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!

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.

 

 

Rising from the ashes: The Woodland Opera House

We were so fortunate to be invited to tour the Woodland Opera House recently. In fact, the tour was given by the Board President and fellow photographer Karen Alexander. With me, Marlene and Rita in attendance, she began our tour with a history lesson.

Built in 1885, the opera house was the first of its kind to serve the Sacramento Valley. However in 1892 a fire destroyed the building which was rebuilt in 1895/1896, using materials from the original structure. The Opera House flourished until 1913 when, with declining ticket sales, the theater closed. It remained unused for almost 60 years. In 1971 it was purchased by the Yolo County Historical Society, declared a state historic park in 1976 and was deeded to the State of California in 1980. Restoration work continued, and the Opera House reopened in 1989.

Today it is a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. And, it is active, holding productions from September to June, running a summer youth theater camp and a Young People’s Theater Program that runs throughout the year. They also provide school day low cost ticket prices for students for current productions.

As we continued our tour, Karen explained how they tried to use original furniture and seating during the restoration. This resulted in a beautiful, small theater where there are no bad seats. Our backstage tour brought us down to the green room where actors gather when not on stage. Dressing rooms were located on either side of the large room. Karen also explained how the lighting and staging was done.

It was an amazing few hours. And, it was amazing how this opera house rose from the ashes twice–literately and figuratively. Take a look!

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.

Did someone mention…Knight’s Landing, California?

Yes, someone did mention that small town near the Sacramento River, and, of course, we had to go. We had no preconception regarding Knight’s Landing. Greg did say that there was really nothing there, but he took us anyway. He was almost correct–there was an old trestle foundation left from the old railroad days, and a quirky bar and grill.

Knight’s Landing is another census-designated place in Yolo County. Founded in 1843 by William Knight a doctor from Baltimore Maryland. it’s located on the Sacramento River in the northeastern portion of the county. In its early days it was a steamboat landing and point of communication between people east and west of the river.

Knights Landing was founded in 1843, by Dr. William Knight, a practicing physician from Baltimore, Maryland. On March 25, 1890, the Knight’s Landing branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed and ready for business, and later the completion of the bridge across the river added immensely to the prosperity of the town. Today empty tracks and the remnants of the railroad trestle on the river are the only reminders of this town’s glory days.

Leaving the beauty of the river behind, we went to Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk Marina. Well, it sounds fancy doesn’t it? It wasn’t, but it was fun. I understand that the joint jumps on the weekend with music and party goers. You’ll see what I mean when you look at the images.

We did stop in Woodland on our way home, but I’ll show you those in another post about the Woodland Opera House. Meanwhile visit Knights Landing through my camera lens. In my next post you can experience Stingrayz.

Minor surgery, my foot! Woodland, California

You don’t tell a type “A” wanna be “B” person that they will be walking and driving after three days. On day four after surgery on my right foot’s big toe joint, I was already frustrated. The truth was, I didn’t truly walk or drive until a week after  the September 8th surgery, and I’m still having trouble doing both today–October 1st.

Both Gem and I are yearning for a nice walk. And, I’m yearning to get out and shoot. Thank heavens I have wonderful friends who understand my limitations and help feed my soul. I’m able to driving shoots. We go to towns, park, shoot, get back in the car, drive, park and shoot. Even at that, I get tired and wait in the car. I know I’m whining. But, I believe I’m entitled to!

It has affected my images also. I try to concentrate, but have a difficult time doing so. With this in mind, Marlene and I went to Woodland for a short visit. We were out about three hours, including lunch, and found enough to shoot in that small town. It’s Yolo County’s seat and has some fun stores and a beautiful old Courthouse which is now closed. We will go back, because there was more to photograph and it is close to Sacramento. Maybe by then I won’t need to whine about foot surgery. I may also have made the transformation to a type “B” person!