Lens Artists Challenge #157: Getting Away

We all need a respite of sorts. It could be an afternoon of shopping or a long trip. We we did some travel overseas, I didn’t have a good camera or the ability to take good photos. I keep saying I started photography 20 years too late!

The trip I chose for Rusha and Bert’s challenge is our Cross Country Trip in the summer of 2013. This was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and took us 3 months. I could have traveled for 6 months, but Richard is not the traveler and was doing the driving.

I’ve always wanted to travel across the U.S., visiting as many National Parks as possible. So we headed out in our 5th wheel trailer and dog, Gem. Gem is a home body, preferring to be at his house and not anywhere else. Notice I said his house! He also doesn’t like the rumble of the diesel truck engine. I had also just bought my first DSLR a Nikon D3100 which also went with us.

We chose to get to the east coast via the southern route so we could visit my cousin in Plano Texas. Here are some places we visited.

If you’re traveling on Route 66 in Arizona, stop in at Seligman. It’s a delight.

We continued through Arizona and into Texas.

As I looked through my pictures, I realize how much I’ve learned since that trip and that I need to make the trip again!

One of our stops was Little Rock Arkansas so we could visit Beale Street in Memphis. We also stopped in Nashville.

The Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Let’s jump up to Washington D.C. I really didn’t get good shots of what was important, but I did get a good shot of the Metro station!

Richard wanted to go to Times Square while we were visiting family in New York. We paid about $30. to park!

Now for Niagara Falls. How does a new photographer take a picture that’s different from all others taken so far. You can’t! But I was happy that I got all three falls in one picture!

We went as far north as Bar Harbor Maine. On our morning walk, Gem and I came upon a lobster fisherman unloading his baskets.

Let’s finish up with the USS Constitution in Boston and the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (summit at 12,000 ft.).

There were many more highlights during our 3 month journey. I totally enjoyed it and would repeat it if given the opportunity. Thank you Rusha and Bert for this reminiscing challenge.

Lens-Artist Challenge #109: Under The Sun

I’m not fond of waking up in the dark to catch the golden hour in the morning or going to bed late in the summer to catch the evening blue and golden hours. So that leaves me mostly under the mid morning sun for most of my photo outings. No, I’m not going to post all my photos taken under the sun, just the ones that resonated with me when I read Amy’s challenge for the week.

There have been a few times when the timing was right on for me. One was at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. We caught the afternoon golden hour when the sun cast a beautiful glow on plants and animals. We were vacationing with my cousins in December 2016 . They are the couple walking out of the oasis.

The next set of images were taken during my favorite time of day, mid afternoon sun! (It’s not really!) My friend who lives in Sun City, Lincoln brought me to a tree where herons and egrets and other birds nested. I didn’t have my long lens with me, so I returned on my day to pick up my grandkids from school. My kids also live in Lincoln. Again, I seem to use the opportunity rather than make the opportunity! I’ve named this tree “The Nesting Tree,” and have brought other photo buddies to shoot there. Taken April, 2019, you can see the sun casting shadows on the birds bodies and feathers.

This last set was taken during a Yolo Art & Ag outing to Capay Valley Ranches in February, 2019. Every summer, Yolo Art invites artists and photographers to various ranches, farms and orchards to record country life. We were there mid morning (usually from 9 to 11 a.m.) Here, again, the sun created beautiful shadows.

While I may not get up before dawn, I still enjoy getting out in the sunshine. Thank you Amy for this great challenge.

Good bye: Kauai, the last day

It’s raining, sometimes really hard, in Sacramento. It’s the perfect time to reminisce about our Kauai vacation, especially our last photographic expedition. Funny, that day I began to be able to walk without too much pain. And, the day we left–no pain!

My grumbling is over. On our last day, we played catch up, going to places we missed or wanted to see again. In order of exploration, we visited Fort Elizabeth also known as the Russian Fort, mouth of the Wimea River, Kalalau Lookout, Pu’u o kila lookout, the Captain Cook sculpture in Hanapepe and the Kauai Garden nursery.

That was a full scenic day of taking photos. When we returned to our condo, we ate dinner, looked at our pictures and packed so we could go to the airport early the next morning.

My first photographic trip was wonderful. And, it was great to share it with good friends. Thank you Laura and Marlene for coming with me. Here’s what we saw on this last day.

Getting photos organized: Kauai, Day 4

Who can say no to 250 free photo prints? I can’t. So when Shutterfly posted this freebee with only one and a half days to prepare, I went to town and got the last quarter of 2018 sorted and done. It’s not like they weren’t organized. Lightroom and my desktop system is great for doing that. I just needed to go through them and pick the ones I wanted 4 x 6 prints of, and change the dpi to 300 for printing. Of course nothing is free. Their shipping is pretty high.

