Lens-Artist Challenge #132: A quiet moment

This is my first Post for the Lens-Artist group. Please let me know if I’m doing it wrong!! Seriously, tell me. Patti sent out a challenge of A Quiet Moment. Photography is how I relax, whether it’s at a busy festival or a relaxing drive to who knows where.

Here are a few of my captures during quiet moments. I love going to wildlife areas. In January, my friend and I went to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, drove the route a couple of times. On the way, I got this shot of the Sutter Buttes, a small mountain range.

We ended up at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area for this amazing sunset.

In February we ventured out to capture almond blossoms in Capay Valley.

In April I went out in search of the wonderful California Poppy. I found a hillside near Jackson.

May brought me to the WPA Rock Garden. I love that place. If there’s no breeze, it’s excellent for macro work.

So, these are some of my outings that provided me with quiet moments! Thanks for allowing to post in this group.

The Lotus are blooming! William Land Park

Get your telephoto lens ready, it’s that time of the year. Lotus flowers bloom locally each year at William Land Park in Sacramento. They take up one end of the small lake, and they are beautiful.

This year, I couldn’t believe how big the leaves were. They were almost as spectacular as the blossoms.

I wasn’t alone on a recent Saturday. There were many others, most were wearing masks, including photographers visiting. Most of the other photographers had super long lenses balanced on tripods. I wish I could see what they were getting. I had a 200 mm reach and was doing fine hand-holding my camera.

Of course you know I love to do close ups. Some cropping in post processing were done to these images. Okay, maybe a lot!! Love my new camera!!

There are more lotus from this visit and to my short visit to the Vedanta Society of Sacramento’s small lotus pond. Next Post!!

Practice, does it really make perfect? Old Sacramento

What is perfect? Does it really exist? And, does practice get you there?

I think perfect is hard to achieve, and would you want to achieve it? Probably not. But I did want to get to the point where I could confidently take a picture with my new Fujifilm camera. I had a few disastrous pictures during my last outing. I may have confused the ISO dial with the shutter dial. I ended up with a lot of noise in some of my images.

So off I went to Old Sacramento our good old standby for street photography and everything else. I just wanted to get to the point where I truly understood how to shoot on manual. So, I would set the camera on aperture priority, check the data and then proceed to manual and play with the settings. I tested the camera in all situations.

Landscape:

I tried close ups:

And some shots to see how the camera would perform:

And, how about indoors without flash? Besides, I was getting hungry and needed some sugar:

While I didn’t get award winning shots, I did learn how to shoot the camera. Now on to understanding other factors like how to do HDR and more of what this camera does. It does a lot!

For my next outing, I left the Nikon at home. The Fuji and I did well together and got some great shots. I’ll show you the results soon.

Wearing suspenders and a belt: WPA Rock Garden

I love macro photography! I love the WPA Rock Garden in Land Park, Sacramento! But, do I love making mistakes? Not really, but I love learning from them.

The Rock Garden is an excellent place for macro photography so I brought my D7100 and macro lens. I also wanted to see how well the Fujifilm XT3 and its 55 – 200 mm lens would do close ups. My Nikon and 18 – 200 lens does close up photography beautifully.

First, I found out that my Fuji, like my Nikon, puts itself in various modes without telling me. It put itself in a different focus mode, making it difficult to focus. One mistake solved and learned from. Watch those fingers!

I saw macro opportunities and started shooting with my D7100 and macro lens. Best to do it while the breeze is down. Here’s the result:

Still wanting to use the Fuji, I wandered over to the small Land Park lake and saw lotus buds and leaves in the water. Yes! we would soon have flowers to capture in our cameras. Here’s where the second mistake occurred. I was having a difficult time shooting on manual with the Fuji and didn’t realize until I got home, loaded my pictures into the computer, and saw them on my monitor, that the images were super noisy. Looking at the data, I saw that some of them were shot at 12,000 ISO in sunlight! Did I mistake the ISO ring for the shutter ring? What did I do wrong? This was to be solved during my next Fuji outing! Here are some images shot with the Fuji:

Yesterday, I took pictures of a couple, Carol and Paul, I wrote about in for our community newsletter. I photographed them with the Fuji and the 18 -55 mm lens. They were beautiful. The shots and the couple!

So, lessons were learned. And, practice makes perfect as you’ll see in my next post.

Road Trip: Levee Road

It was time to venture out with my friend Jean for a short road trip. California is beginning to open up, but I’m still cautious. News: I thought my photography had reached a level where I needed a better camera. Because of my age, I needed something light (not full frame). Mirrorless was an obvious choice.

I bought a Fujifilm XT3 and was anxious to try it out. It was just the two of us, both healthy and not exposed to anyone with COVID 19 so off we went. It was great to be on a road trip with no destination in mind.

We drove for a short time up the Levee Road north of Sacramento when I saw these terrific reflections in the rice paddies.

As we drove on, I spotted a sign that directed us to a boat ramp. Jean said she wanted to shoot near water so wouldn’t a boat ramp be perfect? It was a great stop. We came upon pelicans, fishermen and a beautiful section of the Sacramento River.

