image’s context. I agree. However, I do like the texture of the wood and grasses.

So there you have it–a glimpse of what we do during an All About Photography meeting. And, to top off the meeting, the former District 39 Photographer told me how much he enjoyed my pictures and thought I had a great eye for composition.

It’s going to possibly rain again tomorrow, so I’ll be busy processing this week’s Tuesday With Seniors photo outing.

It’s for the birds: Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, West Sacramento

Confession, I’m not a birder; but my friend Laura is. While I’m looking for the big picture, Laura is looking for smaller things–birds! We celebrated her birthday recently by going to the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area or affectionately known locally as the Yolo Bypass.

This wildlife area is a 3,700 acre wetland restoration project and is located within the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Yolo County, California. The restoration was named for Congressman Vic Fazio, who was instrumental in appropriating funds for the initial construction. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area was dedicated in 1997 by then President Bill Clinton. The facility is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Educational programs and public tours are administered by the Yolo Basin Foundation.

There are two parts to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, both dedicated to watching and shooting–one with a camera and the other, with a gun. We stayed on the auto tour route and away from the hunters. With Linda in the back seat and Laura and I in the front (She was driving.) we made our way around the wetlands that had very little water, but enough to attract some birds.

Laura, of course, was our spotter. She’s amazing and the reason I bought my very own bird book. I’m learning slowly and can name some; but I sometimes fall back on saying, “There’s a white thing!” Okay, I fall back on it a lot.

Well, I did say I wasn’t a birder! Next post will feature the second half of our birthday photography outing.

 

 

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!