Whether in the city or country-side, I love photo walks. Thank you Amy of Share and Connect for choosing this topic. It’s a great way to relax, observe, see opportunities and shoot pictures. However, here in Sacramento, between the pandemic and smoke from fires, taking photo walks has been minimal. Of the few activities this year, my trip to the Sacramento Zoo and Gibson Ranch stand out.
The Sacramento Zoo. I love the zoo, and typically spend 2 hours walking it. It closed early on in the pandemic and when they were permitted to reopen, it was under strict guidelines. We needed to make online reservations, you couldn’t request a time slot, and they only let in a certain amount of visitors at a time. My time slot came early in the afternoon. Typically I would get there when they opened in the morning before the big cats took their naps. However my ticket was for 1:30 p.m. Wow, animals that were traditionally inactive in the morning were active. Here are some images from that zoo afternoon.
Another time we went to Gibson Ranch in Elverta. I hadn’t been there in a long time and wanted to get familiar with my new 80 mm macro lens. I didn’t think I’d be able to do much true macro work, but I wanted to see what else it could do. Gibson Ranch has a pond, barn, animals, horse stables and horses. It’s typical to find families feeding the ducks and geese, horses being groomed and rode, and people taking trail rides.
I’ve since used my macro lens on flowers, etc. It’s great.
There are so many other places to stroll about with a camera in the Sacramento area. I’m just waiting for the smoke to clear!
I knew Gibson Ranch Park in Elverta wasn’t the best place for macro shots, but you can use a macro lens for more than just close up photography. Yes? Well, I gave it a try when Marlene, Linda and I went to to the park. I hadn’t been there for a while, and I wanted to practice with my new macro lens for the Fuji camera. It performed well.
There were the usual amount of ducks at the pond.
And there were geese!
And a squirrel enjoying a peanut tossed by a young boy.
And Gibson Ranch has other animals too.
There are also stables where horses are boarded. In one area, trail rides are offered.
Oh, yes, I did manage to get a couple of close up/macro images too.
Now I have to find some flowers and bugs to practice on!
I love that the Golden Hour comes early now that the days are shorter and we’re back on standard time. It’s sweet to shoot when the sun is low on the horizon, creating glows and shadows.
We were at Gibson Ranch Regional Park in Elverta recently to catch the sunset. Before we got to the Park, there were abundant clouds in the sky. However, by the time the sun was setting, the clouds had vanished, leaving just small wisps.
When you visit this Park, you’ll find chickens, peacocks, various birds that feed in the pond, and you may even see a horse or two. Horses are boarded at the Ranch, and frequently you’ll see them being groomed or ridden.
And, everything looks even more beautiful during the golden hour.
My crystal ball won’t tell the future, but it sure is fun to take on a photo outing. After trying a couple of my photo buddies’ crystal balls, I decided to get one. They are fun, but my 4.2 inch is heavy and bulky to carry around. I found an old point and shoot camera bag that it could fit into, and it helped to carry it over my shoulder during a July 4 morning shoot at Gibson Ranch with Laura.
If you’re thinking of buying a crystal ball/orb, don’t go bigger than mine. Photo buddy Karen has a 4″ and 3″. She prefers the 3″ because it fits into a jacket pocket and is lighter to carry. I find the smaller orb more difficult to shoot through and to get some of the background identifiable in the background. One recommendation is to get one that sits on a crystal base rather than a wood base.
If you haven’t shot through a crystal ball, it gives an upside down image of what you’re shooting and looks almost like a fish-eye effect. Here’s one:
Of course, you can right side up the image and have the background upside down. In this picture, the blurred background is what you see in the ball. My goal is to learn how to crop out the ball’s base. Just another challenge.
Speaking of challenges, I have been attacking Photoshop, but not on Mondays. We can schedule, but things do come up. Last week I broke open “Photoshop for Lightroom Users” by Scott Kelby. I’m learning some of the tools and to do little things right now. I’ve also investigated some of the other software I have as I edit.
So gaze into my crystal ball, enjoy and have fun!
The pond at Gibson Ranch is great for young fishermen.
I got closer as he walked.
I enjoy the pond’s still water.
We met an Appaloosa and her owner.
She just had her bangs combed, and I couldn’t resist!
Many horse owners board their horses here. This is a hay barn.
The hay barn through the ball.
A horse and rider.
You can also get to Dry Creek at Gibson Ranch.
We took turns holding the ball. I need to turn a tripod into a ball stand.
I love the creek. So serene.
Back at Gibson Ranch. Here’s a view of the pond through the ball.
Pardon me, just walking through! The ball image is right sided and the barn is upside down.
This horse owner posed for us. I left her upside down.
It’s one of my favorite places to practice. I’ve learned how to shoot sunsets, sunbursts, animals, water fowl, events and buildings there. And, best of all it’s close to home! Gibson Ranch is a park where people board and care for their horses. They also train them there. It’s a place to hold large events like the Civil War Re-enactment. Most of all, it’s peaceful.
