A shooting challenge: The Old Sugar Mill, Clarksburg, California

Every time Greg (who is now deceased) and I passed The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, we drove on. Neither of us drank wine and weren’t interested in visiting the wineries represented there. So here I was shooting at the venue with my Toastmasters Photography Club–All About Photography.

I started this Toastmasters Club a couple of years ago to combine my two passions. Both have changed and added to my life. When this venue was chosen for our quarterly outing I thought, “Well you’re going to have to shoot whatever is there.” For all my trepidation, I had a great time. I do believe you need to challenge yourself to grow as a photographer.

While it now houses 11 wineries, the factory, built in 1934, was an operating beet sugar refinery. You’ll see pictures of the old buildings with broken windows, etc. Most of them were locked up for safety reasons. Oh, I would have loved to been able to shoot in them. I was told renovations are in the future.

Now, it’s also available for weddings and other events. They do have a nice lawn area and one building, which you will see, is quite usable for a themed wedding.

What did I learn? Never say never. Challenge yourself. You might be surprised at the outcome. Have you found yourself shooting in a place you thought you’d never go into?


A change of attitude: The Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island, part 3

When you need to change attitude, it’s best to get away. That’s what we did. We took our new/used trailer to Las Vegas, Nevada for its “shakedown run.” I know it’s hot in Las Vegas this time of the year, but it was our cousin Jim’s 70th birthday–so why not! The good news is that we were able to outfit and situate the trailer to our liking, but the bad news is that I didn’t take any pictures except for Peggy Sue’s Diner on the way home. I’ll show you those in my next post.

Today, I want to wrap up the Otainium Cup Race and show you some images that are a mixture of what is happening on Mare Island. I did not do any HDR on these, and, yes, there are some buildings again. But, don’t click off, there are some new sights too. Hopefully, if I can get into a carpool, I’ll be going back there for a full moon shoot on Saturday. Fair warning–more Mare Island. Hopefully I can do better with my images. After all, a change in attitude is mostly accepting that what you’re doing is good and you can also improve.

What happens when you wake up way too early? Mare Island, Vallejo, California

It was way too early to wake up, but there I was at 4:30 a.m. with my mind processing stuff. Has that ever happened to you? So I made myself a cup of coffee, sat down at the computer, went through email, did a search on photo software and now I’m posting this blog.

Mare Island was a photo meetup with the Shoot Or Go Home group. Closed as a U.S. Naval Shipyard in 1993, Mare Island is a peninsula alongside the city of Vallejo. Now the Island houses boarded buildings, a museum, a golf course and more. The city of Vallejo wants to preserve the historical value of the shipyard and create more use for the land. A great place for an amateur photographer who loves old buildings, etc.

It was a cold and damp Saturday with half the group staying home. I was not feeling well (that cold I’m still not completely over) and we got there late because of heavy traffic. The outing was supposed to start at 1 p.m. and end with full moon shots; however, the cloud cover made that impossible.

But, the outing wasn’t a complete bust. I met Jayne West who knows a lot more about editing and shooting than I do, and I found the caliber of photographers in the group amazing. I need to buy HDR software and learn how to use it. Some of their photos were fantastic compared to mine–given the same shot. Some were overdone, but most were excellent. I still posted my images, but with the conviction to learn more.

So here are some of the Mare Island images. After completing this post, maybe I can go back to bed and sleep!