What a lucky shot for me. This is a Great Egret, not to be confused with the Snowy Egret which has a black beak and yellow legs. I do often see them hanging out in fields or right at the edge of fields where the irrigation ditches are. And yes I've tried photographing them before but they're never in good lighting or a nice backdrop. I stopped at a red light this morning and here was this bird right out the passenger window! So I quickly rolled down the window, turned my camera on, and got just one photo before the light turned green. Also lucky that my camera settings from yesterday were exactly right, because I didn't have time to make any adjustments! I pretty much knew this would be the photo I'd go with today, so it could have been a Chased by the Light day, but I did practice with the camera some more after that. I have to admit, I do feel a little flighty; one bird shows up out my window, and my form over subject matter project is tossed aside without a thought! But that's because this is my first egret photograph success! I'm considering working up a business card for my blog. I don't think I'll use this photo, but compositionally it's the type of photo I need. Plenty of open space in the center for my website info :) f/4 at 1/1000, ISO200, 185mm.
On days when I'm busy around the house I tend to try to get my photos on my walk with Clover, and get really tired of seeing the same things over and over. I decided to try narrowing down how I see. Or maybe broadening it, depending on how you look at it. I decided to be less subject driven. So today I was looking for a curved shape with a good value spread (white to black). The tree is backlit, and I converted it to black and white just to focus on shape and value. I'm happy with how it came out. f/4 at 1/1600, ISO200, 135mm.
This is a photo I've been wanting for a while now. I tried it last year near sunset, and didn't like the results. So this year I decided to try near sunrise at a farm just a few miles from my house. The volume of tomatoes harvested around here absolutely amazes me. After photographing I had a chance to talk to the foreman, and he told me that this field is yielding 46 tons per acre. This field is small, only about 40 acres. I wonder how many acres in the Central Valley are planted with tomatoes each year. Also he said that this yield is low, because it's the fifth straight year that tomatoes have been planted here. One thing I wish I'd done differently about this photo is wait until the truck was almost full, because it would be a lot more colorful. I also wish I'd taken this photo when the harvester was still a little closer. This was my 80-200 lens so I don't know why I waited until 145mm. Oh well...maybe a photo for next year. f/4.5 at 1/4000, ISO400, 145mm.
Ok, so I have a variety of thoughts on this photo. For starters, I thought this sky looked just like the Simpsons opening scene sky. That's what made me pick up my camera here, and almost made me late to the dentist this morning. A Simpsons Sky seems like a fitting photo today after a great Season 23 Premiere last night! As an aside, I'm not a Nedna fan; I think Edna and Ned are best as a forever single and widower. Other photo thoughts: I'm aware of this interest in photographing clouds right now. Also I can see I'm going through a phase where I place the horizon line low in the sky. How long will this last? I'm wondering this myself. f/8 at 1/1600, ISO400, 80mm.
Amazing clouds today all the way from Salem, Oregon to Sacramento. And no one in the car but me, so I didn't have to feel guilty about stopping as often as I wanted to photograph! I like this photo of Mt. Shasta because it's so overcast on the foreground and cloud, and so bright on the mountain. And also I think the cloud makes it look like a window view of the mountain, or like a curtain going up. A few years ago we went to see Mount St. Helens on an overcast day. We sat through a presentation in an auditorium, and when it ended, the white screen lifted revealing an enormous picture window looking out on Mount St Helens. Only the view outside was unchanged. Just white fog! Not so with this dramatic curtain. f/11 at 1/500, ISO400, 86mm.
I'm still playing the tourist here in Seattle. Today a visit to Pike Place Market. When I was here last year I got the iconic photo of the market sign, but this time I wanted a busier market photo. I went with this one because it had the richest colors. And everything looks so yummy! The only part I really don't like is the plastic blueberry box in the lower part of the photo. f/2.8 at 1/320, ISO400, 26mm.
Guess this is the companion photo for yesterday. Similar placement of ground and sky, anyway. Taken from Gas Works Park on the far end of Lake Union, it's a nice Seattle skyline. I was thinking it might be a little too dark, but maybe it gives it a nighttime look while still having a blue cast to the sky. I picked this one because the windows were the clearest when I zoomed in. It was slightly breezy so it was hard to keep the camera steady for a longer exposure! f/8 at 1.6, ISO200, 55mm.
This photo is the closest to a Jim Brandenburg Chased by the Light photo that I've taken in a long while. That's because I only took six photos today, and all of this same basic scene. We're on the road, driving as far as Portland today. Several times I saw a vista point pull off, opted against it, and then noticing the view in passing, regretted my choice for the next half hour! And for an hour we followed this river of clouds up into the mountains until finally I just decided that I'd pull over at a lonely exit and make a few photos. My issue with location choice (it was a lonely exit; I'm not even sure what was there...a ranching road, maybe?) is that the foreground was really unattractive and I couldn't include it in the photo. So it's just distant hills and mostly sky, and so I don't think the photo is properly grounded. Also I've got some spots in my sky. My lens was really dirty so I'm hoping that's what caused it. Tomorrow will tell. f/13 at 1/320, ISO200, 22mm.
