Confession: I haven’t been shooting much this month, except for real estate. I’ll admit that my abilities have grown in that niche, and I enjoy the challenge. Otherwise, I think I need something different to shoot. Tomorrow may just give me that chance. We’re going down to the Ironstone Vineyards, in Murphys to take pictures of their annual Concours d’Elegance, featuring old vehicles and their owners in period costumes. I’m hoping that will perk me up.
On a good note, I’ve taken the time to prioritize watching Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom course that I purchased a couple of years ago. I do like his teaching style. But, Matt, I need help on re-organizing my folders! I didn’t know what I was doing when I started Lightroom, and now I’m paying for it. The years are all mixed up and it’s difficult to find stuff. Marlene helped me, and we got it into months and then years. However, the new additions are not following any sequence! It’s just frustrating. I’d like to start over, but that would be worse. But I’m glad that I spent the time on the course. Next is Photoshop!
The small amount of time I’ve spent shooting hasn’t yielded any amazing photography, just some interesting pieces that I’m showing you in this post.
In this first set, Jean and I just wandered around the Sierra Foothills for interesting things. We didn’t find too much. Here are some:
Who can say no to 250 free photo prints? I can’t. So when Shutterfly posted this freebee with only one and a half days to prepare, I went to town and got the last quarter of 2018 sorted and done. It’s not like they weren’t organized. Lightroom and my desktop system is great for doing that. I just needed to go through them and pick the ones I wanted 4 x 6 prints of, and change the dpi to 300 for printing. Of course nothing is free. Their shipping is pretty high.
You’ve seen a lot of them through this blog, and I’ve printed some out for competition in the Sierra Camera Club. I print 4 x 6 prints for scrapbooking. It’s a great feeling to have 2018 completed. However, 2019 is totally void of pictures! I’ll be going out shooting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, maybe I can learn some of Photoshop this weekend! I’ve been told to delve into Photoshop, I need to shoot less and edit more. That’s a great goal for 2019!
In the meantime, here’s day 4 of the Kauai trip. Going along the south shore, we visited the Spouting Horn and Po’ipu Beach. When we were in the town of Koloa we saw the Monkey Pod tree, the Sugar Mill Monument and ate delicious pizza for lunch. In the evening, we went to Smith’s Garden Luau. The grounds were beautiful and the food delicious. After dinner we sat in the front row so we could have a great vantage point for shooting pictures. But, a crop sensor is just not that adaptable to low light situations where there’s a lot of movement. Marlene’s mirrorless camera did the best.
I finally finished editing my Kauai trip. Two of my photo buddies, Laura and Marlene, went, using my time share condo. This was my first trip dedicated to photography, and I was grateful to have two great friends along. It seems I never stop learning.
I made mention of my trip in a prior post, and my photo blogging buddy, Donna Robinson of Donna Robinson Photography, said she was looking forward to my Kauai posts so she could get some great tips of what to do when she goes. Well Donna, I can give you tips on NOT what to do!
First don’t pack every lens thinking you may need them. Really, do you want to miss any photo opportunity Hawaii can offer? I packed 5 lenses and two cameras. You do need a second camera if one breaks! Fortunately, I had a case that just fit all that stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention a flash and loop.
Second, don’t pack anything heavier than you can carry. I decided to put my camera bag and overnight tote on a luggage carrier and wheel through the airport. This worked until it was time to get on the plane. Then I had to carry the camera bag, tote and luggage carrier onto the plane. This wasn’t easy for a 75 year old weakling. Worse, when we were trying to catch our connecting flight, I didn’t have time to load up the luggage carrier. That night, my hip hurt and was hurting through the entire trip.
Third, check the camera settings. I shot on JPEG the whole week! I’m blaming the fact that I didn’t realize it on being 75!
Last, make sure you put your new logo into Lightroom on your laptop!
