Lens-Artist Challenge #109: Under The Sun

I’m not fond of waking up in the dark to catch the golden hour in the morning or going to bed late in the summer to catch the evening blue and golden hours. So that leaves me mostly under the mid morning sun for most of my photo outings. No, I’m not going to post all my photos taken under the sun, just the ones that resonated with me when I read Amy’s challenge for the week.

There have been a few times when the timing was right on for me. One was at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. We caught the afternoon golden hour when the sun cast a beautiful glow on plants and animals. We were vacationing with my cousins in December 2016 . They are the couple walking out of the oasis.

The next set of images were taken during my favorite time of day, mid afternoon sun! (It’s not really!) My friend who lives in Sun City, Lincoln brought me to a tree where herons and egrets and other birds nested. I didn’t have my long lens with me, so I returned on my day to pick up my grandkids from school. My kids also live in Lincoln. Again, I seem to use the opportunity rather than make the opportunity! I’ve named this tree “The Nesting Tree,” and have brought other photo buddies to shoot there. Taken April, 2019, you can see the sun casting shadows on the birds bodies and feathers.

This last set was taken during a Yolo Art & Ag outing to Capay Valley Ranches in February, 2019. Every summer, Yolo Art invites artists and photographers to various ranches, farms and orchards to record country life. We were there mid morning (usually from 9 to 11 a.m.) Here, again, the sun created beautiful shadows.

While I may not get up before dawn, I still enjoy getting out in the sunshine. Thank you Amy for this great challenge.

Almond trees and more! Capay Valley, California

Beautiful Almond trees in Capay Valley were calling to my small photo group. Every year we make that trek to capture the beautiful blossoms. We were a two-car caravan and stopped along the way for pictures. If we were a larger caravan, I’m not sure that would have worked.

Starting out in the small town of Esparto, we drove along the main road through the valley. To our dismay, some of the orchards were surrounded by chain link fencing. Unfortunately, some visitors and photographers have been going into the orchards, causing problems. We make sure to stay on the side of the road, not trespassing. We did manage to stick our lenses through the chain link. It made taking pictures difficult but not impossible. Thank heavens for telephoto lenses which allowed us to get some close ups.

When we reached Rumsey, we found yard full of treasures. Fortunately, the owner Don Hayes was there and gave us permission to take photos wherever we wanted. I think I must have been getting tired, because I missed some of the smaller items that my photo buddies shot. Well, there may be another chance!

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.