Growing more than just flowers: Horton’s Iris Farm, part 1

I walk Gem every day. He has two routes: one is 1 1/2 miles and the other 2 miles. This gives us the opportunity to see the neighbors’ gardens grow. These walks make me think of personal growth. When do you stop? I don’t think we ever do.

Which brings me to my photography journey and the reason I started this blog many, many years ago. This was to be my journal showing the progress of my photographic ability–which when I began was practically non-existent. I decided not to take classes because I didn’t want homework and still shy away from challenges that want you to take new photos. So, by asking questions, making mistakes, camera clubs with juried competitions, and field experience I’ve come along and progressed. And, I’m still learning!

I now find myself giving advice to new photographers and can hold my own with other seasoned photo hobbyists. I may have picked the long route to get here, but I arrived anyway.

Have you taken on something new and followed your own path to success? I’d like to hear about it.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures taken at a recent visit to Horton’s Iris Farm in Loomis. We may have been a bit to early to catch more of their beautiful irises. Horton’s is a farm where they grow and sell plants. You can buy plants at their farm or online. You can also cut your own bouquets. They also grow zinnias and sunflowers, and have a pumpkin patch in October. Enjoy!

Next week I’ll show you more about this farm. It’s more than just irises!

Lens Artists Challenge #148: Spots and Dots

Spots and dots? This challenge from Ann Christine put my lack of creativity to a test. Fortunately, I got some ideas from members who posted before me. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery!

Animals were shown in a few posts; at least those having spots. So off I went to my Sacramento Zoo archives.

I also found a dog with spots. Not a dog called spot. I spotted him in one of my tours of a small town. Sorry, I couldn’t resist having some word fun.

And you’ll never know what you’ll find at IKEA. With a Photoshop filter, I turned a dotted pillow into a swirl with a center dot.

Every year there are Christmas lights that you can shoot normally or zoom. But they all start out as brightly lit dots.

Finally, you know how much I love photographing flowers. Whether it’s a macro, showing the stamens or a field dotted with golden poppies, I totally enjoy it.

This was a fun exercise. Thank you Ann Christine for the challenge!

Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

“…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.” writes Priscilla of scillagrace in her challenge blog post! I gave this a good amount of thought. A lot of people, places and things all capture my attention, teach me and win my affection, but one thing has brought it all to me–photography.

I remember being at a turning point in my life as I was giving up my business. You know when to call it quits when technology forces you into something you don’t like. My unwanted tech challenge was social media marketing. I just didn’t want to play the new copywriting game. But what could I do to fill the void?

After a lot of thinking, I chose photography. I enjoyed it as a returning student in my 40s with my semester in Photo 1. All journalism students had to take it and all the photography students had to take Journalism 1. But picking it up again 30 years later, going from a manual film camera to a digital SLR was challenging, fun and wonderful.

My adventure introduced me to amazing people. Photographers are willing to help a newbie. And many of them have become my dear friends. I’ve joined the Sierra Camera Club where you enter photos into a monthly juried competition. I didn’t and still don’t care about the scoring, I wanted to learn. I felt that my ability had reached a plateau. Through this group, I’ve learned how to process whites, that pictures should tell a story and composition (cropping) tips.

By going out with my photo buddies, I’ve also learned to appreciate what is around me like the beautiful roses in my yard, animals in their natural habitat and the beauty of trees and their shadows.

I also entered the In Focus Competition, in Columbia State Park, along with my friend Sandy who lives in Sonora. Two of my entries made it “on the wall,” meaning they were accepted. The water droplet made it to the final table, but didn’t win. That was an experience. Both Sandy and I were elated just to be on “the wall.”

I see things differently when I carry my camera, I’m more aware of my surroundings and enjoy being with other photographers. So I guess you would agree that photography has captured my attention, won my affection and taught me a thing or two

Macro Photography Learn and Share: A Sacramento Photographers event

I didn’t share much, but I did learn. The Sacramento Photographers Facebook group offers a monthly outing or event. This month it was the learn and share. While I’m pretty good at close up photography, I wanted to know more about macro. And, I wanted to learn how to use my old (and I mean old) manual lens for my film camera.

So off I went with what I needed to bring: something to drop into a tank of water, tripod, and a lens more than 50 mm. Opps, I forgot to bring a towel. Everyone was so helpful. Two photographers tried to help me with my macro lens, but were puzzled by it. It’s very different from today’s macro lenses. Here’s what I learned:

* My old (again very old) macro lens is really not that good. I had a difficult time focusing it. And at 28 mm, how macro is it? I’m getting more comfortable with shooting on manual, but this lens offered a bigger challenge. It was also difficult because of the lighting in the studio.

* I have lousy hand to eye coordination; or, should I say hand to ear coordination. We were to drop an object (my choice was a tennis ball) into the fish tank and when we heard it hit the water, we were to press the remote shutter release. I’m posting my best effort!

* I now understand how to trigger an off camera flash. It’s just another piece of gear to buy.

* I truly enjoy field work more than studio stuff.

Now that you know what I learned, here are some of the images captured that evening.