Seeking quiet: Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville

I was seeking calm quiet before shooting a Toastmaster Division Contest which took place in Vacaville. I found a park, with a lake, that seemed to suit my need. I imagined serenity and a place to shoot. A bonus would be a nice place to sit and meditate before I went to the contest. That would be wonderful after driving an hour to reach my destination.

On any other day, Lagoon Valley Park might have fit my requirements, but that afternoon the park was busy and noisy. The local high schools must have been holding a cross-country track meet complete with runners, parents, teachers and school bands. So I didn’t get the rest I was looking for, but I was able to shoot scenery and some of the runners.

After my park visit, I went to the contest. And, found a challenge in the small crowded room. I did my best. My Toastmaster district has a photo site at You can visit and see what we are up to when we’re not seeking quiet.

Photography, art, both:Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville, CA

I follow many terrific photographers and learn from their blog posts. Reality hit when I read a tutorial by Leanne Cole, Australia. I met Leanne in person last year when she was in the States and visiting in Saratoga. I thoroughly enjoyed the day of shooting with her. Back to her blog post on inserting a sketch into a picture. I’m not going into the details of how she did it, but what emotional reality it stirred up for me.

I followed along with the tutorial until she came to the point of putting a shadow under a thumb. I would never had thought to put a shadow under the thumb. She explained it was necessary because of the lighting of the over all picture. Lighting? I would have never thought of that.

A former member of my All About Photography Toastmasters Club said that the way to become a better photographer is to study the famous painting masters. At the time I thought that he was just into art more than me. Now, I understand.

Photography as I do it, is just photography. I choose to shoot a scene I like, compose it, shoot it and do minimal editing. I edit until I like the picture, having no prior knowledge of art. I work on highlights, shadows, etc. However, a photographer who is an artist understands and can do a great deal more.

As a recent example, I posted a picture I shot at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville asking which was better the color or black and white.

Although most of the votes were for color, I was drawn to the black and white.


Three respondents in favor of the black and white, suggested I lighten the bridge to draw the eye into the image. What? A great photo buddy, Karen, changed it for me and I could see what they meant. So I re-edited the image and lightened the bridge.


Are you more drawn into the image? I learned that a dark foreground stops the eye and a lighter foreground draws you in.

Art is not natural for me. I’m sure I can learn some things, but I’ll never be an artist. And, I’m okay with that. I love the photography I do. I’ll just keep learning from the terrific photographers I follow. It’s just another turn in my photographic journey.

I’ll post the rest of the images from Lagoon Valley Park in my next post.