Lens-Artists Challenge #160: Your Inspiration

Think Anne, think! What inspires you? Patti is asking us what inspires me! My pondering was interrupted by a late breakfast at our Club House for newcomers who moved in while the complex was in lockdown. Now with relaxed rules, we can enjoy community life again.

At that breakfast, an artist, Al Fichera, who paints on his computer via a Wacom Tablet approached me to tell me how much he enjoyed my photography. “You’re a great photographer. You must have had some art background.” If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve had no art background and deem myself not the creative type. Al went on to say I must know composition instinctively. The conversation went on a little longer and in the end, I was truly inspired. Below is one of his pictures.

For me, my inspiration comes from people. Bob Scheibel, professor at L.A. Pierce College, inspired me to write. He held my hand through my first three articles for the L.A. Daily News in their weekly Neighborhood section and then let me fly on my own. This was during my first semester at Pierce in the journalism department. With his inspiring me, I went on to win Columnist of the Year in 1987. The plaque is on my wall.

Inspiring me personally are my dear friends Carol and Alyse. Carol was handed a death sentence by a doctor. She had multiple things wrong with the worse being Polymyositis, a degenerative muscle disease. To her doctors’ amazement, she lived for 23 years, before she died, when she was given less than one year. Her courage to withstand pain and her will to live was truly inspirational.

Also inspirational is Alyse who care gave to her all those years. I would stay with Carol to give Alyse some respite.

Alyse is on the left and Carol on the right. As you can see, this was taken on their 76th birthdays.

Now on to photography. I’ve often called my dear friend Marlene Frankel my photo muse. While she didn’t directly inspire me, just being out in the field with her helped made things click. For instance the photo triangle finally made sense while shooting with her. If I have a camera question, she’s first on my list to call. We’ve had a lot of fun together and she’s a sometime contributor to LAPC.

Marlene on left; Anne on right

The next photographer to inspire me is Lucille Van Ommering. When I was entering two photos for the In Focus competition, Lucille took me under her wing and gently showed me how to print out my pictures. I remember telling her, “Wow, Lucille, I’ve never seen my photos that big!” She not only printed them, but showed me how to mat them. I left her house so inspired! Thanks Lucille!!

One of the photos she printed for me.

Next is the Yolo Art & Ag Project that invites artists and photographers onto farms and orchards for a morning of fun. I would never have been able to get onto the properties otherwise.

Taken at the Clarence Scott Ranch

And finally the LAPC group under the leadership of Tina, Patti, Amy and Ann-Christine. You inspire me with your kind comments on my posts and your faith in asking me to be a guest host for this great group.

Just putting this post together has inspired me!

Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

“…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.” writes Priscilla of scillagrace in her challenge blog post! I gave this a good amount of thought. A lot of people, places and things all capture my attention, teach me and win my affection, but one thing has brought it all to me–photography.

I remember being at a turning point in my life as I was giving up my business. You know when to call it quits when technology forces you into something you don’t like. My unwanted tech challenge was social media marketing. I just didn’t want to play the new copywriting game. But what could I do to fill the void?

After a lot of thinking, I chose photography. I enjoyed it as a returning student in my 40s with my semester in Photo 1. All journalism students had to take it and all the photography students had to take Journalism 1. But picking it up again 30 years later, going from a manual film camera to a digital SLR was challenging, fun and wonderful.

My adventure introduced me to amazing people. Photographers are willing to help a newbie. And many of them have become my dear friends. I’ve joined the Sierra Camera Club where you enter photos into a monthly juried competition. I didn’t and still don’t care about the scoring, I wanted to learn. I felt that my ability had reached a plateau. Through this group, I’ve learned how to process whites, that pictures should tell a story and composition (cropping) tips.

By going out with my photo buddies, I’ve also learned to appreciate what is around me like the beautiful roses in my yard, animals in their natural habitat and the beauty of trees and their shadows.

I also entered the In Focus Competition, in Columbia State Park, along with my friend Sandy who lives in Sonora. Two of my entries made it “on the wall,” meaning they were accepted. The water droplet made it to the final table, but didn’t win. That was an experience. Both Sandy and I were elated just to be on “the wall.”

I see things differently when I carry my camera, I’m more aware of my surroundings and enjoy being with other photographers. So I guess you would agree that photography has captured my attention, won my affection and taught me a thing or two

Creating a calendar & website navigation: Apple Hill

I do this each year and each time it’s a different frustrating experience! I give photo calendars each year to friends and relatives in December. Hopefully, they will use it during the year and like my photos that adorn each page. Each year I use Costco Online Photo Center. Each year the website is changed. And, each year I need to call them!

Today, was the worse experience of all. I had to call immediately after loading my pictures. Here are my frustrations:

  1. I took the time to choose the pictures and name them by month for easy insertion into the calendar. But, when they were imported, they had no names or file numbers!
  2. I chose the custom calendar, but there was nothing custom about it. However, this year you could pick various holidays to print on the various months.
  3. To get started, I had to go through choosing my set up three times. The only way I could get my pictures into the calendar was to insert one of the pictures in each month. I was told I could go back and change the template after that.
  4. I was very limited in the length of the text I wanted to insert.

