Dr Marm never without my Nikon!

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A Look via Lytro, Light Field Camera

As most of you know, I am dealing with a back and neck injury.  Difficulty with carrying weight and DSLR and gear do not mix well.  My current lens of choice, anything Lensbaby.  Muse with Double Glass Optic, for those fellow Lensbaby fans is a blast with my Nikon D800E and has been  on it for weeks!

About a year ago at the annual Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, I saw a weird box of a camera…I wish I could remember the name of our walk leader, as the camera was his, he was kind and shared it with others.

Little and Fun

Little and Fun

It is best known as a camera you can set the focus point after you take an image.  Can also have multiple versions via focus from one image.

The only downside for me is the lack of processing in other programs than the very limited “Lytro Filters”.  I can use the images anywhere and share on Facebook with ease, but can not send image to say, Lightroom 5 and then post in Facebook and be able to focus after the fact.  I lose that capacity.  My photographer persona is having a tough time with this.  On the good side, it forces me to be really selective in my shooting and what image I get to start with.  Slow down and really take in the scene.  Good time to reflect and learn better habits–that is a win-win.

Another manner to share images outside of the Lytro Program is by copying the embedded code for the image.  For my techie friends, you know circles and circles of knowledge, this will be my first attempt at copying and pasting a code…

A month or so, I was in the Bay Area and joined up with a fellow Nikon shooter, Ben Tang.  We went to Berkeley Marina and I had time to bring out my Lytro.  Just sitting and looking at the boats bobbing in the water.

These are the first Lytro images I printed and I love the results…only used the Lytro filters and was quite surprised at the end products.

https://pictures.lytro.com/DrMarm/pictures/742080

Tilted Mast

https://pictures.lytro.com/DrMarm/pictures/742078

Film Noir Effect

https://pictures.lytro.com/DrMarm/pictures/742068

Line Art

In order for the focusing after option, you need to make certain you are shooting with that setting.  Easy to know–blue line around your image.  Another plus is having a distinct  foreground, middle, and background.  If just 2 points–that can still work.

This is from a local park along the American River.  Click on the plant/flower and watch the morphing image…click on the background for change in view.  The second image is not one I would have shared, aside from the transformation of the changing focus…but grew to like it!

https://pictures.lytro.com/DrMarm/pictures/742083

Along the American River

https://pictures.lytro.com/DrMarm/pictures/742086

Eye of the Beholder

I did the Old way of copy, cut, and paste…then noticed an icon that I could click and choices were Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Embed.

Awesome and easy!!  (OMG, easy to do!!)

This is with the “glass” filter–reminds me of ice.  In actuality, this image was a tree in a parking lot where I had an appointment.  Arrive early and take pics!

As of today…can get Lytro on many websites, including Lytro.com and Target (only place for pink color) Best Buy, Apple Stores, and a few more spots.  Search for prices.  I got the 750 image for 100 less than advertised.  (Amazon has since changed the price…)  Happy shopping and shooting!

Found! Old Pictures of Shiner, my first dog

You know that moment…when you open a box you don’t remember packing and find beloved old and tattered images?  Or, in the year 2013—find an old Memory stick you have and open it to find lost images.  Well, my moment was the later and I found a file of images I put together for my parents 45th anniversary digital picture frame.  I organized the images around the early 90’s and they go back for a couple of decades.

My first dog was Shiner P. Midnight.  I got her when I was in college.  One of my friends got a puppy and it was adorable, we got one from the same litter, so–enter Shiner.  The breeder told us she was a purebred Cocker Spaniel and I had naive thoughts of breeding her and making money.  One of my professors had a REAL Cocker Spaniel, and he did not believe she was really a cocker…

Ears Flopping

Ears Flopping

I attended Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington.  Shiner was the first dog that was mine and not a family dog.  She traveled well in the car, on planes, camp bus, you name it!  After graduation, I moved to Indiana to direct an Outdoor Education School and Shiner came along.  My Mother sent her a dog sweater, since it was so cold and she spent time outside–wherever I went, she went.  If she got miles for her plane trips, she certainly would have earned a nice trip!

