Something familiar, comfortable and close by; that’s what I wanted for my first photo outing that didn’t involve a car ride. Yes, I had to drive to get to Effie Yeaw in Carmichael, but I loaded my camera on my sling and walked the Nature Center. And, I wasn’t alone. Marlene, Jean and Ray joined me. I guess I wasn’t the only one who needed to escape!
This time was very different. We each drove our own cars, wore our masks and kept a reasonable distance from each other. And worst of all, we didn’t follow our adventure with lunch!
Because I had a morning Toastmaster meeting, we met at Effie Yeaw at 10 a.m. It was too late to see the deer, but we did see a lot of people. Some wore masks, some stepped aside when they saw us walking the path and some just passed us on the path. I guess everyone has their own level of concern about this pandemic.
I find breathing with a face mask on difficult. There’s something about breathing your own air that affects my heart. I’m probably not getting enough oxygen. So, with that hindrance, I got tired sooner. But, it was all worthwhile.
A lot has changed since my last post. There’s nothing like a pandemic to show how small our world has become. Here in the Sacramento, California area things have changed rapidly. Many businesses have closed, events were cancelled and schools announced closures through March! Oh, yes, the stores are totally out of toilet paper!
Our Federal Government did little at first, with our president saying the Coronavirus wasn’t anything to worry about. Now the action is hot and heavy. So here I am sitting for my grandkids this past week (and enjoying it) while their parents were on vacation. They their way home now. The kids will be out of school for at least 3 weeks so I expect my photography time will be curtailed. That’s okay, time to finally get started on learning Photoshop!
A few of us did take off on Tuesday to visit the Sacramento Zoo. Again! Yes, again!! First, I enjoy it, and, second, they have added a training session with the Lions. This is from the zoo’s website:
Watch animal keepers perform daily training sessions with the African lions at the mesh of their exhibit. This positive-reinforcement training is to encourage natural behaviors that allow the zookeepers to perform voluntary health checks on the lions and build trust. Please note that this is a voluntary training for the lions, and they may decide not to participate on some days.
The zoo is now closed until March 31st or longer because of the Coronavirus. I’m so glad we got there before they did. Here are pictures from the Lion Training.
Confession: I haven’t been shooting much this month, except for real estate. I’ll admit that my abilities have grown in that niche, and I enjoy the challenge. Otherwise, I think I need something different to shoot. Tomorrow may just give me that chance. We’re going down to the Ironstone Vineyards, in Murphys to take pictures of their annual Concours d’Elegance, featuring old vehicles and their owners in period costumes. I’m hoping that will perk me up.
On a good note, I’ve taken the time to prioritize watching Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom course that I purchased a couple of years ago. I do like his teaching style. But, Matt, I need help on re-organizing my folders! I didn’t know what I was doing when I started Lightroom, and now I’m paying for it. The years are all mixed up and it’s difficult to find stuff. Marlene helped me, and we got it into months and then years. However, the new additions are not following any sequence! It’s just frustrating. I’d like to start over, but that would be worse. But I’m glad that I spent the time on the course. Next is Photoshop!
The small amount of time I’ve spent shooting hasn’t yielded any amazing photography, just some interesting pieces that I’m showing you in this post.
In this first set, Jean and I just wandered around the Sierra Foothills for interesting things. We didn’t find too much. Here are some:
Who can say no to 250 free photo prints? I can’t. So when Shutterfly posted this freebee with only one and a half days to prepare, I went to town and got the last quarter of 2018 sorted and done. It’s not like they weren’t organized. Lightroom and my desktop system is great for doing that. I just needed to go through them and pick the ones I wanted 4 x 6 prints of, and change the dpi to 300 for printing. Of course nothing is free. Their shipping is pretty high.
You’ve seen a lot of them through this blog, and I’ve printed some out for competition in the Sierra Camera Club. I print 4 x 6 prints for scrapbooking. It’s a great feeling to have 2018 completed. However, 2019 is totally void of pictures! I’ll be going out shooting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, maybe I can learn some of Photoshop this weekend! I’ve been told to delve into Photoshop, I need to shoot less and edit more. That’s a great goal for 2019!
In the meantime, here’s day 4 of the Kauai trip. Going along the south shore, we visited the Spouting Horn and Po’ipu Beach. When we were in the town of Koloa we saw the Monkey Pod tree, the Sugar Mill Monument and ate delicious pizza for lunch. In the evening, we went to Smith’s Garden Luau. The grounds were beautiful and the food delicious. After dinner we sat in the front row so we could have a great vantage point for shooting pictures. But, a crop sensor is just not that adaptable to low light situations where there’s a lot of movement. Marlene’s mirrorless camera did the best.
I have discovered Color Efex Pro, and I love it. I love it just as much as I do Silver Efex Pro which I use all the time when editing for black and white. I don’t edit my photos that much because I still have not gotten into Photoshop or other programs. So, these presets are a great way for me to give my images a fresh look and a start at creativity. I do work on them after I apply the preset.
I’ve been using Color Efex on my outdoor landscapes. You’ll see some of it when I start posting my Kauai pictures (I still have the last day to edit.). I can see the opportunity. I can compose the image. I can do the basic editing. But, when it comes to giving the image that creative touch, I’m unable to do it on my own. I can’t see the final image in my mind, let alone know how to get it there! In comes the preset or profile. They give me ideas to jump off on. Then, away I go. Maybe with practice, I can do it on my own in Photoshop with layers, filters and more.
Every year, I promise myself that I’ll get into Photoshop, but it never happens. Life takes up the time I’ve set aside. I remember when I ran my home-based business, and I actually blocked off office time. I’ll have to do that for studying processing. It’s not only Photoshop, I’ve got other programs that I haven’t learned.
Nothing! That’s what I did for a week after we returned from our month long road trip to Montana, Glacier National Park and Weiser Idaho for the eclipse. It took us a few mornings to empty out the trailer so we can sell it. It seems we came home just in time for a heat wave, so we only had the mornings to work.
I did gather up energy to shoot with my Toastmaster photo club, All About Photography Toastmasters. We went to IKEA because of the heat. If you remember, I had been there with my Tuesday group so I chose to shoot with my macro lens for practice. I can’t say I was totally successful, but I did learn. This lens has such a short depth of field, and that made it difficult. It’s a 105 mm so I had to stand far enough back to get what I was shooting in the frame and in focus.
Since the shoot, I’ve been working on the images and found the Photoshop filter panel. What fun! With no effort on my part, the software took my images of patterns and turned them into great abstract designs. I’ll show you the before and afters:
Before: A kite.
After: I think this may have been the zig zag.
Before: the back of a wood lounge chair.
After: the ziz zag filter.
Before: Another chandelier that I tinted green in Lightroom.
After: A tighter swirl pattern.
Before: Fabric on a couch that I angled in post.
After: One of the blur filters.
Before: This was a lamp shade.
After: The swirl filter and a change to black and white.
I may have been able to do more, but I was stymied with my limited knowledge of layers. Now I have to delve into Photoshop now that my energy level is back. I had fun with these.
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.