I’m done with it and will proof it tomorrow. I’m hoping that will go easy and I can send it off to print. I’m still wondering why they need to change the “how to” each year!

Okay, griping over–maybe! Today I’m going to show you some photos from our annual trip to Apple Hill. It’s an area above Placerville where all the growers have formed an association, and welcome visitors to purchase apples, pies, food, etc. Photographers go to buy pies and take photos of the beautiful fall scenery.

We’ve gone so many times, so we tried to find different places to shoot. Here’s what we found.

If tradition holds true, we’ll be back next year. I did buy a small apple pie for Richard!

Cars, cars and more: Concours d’Elegance at Ironstone Vineyards

I have been to car shows, but not one had this many vintage vehicles! I’ve been to Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys before to photograph flowers and the grounds. That alone took most of the day! But there were cars and trailers all over, including an amphibian car that I missed!

We stayed until about 1 p.m. (got there at 10 a.m.) but had to leave after lunch. I would have liked to have gone back to shoot the flowers, but I needed to get to my son and daughter-in-law’s house warming. The drive each way is 2 hours. However, I did get to photograph most of the cars. No, I’m not going to show you all of them! But, this will be a 2-part post.

While editing these photos, I came upon a dilemma. I come from a journalistic background, and as a non-fiction writer, we did not embellish our stories in any way. We basically wrote the facts in an interesting and readable way. Photographing this car show is basically telling a non-fiction story through photographs. So, do I do some image altering edits, or stick to the basics. Most are basic edits, but I did add some filters to some to make them look older. What do you think?

Let’s begin with hood ornaments which were straight edits. I do like to get up close and some were beautiful.

Now for some of the scenery and full or mostly full images of the vehicles. If I had my way there would be greater separation between cars and only me at the show! I can dream, but I truly don’t mind crowds. I just make the people part of the image.

A bit of country: Clarence Scott Ranch, Winters, California

All the comforts of suburbia are great and I love it, but it’s nice to visit the country once in a while. Thank goodness for the Yolo Art and Ag project which gets us out into the country and on farms and ranches that we would otherwise not gain entry.

This was the case during a recent Thursday when we went to visit the Clarence Scott Ranch in Winters. This Ranch has a bit of everything and lots of scenery for photographers and artists. Hay and cattle are their predominat income sources.

I’ve begun to rely on just one lens when I go on a photo outing. It challenges me, and it’s easier to carry. And, at this point, less weight is important to me since this year has given me a few health challenges. My gear consisted of my Nikon D7100 and the Nikon 18 – 140 mm lens. It’s hard for me to grasp that my camera is OLD now and reduced in price for less than half of what I paid! But it’s the same for a car. Once it’s off the lot…….

On the way home, we stopped to photograph sunflowers and zinnias in Woodland. You’ll see these in my next post. Right now let’s look at the Ranch. The clouds were spectacular!

Artists and photographers were busy too!

I was also fortunate to watch a woman shoeing her horse. A first for me!

Good to be back: Downtown and Historic Roseville, California

For Richard, it was back surgery; for me it was a dreaded cold. We were stuck inside and not even wanting to go anywhere. Richard is progressing well after back surgery, and I’m finally over my cold. So, he’s driving short distances now. For him that’s freedom! If’s tough on a Californian when you take the car away!

My first outing after my role as caregiver and receiver of a cold was to the Action Camera Swap Meet. They host this event twice a year. It’s a great way to get filters, camera bags and old equipment. One gal was selling off all her Dad’s old film cameras and gear. I bought a camera bag. I needed something that would hold enough, but not be heavy.

After that, Marlene and I went into Downtown (Old) Roseville. I was there a couple of weeks ago with friends from Los Angeles, so I tried to find other things to shoot. It was quiet. There was no farmers’ market or kids jumping through the fountains of water. There was just Marlene and I with our cameras. I’m hoping the only duplicate you’ll see here is the sculpture bench which is in need of repair. I call this area Old Roseville because the office buildings, new restaurants, etc. are located in East Roseville. If there’s an East, then there must be a West Roseville too. And there is–it’s mostly houses.

Soon hunger got the best of me and off we went to Historic Roseville. I think it’s historic because of the history of some of its buildings. I’ll tell you a bit of the history in the picture caption. This area certainly has a different look and feel from Downtown Roseville. After lunch we took our time to discover and shoot. We did find Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos...”The World’s Most Delicious and Nutritious Donuts!” You just cannot walk in to see what it was all about–and we did.

After that, I went home. I was tired and happy with just one regret: I was too full from lunch to try a Dr. Bob’s Donut! It was great to get out with my camera again.

Under the weather: Rough and Ready, California

We may be having some extreme heat in the Sacramento area, but I’m the one who’s under the weather. I haven’t been out shooting very much this month. I’ve been on two outings so far in August compared to the six through mid July. It might be the heat and not feeling well combined that has kept me indoors.

