Lens Artists Challenge #142: You pick it, The 365 challenge

Our Lens Artists Challenges challenges can take us many places. This week, Ann Christine’s challenge took me back to 2015 which was the year I did the 365 challenge. If you haven’t taken that on, consider it. It wasn’t that I looked to take exceptional photos each day, I just took whatever was handy. It taught me discipline and improved my ability.

Not every photo was wonderful. Like the few weeks I just shot my foot that had the boot on after minor surgery. Gem, now runs out of the room when he sees the camera. The grandkids make stupid, funny faces when they see me pick up a camera. You get it, a whole year of taking the d7100 wherever I went. Taking a fast entry because I forgot. But also learning.

I briefly went through that year, 2015, and first hit the first, tenth, twentieth, etc. months and then went back to find some more. Here they are. Explanations are in the captions.

I was ready for this challenge to end and proud that I had shot a picture each day of the year. Then I was amazed at the difference in my photographic ability. If you don’t think you can do 365 days, try the 52 week challenge no matter what level you’re at. I’m glad I did!

I’m crowing: UC Davis Arboretum

Yes, hens sometimes crow like roosters. My neighbor had one. So, I’m crowing because I’ve noticed vast improvement in my photographic skill level.

I happened to be looking back at the photos I took during our cross country trip in 2013, and I was amazed at how poor some of the images were.  Some challenges had to do with composition, but most with processing. I knew little about each! But that’s how I learn–by doing.

In fact, that’s why I started this blog–to track my progress. My followers are great in motivating me and cheering me on. Thank you everyone. Looking back, the most significant tool for me was doing the 365. Having to shoot a photo a day for one entire year taught me many lessons.

While I’m bragging, Richard is looking into his wallet because I told him he had to take me on another cross country trip to retake some pictures. Well, he’s really not looking for cash; he just gave me a stare and said NO!

Now I’m printing some images and gaining more valuable information. Once I understand that, maybe I’ll tackle Photoshop. Digital photography is not easy to grasp if you don’t have a technical mind, which I don’t. I’ll continue to learn and share those experiences here.

One of my favorite places to practice is the UC Davis Arboretum, It’s not far, in Davis, and is great for macro, landscape and telephoto shots. Just choose what you want to concentrate on and bring that lens. This results in a great learning curve. This trip I shot with my 18 – 140 mm lens.

Here are some samples from that visit. I didn’t see any crows though, just a horse in their horse barn, but I’m still crowing.


Perspective and Progress: the 365 challenge

I’ve gotten complacent. I’ve gotten bored. I’ve become too comfortable. Yes, I haven’t currently pushed past my comfort zone with the 365 challenge. For those of you who are not familiar with this ominous task, it means taking a photograph a day for one full year. I’ve just started into my 34th week, and I can tell you there are some days I’m ready to quit.

But, I won’t because I realize what I have learned through the process. I was talking with Greg, a photo buddy, during one of our outings and he said that I was a good photographer. Others have said the same thing, but I wasn’t ready to hear them, being stuck in low photographic ability esteem. That day I said, “Yes, I believe I can finally say I’m not a beginner, but maybe call myself an intermediate.” He then went on to tell me all I needed was to learn the software. I agreed.

This is all part of the 365. I’ve become very comfortable and good at close up, macro, and landscape shooting. I’m having fun doing HDR and trying not to over process it. My camera is mostly on manual these days, and I’m helping new photographers. However, there are still things to learn. This is mostly in setting up and lighting a shot. This is what I need to work on with the 265. But, I don’t have the equipment and don’t want the expense of studio lighting. I’ll just have to ask my photo buddy if I can come over!

I know I need to move past my complacent, bored and comfortable self and expand my knowledge. I’ve set a goal to have that done before the 365 ends. If I’m persistent enough, I can do it. Greg, when can I come over?

Here are some of my 365 images. There are others that I posted directly from outings already shown in this blog.

On the road again: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and Fresno, final chapter

Sometimes things are not what you think them to be! We found this to be true in Fresno, California. Typically thought of as a farming community in a not so well off county. We expected a small town with little to attract tourists. Boy, were we wrong!

