Weathering the storm: Quixote Winery

With only a few days of sunshine peaking through, we are still wet here in California. In fact, they’ve called the drought over everywhere in the State. Right now there’s a break and the sun is shining, but I don’t expect for too long.

That’s the weather update, now for my personal photo journey. I did get my framed images down to the In Focus Photography Competition; however, they didn’t place. And, when I last communicated with the contest official, she said they hadn’t sold yet. She did say that when a group of school children came through, one boy fell in love with the mantis picture. He even drew a picture of it. Too bad his parents weren’t along to buy it for him!

It was an experience that I value. Those prints will be seen again at the Sierra Camera Club print competition. And, we’re thinking of buying a printer so we can print out our own images. Richard, Bright Star Observatory, is taking some great deep space images now, and they should be seen. I’m still not sure whether I’ll start competing elsewhere. Ahead is the State Fair competition which should be fun and educational. Maybe I’ll check other County calendars too. Who knows!

Right now I’m still battling a cold that my doctor says lasts for 4 to six weeks. I’m doing much better, but still have to watch my exercise level. Too much activity and I’m tired the next day. I did get in one day of shooting in the Napa Valley to the Quixote Winery and the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. It was the first sunny day in a long time and I needed to get out with my camera. I did pay for my adventure for 2 days afterward!

Here are some images taken on the way to the winery and at the winery. We’ll talk about the museum in my next post. I think I have to find my copy of “Here Comes The Sun” by Richie Havens and play it continually! You think that would work?

Anxiety: Finalist in the INFOCUS competition

I was on overwhelm. I had bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D3100 in late 2012. Digital photography was slightly out of my technical expertise. Like what was ISO? Nikon wrote a pretty good manual, but assumed that the reader understood the terminology.

So, I looked for help, and I went to visit my friend Sandy, in Sonora, who’d been shooting for years. We had a great couple of days. Mostly, she showed me how to relax with the camera and gave me composition tips.

Since then, my expertise level has increased, mostly because of doing the 365 (taking a picture each day of the year) and joining the Sierra Camera Club in Sacramento which offers juried competitions twice a month. I’m not there to win; I’m there to learn. But, I always wondered if I should enter into a more broad type of competition.

I watched Sandy winning or placing at small county fair compeitions and asked her to let me know about one when it came along. The California State Fair, right here in Sacramento, seemed daunting to me. Could I really compete with the wonderful photographers in this region?

Sandy did let me know of the INFOCUS Photography Competition & Exhibition in Columbia, California. I knew if I didn’t enter this one, I would never enter one. I submitted five photos and two made it into the finals. So why am I anxiety ridden? It’s the printing, matting and framing that has me in a tizzy. The wonderful owner at Image Pros Photo, in Orangevale, helped me understand that I couldn’t make the images larger. I would lose some of the picture. Since these were macro and closeup photos, I kept them small. She also worked with me on the lighting in the picture.

So, here I am, ready to frame and bring the pictures down to Columbia for judging and exhibition on March 9. Still on overwhelm!

Here are my entries that made it into the finals. Wish me luck!

Enjoying a cooling trend: The California State Fair

It’s great to live near the State Capitol–you don’t have to travel far to enjoy State functions. So why did it take me 15 years to go to the California State Fair? I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s held in the middle of the summer heat! But my Toastmaster Photography Club got lucky because on our scheduled attendance evening, it was cool! So our small group in All About Photography Toastmasters met at 6:30 p.m. and enjoyed the evening.

I hung out with Linda for the night. Since I wanted to experience what I could in the short amount of time we had, we walked quickly and covered a lot of ground. My only disappointment was not finding the animals.

It was easy to get lost. There were at least three ferris wheels and additional duplicated rides. You couldn’t say, “Meet me at the ferris wheel!” It was Linda’s first time using slow shutter speed to catch effects and using the zoom technique for abstracts. She started out slow, but caught on and got some great pictures.

You won’t go hungry at the fair. Food booths were all over the place. You could eat somewhat healthy with chicken skewers or go totally wild with a deep fried Snicker bar covered in whipped cream and fudge. Ouch!

Linda and I ate before we arrived and just indulged in an iced mocha (me) and smoothie (Linda). I’m thinking I should have tried the funnel cake instead!

Hopefully there will be some cool days next year because I intend to go back during the day and shoot more. I’ll also be entering some photos in the competition. So why don’t you take a look.