I haven’t even spent time learning new editing tricks. Leanne Cole has included a tutorial on replacing skies in the new Dynamic Range magazine. Not only does she give instruction but she also gives a practice picture and four free sky backgrounds. I haven’t gotten to that tutorial.

But, I’m feeling better today and looking forward to shooting in the Bay Area tomorrow where it will be at least 25 degrees cooler. Marlene and I did take a morning last Saturday to photograph in the small town of Rough and Ready. I researched the town and wasn’t expecting much except a blacksmith shop that had been turned into a museum and a couple of other buildings. The town is near Grass Valley, so I thought we could also shoot there.

Expectations are sometimes not met. This was one of those times. I think the three-block town is in transition. The first thing we noticed were all the no parking signs, then we noticed the no trespassing signs on all photographic buildings except the blacksmith shop which was closed. The town market was shut down and for lease, yes, with no parking signs up.

Only the Post Office, closed on Saturday, allowed parking. Residents came and went with their mail. We parked wherever we could and walked. We trespassed a little, walking on the edge of properties and leaning in. There were no fences. It was sad, and left us wondering what was happening in this small town.

After shooting as much as we could, we drove into Grass Valley, ate lunch and shot some more.

I’m hoping getting out of the heat, being with photo friends and shooting tomorrow will help me feel better. I’m sure it will.

 

Printing my pictures: Back to Effie Yeaw Nature Center

I’ve reached another plateau in my photographic journey–I’m beginning to print my photos and hang them in my home. I’ve got three metal prints on the walls now: a 6 x 9 and two 8 x 12 inches. I’m also preparing five black and whites to be printed as 8 x 10 inches. Next I’ll work on my close up and macro flowers. It’s time to do this.

I’m thinking the more I see my printed pictures, the more confidence I’ll get to enter a contest. This whole journey is a process–at least for me. I was chatting with another photographer via Facebook regarding entering a contest. She is entering an image in the California State Fair contest. It’s a great image that tells a great story. She said that I should enter. I said I wasn’t ready. She suggested some of the various county fair competitions. I may do that this summer.

In the meantime, our Tuesday group visited Effie Yeaw Nature Center. I’ve shown you pictures from there before, but you never see the same thing twice. There’s always new discoveries. And, now that Marlene and I bought a membership, you’ll see a lot more of Effie Yeaw.

From Effie Yeaw to wherever my camera takes me, I’ll take you along on this amazing photographic journey.

 

When photographers say goodbye: Bodega Bay

Memorials are for the living, and this one was a long time coming–with good reason. Photographers from the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group had gone to Bodega Bay in April 2015, and my deceased photo buddy Greg Morris was among them. This trip turned out to be great but not without stumbling blocks that bonded the group. Greg had a flat tire and another photographer locked his keys in the car.

Greg had always said that he did not want a funeral or memorial, but on the anniversary weekend of their fun and problematic trip, the group planned this outing as a memorial to Greg. Marlene and I were also invited. I then invited Greg’s daughters and friend.

It was a wonderful experience. When we got to Goat Rock Beach  the photographers quickly got into action. We placed flowers we brought on a large rock surface. Then some gathered small rocks and spelled out his name. They all gathered around and spoke about how Greg affected their lives. Then, they did what photographers do best, and what Greg would want them to do, took pictures.

I gathered Greg’s family and some flowers, and asked them to come down to the beach to throw the buds into the ocean. I felt the family needed some sort of closure. I know I did.

After lunch, we went to Bodega Head beach to shoot some more and then headed home. I did practice some more with my ND filter, but it was too bright out there. I’ll have to get to the beach earlier or later for that, meaning an overnight stay.

I hope you enjoy this memorial trip as much as I did. I hope Greg didn’t mind!

 

The photo journey continues: Day 2 in the Sonora area

It’s living a dream. I wake up in the morning and my friend asks, “Where would you like to shoot today?” Of course, I didn’t have a clue, but it felt great to have someone willing to guide you through a day of photography. Our second day of fun was about to start.

Sandy and Ken first took us to the Red Hills ACEC, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. This land was designated ACEC in 1993 to protect flora, a rare minnow  (Red Hills roach) and the bald eagle wintering habitat. We didn’t see any eagles and wouldn’t know a Red Hills roach if we saw it.  Sandy and Ken had never been there, but Sandy heard that wildflowers were blooming in that area. So this was an adventure for all of us.

It’s a good thing Ken’s Subaru has all-wheel drive because our adventure took us through some very rough and ready dirt roads. We had to cross three streams. I think Ken enjoyed the drive. There’s a daredevil in that body! While we were being jostled around, we did get some beautiful images of beautiful scenery.

After lunch, we went to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Ken serves as a docent there so we wanted to see what captures his heart. Another docent, Paul, took us around. This is a working facility. They rebuild old trains, give train rides on the weekend and house several stars! Do you remember a television series called Petticoat Junction which ran from 1963 to 1970? Train number 3 was on that show. It was also featured in many movies and is still in demand.

Paul took us through many areas of the roundhouse and showed us the grounds. It was a great tour. When I wake up tomorrow, where will my dream take us?