One time, I returned to Indianapolis after spending the holidays in California–and went to the special baggage claim and there was no Shiner!  I must admit to going from 0 to hysterical in a matter of seconds…the flight we were on was continuing on to Boston, Massachusetts, which is where she ended up.  Then, she was flown back to Indianapolis and put in an Airline Van and delivered to me in Bloomington, Indiana.  After that adventure, I didn’t fly again with her.  Also, if I knew then what I know–would not have shipped her so many times!

On for the moment

On for the moment

Shiner didn’t like wearing her sweater.  I would let her outside and she would return a few minutes later–usually without her sweater.  She figured out that going into the briar patch caught her sweater on the branches and she could get it off!

My job in Indiana was seasonal, so we would return to California for summers and I would direct a summer camp–then, she became the “Camp Dog”.  She loved to play fetch with rocks or a ball, not really particular.  When she was a puppy at camp, the kitchen staff would take their breaks and try to hit the camp bell with a rock.  This is where Shiner got her fetish.  They would throw it and she would bring it back…

This image was taken by a photographer that would come up once a week to take pictures.  I decided I wanted to get one taken with Shiner.  Apologies to the original photographer…have no information…or, would give proper acknowledgement.

Not going anywhere

Not going anywhere

What is not visible in this picture were the moments preceding the shot.  As soon as I got Shiner on the swing, she leapt off my lap and took off for the lake…I caught her before she went swimming and hiked back up to get our picture taken.  You may note how much my fingers are holding her–no more leaps!!

Spoiled?

Spoiled?

There were a few occasions when I went somewhere and couldn’t bring her.  She was properly spoiled…under a blanket with my Mother.

She even made her own doggy door by shredding the screen on their sliding glass door…so she could go in and out as she pleased…

One thing my parents and I never got along with was politics.  I canceled one of their votes and have continued to do so.  Decided I couldn’t resist this plastic dog toy of President Bush…and then, made sure to pack it for visiting her “grandparents”.  My Dad thought it was entertaining, Shiner was happy, and got quite a few laughs.

Democrat Dog

Democrat Dog

Bay Window View

Bay Window View

This picture was from Christmas in Northern California.  The San Francisco Bay was visible from the Bay Window in my kitchen, loved this little one room house on the hills of San Leandro.  Good times and memories.

One morning, I was getting ready to go out to visit camps–my real job as a Professional Girl Scout.  Normally, Shiner would wait at the door to ensure she was going.  I noticed she wasn’t as excited and her urine wasn’t the right color, so I dropped her off at the vet and went to visit the closest camp.  I talked with the vet, only to find out what she had was life threatening.  Autoimmune Hemoletic Anemia, it took 21 days for her to get better, including 4 days on life support at UC Davis and a splenectomy.  My parents helped a little with her bills and we had 6 more years together.  As Shiner aged, her eating waned, so I started making her Doggy Meatloaf.  She loved it.  I fed her on a towel, as her legs could go out from under her on the vinyl flooring.  My cat, Tucker also enjoyed the meatloaf and would happily help Shiner with her meal.  Included ground turkey, chicken hot dogs, frozen veggies, bread crumbs and eggs.  Although it was all food I would eat, I chose to not taste the dog food!

Homemade Dog Meatloaf

Homemade Dog Meatloaf

It has almost been 20 years since she went over the Rainbow Bridge.  I still have her collar hanging from my rear view mirror and have to smile when her tags jingle when I hit a bump or a sharp curve:)

One of my favorite memories is driving to camp with the top off my Suzuki Sidekick and her ears flapping in the breeze as she sat in the passenger seat!  She would even stay in the car when the top was off and I went into the market.  Many more stories and beautiful memories!

How to Create Enjoyable Images with Ugly Sky Conditions…

Had the pleasure to shoot briefly with a friend that rented a Nikon D800.  I had been drooling over his D700 when we met around 3-4 years ago–seemed only fair it was his time to check out a new camera that I am so fond of!

