Luminar frustration: Old Sacramento

Did you ever have a problem only to be sent around in circles? Unfortunately, I’m writing this post just after encountering a problem with Luminar.

I’m licensed for Luminar 4, and in the short time I’ve had it, I love it! I get an email regarding what looks like an update to Luminar 4.3. Great! Not so great. Once I install the update, it tells me I downloaded a free trial. If I have a license, put it in this box. I copied and pasted my license number in the box, and it says it’s not associated with my email.

I try a few more things, and finally it says that license number is associated with my email! In frustration, I tried to get a hold of tech support. The chat box opened. This chat is computer operated–no live person at the other end. To make a long story less long. The chat bot, as it’s called, gave me instructions that either didn’t work or sent me in circles. I’m currently waiting for a tech support reply. Do you hear my screams??

Okay on to Old Sacramento. We went down there for a sunset. I was amazed at how crowded it was, and many people weren’t masked. That made me a little uncomfortable, so I tried to stay away from people as best I could. There weren’t any clouds, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to replace the skies with Luminar. It worked well, and for the most part I was happy with the results.

Here are some before and after shots.

This was the first one I did. A photo buddy suggested moving the cloud so that it wasn’t directly over the tree, but since it was a Luminar sky, I couldn’t.

This one I went from Lightroom to Luminar to Nik Silver Efex.

Another attempt with a much smaller sky.

And finally, this image got me into the trouble today. I was looking for a tutorial on cleaning up a sky replacement, but first went into my email. I should have gone to the tutorial first. This is the Tower bridge. I liked the sunset sky, but the second tower seems to have the sunset sky run through it. If anyone has a suggestion how to eliminate that thin bit of sky, let me know!

Luminar had nothing to do with this last image; just mother nature and a boat.

I’ll let you know how I make out with Luminar in another post. Maybe my next one! Hopefully in my next post!!

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 slow start to 2019: January

If I thought 2019 would start off with a BANG, I was wrong. I didn’t hold a camera in my hand for the first two weeks. After that there were five photo opportunities, but few great photos. A lot had to do with the rainy weather, which we’re still having, and also with my not feeling well.

So here we are in February and the rain is still coming down. I’m not complaining because California needs the rain. We have a great snow pack now that will hopefully see us through the dry summer. What does that mean for photography? If you can’t make it up to the snow, you’re shooting inside! I’m amazed at how many businesses welcome photographers. This year we’ve been to the Antique Trove in Roseville twice, most recently today. You’ll see those pictures in my next post.

So, here are some picks from January!

These were from an experiment with oil and water. It’s more difficult than the tutorial made it seem!

These are from an outing to Old Folsom Historic District. It’s a section of Folsom where you can walk, shop and eat. Best of all, the parking is free!

This next outing was to Old Sacramento. I’ve shown you images from there before. It’s always a challenge to find something new.

So, there you have some highlights from January!

A scavenger hunt: Old Sacramento

Sometimes you just want to have fun, so I borrowed a scavenger hunt list for a Tuesday morning outing. With camera in sling, four of us hunted the streets of Old Sacramento for items on the list. They ranged from “Something you can taste through the lens” to “bokeh” to “lines and patterns.” We exercised our minds and imaginations!

Here are some of my trophies.

This was a fun exercise. And, of course, photo buddies who help and joke around made it an extra special morning.

The waiting game: Fireworks after the River Cats Game

While the minor league baseball team, the River Cats, play baseball, we photographers play the waiting game outside the field. We’re waiting for the game to be over so we can capture the fireworks show. How long do we wait? It depends on how great the game is!

Once a month, the River Cats shoot off firework after a home game. I did this last year, with better success; however, I had help. This evening I was on my own, testing various settings. I wasn’t alone though, there were photo buddies along from the Sacramento Photographers. 

What did I learn? I learned that once you set up and have a great composition, don’t move the camera. When the fireworks started, I saw that the second grouping was further away from the main group of fireworks than I remembered from last year. So I quickly turned my tripod. MISTAKE! I would have done better to edit the smaller grouping out of the pictures and had a good composition. I lost the bottom of the bridge. So I cut in close during processing. If I didn’t mention it, you’d probably think that’s the way I meant it to be.

But, you’re reading this and joining me in my photographic journey. Maybe you’ll be able to learn from my mistake. I’ll be down there again to play that waiting game. It’s all a learning process.

 

A photo a day keeps Anne busy: images here and there!

I’ve learned a lot this year. More than I did in my first two years of shooting. Why did it take me so long? I know the answer. I psyched myself into believing that learning was too difficult. Why did I do that?