He really didn’t lie; but when my dear photo buddy Richard promised us a flat trail with one or two hills, he under exaggerated. You see, Richard is an experienced hiker. We are not! The hills were a huge mountain for us. Now, am I exaggerating?
I do like to complain and Richard gives it right back. We, in our little Camera Totin’ Tuesday group, have a lot of fun. Through all the griping (I wasn’t the only one!), we had fun. After all, it’s the interaction of the group that makes a photo outing great.
We followed the Auburn Quarry Trail, part of the California State Park system, along the American River, and when we reached the top (as far as we were going to go), we were fortunate to come upon a few mountain climbers practicing. The sun was powerful that day in Auburn, so I had to deal with exposure issues. I shot mostly handheld HDR, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So I basically edited one of the three shots in Lightroom. In the end, I was satisfied. Take a look. No captions needed.
We just wanted to go shooting for enjoyment, and not too far. So we found the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park in Volcano, California. This land preserves a large amount of marbleized limestone with about 1185 mortar holes–the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. Women would gather together and visit as they ground their grains in the mortar holes.
There’s also the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum and a reconstructed Miwok village on the grounds. The one building I had fun photographing was the Ceremonial Roundhouse which is used for various social gatherings and ceremonial events. Since it is used currently for those purposes, we couldn’t go in.
My challenge during this outing was the brilliant sunshine and the shade. This drove the camera sensor crazy–me too. I tried some handheld HDR (tripod wasn’t with me), and focusing on the shade and then raising the camera which blew out the sunny area. The best I could do was to focus on the sunny area and move the camera. Fortunately Lightroom has a graduated ND filter and a shadow slider. Both came in handy during post processing!
But, it was a perfect outing, and we did enjoy it. Sometimes you just have to get out!
On the way to the village
Miwok dancer sculpture
Another eating area view
I loved the structures that we think were made from tree bark.
There are those days when…… You fill in the blank. It’s usually something you’ve forgotten to do like not buy everything you needed at the grocery, missed an appointment or forgot to change the ISO on your camera that was set for a prior outing. I did the last. Worse, I didn’t notice it until the shoot was just about over.
Fortunately it was at a nursery, flowers are forgiving and Lightroom helps to take out noise. But, I don’t think I’ll do that again. I’ll make other mistakes, but not that one!
We went to Green Acres Nursery in Folsom to practice macro work. You know you’ll find flowers and plants at a nursery. The plus was that we also found an abundance of water drops. They must have watered before we got there. I enjoyed the outing. Take a look, and let me know how I did during post processing. Was it really one of those days?
Allergy: Yesterday Laura and I went to visit the Jepsen Prairie Preserve (You’ll see it soon.) to see their vernal pools. As soon as I stepped onto the area around the pools. I started sneezing and couldn’t stop! Did I have tissues with me? No. It wouldn’t have mattered because I could not have brought enough. I had to use my shirt I use as a light jacket. Oh my.
Cold: When I got home, the sneezes kept coming. I finally realized it must be a cold. I’m not sure how this allergy/cold affected my shooting. I looked at my images briefly last night, but didn’t get them into Lightroom.
Now, back to Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys and their beautiful grounds. This winery has a museum, tasting room, cafeteria, amphitheater and hosts events. When you’re there, it’s time to relax and rejuvenate. That is unless you have an allergy or a cold. Next time I go out, I’m bringing a whole tissue box with me!
What do the Milky Way, sunflowers and refrigerators have in common? Nothing really, except I experienced them all in one week.
Let’s start with the fridge. I bought a new fridge on June 9, it was delivered on June 11. By the time the installers were done, they had scratched one of the doors, and the ice maker didn’t turn off after 24 hours. Okay, they wanted to send out another fridge on Sunday. But I was supposed to spend the night up at Blue Canyon Airport with my husband Richard (our observatory is there) and a couple of my photo clubs were coming up to shoot the Milky Way. So I changed my plans and arranged to come home with another photographer.
