A slow start to 2019: January

If I thought 2019 would start off with a BANG, I was wrong. I didn’t hold a camera in my hand for the first two weeks. After that there were five photo opportunities, but few great photos. A lot had to do with the rainy weather, which we’re still having, and also with my not feeling well.

So here we are in February and the rain is still coming down. I’m not complaining because California needs the rain. We have a great snow pack now that will hopefully see us through the dry summer. What does that mean for photography? If you can’t make it up to the snow, you’re shooting inside! I’m amazed at how many businesses welcome photographers. This year we’ve been to the Antique Trove in Roseville twice, most recently today. You’ll see those pictures in my next post.

So, here are some picks from January!

These were from an experiment with oil and water. It’s more difficult than the tutorial made it seem!

These are from an outing to Old Folsom Historic District. It’s a section of Folsom where you can walk, shop and eat. Best of all, the parking is free!

This next outing was to Old Sacramento. I’ve shown you images from there before. It’s always a challenge to find something new.

So, there you have some highlights from January!

Trying to beat the heat: Bushnell Gardens, Granite Bay

It seems that every Tuesday is triple digit day! You have to plan to have an outing early in the morning so it’s over by 10 a.m. because even shooting early in the evening, it’s still hot. So, to beat the heat on a recent Tuesday the group chose to invade Bushnell Gardens, a nursery in nearby Granite Bay. We had already visited Green Acres and wanted a different type of nursery.

We got there when it opened, and by 10 a.m., I was feeling the heat. It seems the older you get the less you can handle heat. I’ve started carrying one lens because I want to practice and don’t want to carry anything extra in the heat. I ended bringing my Nikon 18 – 140 mm into the nursery, and I think it did well with close ups, etc. I find that limiting myself to one lens is a great way to enhance my composition knowledge.

So here are some of the images I shot on that very hot morning.




When it rains: Emigh’s Hardware

It’s great that stores allow photographers to come in out of the rain to shoot inside. On a recent rainy day, my Tuesday group invaded Emigh’s Hardware store–with permission! While our new house is being painted and floors are being put down, I have time to shoot. Even with the rain, it was good to get away from packing for a few hours.

And, we did shoot for a few hours. Emigh’s, located in Sacramento, is much more than a hardware store. They have a small nursery, an enormous selection of outdoor fun stuff, outdoor furniture and of course hardware. When you walk into the store, you are greeted and asked if you need help finding something. While walking through the store, I was asked several more times.

I totally enjoyed taking pictures in their outdoor decorations area. Really it was more of a separate room. I also ventured out to the nursery while the rain had slowed down to a mist.

It was a much needed fun morning. Moving is like riding a roller coaster. Our buyer fell out of contract, but our fabulous realtor resold the house in one day–for more money! But, that was a tough 24 hours for me.

I’m looking forward to Tuesday when no rain is predicted and I still can refrain from packing. We just have to figure out where we’ll go. That’s next on my list!

The heat is back! Alpha Fired Arts, Sacramento

This is de’ja vu. When these pictures were taken, we were trying to escape the heat by shooting inside. As I type this, it’s about 107 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s going to be a long hot summer.

Since our Tuesday group shoots each week, we try to find indoor places, go on a road trip to the bay area or get up very early to beat the heat. A few times, we’ve called a virtual trip, asking members to shoot something and post it. It’s amazing what photographers come up with. But this particular Tuesday we were inside.

Alpha Fired Arts, in Sacramento, is a creative outlet for hobbyists, professional artists and teachers who shop for supplies. They even have paint your own ceramics available where you purchase anything from pre-made mugs to more elaborate items, and paint them. They are then glazed/fired. This is a perfect place for kids’ parties.

With triple digits outside, we were delighted to be invited inside by Ray’s wife, Sally, who is a pottery artist. When you enter, you’re inside the store, the painting room is to the left and small gallery to the right. Beyond the double doors in the back the creative work area lies. And, beyond that, are the kilns. We could not escape the heat in there!

I’ll show you pictures of it all. While the pottery was beautiful, it was a challenging shoot. I wanted to shoot from different angles and remain true to the artistic intent. All images were handheld and without flash.

I’m hoping it’s not a hot summer, thinking maybe some cooler temperatures will prevail–SOON!



A sugar coated outing: Jelly Belly Factory, Fairfield

You just have to like Jelly Belly jelly beans. They tempt you with so many flavors like popcorn, chocolate, cherry. These are just some I like. So, when we decided to do a shoot at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, I knew some of the shooting would be a challenge, but at the end would be a bag of belly flops for me to buy.

First let me explain what belly flops are. They are the candies that just are not perfect. Some are not shaped correctly and some are double or triple beans stuck together. They taste the same as the pristine jelly beans, but cost a lot less.

So there’s the candy at the end of the rainbow; what about the photographic challenge? My challenge was to shoot inside without flash, through somewhat dirty glass at the factory below us. This was my first time shooting with a circular polarizer filter. I also decided to use my Sigma 17 – 24 mm, F/2.8 – 4 lens, hoping that would add additional needed light. I also needed to get everything in focus. I think I was successful, but the subject was sort of boring. When you look at the images, you will get an idea of what they do in the factory.

An additional challenge was put before me: the windows at floor level were cleaner than the ones at standing height. So I squatted my way through the self-guided tour. It took a week for the muscles in my quadriceps to relax! When the tour ended, I was really too tired to shoot the colorful goodies in the store. I did a little, but oh my!