Taking Advantage of subjects nearby on the water

Taking Advantage of subjects nearby on the water

Although the Sacramento Area has 2 rivers and a couple of lakes near by, it is SO different to be along the shores of the San Francisco Bay with no waves.

Berkeley Marina

A Little Saturation

Most of the boats were alone with their sales wrapped up and covered.  The reflection of the bigger boat caught my eye when I was looking and walking around.  Our access was limited, as there was a locked gate only available to Marina members with a key.

Big and Little Boats

Baby Boat and Big Boat! Theme: yellow!

The glare from the sun made this image more difficult, so I kept shooting in continuous high mode  as the bird moved across the sky.

Drifting In

As Afternoon Fades,  the Boats Return to the Marina…

This was actually the first time I even took my Lensbaby Muse off my camera–since I got it about 2 weeks ago.  I kept seeing locations that would be better shot with my Lensbaby.  I will admit, the newer tag of, “See in a New Way” fits

Golden Adventures

Lensbaby Fun– Focused on the hull of the boat

Once again, the bird caught within the same frame as the sailboat–I couldn’t resist!  I also liked this composition better with the shore rocks and the breaker behind–may “move” the bird & update this after I visit Photoshop CS6.

Gull and Sails

A Trace of the San Francisco Bay Bridge–far left through the haze/fog

The yellow boat draws your attention right in.  Lack of wind allowed the reflections to show and be a bit more dramatic trip to the marina.

 

Idle Sails

Found another boat with a great reflection…

Another view of sailing–a bit closer to the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Sailing In

Another view through the haze with Treasure Island and the bridge beyond

Think this is my favorite view from the day.  Framed Sailboat via the marina parking lot.

Shore to Ship

Framed View Low haze

Thanks again to my friend, Ben for driving me around, so I was able to shoot and not worry about a conflict with my meds.

 

Lensbaby Lens Lessons

Hmm, you know it has been too long since your last post when you have to reset your password!  I dislike how sophisticated the password resets are…we won’t count how many times it took me to make one up that worked…or, the likelihood I will remember it next time I want to post a blog…time will tell:)

With the start of the official Fall season, I am sad to awaken to darkness–but constantly looking at the trees all around town and checking their colors.  Living near Sacramento, which is “The City of Trees” and seeking fall changes means my eyes are checking out every parking lot as I drive by.  Some Maple and Sycamore trees have red and the Walnut trees seem to have little patches among the branches of orange.

I have been enjoying a return to the Double Glass Optic and using an old favorite lens to many–but new to me, the Lensbaby Muse.  So exciting to be challenged with a new lens and fun to see the results.

One of the best attributes for me, is the fact Lensbaby Lens are lightweight–for now, my biggest concern due to back and neck injuries.

I happily gave up carrying a purse for a photo bag, so I would always have my Nikon with me and not miss opportunities.  This means I am very content to get out of my car and check out views from various parking lots!

We are just getting a little bit of color in town…here is a shot from a tree surrounded by concrete.

All you need is a little spot of color!

All you need is a little spot of color!

One of my favorite locations is 5-minutes away by car.  I do not visit there during the summer, as it is pack jammed with happy rafters on The American River.  But now, I can return and run into very few folks.  Just perfect for reflecting and shooting.

The seemingly foggy image is taken using the Zone Plate Optic on my Lensbaby Muse.  The Pinhole/Zone Plate Optic uses Litho film which creates the hazy effect.  My original subject was the weeds in front taken with a Plastic Optic.

Artistic haze due to Zone Plate optic

Artistic Haze

A Little Prickly

A Little Prickly

Our water level is low due to no real rain to measure yet this calendar year.  Hoping our fall and winter are wet.

A View among branches

A View among branches

A final view to share of The American River.  This location is accessible by car, parking just a few 100 feet or so away.

Slippery when wet

Slippery when wet

Happy Autumn or Spring, may you enjoy the colors that come with your season!