While the Milky Way wasn’t spectacular, I did learn a great deal. This was the first time I was able to shoot it and not get a light tan background when processing in Lightroom. My fellow photographers were more than willing to help. And, they enjoyed mingling with the astronomers.
Back to the fridge which wasn’t delivered on Sunday because the order never made it to delivery. So the second fridge was to come on Monday, June 15. It did, but by the time the installers left, it had a dented door and again–the ice maker didn’t work. Richard discovered that the water had not been hooked up properly! The third fridge was scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday, June 17.
Meanwhile, Tuesday evening, Marlene and I went in search of sunflowers. By the time we found a field in Woodland, going to Davis first, the sun was low in the sky. Most of the sunflowers were in the process of turning around toward the sun and drooping. This was the first time I actually felt in total control. I decided to do close ups and take advantage of the back-lit flowers. I’m focusing on manual for about half my shooting time now. You’ll see the result. The old car was an added bonus. I shot HDR handheld.
Okay the fridge again, It was delivered on Wednesday and I warned the guys that they were to take care not to scratch or dent the doors. They were told to also install it properly and hook up the water. They thought I was a controlling nut case until I told them that this was the third unit.
No scratches or dents, but when my husband checked, the water was not hooked up! Richard hooked up the water while I thought I was living in a script of the Twilight Zone! This morning, my 72nd birthday, I went downstairs and saw about 10 ice cubes in the freezer bucket. I started singing the birthday song. This was a great present!
So was my week of the Milky Way, sunflowers and refrigerators!
Good news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park. Bad news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park! It was so pretty, unusual and amazing there, I wish I had more to show you. But then, you may have seen enough. We are so fortunate to have spectacular National Parks here in the U.S. And seven or more are right here in California.
Today I’m showing you scenes from the Artist Drive, another drive through canyon, and Natural Bridge Canyon, a short hike to an amazing natural rock bridge. I will admit that I almost didn’t walk it because of the cold and bad back I was suffering from, but I was glad I did.
If you have a chance, visit Death Valley. Just don’t go in the summer when temperatures are HOT!
I just needed to take time to feed my soul last week–feed it with photography. We have been so busy, and I missed getting out and shooting. Not that I wasn’t using my camera; I just wasn’t using it in an activity where I could relax. That’s why I spent the day in Benicia on my way to visit friends in San Jose.
While in San Jose, my photography goal was to visit Hakone Gardens. I used to go there to relax and meditate when I lived in San Jose. Then it was free, quiet and beautiful. It’s still quiet and beautiful, but it’s no longer free. But the fee is nominal and shouldn’t stop anyone from visiting.
Here’s a brief history of the place from Wikipedia:
In 1916, two San Francisco arts patrons, Oliver and Isabel Stine, intending to build a summer retreat, purchased the 18 acres (73,000 m2) site on which Hakone now stands. Inspired by her trips to Japan, Isabel Stine modeled the gardens upon (and named them after) Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. She hired Japanese landscape artists and architects to design the gardens and the Upper “Moon Viewing” House. In 1932, ownership passed to financier Major C. L. Tilden who added the main gate to the gardens. When he died, Hakone was inherited by his sister, Mrs. Walter Gregory. After her death in 1959, Hakone was left untended, and the property was put up for sale.
In 1961, Joseph and Clara Gresham, their son Eldon and wife Deon, and four Chinese American couples: George and Marie Hall, John and Helen Kan, Dan and June Lee, Col. John C. Young and Mary Lee Young purchased the estate. This partnership restored Hakone to its original splendor, keeping its traditional Japanese authenticity while using it as a private retreat. In 1966, the partners offered a beautifully maintained Hakone for sale to the City of Saratoga. Today Hakone is administered by The Hakone Foundation, a non-profit organization, which was established in 1984 to restore and enhance the gardens independently of public funding. The gardens are open to the public and the various community facilities are often used for cultural events.
I’ll write more about the gardens in my next post. Yes, this is another two-part post.