Photography always gives me an opportunity to learn. In March I went to see the sheepdog trials in Zamora at Slaven Ranch. First, I was impressed by a whole bunch of border collies and handlers/owners waiting their turn for a run up the hill.
Over the hill were four sheep waiting to be herded down the hill, through two obstacles on the course and finally into the ring set off by traffic cones. The handler stands on the flat land more or less between the obstacles and ring. I’m hoping you can get somewhat of a picture in your mind. My description is not very good.
As far as photography goes, it was difficult because you had to use a telephoto lens (we were quite a distance away) which made it difficult to get the dogs and sheep into one frame when they came close enough to photograph. I had my lens at 200mm and managed to get a few pictures when they came down the hill.
The handlers communicate with their dogs by using a special whistle that we couldn’t hear. And, all this had to be done in a certain time limit. Here are some pictures.
Coming down the hills.
Now for the dogs while herding.
One of the handlers working with a dog.
Now for a fun picture. I took a picture of a dog sitting next to me. When processing it, I cropped in close to the eye and found a reflection. Take a look!
It was an amazing few hours watching these border collies and handlers at work. I do appreciate the Yolo Arts and Ag Project and the opportunities it offers us.
Oh, I want to thank those of you who gave me input on my decision on whether to buy a Fujifilm macro lens or keep my current Nikon macro lens. I’ve decided to keep using my Nikon system. The reality is that I do long range wildlife photography just a few times a year. I enjoy it, but enjoy other types of photography more.
Summer, it’s the season when local farmer’s markets abound, and I do enjoy taking pictures of the produce and people. But, you never know what you’ll find when you get there. The Folsom farmers market, in Folsom, was more representative of large growers than local. I asked several vendors where their farm was located, and they answered they were representing a large farm based elsewhere. Here are some produce images.
I was probably also not “in the mood!” I find that my attitude and health affect what and how I shoot. Whatever it was, I enjoyed taking photos of the dogs than the produce.
There were a couple of food trucks that I thought were interesting.
But, I truly enjoyed how the light fell on this flag.
We photographers never know when or if Daffodil Hill will open for the public. It all depends on the weather, and you know how fickle Mother Nature can be. Last year it didn’t open at all because of the rains. In years past, the owners had to close early because of rain.
This family attraction is located in the tiny town of Volcano, Amador County. It’s family owned and operated. People can visit without charge, but there are donation boxes and a small gift shop at the front. It’s great for families who picnic in the parking lot, walk the paths that wind through the And, if all goes well, 300,000 flowers fill the hillside when in full bloom.
These are personally planted by the family and volunteers help direct traffic into and out of the parking lot. I had been there before and posted about it in a blog. But that visit was during the week, not too crowded and peacocks were showing off in numbers. This time, being the first day and on a Saturday, it was crowded, no peacocks. There seemed to be less flowers too.
So why did I go on opening day? I didn’t think it would be open very long with rain being predicted. Laura had never been there, and I thought it would be fun to take photos of the crowds. With Marlene riding shotgun and navigating, we began our adventure a little late, sat in traffic while waiting to park, and finally entered after a half hour.
And, I was right!! Daffodil Hill closed for the season. three days after it opened! This venue is truly a labor of love and dedication for the family and volunteers. No captions for the flowers–you know what they are!
It’s some place you’d like to visit often, but this home and popular event venue is only open to the public twice a year. Other times, you need to be at a wedding or some other event to see the beautiful gardens. I’ll admit that at the end of summer, the flowers aren’t blooming and the lavender fields are hiding, but the property is beautiful just the same.
Maple Rock Gardens is a private estate, in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. Its 30-acres is host to one of the largest garden railroads in Northern California. There are themed gardens, like a Japanese Tea Garden, and a 4-acre farm that supplies flowers to the High Hand Nursery. We spent almost 2 hours walking from one garden into another.
Each garden was decorated with sculptures, plants, small water falls and more. The easiest way to describe it is to show you. I did take a lot of pictures, so this will be a two-part post. Oh, you’ll also notice that I am now using a logo rather than a copyright symbol. Since I’ve made a little money with my photography, doing some real estate shoots, I decided to be more professional.