Nest Preparation

While waiting for the Amgen race to “whoosh” though Olema, CA was distracted by a little flutter and thought I’d share what I saw with you!

These images were taken with my Nikon D600 and severely cropped in Lightroom 4.

Don't think anymore will fit!

Don’t think anymore will fit!

Just perched there for a minute or so…

Under the Eve, she rests and waits

Under the Eve, she rests and waits

Nice to see the delivery.

Here it is, dear!

Here it is, dear!

Not as crisp as I would have liked, but going for the complete story!

Nice to see both birds contributing

Nice to see both birds contributing!

Just to show how much I cropped, which explains the noise–here is the original size…

Complete View

Complete View

This eve is above the same apartment room we stayed in, which was literally, “above” the town deli!

I will admit I tried to open the window screens--would have been a super view to shoot the Amgen!

I will admit I tried to open the window screens–would have been a super view to shoot the Amgen!

The Deli even opened early for folks to get coffee!

Great place to visit!

Great place to visit!

This “room” is part of the Pt. Reyes Seashore Lodge which was built in 1988–this building is MUCH older!  The grounds were full of such beauty–another blog to come!

Beyond Comfort Level–Portraits

For anyone who knows me, I am thrilled to be outside shooting with my Nikon.  My preference has been exploring the outdoors which, I believe goes to my Girl Scout roots at summer camp!  My experience with models is limited, so I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and shoot some portraits, with people as my subject.

Here are a few shots from extending beyond my comfort zone.

I have learned how much value comes from having specialists for Hair and Make Up…sometimes this is an option, and other times, we depend on our models.  The first two shots are an example of being able to admire the talents of great artists and their results.  This was a photo shoot with a “Meetup.com” group.

Meetup Event

Sweet!

Niki is a dedicated Body Builder and shares her hard work in steep competitions.  Thanks to Andy Brooks for setting up this outdoor shoot and the lights.  Always fun to learn from a talented friend!  For more of his work visit his website at:  http://www.blueturban.net/

Dedication and Results

One of the Sponsors for Niki as she works towards her dream

Another shoot, but indoors with models that have tattoos.  A special “shout out and thanks” to Tommy and his artists from “Fat Cat Tattoo” located in Carmichael, CA.

Backlit with a flash mounted in a Hotshoe

Being on location and getting creative is certainly an important skill to have.  Kudos to Andy for seeing this shot and the models willing to hop on up in the window of the tattooing station.

Details and Art

Two views to bring attention to the tattoo art on their arms.

Art and Eyes

What I enjoy about the world of photography  is there is always something to learn and expand your ability level.  I was able to attend the Look Fabulous Tour with Lou Freeman and Lindsay Adler.  Such a wealth of information on working with lighting and models.

I chose this day to use my D800E and the 50mm 1.8 so I wouldn’t have much weight while shooting.  Here are shots of the 3 models we worked with.  I will share another post with additional pictures.  Truly a fabulous experience!

Such a wonderful model with tons of initiative!

Such a wonderful model with tons of initiative!

She has a reflector in front of her to bounce the light on her face.

Bounced light on such a beauty!

Bounced light on such a beauty!

You can see the reflection of the two softboxes in her eyes.  Barely much room between the two boxes for my camera, but made for brilliant light.

Head shot

Head shot

Look forward to continuing to learn more and expand my comfort zone!  One piece of course is that I now have new items on my “wish list”  lights, pocket wizard, beauty dish…to name just a few thoughts to start the wishing process.  Willing to accept donations at anytime:)

One Poppy Plant

The time has changed–we have “sprung forward.”  The sun sets later, our days are getting longer , which always makes me happy.  Equally exciting is that spring is springing with the blooms and blossoms in Northern CA.  Just beginning.

I have started my watching for Golden Poppy plants at the American River.  Eventually, the hillside will be covered with Poppy plants and Lupine, but not yet.