The final Cruise-In of the summer and I'm happy to say I had a tough time chosing between three photos tonight. And I liked all of them better than my last month's photo. Not that I'm looking to become a car photographer. Just looking. One thing I will say about the Cruise-In, it always seems to land on the 100 plus days around here. And it starts at 5pm which is the hottest time of the day. So I spend my time wandering around a sweltering asphalt parking lot with the sun glaring off lots of shiny chrome, and I think I'm becoming conditioned to sweat when I see old cars! At least looking at photos of old cars reminds me of being really hot.
f/8 at 1/320, ISO400, 55mm.
Fort Point lies just under the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge. In past trips to the bridge I've always viewed the fort as a photo nuisance because it got in the way of my bridge photos. But today we actually went in the fort and walked around, and wow, was it worth it! I definitely could have spent more time exploring all the rooms and passageways. It's a pre-civil war fort, completed in 1861, and the last major stone masonary coastal fort built in America. f/8 at 0.62, ISO400, 17mm
This one falls into the category of photos I'd like to take again. We were just leaving the Apple Hill region outside of Placerville when I saw this pretty scene. The sun was going down so fast though that I didn't dare change my lens because it would take too much time. But I'd like to take this shot with a wider lens. Just to the left of this scene was a black stallion. I didn't even notice him until two golf carts came by, one after the other, and both drivers asked me if I was photographing the black stallion. So I tried, but the fences and colors were just much prettier with the barn and grass in the shot. f/5.6 at 1/200, ISO500, 80mm.
I'm iffy on this one right now. I like the white; expecially the variation of white tones. Still no Imogen Cunningham. I wanted the focus to be sharper overall, but for a closeup I have to use my macro filter, which by design causes things to fall out of focus. This photo was taken about 6pm and the daisy was starting to close for the night. That's why the edges are so fuzzy; they're just too close to the camera. This daisy, which caught my eye because from a distance it looked like the center was black, is only a block over from my house. So I came back with my tripod to try to increase the depth of focus with a high aperture long exposure. Unfortunately the tripod stood the camera up too far from the daisy for a close up. f/5.6 at 1/30, ISO400, 35mm, +10 macro filter
Ok, so I have a lot to say about this one. When I first moved here last year I was really confounded by the summer sky. I've said it's like the movie, Groundhog's Day. Everyday the same flat blue cloudless sky. And from a photographer's perspective this is difficult. Clouds help a photo. So I found myself cutting the sky out of the photo all the time, which bothered me. Then I noticed some artists in Sacramento who paint scenes around here and they leave a large part of their canvas flat blue. I thought it was a really strong use of negative space. Plus this is actually how it looks around here. So making a strong photo that shows the sky was on my photo bucket list this summer. Enter the hot air balloons. So far this year they've been blowing towards Vacaville, but today they came my way. And I took A LOT of photos. I chose this one because it's got the most sky, and the sky color came out really nice. f/11 at 1/800, ISO400, 112mm.
Cross country meets are definitely exposing me to all the regional parks in the area. Today I was at Elk Grove Regional Park watching a meet. There's a huge man-made lake in the park, and the center looks like a tropical island. You can almost imagine a castaway sitting under one of the palm trees waiting for a ship to pass by for rescue. This dad and son were cooling off in the shade, and I thought it made a strong picture. f/3.5 at 1/1600, ISO100, 185mm.
This abstract was made at the same park. I love this photo too and can't decide which one to use. Probably because a water abstract is something I've been working on for quite a while and this is the best I've gotten. My one regret with it is that I didn't use a higher aperture so it's clearer at the edges. The scene is actually a reflection of a bridge (white picket fence style). The ripples are made by ducks this time. f/5 at 1/1250, ISO400, 200mm.
I know that huge flocks of geese fly around the West Davis Pond every morning, and land with a ruckus at around 9:15. What I can't seem to do is properly time the dog walk so I'm already at the pond for the landing. Another near miss today. It's a fault of mine, but I'm not a patient photographer. I don't want to wait around for half and hour for the geese to come in, so they really have to land while I'm walking past. Maybe I'll catch this in the near future, but I'm posting it today anyway because I like this composition. f/4.5 at /1000, ISO400, 200mm.
Yesterday I noticed the first passionflower of the season blooming on a vine along my walking route with Clover. So today I went back with my macro filter intending to make a flower photo. I was happy that these bees had noticed the flower too. They are interesting bees. First they're the size of big black jelly beans. Also you can hear them buzzing about 15 feet away. They're not that fast either. Probably because they're so big. I've never seen one of these bees caked in yellow pollen like this. Usually they're just plain black, like the bee in the background. I think the pollen adds a lot of color to the photo. f/5 at 1/800, ISO400, 26mm.