Fresno really impressed us. There was much to do and enjoy. The town has grown and will continue to grow. There was only one disappointment: The Tower District which is supposed to be the hub of Fresno night life complete with the iconic Tower Theater. We went there during the late evening, hoping to catch some of the sights before dark. Then I wanted to shoot all the neon that the brochure pictured. The Tower Theater was not well kept and dirty, and after the fourth police car went through, we decided to leave.

But everything else was as promised and enjoyable. I’ll probably post a large amount of images just to get through the highlights. You’ll see sights from the Old Fresno Water Tower, downtown Fresno, the Forestiere Underground Gardens, the Shinzen Japanese Gardens and Fresno Zoo. That was all we had time for. And, yes it was hot there. So, we went out in the mornings and evenings.

Take a look at Fresno, and find out more about each place by visiting the links.Because, sometimes you can be surprised!

Practice, practice, practice: Dry Creek Park, West Roseville, California

They say that practice makes perfect, Well, I’ve been practicing every day even if it is only for the 365 challenge. It has helped, but I’m far from perfect! But then, who is perfect?

I like to go to Dry Creek because it is so close to my home and is beautiful. I’ve practiced with my ND filter, macro lens, 50 mm lens and just to shoot. The last time, I went with Richard and Gem. The boys walked while I went down to the water to shoot. In the summer, the area is a great swimming hole for children, and it’s harder to shoot.

In this post, I’m going to show you how beautiful this creek is. However, with the drought, the water level is really low. I’m not sure how the creek will hold up during the summer. Let’s hope we get some rain this fall and winter. After all I will still be practicing!

Dog walking human: A surprise at Dry Creek Park

You know we use our dogs as an excuse or motivator to exercise. They know it and pretend they want to go for a walk. There’s the reality: they walk us! It was on such a walk that I received a surprise.

I had agreed to walk with Richard and Gem at their new place, Dry Creek Park. They have a new playground and sort of trail. When I go to Dry Creek, I walk along the creek with my camera to practice. This time I knew we weren’t going to the creek, but I need a shot for my 365 challenge so I brought my camera.

Now you’re probably wondering what the surprise was…wildflowers! My dog had this all planned out! So enjoy the walk that Gem took us on!

The 365: Old Sacramento with Sharon

I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with my friend Sharon from Los Angeles before she went on to San Francisco last week. I picked her up at the airport after my Toastmasters meeting, we went to lunch and then headed to Old Sacramento. Now I would never had pulled out a camera before the 365 day challenge, but I did. After feeding the parking meter, I explained the 365 challenge to her. Not only was she okay with it, she was pointing out interesting things to me.

Old Sacramento is an area, located on the Sacramento River, containing quaint shops, old architecture, a train station, a few museums (most notably the Railroad Museum).

I enjoyed that day with Sharon, not only catching up with her, but realizing that I will probably pull my camera out from now on–365 challenge or not.

This challenge is amazing. I’m learning more than I thought I would and also found the support of a long-time friend.

A photo a day: still at it!

Okay, I’m a type A wanna be type B. I took on this 365 challenge and I’m still at it. What do you mean it’s only been a little over a month! It sounds longer at 36 days. And, I’m still shooting on manual.

This is helping me understand the exposure triangle relationship and how to make the image come out the way I want it to. Of course some are shot with my point and shoot, some are of the dog and more will probably be, some are of the grandkids and some are taken on walks.

This challenge has also helped me develop a more keen eye as I look for things to shoot everywhere. I always have my point and shoot with me. Here are some of the less mundane images I’ve captured so far. A few have been on meetups, but most are from everyday life.

There’s a lot of days until January 1, 2015: The 365 photo challenge and the park.

It’s only been two weeks, but taking a photo a day is becoming a habit. We’ve been posting them in the Sac Photograpers Facebook group. I can’t say that they’ve all been wonderful, but I continue to shoot on manual. Gem has been a great dog, allowing me to use him as a model. And, I learned how to get him totally in focus.

Week two was a little more tough since we had a theme. We needed to pick a color and shoot it for the week. I chose green because I though it would be a little easier. Gem was a big help here as I chose subjects during out daily walk. He knows that when I have the camera, it’s not just his walk, and he’s learning patience.

Today, my younger grandkids helped me shoot the last photo of week two. We went to the park. I was hoping to get that last shot, but what I got were two kids having a lot of fun.

Here are the park images and some from the 365 challenge.