When you visit you may see children feeding the ducks and geese, or a father and son fishing. With two playgrounds, it’s also a wonderful place for a family to picnic and play.
For me, it’s a great place to practice photography. On a recent visit, that’s what Marlene and I did. We walked through the horse grounds, caught peacocks high and low with our cameras and tried to have as much patience as the egret had as it was trying to fish.
Here’s our visit to Gibson Ranch and my practice session.
Politics, I really don’t want to get into that subject, but I am showing you images from a Civil War Re-enactment. So, indulge me with one question: Why has it taken so long to gain equality since that epic war? Okay, two questions: Are we there yet?
Last post’s commentary was regarding the Union camp Marlene and I just happened to walk into because it was closer. The Confederate camp was a little down the road, and the Gibson Ranch pasture land between them was reserved for the battle. I was amazed at how few participants the Confederates had. There were about 1/3 of the tents than in the opposition camp. One of our photographer’s husband was wearing a Confederate cap and was asked to join in the battle against the Union. They lent him a uniform and off he went on his adventure.
Of course, his adventure was the battle of Appomattox Court House , fought on the morning of April 9, 1865. It was one of the last battles of the Civil War and a Union victory. I was wondering how they would re-enact the scene. We did see gun fire (not real bullets) and men (and women in this case) fall to the ground. Soldiers came in on horse back, guns blazing. However they were at the other end of the pasture, and my 300 mm lens couldn’t capture the shot with pinpoint focus. It wasn’t until the battle came closer that I was able to get good shots (with my camera). All in all, they did a pretty good job of presenting a production of this battle.
You can see for yourself in this second post that contains shots of the battle and the Confederate encampment. All politics aside, it was a fun and educational day.
It was one of the most brutal wars, and one fought on our soil–the Civil War, north against south and sometimes brother against brother. It was something to enter a time warp and see the encampments as they may have been during the civil war. I felt immersed in the culture and people. But, it was a re-enactment at Gibson Ranch. That is the very same ranch that we photographers visit to shoot horses, ducks, and a sunset.
Marlene and I first visited the Union camp just because they were near the parking lot. Except for a few cars, portable toilets and large trash bins, we walked back in time. As much as I appreciated the effort to keep things as realistic to the time period, it was tough to photograph because of all the modern day stuff visible. But it was just a challenge.
This will be another two part post. Today I’ll focus on the Union encampment and tomorrow the confederate encampment and the battle.
Here’s what it was like pre-battle in one of our bloodiest wars.
Now that the weather is cooler, I decided to take my young grandchildren to Gibson Ranch after school. There is so much for them to enjoy there.
First we visited the horses. They saw one getting a bath–actually a shower! They saw the ducks, a peacock, and the playgrounds. There are two. So much fun for a 4 and 6 year old. And we met a horse and rider on the way to the big playground, and they were able to pet the horse. That might have been a first for them.
I’m glad I had my little point and shoot in my pocket because trees were just asking to be photographed. The sun was low on the horizon and made for some nice light. The kids are learning patience and stopped for the few seconds it took me to shoot each tree. I doubt they would have been so agreeable if I had my SLR and actually took time to get the exposure correct.
Anyway here are the trees shot with the little camera that continues to amaze me. I’ll be taking the kids back to Gibson Ranch, maybe each week. They had so much fun.
Photographers are willing to go out and about whenever they can and they are willing to help. “Goose” Simmons has been a big help to me. I recently went out during an evening with him and shot on manual until I realized my GPS was stolen. Then I went back to aperture priority. I was too upset to think. I think I was so excited to be shooting with Goose that I forgot to lock my car. I won’t forget again!
Tonight, I’ll be learning how to shoot the Milky Way, and I hope I’ll be posting some great images for you soon. Meanwhile here are some (because I ended up with more than 20 shots I liked) shots from my outing with Goose.
What I love about the “Shoot Or Go Home” photography meetup group is the small, close to home opportunities they offer. Tuesday we ventured to Gibson Ranch (about 10 minutes away) for a photo walk and sunset shoot. I wasn’t feeling well, but I needed to do something I enjoyed after losing the trailer and missing out on a weekend away.
Gibson Ranch is a park where people board horses, organizations hold events and individuals picnic. It was a Sacramento County park, but is now being run by a private company. I think the County still owns the park but has leased it out. We met at 6:30 p.m. and proceeded to walk the area around the stables. It was a small group, so I had a chance to meet some of them. Mary and “Goose” helped me with my prime 50 mm lens. I’m still having troube getting the exposure correct. After enough frustration, I switched back to my zoom lens.
The setting sun created a challenge for exposure no matter what. I’m so glad I’m learning Lightroom. We all gathered at the small lake to shoot the sunset. This was my first time shooting a sunset for HDR, The sunset wasn’t all that spectacular, but I had fun processing the HDR and was pleased with the various results.
So, here are some of the images captured Tuesday night with the “Shoot Or Go Home” photo group.