This just seemed like a nice photo for today. This was actually taken from the Starbucks across the street. Bill and I were hanging out in the cushy chairs when I noticed the flag glowing in the morning sun on this happy little house. One of the main things I remember about the days just after 9-11 was all the flags flying on houses and cars. f/2.8 at 1/200, ISO100, 200mm.
I think at first glance this photo looks like an impressionist painting of an Italian villa. On closer inspection it has the look of a generic office building around here, albeit a dreamy version. I rotated this photo 180 degrees; we parked right near this pond for today's cross country meet at Granite Regional Park. The pond was very calm, with geese swimming around the edges and making just the tiniest ripples. I kind of wish I had some other reflection to work with, but the building was here, and that was that. f/5 at 1/400, ISO100, 92mm.
Eric and I had a fun trip exploring the shops and restaurants in San Francisco's Chinatown today. I struggled with photos though. Maybe because it's such a visually overwhelming place? Maybe because we weren't there long enough? Not sure. One of the things I found my eye drawn to were the lanterns and flags strung across the streets. This photo is looking up at strings of these colorful lanterns on the store front of a shop called Peking Bazaar on Grant Ave. f/8 at 1/500, ISO400, 50mm.
Not bad for a day's harvest from my tiny garden! Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. Plus a few pepperoncini. Maybe it looks a little small in my new harvest basket, which is ambitiously sized for the day when I have a big garden. Still it makes for a pretty harvest, I think! At first I wasn't sure I liked the lighting variation on the basket. This photo was made about 10am this morning in a shady spot in my backyard, and I couldn't get the lighting even. Looking at in now, I like it more. Especially the part on the left where the light shows through the weave. f/5.6 at 1/30, ISO400, 17mm
So if I don't love this photo, at least I love this little horse! She has the coolest coat and hair-do! (Mane-do?) Like she's channeling her inner zebra. The thing is, I drive this road all the time, and I never noticed her before. I'm usually looking to the west side of the road for sunset photos, and she's on the east. Today I went out early to my farm stand for tomatoes, and her mane was just glowing in the early morning light. The hallelujah chorus might have been playing in the background too. Of course when I came back up the road she was out of the sun. She's very friendly and came right up to me, but there's a metal fence so I need to photograph her from a distance or else photograph her through the fence, which I don't want to do. I know I'm always talking about going back for a photo, but I really am going back for this one. If I'm lucky, she'll be radiantly glowing on the blog soon! f/2.8 at 1/320, ISO100, 120mm.
There were three or four scrub jays staking out territory in the trees in front of the co-op today. They like the seeds, which are visible behind the bird's tail. This one posed and paused long enough for me to photograph. I like the partridge in a pear tree look. I don't like the trunk along the left frame, but if I try to crop it I either lose the tail or the upper branch, so I think it has more balance uncropped.
f/7.1 at 1/125, ISO100, 200mm
We picnicked tonight at Lagoon Valley Regional Park. I was figuring on taking a much more "valley oak" type of photo, but I made the mistake of sitting with my back to the sun as we ate. So all of a sudden I realized that the sun was going down and my camera was in the car! Luckily there are hundreds of geese swimming around here. Usually in big groups like this too. So I ended up with an m.c.escher type photo instead. Since this is an after sunset photo, I'm thinking maybe I should have overexposed a bit more to make the "white" parts a little whiter. This is not a black and white photo...that's just how the light was. Pretty flat actually. Thank goodness for the pretty patterns on the water and that nice geese formation! f/5.6, 1/400, ISO400, 105mm.
A fun trip today to see Chalk It Up! at Freemont Park in Sacramento. Artists are chalking up the sidewalks for three days over Labor Day Weekend, raising money for local children's art education. Very cool art work all around the block, so it was hard to chose a photo. I liked that the artist was working here, and that you could see the photo he's recreating with his chalk too. f/8 at 1/1000, ISO400, 55mm.
So I'm officially a cross country mom! Today was the first meet at Lagoon Valley. One thing I can tell I'm going to like about cross country is the pretty locations where they race! This photo was taken near the start. After this the course wound through two hills, like the ones in the background. f/5.6 at 1/1600, ISO400, 105mm.
This blossom was a bright spot on the pavement during my walk with Clover this morning. It came off the tree that was overhead, but I'm not sure what kind of tree. I'll have to look up next time! Also at first I was thinking that if I waited a minute the blossom would be completely in the sun, but then I realized that it was actually moving into the shadow and I'd better hurry and photograph. Sitting at the computer now I'm wondering why it didn't occur to me to just move it over an inch or two! f/3.5 at 1/1600, ISO400, 200mm.
I spent midday in downtown Sacramento today. Not a likely photo time for me, but the office building reflections caught my eye. They warped like fun house mirrors as I moved. And the reflected light came out really bright and strong, so I think it turned out to be a good time to do this photo. I love how the imperfections in the glass turn the reflected building into a Picasso version of itself. f/5 at 1/800, ISO400, 145mm.