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.

A walk in the park! Chalk It Up 2019

I’m late in attending this annual activity that started in 1991, but I made it to Chalk It Up this year. Artists claim their squares on the sidewalk that surround Fremont Park in Sacramento and create wonderful pictures.

The festival is a three-day affair on a weekend. Friday is the day the artists begin and they work through the weekend, finishing their creations on or before Sunday. Some artists had sponsors and they showed their names on the square. I’m not sure how much it cost to paint a square.

This is from their website: Chalk It Up promotes and supports Youth Arts by offering small grants to K-12 classrooms, and youth arts projects throughout the Sacramento region. We do this in large part with our annual Chalk It Up! Festival which encourages artistic expression of all kinds through a three day celebration of chalk art, live music, and regional food and craft vendors.

This year it was on Labor Day weekend (It may always be on this particular weekend!) and we chose to attend on Sunday. I was amazed at how many people were out on that last day, and how they calmly walked along the perimeter of the park. We were not allowed on the sidewalks. Some squares were finished but others were being worked on.

Once we walked around the park, we walked the sidewalks that ran through the park where there were food and craft vendors and a band. Different bands entertained throughout the weekend.

So, walk along with me! I did my photography thing while taking and processing these images. I cropped in when I wanted to show the picture and artists. While my watermark in on these as the photographer, I did not create these wonderful art pieces.

Happy Birthday to me! WPA Rock Garden, Sacramento

I remember my Mom was excited to reach her 65th birthday because she thought she’d not make it. I don’t know why, but when that day came, I made her a nice party. She lived to make it to her 87th birthday. So here I am doing this post on my 76th birthday.

It’s fitting that this is on the WPA Rock Garden, in Sacramento, because I do love shooting macro. And, I’m happy that I can still bend down and get up to take a picture of a tiny flower or bug. However, age does have its restrictions like no more hiking up mountains, etc. Carrying heavy equipment is difficult too. I often say that I started photography 20 years too late!

I got my first camera, Nikon d3100, in June of 2012, didn’t know what ISO was, didn’t understand the exposure triangle and shot on auto and JPEG for a while. This journey has been fantastic. I’ve learned a great deal and my photography has progressed.

I recently looked through the photo book I made about our cross-country trip in 2013. After looking at the photos, I told Richard we needed to go again because I can take better pictures now! He refused!! However, they are good enough to jog a memory.

So here I am, 76 and loving it. My chosen hobby fills my soul and writing for my community’s monthly newsletter keeps me in touch with my original passion.

Enjoy the macros and close up images from the Rock Garden.

An artistic festival: Wide Open Walls, Sacramento City

I’ve said it before–I’m not an artist. But, I’m in awe of anyone who can visualize and create art. Recently, in August 2017, the city of Sacramento held a festival, Wide Open Walls, that enabled artistic visions to become reality, as murals, on various walls in the city. I wasn’t able to shoot during the festival since we were away, but was eager to see the results.

Murals are not new to Sacramento’s Midtown. Greg Morris (RIP) took me there a few times to view them in the alleys. He would tell me that the best time to shoot the murals was on Sunday because there was less traffic. But this time, murals were more predominate on the walls of businesses and out of the alleys.

I did go to midtown with photo buddies Karen B and Ray on a recent Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. We did a great deal of walking, shooting and resting. It left me in awe of the various artists’ talent. And, Midtown is not the only location. They are all over the city. Next time, we might walk downtown to see these amazing works of art.

Here are some of the murals I took pictures of. In some instances, I’ll show you the entire wall and then a portion of it. They were too large to do justice in one shot. No captions necessary.

On the road again: Total Solar Eclipse

Exhilarated, excited, frustrated, anxious are just some of the feelings I had the morning of August 21, 2017. It’s now August 23, 2017, and I have all my eclipse images edited and blog ready.

Let’s deal with the frustrated and anxious feelings of that morning. Initially, I was going to use Richard’s small telescope attached to my D3100. We didn’t really get a chance to practice during our stay at Glacier National Park because of smokey skies. I read tutorials on shooting the eclipse, but none were on using a telescope as a lens. I was anxious about that telescope: how do I change the aperture, and what about the proper exposure?

When we went to visit the NASA folks, I saw a guy using a coffee can on a 70 – 300 mm lens attached to a Nikon D3100. He seemed confident that it would work well. I told Richard about it and he fashioned a filter using material from pair of solar glasses and attaching it to the lens hood. It worked great. Now I could use my D7100.

Back to the tutorials! I did get frustrated because they seemed to contradict each other. The worst of all, I really couldn’t work with the tripod. I couldn’t find the sun in live view, and I couldn’t see the live view screen. I saw my reflection. I tried using a loop, but that made it more difficult.

So, I decided to handhold. I knew the risks, but I wanted to enjoy the eclipse. I decided to use my D3100 to capture the crowd during intervals of shooting the eclipse. Actually, it worked out, except for the totality. I did get one good shot of it though.

Exhilaration and excitement came rapidly when the eclipse began. The crowd roared as the sun began to slip behind the moon. There were shouts of joy during each phase, especially during totality. Here are my images from the eclipse: before totality, environmental shots, totality, and after totality.

Right now we are two days from home, and I’m ready to get there. We’ve decided not to do anymore road trips. It’s destination trips from now on. I would say this trip was a great one to end on. From beautiful Glacier National Park to the amazing total solar eclipse. And a big thank you to the small town of Weiser, Idaho. They did a great job with the amount of people added to their community. Oh, I have just one more feeling to add: wonderful!

 

Seeing things a little differently: Downtown Roseville

Have you ever gone somewhere more than once and had a different experience each time? Downtown Roseville isn’t exactly a hot spot for photography. I posted on it when I took my friends there. I showed them the small area called Downtown and we watched kids play in the water fountains. However showing the area to Brian a fellow photographer was an entirely different experience.

He had two hours in Roseville and I was in the area for a chiropractic appointment. We met in Downtown and walked the area. Forget the Tower Theater, we went directly to the railroad tracks.

Before the dot com boom in the early 2000’s, Roseville was a railroad town. But the only place you’d recognize that fact is in Downtown Roseville. East Roseville is where all the office buildings are located, and West Roseville is suburbia. They also have a small section called Historic Roseville. You’ve seen some pictures of that area also in this blog.

So Brian and I spent some time near the rail road tracks and by Linda Creek. I also showed him the train sculpture that welcomes visitors to Downtown.

Just a disclaimer, I don’t live in Roseville or in Placer County. I live two blocks from the Placer County line in Sacramento County. Before I retired, I would network and look for new business in there. And, yes, in those days that city was a totally different experience for me!

 

Back to where I started: A point and shoot camera

It might seem like I’m going backwards, but I’m not. I’m simply covering all my photography needs. Well, not maybe all, but at least the need to not get caught without a camera.

You must have been caught in a circumstance where you said, “I wish I had my camera!” That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I had just left a meeting about 35 minutes from home and there was the most fantastic sunset, and I didn’t have my camera! By the time I got home, it was over. To overcome that, I purchased a Sony Cyber-shot camera. This morning I gave it a trial run while walking my dog.

It did well in the areas that I would use it. This model detects whether you are shooting a landscape, portrait, close up, night shot, etc. I haven’t figured out whether I can override its Auto Intelligence mode. What it calls macro doesn’t give bokeh (blurry background).

Of course, there’s nothing like my Nikon DSLR, but the Sony fits in my purse (It’s smaller than my cell phone.), and I’ll have it with me at all times. It’s also useful when you’re at a wedding and want to take your personal shots. Its small size won’t interfere with the professional photographer.

So here are some shots from today’s effort in going backwards.