Do as I say…..Kauai, Hawaii

Merry Christmas everyone!

I finally finished editing my Kauai trip. Two of my photo buddies, Laura and Marlene, went, using my time share condo. This was my first trip dedicated to photography, and I was grateful to have two great friends along. It seems I never stop learning.

I made mention of my trip in a prior post, and my photo blogging buddy, Donna Robinson of Donna Robinson Photography, said she was looking forward to my Kauai posts so she could get some great tips of what to do when she goes. Well Donna, I can give you tips on NOT what to do!

First don’t pack every lens thinking you may need them. Really, do you want to miss any photo opportunity Hawaii can offer? I packed 5 lenses and two cameras. You do need a second camera if one breaks! Fortunately, I had a case that just fit all that stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention a flash and loop.

Second, don’t pack anything heavier than you can carry. I decided to put my camera bag and overnight tote on a luggage carrier and wheel through the airport. This worked until it was time to get on the plane. Then I had to carry the camera bag, tote and luggage carrier onto the plane. This wasn’t easy for a 75 year old weakling. Worse, when we were trying to catch our connecting flight, I didn’t have time to load up the luggage carrier. That night, my hip hurt and was hurting through the entire trip.

Third, check the camera settings. I shot on JPEG the whole week! I’m blaming the fact that I didn’t realize it on being 75!

Last, make sure you put your new logo into Lightroom on your laptop!

So Donna, that’s what not to do!

We spent our first day traveling to Waimea Canyon, stopping along the way at various turnouts, enjoyed our first introduction to shaved ice at Joe Joe’s, went on to Swinging Bridge and then caught our only sunset along Waimea Canyon Drive.

Here’s day one!

 

This and that: Sacramento Zoo, sunset and roses

December is almost gone and I haven’t posted! But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shooting. On Dec 1st., Laura, Marlene and I went to Kauai, Hawaii for a week. This was my first dedicated photography vacation. I’ll tell you all about it when I finish editing the images.

I had a cold before I left and have been busy since I’ve been back. So, this post is a catch up on an outing to the zoo, a West Sacramento sunset and my very own rose garden.

I wanted to visit the Sacramento Zoo to see Coconut the new snow leopard cub and the new meerkats. I was fortunate to see Coconut out with his mom, Misha. Dad, Blizzard was out on his own for a while. Coconut is a bit mischevious as are all kids, and mom takes it in stride.

The meerkats are much smaller than I expected. After all, I had only seen them in the Lion King! Also, they were behind glass which made it more difficult to photograph them.

I also went by the Red Panda enclosure, hoping to catch one of them awake and moving around. Well, one had an eye open!

From daytime to an evening sunset at the Deep Water Channel in West Sacramento. We were lucky enough to catch a decent sunset without going too far. The roses?? I have a small rose garden in my yard, and they were beautiful one morning.

Have a look!

Go again next year? Water Lantern Festival, Folsom Lake

I saw the picture of the activity and thought, “I’d like to do that too.” The water lanterns glowed in the dark while their reflections glowed in the water. That’s what drew me into going to the Water Lantern Festival at Folsom Lake in Folsom.

Now, I do understand about expectations and how the environment can change our ability to get perfect shots. What I don’t understand is how an event of this size can be so mismanaged!

Arriving was easy. Photo buddy Ray and I got there about 5 p.m. (gates opened at 3 p.m.), parked in the second parking lot and immediately jumped onto a shuttle. This was easy. I was able to carry my camera bag, tripod, backpack, chair and dinner. We checked in and walked down to the beach, agreeing that getting right near the water was necessary for good photos. I took note, however, that the bathrooms were up at the top and the lake was down, leaving more beach to walk through.

We knew that getting that picture perfect photo wasn’t possible (didn’t keep me from trying) because of the wind blowing that day. So, we took pictures of our surroundings: families, kids playing in the water, anything that amused us. Of course, in the evening, I made the trek up to the bathrooms; I didn’t want to do that in the dark. We also got our lanterns ready for launching.

I think they started the kids games too late, because at dusk, they were still playing them and saying that the official launch would be soon. People being people started coming down to the beach to launch their lanterns before the official launch. Ray and I started shooting, hoping to get whatever we could. Slow shutter speed and a moving target just don’t do well together. It was difficult to get a single shot since the breeze had turned into a wind. Ray suggested I put the camera on “auto,” which I tried, but didn’t necessarily like. We did the best we could and decided to make the trek up the hill to where we could get the shuttle back to our parking lot.

Here’s where the worst began. We got there just as the shuttle left. It was about 45 minutes until it got back (Remember I was carrying my camer bag, backpack, tripod and chair.) with a load of people. I asked one woman where she came from. She said the parking lot. It took them 2 hours to get from the front entrance to the destination. We climbed aboard the bus which took us about 30 minutes to get to the very close parking lot because of cars leaving and taking up both lanes.

Once back to our car, another 30 minutes or more (I stopped looking at the time by then.) until we got to the entrance. So, would I go again? I don’t think so. One enjoyment from the evening are our photos!

