A rain break: Capay Valley Ranches

Finally, a Tuesday with just the threat of rain! This was great timing since Yolo Arts and Ag had scheduled time for artists at Capay Valley Ranches in Capay Valley. This organization provides artists access to various ranches and farms in Yolo County. Painters will bring their easels, brushes and whatever medium they use and photographers bring tripods and cameras.

They let us roam the venue at will, giving us the opportunity to get great images and to get a feel for what life on a ranch is. Capay Valley is home to almond orchards. The trees are normally in bloom now; but with the cold and wet weather, they are not in full bloom.

This was disappointing, but we made the best of it, and enjoyed the partial sunlight. Oh, the wind was furious and gave us an additional challenge! I love my walk around 18 – 140 lens. Even with wind, it can stop action.

Here are some of my images from that windy, cold morning. It was great to be outside without an umbrella!

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!

Betwixt and between: Yolo Bypass

We’re still not moved yet. I can’t say this is the worst move we ever made because the move to this house was equally traumatic. Moving is about the most emotional change you go through. There’s sadness about leaving a home you loved and happiness about building a life in another. Right now, I do feel betwixt and between. Richard and I talk about “home” and have to qualify which one!

In the meantime, I’m able to go on photo outings. This blog is about Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (also known as the Vic Fazio Wildlife Area). I was there a month ago, but each time is different. On this trip, the hunting area was open so Laura and I drove through it. We saw more wildlife than on the regular driving route. Maybe they knew they were safe at the time!

Right now, photography gets me away from a house that’s missing furniture, a house that’s being painted and floors being put in, and the stress of it all. I did pack my camera cases, but not my cameras and gear. Yes, for me photography is great therapy for the moving blues!

Here’s the latest from the Yolo Bypass. Again, my bird book is packed, so no captions!

Ya gotta love them: Sunflowers, Yolo County

I got my sought after shot this year–a sunflower field so dense that when you shot over the top, all you can see is yellow. Thank you Karen A. for scoping the fields out. And thanks to a step ladder! Yes, I’m sort–too short to have gotten the image without a little help.

I remember in past years going crazy to find sunflower fields, only to be there too early or too late. This year things were different in Yolo County.

I’ll make this a short post so you can see them. Oh, what did I learn? Patience prevails and always have a step ladder in your car trunk!

Hope these make you smile!

 

You never know what you’ll find: The Sutter Buttes

Tuesdays may be a designated day, but you never know where we’ll end up. We decided to drive around the Sutter Buttes. Formerly known as the Marysville Buttes, this small mountain range is a small circular complex of eroded volcanic lava domes that reside in the flat plains of Sutter County. And, you never know what you’ll come across when you journey around them.

The first stop was Mary’s Chapel. This is a sweet, small chapel and cemetery in Yolo County. It was interesting to walk through and read the head stones. The chapel was closed, but is still used sometimes.

I did this drive a couple of years ago with Laura and we found a farm with unique animals. That farm is still there. This time two other women were amazed. The most curious animal was one that looked like a donkey/zebra! We didn’t know what to call it!

More driving. We found the almond trees had almost lost their blooms and color. The hillsides were deep green and the sky partly cloudy. We took a tour of Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, but didn’t open a window. The mosquitoes were so thick; but, fortunately, Karen’s car window on the passenger side was fairly clean. We did end up catching a sunset near an almond orchard–the perfect end to a fun, adventurous day.

 

 

 

Rising from the ashes: The Woodland Opera House

We were so fortunate to be invited to tour the Woodland Opera House recently. In fact, the tour was given by the Board President and fellow photographer Karen Alexander. With me, Marlene and Rita in attendance, she began our tour with a history lesson.

Built in 1885, the opera house was the first of its kind to serve the Sacramento Valley. However in 1892 a fire destroyed the building which was rebuilt in 1895/1896, using materials from the original structure. The Opera House flourished until 1913 when, with declining ticket sales, the theater closed. It remained unused for almost 60 years. In 1971 it was purchased by the Yolo County Historical Society, declared a state historic park in 1976 and was deeded to the State of California in 1980. Restoration work continued, and the Opera House reopened in 1989.

Today it is a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. And, it is active, holding productions from September to June, running a summer youth theater camp and a Young People’s Theater Program that runs throughout the year. They also provide school day low cost ticket prices for students for current productions.

As we continued our tour, Karen explained how they tried to use original furniture and seating during the restoration. This resulted in a beautiful, small theater where there are no bad seats. Our backstage tour brought us down to the green room where actors gather when not on stage. Dressing rooms were located on either side of the large room. Karen also explained how the lighting and staging was done.

