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!

Shooting RAW

I was totally embarrassed–but not really. I’ve come to accept that in the Shoot or Go Home photo Meetup group, I’m a novice. But I did think there would be a level playing field when I went to the Lightroom workshop yesterday evening. I was wrong. I was amazed at the level of these photographers. For me, it meant there’s more possibility for my growth.

So what was I embarrassed about? I was the only one in the room shooting JPEG! When I was asked why, I just replied, “I’m afraid to!” But, I did promise to shoot RAW from now on. What was I afraid of? I didn’t know how to process RAW! With Lightroom, it’s easy. I sat through the three hours just amazed at what this program could do in the develop module. It even corrected buildings that were leaning due to the wide-angle lens distortion. Of course I could have also done this in PE9, but never took the time to dig through the manual to learn how. It was easy with Lightroom.

In my last post, I said I was going to try to straighten out the Tower Bridge in Sacramento. I did and I’m posting it tonight along with some other Lightroom vs. PE9 edits. What a program–shooting RAW from now on!!

 

Lightroom and more

Now where did I leave off? Oh yes, I was griping about my new gear. Of course (Remember I said I was afraid to try it on!) when I tried on the new vest, it just fit! It couldn’t go over a jacket, and my wide angle lens barely fit into the front pocket! So, back on the phone to B & H Photo. I ordered a large because the salesperson said to order a size larger than I think I should. I thought I should order the medium, but the measurements were correct for the small, and one review from a woman my size said she was swimming in the small! Just another bump in the photography road.

I did practice on Wednesday evening, and discovered that I’m not all that creative. Well, I’ve always known that. I’ve read enough tutorials that suggest that when we don’t have anything to shoot, look around the house. One of my treasures are my grandmother’s brass candle sticks and mortar and pestle. She used the candle sticks every Shabbat (Sabbath) and used the mortar and pestle routinely. I discovered that natural lighting didn’t work well, and I didn’t have a proper back drop. But, I did practice with the new tripod and found it much easier to use than the old one. I’m not going to post the shots from the practice, because I didn’t think they were that good.

What was good, was the fact that I got in some reading on Lightroom today. I spent a good part of the day going through the Adobe manual through page 72 of 219! I can now import and export photos in and out of my file system on my hard drive. I really like the way I have my images organized on my computer and want to load new photos directly into it and then bring them into Lightroom for editing. I’m relieved to have gotten that much figured out because I’m going to a workshop tomorrow on the Develop module. I’ll spend more time on it before the workshop begins.

This evening I’m posting some more from our scavenger hunt. That was a fun morning and forced us into some creativity. I also tried to do some street photography with my long lens. When I get a vest that fits, I’ll really look like someone who knows what she’s doing–wearing a photographer’s vest and a two camera sling! Well, maybe I’ll grow into the role!!