 

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!

A cold a day, keeps the apple away: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

I don’t enjoy getting colds. In fact, I resent how they keep me from doing what I want. But, the reality is I did get one and it’s kept me home for a few days. But, I did get out for a quick shoot at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery which you’ll see in another post. You just can’t keep a photographer down!

In this post, you’ll see the second half of our all-day outing to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. It was a fun day with Laura, ending with a yummy Italian dinner with fellow photographers. One thing about photographers, we like to eat. Maybe it’s all that fresh air!

A disclaimer before I show you the Gray Lodge images: I may have put some of the birds in the last post on SWR. Things sort of get blended, birds are birds, and my last excuse is that I’m very senior in age. You know–the memory thing!

Enjoy some of the wildlife and scenery from Gray Lodge.

 

 

Rain relief: The Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, California

It stopped raining for a day, so Linda, Jean and I went off to catch the Fair Oaks Bridge in the golden light. Yes, we asked for rain in California, and we are getting it. The drought is officially over–at least in Northern California!

We chose Fair Oaks because it’s close and the sky looked like the clouds would dump rain at any time. It was a fun couple of hours. I had a chance to play with natural light and composition. It seems so easy now, and I realize that I’ve come a long way with my photographic abilities.

The bridge didn’t disappoint us and neither did the golden light. The next day, the rain resumed. I’m so glad we were able to get out for those two hours.

 

Lovin’ the Golden Hour: Gibson Ranch

I love that the Golden Hour comes early now that the days are shorter and we’re back on standard time. It’s sweet to shoot when the sun is low on the horizon, creating glows and shadows.

We were at Gibson Ranch Regional Park in Elverta recently to catch the sunset. Before we got to the Park, there were abundant clouds in the sky. However, by the time the sun was setting, the clouds had vanished, leaving just small wisps.

When you visit this Park, you’ll find chickens, peacocks, various birds that feed in the pond, and you may even see a horse or two. Horses are boarded at the Ranch, and frequently you’ll see them being groomed or ridden.

And, everything looks even more beautiful during the golden hour.

 

 

Da Bear: Lake Tahoe, California

It took 30 years of camping before Richard and I saw a bear in the wild. And, it took our first day in Lake Tahoe for us to see one fishing! Yes, I did get pictures, but with just an 18 – 140 mm lens, I wasn’t too happy with the results. But, it was exciting.

Marlene and I were there because another photo buddy Jayne had reserved a 3-bedroom time share condo and invited members of the photography community to join her. Unfortunately, Marlene and I were the only ones who were able to take advantage of her generosity. I remember last year I couldn’t go. We were to be there three nights.  However our trip was caught short a day.

The bear and Taylor Creek was our first stop during our visit. We got there late in the afternoon and walked the path to the Profile Chamber where visitors could view salmon. However, once we got there we had 5 minutes before closing and there weren’t many salmon. It was on our way back to the car that we saw the bear. It was a good thing that it was concentrating on fishing and didn’t care that a crowd of people were close and shooting pictures.

In this post, I’ll show you the bear, the rest of Taylor Creek and a cloudless sunset at Nevada Beach. It’s just amazing to me that you wait 30 years to sight a bear and within hours at Tahoe, you sight one.

Out and about Sacramento with my camera

I’m beginning to take my camera with me whenever I go where I think there may be something to shoot. Now, a trip to the grocery store, well there may be stuff to shoot there too. But, recently I was a trainer for Toastmaster officers down in downtown Sacramento during the lunch hour. So, I brought my camera. I should have brought lunch too.

My Toastmaster and photo buddy Bob and I took the light rail downtown where parking is difficult. While waiting for the training to begin, I practiced on manual, promising my fellow Toastmasters that I would delete the shots–I did. After the training, which was held in a cafeteria without food or vending machine, Bob and I walked to a nearby light rail station hoping to find something to shoot and something to eat. I did have an opportunity to shoot a memorial to slain police officers and a sculpture of a wife and daughter who had lost a husband and father. I also found some Mickey Mouse statues in a museum. We stopped in there to see if the gift shop had any food. We were desperate.

A couple of days later, I was chasing a sunset at Gibson Ranch with a couple of other photographers. The day before the sky was on fire, but I didn’t know it until it was dark out and photographers were posting their spectacular images on the web. Although we didn’t have the cloud cover of the night before, I did get a decent one-cloud shot.

So here are my images of being out and about with my camera.

 

Out and about with Goose: Dry Creek Falls and Gibson Ranch

Photographers are willing to go out and about whenever they can and they are willing to help.  “Goose” Simmons has been a big help to me. I recently went out during an evening with him and shot on manual until I realized my GPS was stolen. Then I went back to aperture priority.  I was too upset to think. I think I was so excited to be shooting with Goose that I forgot to lock my car. I won’t forget again!

Tonight, I’ll be learning how to shoot the Milky Way, and I hope I’ll be posting some great images for you soon. Meanwhile here are some (because I ended up with more than 20 shots I liked) shots from my outing with Goose.