Discovery: Christmas at the Capitol Building, Sacramento

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.

In the meantime, I’m so happy with the Nik collection. Take a look at a recent outing to the Capitol Building in Sacramento and the beautiful tree on the front lawn.

Getting back into the groove: Sunflowers

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July 2nd. Has life been that busy for me? I didn’t think so! Now, with this post, I hope to get back in the posting groove. I may not have been posting, but I’ve been shooting.

And, since this is about the progression of my photographic journey, I’m proud to say that I now close out of most article-type tutorials because I know the information. So this means I need to focus on post processing. I keep saying that, but I truly need to carry through with it. I’m competent with Lightroom, but Photoshop is still a mystery. I’ll have to just make the time and get into it. Maybe that will take my photography to the next level.

But, on to the sunflowers, or sunnies, as we Sacramento photographers call them. The images in this post are from two outings. These sunnies were located near the small town of Yolo in Yolo County. Photo buddy Karen was our guide for both trips. One is in the morning and the other was at sundown. Of course, when I try to catch a sunset, there are no clouds! However, the flowers had that golden light glow.

Enjoy this post. There will be more!

Getting some exercise: Midtown Murals

One of the things I love about photography is the exercise you get both physically and mentally. Last week’s outing in Midtown Sacramento offered a major amount of both.

This was my third time out to capture the murals, and I tried to get a different slant on the paintings I shot before. Most of these were painted as part of “Wide Open Walls,” a festival held all over Sacramento in the summer of 2017. Some of the paint is fading already, while some colors are bright.

I also tried to capture some other sights like lines, patterns and textures. It was a fun morning with the Sactown Photogs. And of course, a lot of exercise!

 

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.

Gone, but we do have pictures: Lotus, Vedanta Society, Sacramento

You know what happens when one photographer posts a picture of something that doesn’t, last too long–we all go to shoot it.

That’s what happened with the Lotus located on the grounds of the Vedanta Society  Sacramento in Sacramento. They were so nice to let us go to their pond and shoot these beautiful flowers. I had never seen lotus in person. They are stunning.

We were back yesterday to check on whether the hyacinths were in the pond, and we found the seed pods that were left from the lotus. We also found some hyacinths, but that will be for another post.

So please enjoy these beauties. I’m so glad one photographer shared her find.

Lights, camera, action: Indoor light painting workshop

Frustrating fun! Do those two words actually go together? They did the night I attended an indoor light painting workshop given by Sacramento Photographers, a local Facebook group here in Sacramento. I love this group because they are willing to share knowledge, sponsor photo outings and will critique photos when asked.

The evening started with a slide show on light painting. They showed us how elaborate it can get and how integral it can be to photo composition. Then they showed us the “toys” or tools. They had bars with LED lights on them, steering wheels with LEDs, LED wands and more.

Our cameras were on their tripods and we were ready to shoot for the practical part of the evening. And, the fun began. The lights were turned off and we began shooting. First was an LED bar that was carried across the room in an up and down motion. Then we captured a rope that was spinning around as the person was walking in a tight circle. Our volunteer model was traced with an LED wand while wearing glow in the dark sun glasses. It continued from there.

The frustration came when they were showing us how to do multiple exposures. My ability to do this was not available in my camera because of its current setting! I couldn’t figure it out and neither could another photographer. He messaged me the next day saying it might be that I had left bracketing on. Sure enough–I had!

But it was an evening of fun learning. Now I have to make some of those “toys!”

 

Moon over…..: Attempting to shoot the perigee moon

I’ve often mentioned in this blog that it is about my photographic journey. I’ve mostly shown images I’ve done well, but I never promised it would all be beautiful. Sometimes you have to fail in order to learn. Such was the occasion when my Toastmaster Photo Club decided to take a field trip and shoot the perigee (super) moon.

We checked out the moon rise time, the sunset time and a good place to shoot from. But things didn’t work out. The moon that was supposed to rise at 5:34 p.m. didn’t rise until 5:54 p.m. By then we missed the blue hour and had to shoot in the dark. I learned in my previous moon shoot to use a fast shutter speed. This was also a super moon, but not as close to the earth. The moon did what it was supposed to do–Rise during the blue hour.– and I got this shot.

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But the perigee moon didn’t make its appearance until after the blue hour. We needed to slow down our shutter speed and I got this.

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The moon is totally blown out. In talking with other photographers, it was suggested that I could have taken two pictures. One to expose for the moon and the other to expose for the foreground and then make a composite. Another said the only way he could get the shot was to have a friend shine a large flashlight to create a blue hour simulation.

Needless to say, I was very frustrated. But, I did learn from the experience. The big lesson was to not expect things to go as they did in a prior shoot. Oh, I am still open for more advice. Please share your expertise in the comments section.

Now, I’m going to edit some images that will be pretty to look at. Hopefully, the next time I shoot a super moon it will turn out well.