Not today: Michigan Bar Road Adventure

Not packing or unpacking! Yes, today is a day off. Since we decided to move, I’ve gone on two photo outings, and, even then, I packed at night. Then, the next day, I unpacked at the other house. We are painting, putting in new floors and taking care of other things at our small home. The kitchen is almost set up. The rest of the move is easy.

Today, is a rest and blogging day. Last weekend I needed to take a break, drive somewhere and shoot. So, I rounded up photo buddies Laura and Linda and away I drove to Michigan Bar Road. This road is located in a rural area of Sacramento County. To get there, you drive on Highway 16 or Jackson Hwy through beautiful scenery, and in the summer, you can buy the best corn ever at the Davis Ranch produce stand. I’ve posted images from this road before, so I tried to get different angles, etc. Then we had the bright idea to go beyond the paved road and get home a different way. I do need to tell you it’s been raining here off and on for two weeks, and I was hoping that with a few dry days, the dirt roads would be more or less dry.

Not!! Going 7 – 10 mph can take about 45 minutes to go 4 miles! I made it through three shallow large puddles with the help of my valiant crew, but was stopped by this pool. We had to turn around.

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On the way back to the paved road, I had to set down the law because my pals were still wanting to stop to take pictures. No more pictures, we needed to get home. This was a fun adventure, and it rained the next few days so my car got cleaned outside. (I looked for every puddle to go through to get the underside clean.)

Each of us had a reason to get out and experience a bit of photography, so we all enjoyed our adventure. The next day it was back to moving for me, but my break was great!

 

Blog neglect: Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, Davis California

It takes a lot of time and effort to get a house ready to sell. If you’ve ever sold a home you know what I mean. We had pictures taken today and have a few days before the listing goes live, giving me the time to write this blog and go on a photo outing tomorrow.

Today’s post is on the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area–we locals call it the Yolo Bypass. This close-to-home wildlife area that covers 25 square miles and is home to nearly 200 species of birds. I’ve never seen 200 birds, but it’s close to home and usually we can spot a few species. Unlike other wildlife areas, we are allowed to get out of our cars to photograph the wildlife.

However, the last couple of times I’ve been there, the wind was blowing so hard that even the birds were having trouble. This recent outing was a challenge for me to hold a heavy camera and lens while bracing myself in the wind.

Still, it was fun and I’m looking forward to the break in the house selling effort to attend my Tuesday group’s outing to the Historic Old Sacramento City Cemetery. Marlene is spicing it up with a scavenger hunt.

We’re not moving far, just downsizing. When you’re in your mid 70s, it’s best to think ahead and buy a home without stairs, etc.!

Macro time: WPA Rock Garden, William Land Park, Sacramento

If it weren’t for a friend’s gentle push, I would have gone back to the car and swapped out my macro lens for my walk around lens. I’m so glad she persuaded me to use the macro. It’s a great lens: 105 mm, 2.8, Sigma; and I hardly use it because there’s always a slight breeze.

Karen taught me to increase my ISO so I could shoot at a faster shutter speed, and I got amazing results. I’ll be using that lens more because I do love macro photography. Although the WPA Rock Garden is a small area, we were shooting for about 2 hours!

This was my last time out shooting because we needed to prepare for our trip to Glacier National Park. Right now I’m exhausted. We packed the trailer today, except for refrigerated food in triple digits. I did try to do a lot during the morning. This is our first vacation since our 2013 cross country trip. We’re also going to be in Idaho for the solar eclipse, and in a great vantage spot. We’ll be attaching my D3100 to a small telescope, so wish me luck. I have a couple of days to practice. Richard will be using his sun scope to capture images.

After that, we’ll head into Oregon to visit my older granddaughter. I’m so looking forward to this trip. And, yes, I’m bringing my macro lens with me.

Images from the WPA Rock Garden.

 

Getting the sun’s glow: Cosumnes River Preserve, Galt

You’ve got to love Laura’s enthusasim when it comes to photography. I do. So, on a recent weekend morning, about 8 a.m., when she suggested we go down to Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), a nature preserve of 46,000 acres, to catch the tail end of the morning’s golden hour, I scrambled. I always need that push to get up early, stay up late, etc. Laura gives me that push.

In my rush to get out, I left my backpack that contained, snacks, hiking shoes etc. at home. Another truth about me: I will shoot in Birkenstocks whenever I can because my feet don’t like to be confined (a bad arthritic toe). Luckily, we were walking on the dirt paths around CRP.

But we weren’t lucky enough to catch the last of the golden hour because there wasn’t any! Fog! This was the second time we caught the morning fog at CRP. The last time we were able to catch glistening spider webs on plants. That morning there were none. The rains had washed away the webs and the spiders hadn’t returned yet.

