It’s not raining; let’s shoot! Stock Ranch Nature Preserve

That’s something I haven’t needed to do in the last 4 years–run out and shoot in between rain storms. But, Linda and I did. There are many places in Sacramento to spend an hour or two shooting and feel like you’ve seen the whole place. Stock Ranch Nature Preserve is one of those places. Located in Citrus Heights, this 47-acre preserve has 1.5 miles of nature trails running along Arcade and San Juan Creeks.

It’s very easy to wander through; but, I did find that without foliage, it was stark. Branches were strewn all over, and there was a small amount of water in the creek. It’s important to know that this little preserve is located in suburbia surrounded by large warehouse shopping, apartments and single family homes. However, when you’re walking the inside path, you have no indication of what surrounds it.

I’ll be back in the spring to see how foliage changes the scenery. In the meantime it’s great to have it so close. It’s important to have a place to run to when you’re needing to shoot quickly in between storms!

On the road again: Bodie and Mono Lake, part 2

I can’t believe I left my tripod home! I’ve worked hard to become “one” with it, and I left it home. As I post about Bodie and Mono Lake, we are visiting Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and Fresno, California. I’ll post about this visit back to the parks after a more than 30 year absence next.

So far, I haven’t needed the tripod, but I did need it in Bodie. Why, to get great HDR images, you need to bracket and that’s difficult to do handheld. I’ve done it, but it’s much easier with the tripod. I did a lot of bracketing in the ghost town, because that seems to be a good way to present the decaying buildings and machinery.

Founded in 1876 as a gold mining town, Bodie is a now ghost town in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of Mono County, California.The nearest is Bridgeport,  where we stayed. I talked about the altitude (Bodie is at 8,379 ft or 2,554 m.) and my reaction to it in my previous post. Bodie is also recognized it as a National Historic Landmark, became a California Historical Landmark,  and officially became Bodie State Historic Park in 1962. We were three of the about 200,000 yearly visitors.

Because of the ghost town’s altitude and other health issues, I had a difficult time. However I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just took my time and rested when I needed to. Back home, I had a lot of fun with pushing sliders in Lightroom and processing images in black and white.

Here are some of my favorites in Bodie. Mono Lake will be in my next post. And, I’ll tie a string around my finger regarding my tripod when we head out on the road again!

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!

A full day of beauty: The UC Davis Arboretum, the landscape

I’d like to think that the arboretum put on a fancy dress just for Laura, Marlene and me when we visited last week. However, I think we were lucky to catch the area in its glory. Spring had come, and beauty was everywhere, wildlife was out and people were strolling along the creek.

In my last post I explained that the arboretum is a 100 acre park that borders Putah Creek. About 17 gardens have been planted along the creek, giving variety to the eye and much to shoot for photographers. I also promised a three-part post with the second showing the arboretum’s landscape and the third–the people.

In this post, I’m showing you the landscape as seen through my eyes. I’m not going to caption these images since there are a lot of them. So, enjoy the beautiful creek, trees and shrubs. After all they dressed up just for us!

U.C. Davis Arboretum

Some of us learn our lessons in a difficult way. I’m one of those people which is why I named this blog Slow Shutter Speed!

Yesterday, my friend Jean and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum. Fortunately we went at the golden hour before sunset because in winter the arboretum is stripped of its colorful beauty. However, the position of the sun and the still water, gave us beautiful shadows and reflections.

I brought along my two cameras and new sling. However, at the last minute, I decided not to hook on the D3100 and a telephoto lens. The last time I was at a photo shoot here, there were no birds–nothing really to shoot with a long lens. Mistake! Of course there were three birds and a hang glider!!

By the way, the sling was so comfortable; there was no need to switch it to the other shoulder. I’m also slow at learning the D7100. Things keep coming up, but the David Bush book I ordered should be coming today. He is so much easier to understand than the manual. I am becoming comfortable with the camera and the extra 1/2 pound weight doesn’t seem to bother me.

Now, back to the Arboretum which borders a creek. It’s an easy walk, and plants are along side the road. Even in winter, it’s a pleasant place to visit. In fact, we passed bicyclists, runners, dog walkers, drummers, and folks just conversing. I plan on visiting again in the spring, maybe in the early hours to catch the sunrise glow. Oh, yes, I’ll be carrying both cameras. By then I hope I’m a pro with the D7100.

Some of my images are in the gallery.

Birthday and practice, practice, practice

Did you ever have those days where what you did was governed by outside forces? Today, I wanted to go photograph the Sandhill Cranes–the very same cranes that have been eluding me. Well, they still are!

Here’s how the day went. With gift cards in hand, I went to Action Camera in Roseville on Friday. Now that I have two cameras, I needed a way to carry them on all-day photo meetups. I’m so glad I was using gift cards because the Yeti Slim that I bought was expensive, but durable and would hold my cameras safely. It was figuring out how the Yeti Slim worked and setting it up that closed the slim window of my being able to go to Galt and photograph the cranes.

But all wasn’t lost. I did go to nearby Dry Creek for practice with the D7100. By the time I left for my practice session it was 3:30 p.m., and a great time to shoot photos. I practiced using different exposures and close ups. The D7100 makes it easy to change the exposure, and now that I understand what the sub-command dial does, shooting on aperture priority is easy. I’m putting some of these in the gallery.

More important than the practice was my granddaughter Madison’s 19th birthday dinner. We celebrated late, her birthday was in December, because I was in Simi Valley at the time. She’s an amazing young lady and is beautiful inside and out. I don’t have too many images from the dinner to show you, but you’ll get to see all the grandkids.

Tomorrow, we are going to the U.C. Davis Arboretum. I went there with a group last year, and it is a beautiful experience. I just hope the day goes as planned!