We made some more quick stops along the way: to shoot a farm across the road, some thistles going to seed, and another house. I was doing okay with my Fugi, having to change the lens a couple of times and shooting on manual. Typically with my Nikon 7100 I use an 18 – 200 lens so I don’t need to switch lenses in the field, but Fuji doesn’t make that lens.

We ended up in Yuba City in Sutter County where I took pictures of the Hall of Records building built in 1831. What a beautiful building.

I had a great time and was happy with my new camera. At least until my next outing which will be the subject of my next post. Be careful and stay safe everyone!

Escape #3: A California poppy hunt

I’m not normally the jealous type, but being in lock-down has us feeling things we usually don’t. Richard was gone star gazing for 3 days and nights, and photographers on various sites were posting pictures of poppy (our State flower) fields, so I became jealous. I needed to get out–safely!

I gave Richard the option of taking Highway 49 (a twisty mountain road) to near Jackson, California with me; but, I was willing to travel on my own. He came with me. About an hour into our drive, we found a mountain full of poppies just south of the town. It was stunning!

I would have liked to explore further, but hunger and awareness of Richard’s nap schedule had us turn around for the trek back home. We ordered sub sandwiches and ate them in the car–again being safe! On the way home we stopped in Drytown, a small town in Amador County so I could photograph a bunch of poppies on the roadside.

We were gone about 2 1/2 hours; not like our previous adventure! It was a great get-a-way outing. And best of all, I’m no longer jealous!

Escaping: A car ride to the snow

You know how restless you can get being house bound, especially in a small house! Most of us can relate since the world seems to be in lock down due to the Corona Virus. After a week, Richard and I took a short ride north on the Interstate 80 to the snow.

It was a beautiful day, sunny with temperatures requiring wearing a light jacket. Although it hadn’t snowed in about a week, the white puffy frozen rain was still on rooftops and on the ground. Passing by Auburn and Colfax, we took an exit about an hour up the road where I could do some photography.

It was just enough to lift up my spirit and camera. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and short time shooting. Maybe this weekend we’ll go scout out an area for my astronomer husband. And, yes, we did practice social distancing when we came upon people. A family was playing in the snow right off the road and a homeowner and his black lab came out to talk with us.

Our new normal: Posting beauty

We may not like our new normal, that of being under lock down, but right now it’s a necessity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that seeing something beautiful brings a smile to my face, hearing/seeing something funny makes me laugh and reading of a good deed fills my soul. I need all these feelings to get through the next few weeks or months.

So, I’m urging all bloggers to post beauty, funny stories or jokes or feel good adventures. Taking my own advice, I’m posting floral shots of a trip to Ironstone Vineyards in April, 2017.

Goodbye 2019! Land Park & Effie Yeaw

Yes, goodbye to 2019!! I can’t say that it’s been the worst year, but it hasn’t been the best for me personally. I feel like my photography journey is on a roundabout and is unsuccessful in getting off to continue down the road.

I think my health is under control now, but with the beta blocker I’m on, any shooting beyond 8 p.m. is not happening. I just get too tired, but my heart is beating better. I call it my new normal!

December has been a rainy, cold, overcast and damp month which adds to the photo blues. I’ve tried to make the most of partly cloudy and sunny days, but they are few. Here, in California, December, January and February are traditionally our rainy months. The rest of the year is pretty dry, so we are hoping for more rain, and, of course, more complaining. My photo buddies and I are trying to think of more indoor places to take our cameras to. You might see some familiar places in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, let’s finish up some of 2019 with visits to William Land Park in Sacramento and Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael.

Jeanne and I went to William Land Park to catch some Fall Color in mid November. There was barely any left, but we did shoot for about an hour.

Next is Effie Yeaw. Marlene and I went to capture the deer rutting. They weren’t rutting that morning, but there were many deer.

Oh, I did get my calendars, and they look good. But, they are not exactly the way I wanted them to be as far as lay out. There’s always 2020. If I don’t blog again before, Happy New Year!!

Creating a calendar & website navigation: Apple Hill

I do this each year and each time it’s a different frustrating experience! I give photo calendars each year to friends and relatives in December. Hopefully, they will use it during the year and like my photos that adorn each page. Each year I use Costco Online Photo Center. Each year the website is changed. And, each year I need to call them!

Today, was the worse experience of all. I had to call immediately after loading my pictures. Here are my frustrations:

  1. I took the time to choose the pictures and name them by month for easy insertion into the calendar. But, when they were imported, they had no names or file numbers!
  2. I chose the custom calendar, but there was nothing custom about it. However, this year you could pick various holidays to print on the various months.
  3. To get started, I had to go through choosing my set up three times. The only way I could get my pictures into the calendar was to insert one of the pictures in each month. I was told I could go back and change the template after that.
  4. I was very limited in the length of the text I wanted to insert.

I’m done with it and will proof it tomorrow. I’m hoping that will go easy and I can send it off to print. I’m still wondering why they need to change the “how to” each year!

Okay, griping over–maybe! Today I’m going to show you some photos from our annual trip to Apple Hill. It’s an area above Placerville where all the growers have formed an association, and welcome visitors to purchase apples, pies, food, etc. Photographers go to buy pies and take photos of the beautiful fall scenery.

We’ve gone so many times, so we tried to find different places to shoot. Here’s what we found.

If tradition holds true, we’ll be back next year. I did buy a small apple pie for Richard!