A rain break: Capay Valley Ranches

Finally, a Tuesday with just the threat of rain! This was great timing since Yolo Arts and Ag had scheduled time for artists at Capay Valley Ranches in Capay Valley. This organization provides artists access to various ranches and farms in Yolo County. Painters will bring their easels, brushes and whatever medium they use and photographers bring tripods and cameras.

They let us roam the venue at will, giving us the opportunity to get great images and to get a feel for what life on a ranch is. Capay Valley is home to almond orchards. The trees are normally in bloom now; but with the cold and wet weather, they are not in full bloom.

This was disappointing, but we made the best of it, and enjoyed the partial sunlight. Oh, the wind was furious and gave us an additional challenge! I love my walk around 18 – 140 lens. Even with wind, it can stop action.

Here are some of my images from that windy, cold morning. It was great to be outside without an umbrella!

When life gets busy: Capay Valley, California

Have you ever felt like a dog that’s chasing his tail? I’m sure you have at one point or another. March felt like that for me. Between getting ready for my Georgia trip, going on it, and doing photography to help with the emotional stress I knew it was bringing, I forgot to post my trip to Capay Valley.

Our Camera Totin’ Tuesday group went there to shoot the blossoms of the almond trees. There are many orchards in the valley, and fortunately they are all on different time tables of blooming. We were too late for some and just in time for others.

Timing in landscape photography is critical, and so is knowledge of the area. What I’m realizing is that I’m not the most patient photographer! I also rely on other photographers’ knowledge rather than research it for myself. I guess that makes me lazy in addition to impatient! I’d like to climb out of that rut but there are other things grabbing my time. I keep reading that a good photographer should do the research on the area they are shooting, go during the right time of the day and have the patience to sit there for the shot. I’m lucky I have people I can rely on!

Back to Capay Valley. We had a fun day of driving, finding almond orchards, farms and more. We took off with an end in mind and wandered until we got there. Cell phones helped us keep the three cars together.

I did enjoy it, and I’m sorry that I didn’t post sooner on this beautiful area, but………..you know!

What’s in a name?: Capay Valley

Well, what is in a name? Everything! As a former journalist and copywriter, I know that a name is very important. When you name a new company, it has to fit the personality and style of the group. It also has to appeal and suggest a benefit to the potential customer. So here we are with our newly formed Tuesday group, and still no name.

Now you’re thinking, why do they need a name. It’s simple, for the reasons above. After weeks of thinking, bantering and laughing –mostly because I threatened not to let them go home at the end of a long day shooting–we have a name! It is Camera Totin’ Tuesdays. I won’t go into what other choices we came up with, at least not in print. It’s amazing how silly you can get on Diet Coke, tea and water! Boy, do we know how to have fun.

And the name’s working already. We have two women wanting to journey with us when they can. Sometimes we know exactly where we’re going, and other times we just drive and see where the road takes us. We are secure with a GPS and a “Home” button.

This journey took us into Capay Valley. Karen was our guide since she knew the area. This valley is a mostly rural area northwest of Sacramento in Yolo County. Dotted with small towns, it was beautiful with rolling hills and great color. It’s amazing what a little water can do. With mostly farms, the culture is quite different from urban Sacramento and its suburbs.

I think the name Capay has something to do with American Indian culture since a few different tribes have inhabited the valley. I wish I could say for sure because names do tell tales!

 

HDR: my first images

I finally did it! Yes, I downloaded some HDR software and processed my first images. I didn’t do much more than their presets, but it’s a beginning. Thank you photo buddy Jayne West who gently pushed me into taking bracketed shots on two separate outings. That gave me some photos to work with.

Why did I wait so long? I thought it would be too difficult to learn. But, it wasn’t–at least loading in the photos, choosing a preset and modifying the image slightly. I know the program, Photomatix Pro, has many more features, and I’ll learn them in time. In fact, we will be heading to a star gazing party for four days/nights in Adin California. It’s a cute small town so I’ll have more opportunities to practice HDR. I’m also going to try to do some night sky photography. I printed out many tutorials just in case we don’t have cell reception. Did I mention that we are dry camping in a cow pasture!

Since I finally did it, here are my first three HDR images. All advice is most welcome.

 

Tuesday practice: I finally made friends with my tripod and more from Capay Valley

I made a promise. When I make a promise, I usually keep it–even if it is to myself. Yes, it’s Tuesday, camera practice day. Even though I didn’t go anywhere except for my back yard, I still made progress. I’m confident now with using the tripod. I went back to Action Camera and bought a remote shutter release that will bracket. The cordless remote would do single shots, but not bracket. And, I’m comfortable with using the remote.

In fact, I did take a lot of bracketed shots–of my rose tree and a bush. Don’t worry, you won’t have to look at them. Now on to learning what to do with the bracketed shots. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I’ll download some trial software and get ready for a little frustration.

So, with the first week of Tuesday practice done, I’m posting some more shots of Capay Valley.

 

 

Capay Valley–after almost a month’s absence

Do people really forget about you when you don’t blog for a while? I hope not! My spirit was wanting to blog, but that 4-week long cold kept saying, “Stay home. Rest!”

Resting is boring; shooting photos is exciting. I had a wicked good time when Jayne West and I joined other photographers from the Exploring Photography meetup group in Capay, California. I’ve never been on a trip like this. We met each other for lunch at the Road Trip Bar and Grill, had lunch and then went on our individual road trips. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if Jayne hadn’t been in the car with me. Two women from the group met a landowner prior to our lunch, and he invited the entire group to come and explore his property. It was amazing. A literal junk yard for old cars and other stuff. Jayne encouraged me to try some bracketed shots. I managed to set up the tripod myself (A feat!), but I couldn’t get my new remote shutter release to work. It worked the night before! So I’m not sure how the bracketed shots will work on Wednesday when Jayne shows me how to use the HDR and Lightroom software.

After that, Jayne and I went to find Peacocks that were supposed to be at a park nearby. They were there, but stubborn and didn’t want to spread their beautiful feathers. After that, we drove on to find Lake Berryessa. But, it was closed by the time we got there. We did shoot some images from the side of the road just to prove we were there.

Just going out with this group makes me feel like I’m still spinning wheels. Most of the photographers do HDR and are more advanced than I am. So, I need to catch up! I’ve decided that every Tuesday will be practice day. Most of it will be local, maybe even my back yard! But, I will practice!

The added bonus to learning will be the routine blogging I hope to do. I have quite a few images from the Capay Valley so this may be a two or three part post.