You’ve seen a lot of them through this blog, and I’ve printed some out for competition in the Sierra Camera Club. I print 4 x 6 prints for scrapbooking. It’s a great feeling to have 2018 completed. However, 2019 is totally void of pictures! I’ll be going out shooting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, maybe I can learn some of Photoshop this weekend! I’ve been told to delve into Photoshop, I need to shoot less and edit more. That’s a great goal for 2019!

In the meantime, here’s day 4 of the Kauai trip. Going along the south shore, we visited the Spouting Horn and Po’ipu Beach. When we were in the town of Koloa we saw the Monkey Pod tree, the Sugar Mill Monument and ate delicious pizza for lunch. In the evening, we went to Smith’s Garden Luau. The grounds were beautiful and the food delicious. After dinner we sat in the front row so we could have a great vantage point for shooting pictures. But, a crop sensor is just not that adaptable to low light situations where there’s a lot of movement. Marlene’s mirrorless camera did the best.

Happy New Year: Kauai, Day 3

Good bye 2018! Hello 2019!! Will it be a good year? I don’t have any feelings either way about the New Year. Most years I do. I’m just hoping it will be better world wide. For me 2018 wasn’t without its struggles. Downsizing and moving was horrendous. And, yet, I had two wonderful vacations. You’ve seen my blog post on Sedona and this series on Kauai is ongoing.

Tonight I’m taking you to the north shore of Kauai. We started our day at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and its beautiful Kilauea Lighthouse. Actually, we were there before they opened the gates. Just give photographers a day of rest and we’re ready to go the next morning!

After that visit, we stopped at a cute church (Christ memorial Episcopal), two vista turnouts–the Taro field and Hanalei Bay, had lunch and walked the town of Hanalei. On our way back to Lihue we stopped at Anini Beach and park where we saw a guy wind surfing.

Lastly, we stopped to take pictures of the Wai oli Hui la Church. That was quite a busy day, and a great photo taking time!

My next post in this series will be in 2019. Celebrate safely and Happy New Year!!

Do as I say…..Kauai, Hawaii

Merry Christmas everyone!

I finally finished editing my Kauai trip. Two of my photo buddies, Laura and Marlene, went, using my time share condo. This was my first trip dedicated to photography, and I was grateful to have two great friends along. It seems I never stop learning.

I made mention of my trip in a prior post, and my photo blogging buddy, Donna Robinson of Donna Robinson Photography, said she was looking forward to my Kauai posts so she could get some great tips of what to do when she goes. Well Donna, I can give you tips on NOT what to do!

First don’t pack every lens thinking you may need them. Really, do you want to miss any photo opportunity Hawaii can offer? I packed 5 lenses and two cameras. You do need a second camera if one breaks! Fortunately, I had a case that just fit all that stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention a flash and loop.

Second, don’t pack anything heavier than you can carry. I decided to put my camera bag and overnight tote on a luggage carrier and wheel through the airport. This worked until it was time to get on the plane. Then I had to carry the camera bag, tote and luggage carrier onto the plane. This wasn’t easy for a 75 year old weakling. Worse, when we were trying to catch our connecting flight, I didn’t have time to load up the luggage carrier. That night, my hip hurt and was hurting through the entire trip.

Third, check the camera settings. I shot on JPEG the whole week! I’m blaming the fact that I didn’t realize it on being 75!

Last, make sure you put your new logo into Lightroom on your laptop!

So Donna, that’s what not to do!

We spent our first day traveling to Waimea Canyon, stopping along the way at various turnouts, enjoyed our first introduction to shaved ice at Joe Joe’s, went on to Swinging Bridge and then caught our only sunset along Waimea Canyon Drive.

Here’s day one!

 

Lost and found: Finishing up the Sedona trip

Great news, I found my rice cooker and some other things!! But, now where is the other speaker for my stereo? I know I saw it sitting apart from the other speaker and stereo, but where? This is the game Richard and I have been playing while trying to get things back to normal activity.

I did go out with my Tuesday group last Tuesday, and I’m still processing those pictures. I finally finished processing the Sedona trip. Time for shooting and processing has been minimal; plus I managed to catch a cold. I really wasn’t chasing after it.

So let’s look back at my fun time at the Blazin’ M Ranch in Cottonwood, Arizona. We went for the dinner show, and it was a blast. I, of course, ate way too much. The chicken was excellent and so were the ribs. The entertainment was even better. If you’re ever in Sedona, this is a must.

