An annoying cold in the summer: Catching up

I thought I was over the 2-week cold, but I guess I wasn’t. I’m in my fourth week of it and not feeling really well. Can I continue to complain a bit? The worse part of it is the fog brain that keeps me from posting, etc. I didn’t even realize that I haven’t posted in a long while. Okay, that’s enough complaining.

I’ve been on a few shoots since my trip to San Francisco, and I’ll try to post about two of them here. My Tuesday group visited The Fountains Shopping Center again. It’s always a challenge to come up with something different at a place you’ve photographed many times. So here’s what I came up with:

Another visit was to downtown Sacramento and the third year of the Wide Open Walls Festival. This time we shot on the second and last days of the week’s artistry. On the second day, we found only one artist at work. On the last day, we were treated to two amazing murals: Johnny Cash and Monkeys (which was three-dimensional with metal parts and paint). Here’s some of what we saw:

While shooting our first set of murals, we stopped by William Land Park in Sacramento to photograph the lotus pond:

And, of course, I do enjoy shooting buildings:

That’s it for now. Have to rest. I do hope this cold is over before my next post!

I didn’t do that well Tuesday night at the Sierra Camera Club, in Sacramento, competition, but then I expected I wouldn’t. Sometimes pictures look great on the monitor, but not so great when they are printed. That was my predicament.

When I looked at the prints, I was dismayed. I decided to enter them anyway. After all I’m there to learn, and I did. The scores range from 8 to 12. I got two 10s and two 11s. I’ll confess that the judge didn’t give a score under 10! Print is just one of several categories, and for me, the most difficult. I’m not the only one printing out 8 x 12 images, but we are in the minority. However, I don’t think I’m ready to invest the money in larger prints.

In the digital categories, I have been awarded 12s, but never made it to the golden “13.” But, I’m happy. I joined this group to learn, and I have. I’ve also learned how to look at images. It’s amazing what details the judges see that I haven’t trained my eye to look for.

Toastmasters has trained me not to take critiquing as an assualt on my abilities. So, I understand that judging is subjective. There have been a few times when I dissagreed with the judge; but, after a few weeks, I saw that the judge was so right! Sometimes we get attached to our product and what we see in it that we don’t view it with a critical eye.

I thank the fantastic members of the Club. They are most eager to help, and just seeing their work gives me something to shoot for. Most of all, I feel great when my images are competitive with theirs.

If you are a new photographer, I urge you to join this type of club. There’s always something new to learn. You’ll find some of my entries below.

 

 

Street Photography: San Francisco, part 2

When the going gets tough, the tough plow through it! Marlene and I walked between four and five miles the day we walked the length of the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Now that may be nothing to younger folks, but to seniors with feet and leg issues, it’s success!

Yes, we got some good images that day. In my previous post (part 1), I showed you some of people I photographed and told my interpretation of their stories in the captions. Some, I didn’t need to interpret like the old dog being helped into her stroller. I talked to her owners who were intent on making her last years as easy as possible.

However, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of buildings, structures and crowds. It’s amazing how many people can move along a street without problems. I also took some pictures from the ferry we picked up in Vallejo. So, to finish off our trip to San Francisco, I have some more to show you.

Walking and shooting: San Francisco

Many people have asked me what type of photography I enjoy doing. I always answer, “Everything but portriat!” Of course that leaves landscape, buildings, macro and more. One is street photography, and I don’t feel as comfortable with this as I do macro, etc.

Part of the problem is that I’m not fast enough to catch the moment. I also fail to see the opportunity. I think I can do better with some training and experience. So, I jumped on the chance to walk along the Embarcarado in San Francisco. This fun day was sponsored by the Exploring Photography Meetup group. We started at 8:30 a.m., taking the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. We were to walk and take photos along the way and meet back to catch the ferryferry at 4 p.m.

We were told to take small sized gear so we wouldn’t be conspicuous. So I took my D3100, my 50 mm lens and shot on aperture priority. But, how can you be conspicuous with a bunch of tourists snapping pictures! At least the D3100 was lighter than the D7100.

It was also good experience using the 50 mm prime lens. I stopped trying to twist the barrel after a while! It was a fun day as I looked for people their stories. I took so many pictures that this will be a two-part post.

So get your walking shoes on and follow along!