There was one plant blooming with the river in the background.  SO–one plant, made the most of it…

Lonely Poppy

Lonely Poppy

The beauty and complimentary colors of the poppies and green grass just makes me smile and be thankful that we have such any spring growth. We have such a lacking of rain, believe we are more than 8 inches below our norm at this time of year.

So, I was thankful there was one plant with blooms and took in the beauty to share!

Half and Half

Half and Half

We did have rain on Easter morning, not too much–but any rain is fabulous at this point!  Felt bad for anyone celebrating the holiday with any outdoor activities, rain was gone almost as soon as it came.  Love the clouds and stormy views!

Storm Watch

Storm Watch

More dramatic sky view!

Wide Angle

Wide Angle

One last view to tide you over–I realized that the header on my blog is exactly what I am hoping to find once again.

First One...then more

First One…then more

Pelican Synchronized Swimming

In Sync

In Sync

Amazing to watch these American White Pelicans in sync.  I have seen four pelicans in synchronized movement, but never this many!  They were full of grace and many cars pulled over to see them gliding through the water.

As a child, I was not very athletic and not that coordinated.  So, of course I found my attention on the one pelican that was out of sync.  What a character! It was entertaining to watch him up when all the others were down and vice versa.

What?

What?

Down or Up?

Down or Up?

The one did manage to get into the groove as they continued to amaze their audience!

In Sync

Together

Fun and so stunning to see these large birds be so graceful!

There was another…that got out of sync, still a beautiful scene to enjoy!

We were on the car loop of the Yolo Bypass, certainly an enjoyable outing and I can not wait to return.  Such a treat to see amazing birds.

Another Challenge

Another Challenge

Jessie is 4 Months Old!

I really had forgotten the joys of having a puppy…

  • Getting up in the middle of the night
  • Sharp teeth and teething
  • Puppy laundry–cleaning bodily fluids from indoor surfaces
  • How quickly they grow!
  • Undying devotion and trust
  • First bath
  • Puppy shots
  • Eating EVERY plant and organic item in the yard
  • How inviting kitty litter actually must be

Just some of the fun moments I have been able to enjoy since we picked Jessie Girl up on January 10th.
Early photos–look at how little she is.   Weighed just over 3 lbs. when she arrived and I believe she is almost 8 now.

Name then...No, no, Drop It

Name then…No, no, Drop
It

The best surprise was finding a picture with our beloved Roxie in it–we lost her 3 days later to The Rainbow Bridge.  One of the worst moments of pet loving and ownership.  Jessie will have the blonde coloring of Roxie when she matures–note the rapid changes her appearance has gone though in the past two months.  Cairn Terriers that are Red Brindle are much darker at birth and the dark hair changes to light over time.

Day 3 hanging out

Day 3 hanging
out

So Mighty

So Mighty

Playing with Riley 2 months later…they play non stop and love one another!
There was just one day when they didn’t get along.  Apologize to Riley for a bad reputation on Facebook.  He is a loving boy and learning how to be the alpha dog.  We pretty much have a “Puppy Bowl” 24/7 and it is a joy to watch them tumble and tug.

Open Wide

Open Wide

Riley tuckered out after a long play session!

Nap Time!

Nap Time!

For Jessie’s 4 month old birthday on March 8th, I decided she needed a bath–she did not agree and I believe I almost got wetter than she did.

She worked diligently on drying off–with Riley watching.  Think he was just glad he didn’t get one!  (He visits the groomer for that!)

Riley supervising a very wet Jessie

Riley supervising a very wet Jessie

A few close ups…as I was trying to get “birthday pics” of Jessie, Riley was quite the “Photobomber” insisting he be the focus of my lens–so I obliged!

Aw, look at me

Aw, look at me

Pay Attention to Me!

Pay Attention to Me!

My Best Side

My Best Side

Here are a few of the favorites I have already shared previously on Facebook, but I thought I’d give another dose of cuteness.  Thanks to all for being patient and viewing the puppy…again!  Gonna guess there will be more pictures to come:)

9 Weeks Old

9 Weeks Old

50mm 1.8

50mm 1.8

Yes, A Dress!

