Getting back into the groove: Sunflowers

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July 2nd. Has life been that busy for me? I didn’t think so! Now, with this post, I hope to get back in the posting groove. I may not have been posting, but I’ve been shooting.

And, since this is about the progression of my photographic journey, I’m proud to say that I now close out of most article-type tutorials because I know the information. So this means I need to focus on post processing. I keep saying that, but I truly need to carry through with it. I’m competent with Lightroom, but Photoshop is still a mystery. I’ll have to just make the time and get into it. Maybe that will take my photography to the next level.

But, on to the sunflowers, or sunnies, as we Sacramento photographers call them. The images in this post are from two outings. These sunnies were located near the small town of Yolo in Yolo County. Photo buddy Karen was our guide for both trips. One is in the morning and the other was at sundown. Of course, when I try to catch a sunset, there are no clouds! However, the flowers had that golden light glow.

Enjoy this post. There will be more!

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!

 

On the road again: Bodie and Mono Lake, California

Altitude–I guess I can’t do much of it any more. On a recent trip, the weekend of June 26, to the ghost town Bodie which is located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California and 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, I experienced the effects of altitude sickness.  Now a California State Park, Bodie is located 12 mi east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8379 feet.

So, what does all that mean? Probably when you’re 72, you should take oxygen with you! I went with photo buddies Laura and Marlene. All of us were affected by the altitude. But, it was worth it as you’ll see in the images I’m posting. In spite of the altitude, the two-day trip was fun. Only Laura could coax me out of bed at 4 a.m. to catch a Mono Lake sunrise.

But, let me start at the beginning. The scenery was so beautiful when we were driving to Bridgeport, our home base that I finally started shooting out the car window. Laura would have pulled over, but there was no place for her to park. I did the best I could. We got to Bridgeport, Bridgeport, the county seat of Mono County, California with an elevation of 6463 feet. just in time to get settled and go to dinner. This is a small town and it was decked out in red, white and blue for the July 4th festivities. I do wish we could have stayed.

I’ll begin this multiple post with scenes shot on the way and Bridgeport.

Happy Birthday USA: My July 4th

The day before July 4, I was Toastmaster at Skillbuilders Toastmasters. My theme was July 4. Well, it had to be given it was July 3. I didn’t mean to become so emotional, but when I started talking about how I thought we were losing sight of what the holiday was really about and that to many it has become an opportunity for a three-day weekend, I did. I urged our membership to look back and remember the holiday for it’s early reasons, appreciate the country that we have the good fortune to be citizens of, and do what we could to make it better. The look on their faces told me that I was reaching them.

So, on July 4 my photo buddy Marlene and I caught the second half of the Roseville July 4 parade. It was great to see a small town celebrating. When we were in Bridgeport, California, the weekend before, (my next post) the streets of this tiny town were already decorated and waiting for the celebration. I can imagine they also had a parade.

Street photography was next after the parade. The water fountain was on (recycled so it’s okay during this drought) and the kids were having water fun.

Later in the evening we went to a block party in my son’s neighborhood. It was a great party and the beginning of a tradition. This was a chance for neighbor to meet neighbor. That’s sort of keeping with the spirit of the holiday. As if to complete the scene, the sun put on a show as it set. Then came nightfall and tons of fireworks. I discovered that these little fireworks are more difficult to shoot than the large aerial blasts. When I say a ton of fireworks I meant it. There must have been at least $1,500 to $2,000 on the table. This made me wonder about how that investment could have been put to better use.

For those of you who are U.S. citizens, i hope this blog spurs you on to think about our country, it’s founding and why we truly celebrate Independence day.