So, come along with me and visit Maple Rock Gardens.
They were selling sunflowers.
Fixing a train.
One of the trains.
Carrying special cargo.
The land is on a hillside with meandering paths.
One of the water falls. There is so much stuff at each area, it was sometimes difficult to shoot one area. I had to crop in close for this.
It was a parade, it was lunch, it was fun! Every July 4, the residents in our new senior community decorate their golf carts, trucks, cars, and even bikes for the annual July 4 parade. I was invited to ride in my neighbor’s two-seater Miata that she decorated with flags.
I was amazed as we drove around to see how many other residents were lined up on the parade route. All were yelling “Happy fourth of July,” and some were throwing candy into the carts, cars and trucks. We waved and yelled back. I was also trying to take pictures as the car was moving of people moving. Not easy.
After the parade, we had a hot dog lunch, which fortunately was inside. It was a hot day. I had fun, and I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be decorating something–maybe. My Camry????
I can show you some of the carts and cars, but we are asked not to take pictures of the homes. I did my best, and you’ll get an idea of how this zany senior community celebrates. The last picture is of our honored guest, a World War II veteran who still fits into his uniform.
e’re pretty much settled in, and hanging pictures. How many pictures can one small house hold? There’s still more stuff to find places for, and the sunroom to fix up, but that will just have to take time. It’s good to be back to normal–my going on photo outings and Richard running up to the observatory. Each day, we take time to hang two pictures or curtains, etc.
And, summer has arrived, so we try to plan our outings for early morning, local venue or inside. I have two outings to show you today. Linda and I went to the Indian Festival, hoping to get pictures of traditional dress and dance of our Native Americans. However when the dances were to begin, we were told we couldn’t take pictures, and the few dances that we were allowed to take pictures of, we couldn’t post anywhere. Oh, what a letdown for a couple of photographers. So, I’ll show you some shots I took of the festival and vendors before the dance started. This was held outside the State Indian Museum.
I finally got to shoot some poppies.
Nice lighting on this fountain.
I liked the natural framing on this window.
A shopper and vendor.
A smudging kit that I wish I had bought.
Vendor with colorful jackets to sell.
Opening ceremonies. This woman was singing a traditional song.
The announcement of rules and the type of dancing, etc.
Now we move on to the small town of Fair Oaks and its chickens. Yes,
Mural on the outside of the Fair Oaks outdoor playhouse.
Didn’t I say there were chickens.
Some with attitudes!
I’m still shooting doors.
The American River from the Fair Oaks bridge.
Getting some exercise on an unusual bike.
A Metro Fire training on the bridge.
Another view of the bridge
A store in town.
it’s known for being inhabited by wild chickens. They are protected, so no roasted chicken for us!
Right now my life is like an unfinished story. I jump from one activity to another without finishing the first. And so it is with the second part of my visit to the Anheuser-Busch facility in Fairfield, California to see the famous Clydesdale horse team in action. So many things got in the way of my posting this blog, including a two-day Toastmaster conference.
But here I am at the computer ready to show you images of these beautiful horses. I received conflicting information of the horses’ ages. I can tell you that when they can no longer participate in parades, they live on a ranch and enjoy the rest of their natural life.
Another fact that amazed me was the time it took to dress the horses (in their fancy harnesses) and hitch up the team. Once the eight horses were hitched, they did one horse at a time, April (the dalmatian) and the drivers got on board for the ride around the parking lot.
I came home with over 500 shots to go through because I finally decided to use continuous shutter speed. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wade through them, just a few select ones.
April was out to greet everyone.
This is where the horses are kept until it’s time to get hitched.
The wagon. Notice, everything is red!
First horse arrives.
At least three of the staff were dressing the horses.
The process continues
In about 10 minutes, the first horse is ready to be hitched.
On the way to the wagon, horse and handler fall in step.
Hitching to the wagon.
The horses interact while waiting.
