Merry Christmas: Sacramento Capitol Building

Somehow I’m procrastinating and haven’t gone out to shoot Christmas Lights. It’s been cold here and that’s why I haven’t propelled my body out of the house. But, we did got to the California State Capitol building to shoot the Christmas tree, and since it was during Chanukah, the Menorah on the Capitol steps by Chabad. I was a bit disappointed that the Menorah wasn’t lit that night.

We got there early enough to go inside the Capitol and take indoor photos. I’ll show you some. The rotunda is beautiful. Next we went outside to set up. Here’s where I learned another lesson! Don’t go on an outing with a preconceived idea of what you’re going to shoot, and just shoot that. Look around, there may be something behind you!

When I finally looked around, I was able to grab a shot of Capitol Ave leading to the Tower Bridge with light trails. Most of my group walked a ways down that street.

My friend Jean will be getting her new camera a couple of days after Christmas, and the houses will still be colorful. No more procrastinating! Merry Christmas everyone.

 

In a funk: Fireworks on July 3rd

There’s nothing like fireworks and photo buddies to get you out of a funk. We’ve all been there. You know, you feel blah. It was a 2-week funk for me. I went shooting and tried to process the pictures. I was almost caught up!

During the summer, our local minor league team, the River Cats, shoots off fireworks after every Friday night home game. I probably would have skipped the fireworks so close to July 4th, (especially since there would be other evenings of fireworks) but my All About Photography Toastmasters Club was going, and so was I. We met many photographers from the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group too. Actually it ended up being a fun evening.

I was going to try shooting with two cameras. One would be set up on bulb and the other to shoot regular. But, at the last minute I decided to shoot with one. I tried putting it on bulb with a remote trigger, but didn’t like the results. I took it off of bulb and took out the trigger, shooting individually.

I have some of those shots to show you today. Yesterday on July 4th, we had our usual block party, and I was wearing my camera. One of the guests asked me if I was a photographer, and I said, “Yes, I finally feel I can say I’m a photographer.” That was a defining moment for me. I’ll show you some of those too, but they are not super since we were losing light, I didn’t have a tripod, etc. Also, I didn’t shoot the small fireworks because my dog is totally afraid of the sounds. So we watched TV while the others watched the fireworks show.

And, I’m out of the funk!

 

The waiting game: Fireworks after the River Cats Game

While the minor league baseball team, the River Cats, play baseball, we photographers play the waiting game outside the field. We’re waiting for the game to be over so we can capture the fireworks show. How long do we wait? It depends on how great the game is!

Once a month, the River Cats shoot off firework after a home game. I did this last year, with better success; however, I had help. This evening I was on my own, testing various settings. I wasn’t alone though, there were photo buddies along from the Sacramento Photographers. 

What did I learn? I learned that once you set up and have a great composition, don’t move the camera. When the fireworks started, I saw that the second grouping was further away from the main group of fireworks than I remembered from last year. So I quickly turned my tripod. MISTAKE! I would have done better to edit the smaller grouping out of the pictures and had a good composition. I lost the bottom of the bridge. So I cut in close during processing. If I didn’t mention it, you’d probably think that’s the way I meant it to be.

But, you’re reading this and joining me in my photographic journey. Maybe you’ll be able to learn from my mistake. I’ll be down there again to play that waiting game. It’s all a learning process.

 

Shooting in the dark: Fireworks and light trails

I love it when I learn, and I did learn when we went to shoot fireworks. I had good luck when using my old point and shoot by putting it on a special setting. It did all the thinking. When I tried to shoot fireworks with my D3100 it was a mess. I just didn’t know how to set the camera and I didn’t have a tripod.

Fast forward a year and a half, Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group is going the shoot fireworks–A chance to learn. Our local minor league baseball team, the River Cats, have fireworks after their home games. We used the Tower Bridge to set the stage and waited. During that time, Mary, the group’s organizer, gave us a lesson on how to get the best images.

And then they started. We were all anxiously pressing down the shutter button. The show was short and we did our best. I was happy with what I got. What I was not happy with was my camera’s processing length. With a short show, every second of processing time seemed like minutes.

Afterwards, we went to capture some light trails. Since I’ve done that before, I was able to help two other women succeed. So the student became the teacher!

I do love both teaching and learning.

A fun time with the peeps: Sacramento’s Tower Bridge at night

Yes, I’m trying to learn the new lingo. That’s one of the reasons I retired. I couldn’t keep up with the “20 and 30 somethings” colloquialisms, and it was time at 69 years! Hanging around with the peeps from Sacramento Photographers, a group on Facebook open to people who like photography, was fun.

I went out to the Tower Bridge with the intent to put my camera on manual, shoot with it on manual and get some light trail shots. I accomplished my task and also did some HDR. I don’t know why I didn’t shoot the HDR shots on manual rather than staying in my comfort zone at aperture priority. There’s always a next time.

Hopefully that next time will be with the Sacramento Photographers. They have one event a month, and the members are eager to share and help. They will also go out and invite the group at the spur of the moment like last nights activity. I’m looking forward to going out with the peeps again.

 

Shooting RAW

I was totally embarrassed–but not really. I’ve come to accept that in the Shoot or Go Home photo Meetup group, I’m a novice. But I did think there would be a level playing field when I went to the Lightroom workshop yesterday evening. I was wrong. I was amazed at the level of these photographers. For me, it meant there’s more possibility for my growth.

So what was I embarrassed about? I was the only one in the room shooting JPEG! When I was asked why, I just replied, “I’m afraid to!” But, I did promise to shoot RAW from now on. What was I afraid of? I didn’t know how to process RAW! With Lightroom, it’s easy. I sat through the three hours just amazed at what this program could do in the develop module. It even corrected buildings that were leaning due to the wide-angle lens distortion. Of course I could have also done this in PE9, but never took the time to dig through the manual to learn how. It was easy with Lightroom.

In my last post, I said I was going to try to straighten out the Tower Bridge in Sacramento. I did and I’m posting it tonight along with some other Lightroom vs. PE9 edits. What a program–shooting RAW from now on!!