I do like Jelly Bellys and took home a 5 lb. bag of flops. I’m going through them slowly, restricting myself to a certain amount each day.

Color and Texture Challenge: IKEA

It’s either raining, cloudy, sunny–right now in California, we never know days in advance what the weather will bring. This makes planning a weekly photography outing difficult. We were running out of indoor venues and virtual meetings were also scheduled. We needed something different. We needed to shoot at IKEA! I called them and got the okay for my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group to shoot at their West Sacramento store.

What fun we had. If you’ve been to an IKEA store, you know they are large and set up like a maze. We met at 10 a.m. and decided to meet up again at noon in their cafe for lunch. Jim and I hung out together. I learned more about metering light from him. He’s great about sharing information.

At lunch everyone was talking about how much fun they had. For me, it was more enjoyable to see their posts. It’s amazing how imagination can be different from photographer to photographer. Even if they took the same shot, the processing was diverse, giving the image a unique look.

I know with Spring coming, we’ll be going to various outside shoots; but, maybe there will be an opportunity to go back to IKEA. After all, it does get sunny and hot here in the summer!

Here are some of the color shots. Black and white will be posted next.


An unexpected surprise: Rosie the Riveter Museum, Richmond, California

Did you ever go somewhere expecting not much, but were totally surprised and delighted when you got there? Our visit to the Rosie the Riveter Museum had that effect on me. It was as if this museum was designed with photographers in mind. In the small museum and Visitor Center building, all photos were not behind glass, but on boards. It was easy to shoot them without glare.

Not only did we learn about the history of women during World War II, we learned how the war changed the city of Richmond. Richmond became the Kaiser shipyard home, where ships were built. These vessels would help defeat our World War II enemies.

Located in a National Historic Park, the museum is just the beginning. There were many things to take up our day, but we basically visited three out of the 10 suggested by the Ranger in the visitor center. We visited the museum, looked into the empty Ford Assembly Plant, had lunch in Point Richmond, toured the SS Red Oak Victory ship and found our way back to the Rosie the Riveter Memorial.

I’m sure you guessed that this will be a two-part post. I will be going back to see all we didn’t have time for. This definitely was an unexpected surprise.

A morning at the museum: The California Agriculture Museum, Woodland

When people think of California they visualize Los Angeles, San Francisco and maybe San Diego. They don’t see California as an agriculture state, but it is. Most of the produce we bought during our 2013 cross country trip was from California. Farming and ranching is a big deal for this State.

So, it makes sense to have a museum dedicated to agriculture: The California Agriculture Museum. Five of us visited this recently re-opened museum in July. It was fun to see the old tractors. Featured at the museum is the tractor collection of Fred Heidrick Senior, consisting of rare examples of tractors, harvesters, trucks, autos, horse-drawn implements and other artifacts that tell the California story. For me, the most fun were the wheels.

I’ll admit that I have trouble shooting in museums because you just can’t isolate an object. In this case the tractors were close to each other. I decided to focus in on wheels–big and small. Once I did that, it became fun.

Shooting inside was also interesting. The lighting was more even than we found at the California State Railroad Museum. I tried shooting with and without the tripod and with and without the flash. I think I ended up mostly with the tripod and no flash. There were instances where using the tripod was impossible, getting the right angles, etc.

It was a fun morning, and I hope that after seeing these pictures you’ll have a greater appreciation for the agriculture we have in California.

Too hot outside; shoot inside: The California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento

When it’s triple digits, it’s even too hot to shoot in the early morning hours. And even though I had been to Old Sacramento for the Sacramento Music Festival, I suggested the California State Railroad Museum. There were three of us that morning, Jim, Marlene and me from our Camera Totin’ Tuesday group.

Jim went in without flash, but an excellent lens. Marlene went in with a great lens and flash. I went in with my 18 – 140 mm lens and flash. Jim gave me the excellent hint that he was shooting on Aperture Priority. So I tried it out. It worked well. This is where you set the aperture and the camera does the rest. Oh, I didn’t mention that the lighting was lousy: low light with different bulbs, some LEDs and some tungsten. So there were patches of yellow light and some with white light. I found my flash useful in some cases and in others not. This was a great exercise in flash use.

I’ve been to the Railroad Museum with my young grandkids many times, but never with a camera. While we could use a flash, we couldn’t bring in tripods–another obstacle to make this shoot more difficult.

My spirits perked up when I found the mirrors! One of the trains was parked on a floor of mirrors, in front of a wall of mirrors, with mirrors overhead. This is either a photographers dream or nightmare! I had such fun. I’ll show you some of reflections I shot.

All in all, it was a great indoor outing. Followed by an indoor lunch. It’s triple digits again today. It’s going to be a hot summer!


When it rains; shoot indoors: Fairmont Hotel, San Jose

When it rained in San Jose, it poured. Dedicated photographers never give up, especially when you don’t often get to shoot together. So photo buddy Nicci, of niccicarreraromance.com, and I went to to lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.

The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas; and, as an added bonus, we were able to photograph Christmas In The Park directly across from the hotel. I had a wonderful time talking with Nicci. This was the first time we went on a photo outing since Leanne Cole’s visit in September.

The only problem was our visit was way too short, and the welcomed rain!