I’m crowing: UC Davis Arboretum

Yes, hens sometimes crow like roosters. My neighbor had one. So, I’m crowing because I’ve noticed vast improvement in my photographic skill level.

I happened to be looking back at the photos I took during our cross country trip in 2013, and I was amazed at how poor some of the images were.  Some challenges had to do with composition, but most with processing. I knew little about each! But that’s how I learn–by doing.

In fact, that’s why I started this blog–to track my progress. My followers are great in motivating me and cheering me on. Thank you everyone. Looking back, the most significant tool for me was doing the 365. Having to shoot a photo a day for one entire year taught me many lessons.

While I’m bragging, Richard is looking into his wallet because I told him he had to take me on another cross country trip to retake some pictures. Well, he’s really not looking for cash; he just gave me a stare and said NO!

Now I’m printing some images and gaining more valuable information. Once I understand that, maybe I’ll tackle Photoshop. Digital photography is not easy to grasp if you don’t have a technical mind, which I don’t. I’ll continue to learn and share those experiences here.

One of my favorite places to practice is the UC Davis Arboretum, It’s not far, in Davis, and is great for macro, landscape and telephoto shots. Just choose what you want to concentrate on and bring that lens. This results in a great learning curve. This trip I shot with my 18 – 140 mm lens.

Here are some samples from that visit. I didn’t see any crows though, just a horse in their horse barn, but I’m still crowing.


Restoration: UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, part 2

She’s getting gussied up–well is an arboretum a female? The UC Davis Arboretum, in Davis, is a rambling 3.5 mile, 100 acre, garden along the banks of the old north channel of Putah Creek. It’s open to the public 24/7 at no charge (except for parking). As I mentioned in the previous post, half of the arboretum is being restored after our winter rains.

Even as we walked the west side, we saw benches being sanded and re-stained. The low water level was the only noticeable detraction during our visit. As we strolled, there were snowy egrets to entertain us. We found out they do get aggressive when it comes to one thinking another’s rock is a better fishing spot!

There were still some landscape opportunities also. In today’s photos, you can see how low the water level is. Although they did clean out all the algae that covered the water last year, making the creek look like it was carpeted in green.

I also like to people watch when I’m there. In this post, you’ll see the birds, landscapes and people. I’m hoping the restoration doesn’t take all summer. It is a nice place to go and relax.


Best therapy, photography: UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, California

I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, I told myself that I probably shouldn’t go. But, I knew I wasn’t contagious, wanted to go, so off I went with my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group to the UC Davis Arboretum. Located on the UC Davis campus, the arboretum draws people of all ages to walk, ride their bikes, picnic, study and take pictures.

I was warned by my friend Laura that they were in the process of restoring half the rambling arboretum and the water was low, but we decided we would go anyway. We knew the flower garden would be there. I took the majority of my images there in the small garden. The flowers were beautiful.

Laura was right, in some areas the water level was so low that you could see the ground beneath. There were less birds, no turtles, but it was still pretty in some areas. At least the red buds were blooming, adding their rich pink color to the landscape.

Because I wasn’t feeling well, I turned back earlier than others. Karen A. (We now have two members named Karen and both were on the outing.) walked back with me. The others came back in two’s. We were probably shooting for two hours.

The next stop was lunch–isn’t it always. So, I’m wondering whether it was the photography or the people that made me so anxious to go when I knew I should have stayed home?

In this post, I’ll show you some of the flowers. In part two I’ll show you some of the birds, landscape and people I was able to photograph.


There’s never enough of a good thing: UC Davis Arboretum

Its beauty changes with the season and its only about 1/2 hour away. After Laura, Linda and I left the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, we went on to the UC Davis Arboretum.

I’ve been there several times and have posted images. But, there’s always something new to be found whether it’s wildlife or plants. We go there to walk and shoot, but there’s more going on. From their website, here is what they have and offer to the general public:

The loop is 3.5 miles, and you’ll find people walking and riding bikes. Families enjoy the scenery, bring picnic lunches and you can find students studying during school. And, it changes with each season.

This trip, we caught the last of the Fall colors, a few birds and the crisp cool air. Take a look.





A full day of beauty: The UC Davis Arboretum, the people

I love street photography, but I’d rather it was candid. I know that’s the more difficult way to go, but it tells a better story. Fortunately, it was a weekend and the people were out enjoying the weather and beauty of the UC Davis arboretum. There were families, students, runners, cyclists, and many more. I’ll tell you about each image in the gallery. If I have room, I’ll also put in some odds and ends that I either forgot or didn’t fit into my three categories.

Some street photography!