 

On the way home, when I wasn’t driving, I shared my seat with my D7100. I was able to capture some drive by shots somewhere between Utah,Nevada and California. 

 

Home again: Sedona, AZ

After a 2-week respite from our move, I’m back to finish up–or try to complete unpacking boxes, etc. The house is mostly set up now; things still need to be moved around and set up. We are still trying to find things. Do you know where my rice cooker is??

Now, back to Sedona. This visit was more of a relaxing visit with a bit of photography mixed in. We stayed at Sedona Pines where the 2-bedrooms were separate cabin-like structures. This suited our lifestyle since Alyse is up late and wakes up late while I’m the opposite. I’d get up in the morning, have breakfast, walk, work on photos, etc. By the time I was hungry for lunch, Alyse was up having breakfast. We would spend the day roaming around Sedona. In the evening, we’d come back and enjoy watching TV.

I’ll be honest, as much as I wanted to take Alyse’s car and go shooting, I really needed the rest. Anyway, here is a glimpse of the red rocks of Sedona in Arizona, just in case you haven’t seen it already.

 

 

Internet??: Half day at the Grand Canyon

We’ve come to rely on the internet for so much, and we take it for granted–that is until you don’t have it!

I’m on the road again with my friend Alyse. This trip was set up 9 months ago; a long time before we decided to downsize and move. It was a week retrieval in a sense. I had lost a timeshare week with RCI because of Richard’s inability to travel for 3 years. I was able to recover all but this particular week. So, after paying extra to get it back and extend it, I invited Alyse to join me. There would be no saving the week again.

So that’s why I’m on the road so soon after moving. Yes, we did finally move! I left Richard with a huge mess. It’s hard to lose half a house. Oh, getting back to the internet, it’s very sporadic here at the Sedona Pines Resort in Sedona, Arizona. I’m hoping to get through this blog post.

We stopped at the Grand Canyon National Park for half a day during our trek to Sedona. I was there about 40 years ago with Richard and the kids. Of course, we saw more, but it was great to be there again. The memories of our family trip came flooding back. If you want to see more than just the rim drive, you need to hop on a bus. We didn’t have time for that, so we opted for the South Rim Drive. It was enough to give us a taste of how vast the Canyon is.

On our way, I stopped in Seligman, Arizona. Alyse had never seen this quaint little town with it’s Route 66 allure. I was saddened to see that some of the manikins were gone, but there was enough for her to enjoy.

My internet time may be getting slow so let’s get on with the pictures!

On the road again: Total Solar Eclipse

Exhilarated, excited, frustrated, anxious are just some of the feelings I had the morning of August 21, 2017. It’s now August 23, 2017, and I have all my eclipse images edited and blog ready.

Let’s deal with the frustrated and anxious feelings of that morning. Initially, I was going to use Richard’s small telescope attached to my D3100. We didn’t really get a chance to practice during our stay at Glacier National Park because of smokey skies. I read tutorials on shooting the eclipse, but none were on using a telescope as a lens. I was anxious about that telescope: how do I change the aperture, and what about the proper exposure?

When we went to visit the NASA folks, I saw a guy using a coffee can on a 70 – 300 mm lens attached to a Nikon D3100. He seemed confident that it would work well. I told Richard about it and he fashioned a filter using material from pair of solar glasses and attaching it to the lens hood. It worked great. Now I could use my D7100.

Back to the tutorials! I did get frustrated because they seemed to contradict each other. The worst of all, I really couldn’t work with the tripod. I couldn’t find the sun in live view, and I couldn’t see the live view screen. I saw my reflection. I tried using a loop, but that made it more difficult.

So, I decided to handhold. I knew the risks, but I wanted to enjoy the eclipse. I decided to use my D3100 to capture the crowd during intervals of shooting the eclipse. Actually, it worked out, except for the totality. I did get one good shot of it though.

Exhilaration and excitement came rapidly when the eclipse began. The crowd roared as the sun began to slip behind the moon. There were shouts of joy during each phase, especially during totality. Here are my images from the eclipse: before totality, environmental shots, totality, and after totality.

Right now we are two days from home, and I’m ready to get there. We’ve decided not to do anymore road trips. It’s destination trips from now on. I would say this trip was a great one to end on. From beautiful Glacier National Park to the amazing total solar eclipse. And a big thank you to the small town of Weiser, Idaho. They did a great job with the amount of people added to their community. Oh, I have just one more feeling to add: wonderful!