In need of photo penicillin: Green Acres Nursery

I’ve not been feeling well, but I wanted to get our with my camera. Where to go that’s close? Maybe somewhere I can do macro photography. Of course, Green Acres Nursery in Citrus Heights! And it’s about 10 minutes from my home. I met Marlene there and we set out for some photo penicillin.

I like this particular Green Acres because their flowers are under shade and easier to photograph. We stayed about an hour and then went out for lunch. A short but sweet visit. Here are some images from that trip.

It’s great to have such a wonderful garden nursery nearby that allows photographers to take photos. Thanks Green Acres!

Lens Artists Challenge #181: Double Dipping

This week Tina encourages us to share photos from other challenges in which we participate or places in which we post. I’m typically not one for taking part in challenges except of course for LAPC. For the last year and a half, I have waited, with joy and anticipation, until 9 a.m. PST for the latest LAPC challenge to be posted. Then I would formulate my response and go through my archives. This was an enjoyable experience as I revisited former outings, bringing back fond memories.

And there I stay. You can call me one-challenge-Anne! But I do post in a few other places. First is the juried competition club Sierra Camera Club. I have gain so much knowledge by having my photos judged and critiqued. I’ve also found critiques of fellow members’ photos invaluable. Here are some of my past entries. With each entry, I choose a picture that will give me feedback in different areas.

The Sierra Camera Club is a member of the Photographic Society of America which I also joined. I quickly joined one of their Projected Image Division groups (PID). Each month we upload two images to be critiqued by the group members. I used the knowledge gained in the Sierra Camera Club to good use while looking at and critiquing the other group members’ photos. It’s all a wonderful learning experience. Here are some of my entries.

And finally, my own group of seniors, Camera Totin’ Days. We go out once a week, take it easy, enjoy shooting our photographs and then eat lunch. Here are some images from our outings.

Now that John, Sophia and I are joining the Lens-Artists team, I’m looking forward to some new experiences.  Patti will be leading our next challenge so be sure to visit her Pilotfish blog or to watch for her post in the Lens-Artists Reader section.

Lens Artists Challenge #156: Black and White

I am delighted to be your guest host for this week’s LAPC. Thank you John for getting us into/onto the water last week.

As much as I enjoy photographing water, I also love black and white photography! I don’t process a lot of it, but when I do I enjoy the texture and depth it gives a scene. It reaches a place in your soul that color can’t. Some images cry out for black and white.

This post is not a “how to” or history lesson, but a vehicle to get you excited about processing in black and white. As photographers, we all have our own unique way of doing that. Some shoot in black and white while others shoot in color and process in black and white.

I’ve watched many videos and attended workshops on black and white photography only to realize there is no set way to create a good black and white image. I have, however, settled on a workflow that produces the results I like. This is my workflow.

First, I always shoot in RAW and in color. That gives me more flexibility and more tonal range to work with. Very rarely do I see the image in black and white before I shoot it. I mostly see color until I get it into Lightroom.

This fog landscape I saw in black and white as I shot it. One of my rare moments.

Once I get my images into Lightroom, I process them in color. If I see an image with a lot of contrast, texture, and tonal quality, I finish the color processing and then look at it in black and white in Lightroom. If I see a possibility for a good black and white, I transfer the color image into Nik Silver Efex. This is where the fun begins.

Here’s a lily in color and black and white. Look at how the various colors, contrast and lighting transfer in tonal quality to the black and white.

Although Photoshop and Lightroom have improved in their ability to process black and white, I still prefer Nik’s Silver Efex. I guess I’m just used to it and I like their presets. Better yet, I need their presets! I’m not an artist. I choose a preset and work on it from there. Nik also has the ability to use more than one preset on a single image. You can use the control points to dodge and burn (darken and lighten). I rarely do this but work more with the contrast and tone of the image. If you like different film effects, there are many film types and tones from which you can choose. Honestly, I don’t change film types but, sometimes, will give an image a different tone color.

This is the color version of Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. A foggy day and not much color.

The same image processed in black and white. Adding texture and contrast, created a more inviting image.

While in Silver Efex you can also add texture and do other editing that I prefer to do in Lightroom.

Sometimes the venue calls for black and white photography. One of my earlier black and white images taken while at Bodie a ghost town in Northeastern California.

Here’s another where I think the black and white conversion accents the splash of the wave on the platform. Taken in Pacifica.

Once I’m done in Silver Efex, I then export the image back into Lightroom for the finishing touches. I sometimes continue working on the contrast and light. I love how Lightroom’s tone curve helps with that. For me I like images to have some “pop!”

Also figures in shadow are accented in black and white. This image was taken at the Marin Headlands during one of my first Meetup outings.

Back to the present, my latest black and white conversion is a lotus in the William Land Park pond. It’s beautiful in color, but how do you feel (Yes, feel it not think it!) about it in black and white? For me, the curves, contrast and lighting are accented.

So, this is my method for processing an image to black and white. I’m sure you have your own workflow for black and white photography, and I’d like to know what it is and see your images. This week’s challenge invites you to dig through your archives for black and white images or process color images in black and white. You can also take new pictures and process them in black and white.

As you post them, please explain how you processed them. This will help all of us learn new ways of doing what we’ve been doing for a long time. I hope you are now ready to see the black and white possibilities as you shoot and/or process.

Thank you, Tina, Amy, Ann-Christine and Patti, for giving me this opportunity. I do appreciate it!