A full day of beauty: The UC Davis Arboretum, the landscape

I’d like to think that the arboretum put on a fancy dress just for Laura, Marlene and me when we visited last week. However, I think we were lucky to catch the area in its glory. Spring had come, and beauty was everywhere, wildlife was out and people were strolling along the creek.

In my last post I explained that the arboretum is a 100 acre park that borders Putah Creek. About 17 gardens have been planted along the creek, giving variety to the eye and much to shoot for photographers. I also promised a three-part post with the second showing the arboretum’s landscape and the third–the people.

In this post, I’m showing you the landscape as seen through my eyes. I’m not going to caption these images since there are a lot of them. So, enjoy the beautiful creek, trees and shrubs. After all they dressed up just for us!

A full day of beauty: the UC Davis Arboretum

When you’re in or near Sacramento, California, you’ve got to visit the UC Davis Arboretum. Laura, Marlene and I walked the approximate 5 – 6 miles around the area, stopping for lunch. Even though I carried my cameras on a two-camera sling and everything else in a photo vest, my back was protesting during the last third of the trip.

The arboretum is a 100 acre park that borders Putah Creek. About 17 gardens have been planted along the creek, giving variety to the eye and much to shoot for photographers. I don’t know whether I’m just getting better at my craft or whether the gardens were beautiful even though it wasn’t spring yet; but, I do have a lot of photos to show you. So I’ll do it in three parts. Tonight I’ll show you the wildlife, next the landscape and finish up with the people.

The arboretum wildlife consists of birds, turtles and water fowl. And, they were pleantiful when we were there, especially the egrets. I’ve always seen one or two at the arboretum, but there were more that Sunday. No more words–here are the images.


HDR: my first images

I finally did it! Yes, I downloaded some HDR software and processed my first images. I didn’t do much more than their presets, but it’s a beginning. Thank you photo buddy Jayne West who gently pushed me into taking bracketed shots on two separate outings. That gave me some photos to work with.

Why did I wait so long? I thought it would be too difficult to learn. But, it wasn’t–at least loading in the photos, choosing a preset and modifying the image slightly. I know the program, Photomatix Pro, has many more features, and I’ll learn them in time. In fact, we will be heading to a star gazing party for four days/nights in Adin California. It’s a cute small town so I’ll have more opportunities to practice HDR. I’m also going to try to do some night sky photography. I printed out many tutorials just in case we don’t have cell reception. Did I mention that we are dry camping in a cow pasture!

Since I finally did it, here are my first three HDR images. All advice is most welcome.


UC Davis Arboretum: beauty so close

With two rivers, the Sacramento and American rivers, winding through the valley, the greater Sacramento area has a lot to offer photographers who want to capture local beauty. One such place is the UC Davis Arboretum. I’ve posted images from this garden spot twice before. The last was taken during the winter when nothing was blooming, but we were able to capture the golden hour lighting which added so much to our pictures.

Now, it’s summer and plants are blooming even though we are in a drought. Fortunately, the entire arboretum runs along a stream and is somewhat shaded. Each section has different plants. This week, my photo buddy Jayne and I went to walk it. It wasn’t as pretty as the first time I saw it. Water was plentiful then. I love this arboretum because you can keep going back and see different things.

I’ll be returning before the summer ends since we only walked about half the arboretum. It is so great to have such a wonderful place close.

U.C. Davis Arboretum

Some of us learn our lessons in a difficult way. I’m one of those people which is why I named this blog Slow Shutter Speed!

Yesterday, my friend Jean and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum. Fortunately we went at the golden hour before sunset because in winter the arboretum is stripped of its colorful beauty. However, the position of the sun and the still water, gave us beautiful shadows and reflections.

I brought along my two cameras and new sling. However, at the last minute, I decided not to hook on the D3100 and a telephoto lens. The last time I was at a photo shoot here, there were no birds–nothing really to shoot with a long lens. Mistake! Of course there were three birds and a hang glider!!

By the way, the sling was so comfortable; there was no need to switch it to the other shoulder. I’m also slow at learning the D7100. Things keep coming up, but the David Bush book I ordered should be coming today. He is so much easier to understand than the manual. I am becoming comfortable with the camera and the extra 1/2 pound weight doesn’t seem to bother me.

Now, back to the Arboretum which borders a creek. It’s an easy walk, and plants are along side the road. Even in winter, it’s a pleasant place to visit. In fact, we passed bicyclists, runners, dog walkers, drummers, and folks just conversing. I plan on visiting again in the spring, maybe in the early hours to catch the sunrise glow. Oh, yes, I’ll be carrying both cameras. By then I hope I’m a pro with the D7100.

Some of my images are in the gallery.