We’re now up to three horses hitched.
The parade begins.
They circled twice around the parking lot in one direction.
And then changed direction for two more rounds of the lot.
Now, that’s a fancy foot.
After the parade the team is still for everyone to come closer.
Riding in a hot air balloon is high on my bucket list, but I still haven’t done it. They are so colorful and inviting. I did make it up in a small plane, thanks to my great nephew Daylen. And, twice the balloon ride was within reach, but not taken.
The first opportunity was the Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. I had just bought my D3100 in 2012, and this festival was my first outing with it. I was truly struggling to learn what this digital camera was all about. All my shots were on auto. Here are two images:
Shot as JPEG. No editing. Didn’t know how!
I knew enough to lay down on the grass to get this one.
My second opportunity came this past weekend at the Great Reno Balloon Race in Reno, Nevada. I have improved since Windsor and was anxious to shoot on manual/RAW. However, I wasn’t ready for the differences in the two festivals. At Windsor, some balloons went up in the dark; at Reno, they waited until daylight. At Windsor, the balloons left at different times; at Reno, most left at once–it was a race. So, I wasn’t able to capture shots like those above.
We did get an opportunity to shoot the balloons in the dark, but it was a challenge. They didn’t stay lit for very long. My exposure meter was all over the place. I did the best I could, and I got some good shots.
The other difference: They weren’t offering rides like they did at Windsor. It was a larger event and more people attended. So, I guess I’ll just have to find a hot air balloon ride somewhere. Next year is the year!
The sky will turn dark this morning as we experience a total solar eclipse. The timing for our trip to Glacier National Park revolved around our getting to a place for viewing the eclipse–a once in our lifetime event.
So here we are in Weiser, Idaho, a tiny town living in the past as much as it can and enjoying it. When we arrived, a children’s festival was being prepared, an adult festival was already in progress, eclipse shirts and viewing glasses were being sold. Around our campground (which is really the lawn of the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Association), there are food and drink vendors. Two young boys are selling popsicles and ice cream.
The Old Time Fiddlers’ Association building.
Festival in Memorial Park.
Getting ready for a children’s festival.
The field across the street has filled with people, tents and RVs. NASA and MIT have taken spots on the High School’s track.
Tents in the High School Field.
There’s always a solution!
Following the sun.
Right now at 8:20 Mountain Time, there are a lot of people setting up. Breakfast is being sold. It’s a bit chilly, so I’m going to get a light jacket and join everyone. I’m still not sure whether I’ll shoot the eclipse. Reason: I really don’t know what I’m doing. Last night, we fashioned a solar filter for my 55 – 300 mm lens, but maybe I’ll be better off taking photos of the eclectic crowd.
I only have a couple of hours to decide before the sky turns dark.
I’m not a fan of event photography, yet, I’m learning it. When people are counting you your photos, there’s a lot of pressure. As Lead Photographer for District 39 Toastmasters this year, it’s my job to facilitate getting photo coverage for Division Contests, Conferences and other District activities. There’s organization involved, and I’m good at that. However, when I’m shooting a contest, conference, etc. I want to be at my best.
I wasn’t last Friday. I wasn’t mostly due to lack of preparation. I knew the venue, the lighting, but I forgot many tools. I had my speedlight, but no new batteries and diffuser. That presented a big challenge. I recently bought a larger camera bag, but didn’t want to tote it with me. In transferring stuff, I left much behind.
It turned out okay. I had two other Toastmasters shooting which helped. I’m going to another contest tonight, and I’ll be on my own. I’ve already packed my gear complete with diffuser and new batteries installed in my speedlight. The venue (Which is an hour away) will be a surprise, and the types of shots wanted has increased. Will I learn another lesson tonight? I hope not and that it goes smoothly.
Meanwhile, back to the type of photography I love–landscape. In this post, I’ll show you the shots of Hope Valley itself. Most, images were shot off the main highway. As I said in my last post, the valley is smaller than I imagined. I so totally enjoyed this shoot. It’s relaxing and challenging. Most of all, no one is dependent on the outcome!