Lovin’ the Golden Hour: Gibson Ranch

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.

 

 

Crystal Ball Fun: Gibson Ranch

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:

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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!

 

Home, home, on the ranch: practice again at Gibson Ranch

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.

Back in time: Civil War Re-enactment, Gibson Ranch, Elverta, California, part 2

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.

Back in time: Civil War Re-enactment, Gibson Ranch, Elverta, California

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.

Me and my point and shoot: Return to Gibson Ranch

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.

Out and about with Goose: Dry Creek Falls and Gibson Ranch

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.

 

Gibson Ranch near sundown

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.