Remember to link this post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week’s challenge will be presented by Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See: Getting Away.

She will be followed by:

July 24: Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs: TBD

July 31: Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery: Postcards

The Lotus Are Here: William Land Park

Each year we look forward to times when nature shows us beauty. In 2020, many venues were closed, but at William Land Park in Sacramento there was no stopping nature and the beautiful lotus flower. This year the lotus came back even stronger. I’ve never seen them on vines that were so tall. It was an amazing site. Here’s what I captured during a recent visit.

In the last picture, you can see how tall the lotus were. Wonderful isn’t it!

Seeing it foretells drought: Salmon Falls Bridge, Pilot Hill

Let’s be honest, we’d rather not be able to see the Salmon Falls Bridge because that would mean there’s plenty of water feeding into Folsom Lake, which is at approximately 65% of its regular level right now. Located in Pilot Hill, El Dorado County, the bridge is the remainder of a flourishing gold rush area town that was founded in 1850. You can read more history by following the above link. Preceding a drought or a drought condition, the bridge is visible, so we went to see it.

The approach from the closest parking lot. And walking closer to the bridge we did find remnants of an old structure.

We needed to cross the stream to access the bridge. In this picture Marlene is getting help from Gert and his hiking stick. And leave it to visitors to use their imagination, making tee pees out of sticks.

We made it to the bridge. People were fishing, walking, etc. We weren’t the only curious folks. I waited to take these pictures.

We walked across the bridge and along the way found pelicans and cairns and other neat things.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to see this disappearing bridge, let’s hope for a good rainy season for 2021/2022. I hope you enjoyed seeing it too.

A Yolo Arts & Ag adventure: Oliver Farms, Woodland

The season has begun. Each month (Not every month during the pandemic.), during spring and summer, Yolo Arts & Ag hosts local farms and orchards for photographers and artists to spend the morning, doing their art. While I don’t get to all of them, I’ve taken the opportunity to go to most and I haven’t been disappointed. In March we were invited to the Oliver Farm in Woodland. Marlene and I took the opportunity.

Sally Oliver has left the farm buildings as was after her husband passed away 2 years ago. The almond trees are gone and she now leases the grounds to a certified organic farm, producing radish
seeds and curly chard among other rotating row crops.

I found the old buildings a photographic delight. Here are some images taken that morning.

On the way home, we stopped to take pictures of wild mustard growing in an orchard.

The next visit is scheduled for May. Where will Yolo Arts & Ag take us?

A slow start to 2019: January

If I thought 2019 would start off with a BANG, I was wrong. I didn’t hold a camera in my hand for the first two weeks. After that there were five photo opportunities, but few great photos. A lot had to do with the rainy weather, which we’re still having, and also with my not feeling well.

So here we are in February and the rain is still coming down. I’m not complaining because California needs the rain. We have a great snow pack now that will hopefully see us through the dry summer. What does that mean for photography? If you can’t make it up to the snow, you’re shooting inside! I’m amazed at how many businesses welcome photographers. This year we’ve been to the Antique Trove in Roseville twice, most recently today. You’ll see those pictures in my next post.

So, here are some picks from January!

These were from an experiment with oil and water. It’s more difficult than the tutorial made it seem!

These are from an outing to Old Folsom Historic District. It’s a section of Folsom where you can walk, shop and eat. Best of all, the parking is free!

This next outing was to Old Sacramento. I’ve shown you images from there before. It’s always a challenge to find something new.

So, there you have some highlights from January!

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.

A challenge with two lenses: Locke and Rio Vista

I needed to challenge myself because we were going back to Locke on a recent Tuesday, and I’ve photographed the small town many times. So, I decided to dedicate the shoot to using two lenses I seldom take out: my 50 mm (Nikon) and 10 – 20 mm (Sigma). With the 50 mm, I wanted to see just what difference the 1.8 would make. And, it did make a big difference in getting a smooth bokeh. I enjoyed working with it even though I did try to get it to zoom!

Zooming is the only problem with that lens. I couldn’t walk back far enough to get more in the picture, so I concentrated on close ups. I switched to the ultra wide lens to see what distortions I could get. I was a little disappointed. It worked great with little distortion.

When we took a side trip to Rio Vista, I put on my walk around lens. I love that 18 – 140 mm. When it’s windy, it will catch a close up of a flower. It was dark, cloudy and dreary there. The last time I posted pictures from Rio Vista, the water was high and flooded part of the shore line. This time the waters had receded.

So my self-challenge taught me that the nifty fifty is a great lens, especially for portraits and close ups, that the ultra wide is great for landscape and buildings and my all-purpose go to lens is just that.

Here are the results.

What’s your passion? IKEA, part 2

I have two passions: Photography and Toastmasters. Toastmasters changed my life and Photography enriches my retirement. So I decided to combine these two diverse activities and formed a Toastmaster’s Specialty Club: All About Photography (AAP).

At AAP we follow the Toastmaster format, but as our name suggests, we speak on photography and our table topics are on photography. We have photographers of all levels. Last week, I presented my images from IKEA for table topics. The participants were to give a 1 – 2 minute mini-speech on how they would edit these mostly abstract photos. I do crop well in the camera, so they had a difficult time imagining the total scene.

It was a fun exercise, and I picked up a few hints on what I could have done–next time. So what is your passion? What has changed your life? What enriches your life?

Here are my remaining images from IKEA in West Sacramento in black and white.