Because of the fog, I decided to use my Sigma 2.8, 17 – 70 mm lens; but, that meant I didn’t have the ability to catch the birds out in the distance. When the fog lifted, I switched to my Nikon 55 – 300 mm lens so I was able to catch a few birds.

In the end, we did get the sun’s glow and the moody fog. All in all, it was a fun morning.

Lights, camera, action: Indoor light painting workshop

Frustrating fun! Do those two words actually go together? They did the night I attended an indoor light painting workshop given by Sacramento Photographers, a local Facebook group here in Sacramento. I love this group because they are willing to share knowledge, sponsor photo outings and will critique photos when asked.

The evening started with a slide show on light painting. They showed us how elaborate it can get and how integral it can be to photo composition. Then they showed us the “toys” or tools. They had bars with LED lights on them, steering wheels with LEDs, LED wands and more.

Our cameras were on their tripods and we were ready to shoot for the practical part of the evening. And, the fun began. The lights were turned off and we began shooting. First was an LED bar that was carried across the room in an up and down motion. Then we captured a rope that was spinning around as the person was walking in a tight circle. Our volunteer model was traced with an LED wand while wearing glow in the dark sun glasses. It continued from there.

The frustration came when they were showing us how to do multiple exposures. My ability to do this was not available in my camera because of its current setting! I couldn’t figure it out and neither could another photographer. He messaged me the next day saying it might be that I had left bracketing on. Sure enough–I had!

But it was an evening of fun learning. Now I have to make some of those “toys!”

 

Doing the 52: Point Reyes, Part 2

I really need a shove, discipline and hand holding to learn Photoshop. So, I decided to try to post an edited photo once a week. I started to do this last year. Signing up for it was the shove, posting was the discipline, but I had no one to hold my hand. This year, I have an accountability partner. Hopefully, I can get through the year, learn what simple things I need to from Photoshop, and also delve into some other processing programs that are taking up space in my computer.

With this lofty goal in mind, I recently spent more than 4 hours trying to eliminate the transparency from a masked item so I can place it, without a background, in another photo.

I will not stop until I’m successful! It’s frustrating though.

I watch tutorials. Go to my computer. Open up Photoshop and can’t recreate the exact process. I need to bring up my laptop and work the tutorial and Photoshop on my desktop together.

Enough complaining, the pictures in this post are the last from our Point Reyes outing. It was a fun day. I wasn’t out there to take photos, but who could resist. In the last post, you saw some of Richard’s pictures and mine. Today, it’s all mine.

Take time from whatever is frustrating you and relax. I hope you enjoy these images. I don’t need a shove, discipline or hand holding to take the pictures; just to learn new editing techniques.

 

 

Holiday countdown: Festival of Lights, Palm Springs

I know everyone is busy now with holiday preparation, but I hope you take time to view this blog anyway. The Festival of Lights is a weekly evening event in Palm Springs during the winter months. I don’t know what I was expecting, but all we saw were vendors. Since we got there early, musicians were just setting up.

To make matters even worse, I left my D7100 and walk around lens in my cousin’s car. That left me with the D3100 and my 55 – 300 mm lens. It was make do time and challenging. Cold, hungry and disappointed, we went inside a restaurant. There we found our evening’s entertainment.

A group was setting up on the small stage and we asked what they were doing. One of them impersonated Carol Channing, and they were going to rehearse for the next evening’s show.  We asked if we could stay to see the rehearsal and they were very agreeable. The show was very good, but we had to imagine it with costumes. We were even asked for input at the end. Also, photographing it was difficult. I only had my on camera flash, no tripod, bad lighting and a small area. But, I think I did well this was a shooting and processing lesson for me.

So here are some pictures. So take some time and look at them and thanks!

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A fun and learning experience: Yosemite, part 2

Live and learn–you’ve heard that before. So far during my excursion to Yosemite I’ve learned to get those heat pads for shoes and pockets when shooting during the dawn patrol.

My second lesson was that I chose the right person to travel and shoot with. Laura kept me moving–even after I called myself a wimp and she agreed. We had a lot of fun together, and she pushed me forward in my photography. There will be more on that subject in part three. I have been fortunate in my photography journey to receive help from fellow photographers, amateur and professional alike. Moreover, Laura knows this park and the right places from which to shoot.

In today’s post you’ll see Foresta. It was part of the area burned a few years ago, but the two barns remained and we were able to go into one. We also went to Stoneman Bridge and then the “fire fall” area. Remember, there was no water falling, but we did get to see how the “fire” effect was done. So we had fire but no fall!