It was an amazing few hours. And, it was amazing how this opera house rose from the ashes twice–literately and figuratively. Take a look!

Rain, Rain–stay don’t go away! Knights Landing, part 2

Yes, its been raining here in parched Northern California. And, we do want it to stay. Gem (my dog) and I got caught in it while we were out for our morning walk. He got slightly confused when I wouldn’t let him stop, sniff and pee. He doesn’t mind getting wet, but I do!

This post is dedicated to my friend and outing chauffeur Greg who was hospitalized last week. He’s so cagey that he hasn’t let the doctors diagnose his symptoms yet. However, he is feeling better and is back to his old sarcastic self. In fact, our Knights Landing trip was the last one he was able to attend. I’m glad he’s feeling and doing better. Either Marlene or I will be driving for a while, but we will still have him guide us in back road adventures.

In my last post, I promised to show you images of Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk and Marina. While the name sounds fancy, the place is not. This is a place to have good old fashioned fun. Mostly operating during the summer months, folks come here to eat, listen to music, camp and enjoy the company of good people. It’s also a photographers dream. Marlene and I shot handheld, but Greg shot his usual HDR on the tripod. I’m looking forward to seeing his pictures when he’s up to it.

Why is this place a photographers dream? It’s full of surprises: a small boat in a tree, a bus sawed in half with each painted, a grandstand decorated with outboard motors, and lots of small collectibles. Even though it was mid day and the stage was empty, I had fun, and the owner/manager was gracious and easy to talk with. And let it rain!

So, take a look at Stingrayz on the Sacramento River.

Minor surgery, my foot! Woodland, California

You don’t tell a type “A” wanna be “B” person that they will be walking and driving after three days. On day four after surgery on my right foot’s big toe joint, I was already frustrated. The truth was, I didn’t truly walk or drive until a week after  the September 8th surgery, and I’m still having trouble doing both today–October 1st.

Both Gem and I are yearning for a nice walk. And, I’m yearning to get out and shoot. Thank heavens I have wonderful friends who understand my limitations and help feed my soul. I’m able to driving shoots. We go to towns, park, shoot, get back in the car, drive, park and shoot. Even at that, I get tired and wait in the car. I know I’m whining. But, I believe I’m entitled to!

It has affected my images also. I try to concentrate, but have a difficult time doing so. With this in mind, Marlene and I went to Woodland for a short visit. We were out about three hours, including lunch, and found enough to shoot in that small town. It’s Yolo County’s seat and has some fun stores and a beautiful old Courthouse which is now closed. We will go back, because there was more to photograph and it is close to Sacramento. Maybe by then I won’t need to whine about foot surgery. I may also have made the transformation to a type “B” person!

Urban art: Midtown, Sacramento, part 2

Wow, what a busy photographic weekend. But, you’ll hear more about my Saturday and Sunday outings soon. Now, I want to finish up on my visit to Midtown, Sacramento. Midtown is not a separate city, but a community within Sacramento. We have the various directional communities (north, south, east) and in the middle is….Midtown! West Sacramento is in Yolo County and is a separate city. Sacramento City is in Sacramento County.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, here are more images from last week’s visit.

Frozen: Shooting and light painting silos at night

Night photography–a lot of fun and a great learning experience. The only problem with night photography is that you freeze. And, there’s more than one way to become frozen. This time we went along Highway 99 in the Yolo County area to shoot the full harvest moon, the sunset and light paint silos. We met at about 6:30 p.m. and didn’t get back home until 10:45 p.m. We’re an adventurous bunch.

The first set of silos were located along the Sacramento River. As soon as we began setting up our cameras we knew it would be cold. It was a cold wind that blew across the farming area, and soon the physical “frozen” set in. We caught what we could of the moon and sunset and then moved to another vantage point to shoot the silos. I’m slowly getting gear for night photography. I have a couple of light sticks which don’t throw much light and a nifty new flash light that has range when it’s on white. Now I have to get gels to cover the flash light, and I can light paint on my own.

I became mentally frozen when it became dark and we started shooting long exposures. I couldn’t figure out how to dial in the right shutter speed! I stood there becoming more and more frustrated when one of the photographers finally helped me. Once he showed me what to do, I was set for the rest of the night. Yes, frozen in two ways! I think I should have started this hobby 15 years earlier!

All in all, it was a great night. By the time we got to the second silo, the wind had stopped and it was warmer. I had a lot of fun at the second silo because our coordinator had talked to the owner, and we were able to walk around the grounds. A couple of cars and workers were there also.

Night photography is fun, but bring a lot of layers because you don’t want to get frozen.