I enjoy our weekly challenges because they help bring back memories of fun photo outings. And, as I dig way back into prior years, I see how my photography has improved. This week Patti has given us the letter “S” and suggested many ways we could post on it.
I just dove into my archives and here are some memories that I enjoyed re-visiting.
In 2018, Marlene and I went with a Meetup group for a photo walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It was a wonderful day topped off with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (There aren’t any in Sacramento!). On the left is a probable homeless man sleeping on a bench. On the right is a sightseeing bus with lots of tourists. What a dichotomy of life.
Also taken in 2018 is a sunset with sunflowers taken in Yolo County.
I know that Sandhill Cranes like to gather in the middle of a field which puts them out of reach for my prime 300 mm lens. I go to photograph them because sometimes they are closer to the road. In fact one year they were beside the road. I remember yelling at Laura to stop the car while we were in the middle of our side of the road. No other car was in sight and I got great images!
This time Ray and I were joining two other photo buddies at Woodbridge Ecological Preserve to catch the Sandhill fly in. I knew I would have trouble getting them even with my 300 mm lens. I actually thought since we were meeting at 3:30 p.m., we would be driving around for about 45 minutes, and maybe we could catch some of them closer to the road. We didn’t drive around!
We spent the entire time at Woodbridge. The Sandhills were there, but in the middle of the field. Too far for me. I tried with my Nikon D7100 which performs poorly in low light. That’s the camera the big lens fits on. I started taking pictures, but wasn’t happy with any of them.
So I thought, what’s 100 mm less? I learned it means a lot! But my Fuji is much better in low light, so I took it out and started shooting with a 55 – 200 mm lens. I would have gone home, but I wasn’t driving. Since I had both cameras on burst, I had a lot of bad photos to go through the next day! The Fuji managed to get a few okay Sandhill images and a nice mostly cloudless sunset!
So there you have it! Lesson learned; ask what the agenda is for the evening! Those pesky Sandhills.
I’m sure we’re all waiting and hoping for new beginnings right now. This pandemic is getting old and depressing. We need some sunshine in our lives. This challenge from our guest host Ana of Anvica’s Gallery, is about sunshine and how it helps us get through difficult times with a little self help.
Here’s what she says: “Not every day can be wonderful. There are times in life when suffering is there, for many reasons, and it is difficult to overcome. Those moments are part of life and no one gets rid of them. But how we live those situations and what we learn from them, is within us. Although a pleasant ray of sunshine always helps, right?”
However, in photography the sun helps us in many ways. First it makes shadows for us.
Here comes the sun, doo da doo doo Here comes the sun It’s all right It’s all right
Yes, one of these days, it will be alright especially if we do some self help. Oh, if you look for the song, try to stream the Richie Haven’s rendition. I’m playing it now, and I’m feeling better. Thank you Ana!
Did you ever have a problem only to be sent around in circles? Unfortunately, I’m writing this post just after encountering a problem with Luminar.
I’m licensed for Luminar 4, and in the short time I’ve had it, I love it! I get an email regarding what looks like an update to Luminar 4.3. Great! Not so great. Once I install the update, it tells me I downloaded a free trial. If I have a license, put it in this box. I copied and pasted my license number in the box, and it says it’s not associated with my email.
I try a few more things, and finally it says that license number is associated with my email! In frustration, I tried to get a hold of tech support. The chat box opened. This chat is computer operated–no live person at the other end. To make a long story less long. The chat bot, as it’s called, gave me instructions that either didn’t work or sent me in circles. I’m currently waiting for a tech support reply. Do you hear my screams??
Okay on to Old Sacramento. We went down there for a sunset. I was amazed at how crowded it was, and many people weren’t masked. That made me a little uncomfortable, so I tried to stay away from people as best I could. There weren’t any clouds, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to replace the skies with Luminar. It worked well, and for the most part I was happy with the results.
Here are some before and after shots.
This was the first one I did. A photo buddy suggested moving the cloud so that it wasn’t directly over the tree, but since it was a Luminar sky, I couldn’t.
And finally, this image got me into the trouble today. I was looking for a tutorial on cleaning up a sky replacement, but first went into my email. I should have gone to the tutorial first. This is the Tower bridge. I liked the sunset sky, but the second tower seems to have the sunset sky run through it. If anyone has a suggestion how to eliminate that thin bit of sky, let me know!
Luminar had nothing to do with this last image; just mother nature and a boat.
I’ll let you know how I make out with Luminar in another post. Maybe my next one! Hopefully in my next post!!
I love these challenges because they get me thinking about how I shoot. This week’s Lens-Artists challenge is from Patti Moed and is on symmetry.
I mostly shoot asymmetrical because I find it more pleasing to my eye. However, I do like to do macro shots of flowers and tend to fill the frame in camera. When I do shoot symmetrically, it’s usually a road or building. Again, this is mostly institutively since I don’t have any art training.
So, with that in mind, here are my examples of symmetry.
Thanks again Patti! I loved this challenge, and I’m looking forward to next weeks’.
Honestly, I’m not much of a birder, that is a photographer who loves to photograph birds. But I do like to get out during the season and do my best to capture some of our feathered friends. A great birding day, for me, is when I can photograph our amazing bald eagle. I recently went on an all day outing with Laura, who is an amazing nature photographer, to four wildlife areas within 2 hours from home.
From there we went to Llano Seco Wildlife Area near Chico. We had never been there and were surprised to see just one viewing platform. I took the opportunity to do some landscape photography:
From here things get blurry in my brain. I should post these blogs when I’m fresh from the activity! We were out on January 11! I think these birds are from Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. It’s much smaller than Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, but there were photographic opportunities:
Our final stop was Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gridley. The sun was beginning to set and we caught a golden glow on the birds and landscapes. The mountains in some of the landscapes are the Sutter Buttes. For sunset, we went to our favorite spot in the area to photograph a spectacular sunset:
So this was the beautiful end to our fantastic day! Could it get any better?
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!
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.
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!
Kite flying was popular with families.
This was definitely an activity for families.
There were a few hopeful photographers.
The kids enjoyed the cold water.
Oh well, you know what kids do when near water!
I got a close up of a kite.
He’s building something.
The beach was crowded.
The music stand and where they played the kids games.
Disclaimer: I’m not an artist.
I’m a wordsmith.
These are the feelings I had while there.
Getting ready for launch.
Ray is taking a shot of his lantern.
Boys are posing with their lanterns.
A lake shot.
I was ready to take the shot when the heart lantern began to move away.
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.