I had just closed down my business of writing marketing text and articles, and coaching business owners who wanted to sell their business by speaking engagements. That I knew well and had expertise in. But photography?

When I bought my D3100 and read the manual (I always read manuals!), I was amazed at how complicated digital photography seemed to be. And, that’s how I started out. From there I took baby steps with urging from photographers I met on meetups. Some even challenged me. I took on Jayne’s HDR challenge and was amazed at how easy the software was to use. Why did I wait so long. Shooting RAW instead of JPEG–that took 1 1/2 years! Mary pushed me towards the manual setting. I’ve been shooting manual since January 1st. I procrastinated because of fear. It’s easy and gives you the most control.

Taking on the 365 challenge has helped propel me forward. I now help new photographers on occasion and have started a photography club within Toastmasters International, District 39. Next year, I want to tackle processing. I do minimal editing in Lightroom, and want to do more.

I love photography, and it won’t take me as long to move forward. Here are some reasons I love it so much.

Shooting in the dark: Fireworks and light trails

I love it when I learn, and I did learn when we went to shoot fireworks. I had good luck when using my old point and shoot by putting it on a special setting. It did all the thinking. When I tried to shoot fireworks with my D3100 it was a mess. I just didn’t know how to set the camera and I didn’t have a tripod.

Fast forward a year and a half, Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group is going the shoot fireworks–A chance to learn. Our local minor league baseball team, the River Cats, have fireworks after their home games. We used the Tower Bridge to set the stage and waited. During that time, Mary, the group’s organizer, gave us a lesson on how to get the best images.

And then they started. We were all anxiously pressing down the shutter button. The show was short and we did our best. I was happy with what I got. What I was not happy with was my camera’s processing length. With a short show, every second of processing time seemed like minutes.

Afterwards, we went to capture some light trails. Since I’ve done that before, I was able to help two other women succeed. So the student became the teacher!

I do love both teaching and learning.

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California

Four days of music, music and more. The more resulted in a pound weight gain! I wait all year for the brats, kettle corn, and ice cream: jazz, dixieland, rag, rock and country. What would you do at a music festival besides listen to wonderful music and eat fun food? Well, we work at the Sacramento Music Festival too.

Should I call listening to talented youth bands work? Probably not, except for the night we closed and our last band set ended at 11 p.m. That was too late for kids and seniors! Our venue is free for the public while most other venues are by paid admission only. So, our attendance varies between 50 and 70 people who come and go during the sets. Some youth bands have a strong following and attendance can go up to 90.

We enjoy working here because it’s a small venue with little clean up and the kids are great. In fact, some are equal to the professional bands we listened to. Many of the local youths are graduates of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s, sponsor of the festival, music camp. In fact, local professional musicians are involved with these young musicians and their musical education.

I also used this 4-day festival to practice photography. Each day, I had a particular goal in mind. Many times, you cannot do photography and enjoy the event. But, while I was shooting, I could still hear the music. And, the performers don’t mind having someone take their pictures.

Confession, we did not go in on Monday except to help tear down our venue.  Yes, there is such a thing as too much music, music and more! This a 2-part post.

The 365: Old Sacramento with Sharon

I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with my friend Sharon from Los Angeles before she went on to San Francisco last week. I picked her up at the airport after my Toastmasters meeting, we went to lunch and then headed to Old Sacramento. Now I would never had pulled out a camera before the 365 day challenge, but I did. After feeding the parking meter, I explained the 365 challenge to her. Not only was she okay with it, she was pointing out interesting things to me.

Old Sacramento is an area, located on the Sacramento River, containing quaint shops, old architecture, a train station, a few museums (most notably the Railroad Museum).

I enjoyed that day with Sharon, not only catching up with her, but realizing that I will probably pull my camera out from now on–365 challenge or not.

This challenge is amazing. I’m learning more than I thought I would and also found the support of a long-time friend.

No traffic; no light trails: Sacramento, California

The challenge: to learn how to shoot light trails. The second challenge: Not a lot of traffic to create an effective composition!

That’s the way it was on Friday night when I joined a group of photographers to shoot light trails near Old Sacramento. I did succeed in overcoming the first challenge–I now know how to shoot light trails. However the second challenge left me disappointed. You’ve been there before. You have this image in your mind, but in the real world, it doesn’t happen.

Even though there were not enough cars running through intersections, I did have a great time. The group from Sacramento Photographers is great. There’s always someone to help you, and you learn by just talking to them. Oh, the pizza at the end just capped the evening. I’m ready to find traffic now!