Country life: Yolo Art and Ag

I’m not a country gal, but I do enjoy the opportunity to experience it. And, fortunately, I do get the chance. During the summer months, Yolo Arts brings together artists, photographers and farm owners in an effort to  raise awareness about the importance of preserving farmlands. This is accomplished through the Arts and Ag Project in Yolo County.

It’s amazing how close urban and suburban Sacramento is to farms and orchards. Drive one hour and you’re in a different world. A world I often get lost in! This month we visited Meeks and Sons, Inc. farm. A large farm that grows crops. This was a much different experience than in the past when we visited small farms–maybe two or three at a time. Karen B. and I got lost driving up and down the dirt roads. We did manage to find almond pods on the trees and some old and new farm equipment to take picture of.

Afterwards, Karen B. and I drove about 30 miles north to scout out a venue for our Tuesday group–a resting place for old busses and trucks in Williams. This is a photographers dream shoot, but not in the summer. It’s way too hot with more triple digits days than ever before. We ate lunch in the town and took some pictures.

Take a peek at what this city gal found on the farm.

 

Trying to beat the heat: Bushnell Gardens, Granite Bay

It seems that every Tuesday is triple digit day! You have to plan to have an outing early in the morning so it’s over by 10 a.m. because even shooting early in the evening, it’s still hot. So, to beat the heat on a recent Tuesday the group chose to invade Bushnell Gardens, a nursery in nearby Granite Bay. We had already visited Green Acres and wanted a different type of nursery.

We got there when it opened, and by 10 a.m., I was feeling the heat. It seems the older you get the less you can handle heat. I’ve started carrying one lens because I want to practice and don’t want to carry anything extra in the heat. I ended bringing my Nikon 18 – 140 mm into the nursery, and I think it did well with close ups, etc. I find that limiting myself to one lens is a great way to enhance my composition knowledge.

So here are some of the images I shot on that very hot morning.

 

 

 

Just enjoying it: Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

We just wanted to go shooting for enjoyment, and not too far. So we found the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park in Volcano, California. This land preserves a large amount of marbleized limestone with about 1185 mortar holes–the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. Women would gather together and visit as they ground their grains in the mortar holes.

There’s also the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum and a reconstructed Miwok village on the grounds. The one building I had fun photographing was the Ceremonial Roundhouse which is used for various social gatherings and ceremonial events. Since it is used currently for those purposes, we couldn’t go in.

My challenge during this outing was the brilliant sunshine and the shade. This drove the camera sensor crazy–me too. I tried some handheld HDR (tripod wasn’t with me), and focusing on the shade and then raising the camera which blew out the sunny area. The best I could do was to focus on the sunny area and move the camera. Fortunately Lightroom has a graduated ND filter and a shadow slider. Both came in handy during post processing!

But, it was a perfect outing, and we did enjoy it. Sometimes you just have to get out!

 

Feelin’ the spirit: July 4th

It was a parade, it was lunch, it was fun! Every July 4, the residents in our new senior community decorate their golf carts, trucks, cars, and even bikes for the annual July 4 parade. I was invited to ride in my neighbor’s two-seater Miata that she decorated with flags.

I was amazed as we drove around to see how many other residents were lined up on the parade route. All were yelling “Happy fourth of July,” and some were throwing candy into the carts, cars and trucks. We waved and yelled back. I was also trying to take pictures as the car was moving of people moving. Not easy.

After the parade, we had a hot dog lunch, which fortunately was inside. It was a hot day. I had fun, and I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be decorating something–maybe. My Camry????

I can show you some of the carts and cars, but we are asked not to take pictures of the homes. I did my best, and you’ll get an idea of how this zany senior community celebrates. The last picture is of our honored guest, a World War II veteran who still fits into his uniform.

 

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!

Now a yearly trek: Lotus blossoms

They are so beautiful, but only bloom once a year. But, that’s also what makes the Lotus flowers so special. The flowers in this post are from the Vedanta Society of Sacramento in Fair Oaks (Where last year’s images were shot.) and my chiropractor’s farm in Auburn. Who would have thought that a small Lotus pond would be on a farm!

At the Vedanta Society, the mature Lotus were more inside the pond and the buds surrounded them on the outside. That made shooting them a little tricky, but with the lens extended all the way out to 140 mm and creative cropping, I managed.

At the farm, it was just the opposite.  The featured image is a black and white from the farm. No matter, they are beautiful no matter where they are. And, pictures are a way of enjoying them all year round.