Yes, A Dress!

Roxie in the Background

Roxie in the Background

Cairn Terriers

Cairn Terriers

Crocker Art Museum Visit

We have many local and smaller museums in the Sacramento area. After living here for almost 20 years, finally visited the Crocker Museum and fell in love with the art world. The museum has recently been expanded and a new wing added.  Previously, I had little exposure to enjoy other art mediums besides photography. Just thought I knew where my interests and focus really were.

The new exhibit featuring landscape paintings by Kondos is entitled, “A Touch of Blue”.  It opened on Sunday with a preview on Saturday for members. What a grand experience it was becoming acquainted with Gregory Kondos and his landscape work of our local areas. This is the first chance and exposure for me to see and really appreciate paintings of the Sacramento River, vineyards from Napa, and his Yosemite work. Looking at his paintings and knowing specific places where he stood to create his scenery was awe inspiring and empowering. Equally impressive was seeing the presentation of his work and the massive changes the gallery made to set up such a complimentary space to feature his paintings.

A benefit was the chance to not only view his work, but one could purchase his book and meet him face to face for his signature. What a kind soul…imagine it was a long day for him, meeting and greeting folks that appreciate his talents.

It was an honor and pleasure to connect with him for a few moments. Mr. Kondos was so polite and patient!  I was taking photos of him and the signing process, as we waited in line for our turn. Another exclusive option were two screenings of a movie with the history of his journey as an artist. Loved it! So glad we were able to view this and I can’t wait to dive into his book and be immersed in the stories and tales that accompany his works of art!

A few images of Kondos signing and signing and signing. Felt honored to be in his presence and he was so generous with his time!  Many admirers were snapping away with their phones.  I brought out my Nikon and raised the ISO to accommodate the lack of flash.  In the first image below, he caught my eye as he saw the camera, we were still in line with about 10 people in front of us–very kind to maintain his eye contact and to me it shows how “real” he is and can certainly connect with people.

Eye Contact

Eye Contact

Yes, I did cut off part of his arms in order to not have other patrons appear in the image!

I asked for permission to take his photo when we finally arrived in front of him.  Already determined the ISO I needed and snapped off two shots and thanked him.  Surprising me–he asked if I got it–what patience and thoughtfulness he shared!  I said that I had.

Looking Up

Looking Up

Another reason why it was a bit challenging to get his portrait was the glare from the windows!  However, the black background was perfect.

I just love the contours of his hat and it sure suits him well.  With the focus of his exhibit on blue–the striped blue shirt seemed perfect for him.

Concentrating

Concentrating

He was gregarious and focused when signing every book.  The couple in front of us purchased four–gifts for their children, they shared.  He chatted with them for a bit as he signed the many books.

When he was signing our book–I was thrilled to capture his hand with my lens.  I shot quite a few images of his hands–interesting to note–he was signing books with his right hand and yet, in the movie he was shown sketching a river scene in charcoal and used his left hand for that!   I have just started to read the book and wonder if his ability to use both hands will be mentioned.

An Artist's Hands

An Artist’s Hand

The author of the book, Scott A. Shields is also a man with connections to the Sacramento art world. Another exhibit featuring the paintings of Kondos will open in April at the Sacramento City College Gallery. This will also coincide with his birthday, he will be turning a young 90 years old in April. Kondos attended the junior college as a student as well as Sacramento State University.  He returned to the junior college as a faculty member sharing his knowledge and passion with the next generation for decades.  Clips in the movie also showed him working with artists in the field–what a memorable experience that would be!

I will certainly revisit his exhibit soon, after I have spent some time enjoying the book and gaining more knowledge of his life story as an artist.

WINDOW VIEWS

Understandably, photographic images are not allowed on the second and third floors of Crocker in honor of protecting the artists and their work. I still had my camera ready for any non-art photo options and connected with the window view looking out into the courtyard separating the two portions of the museum.  The first image struck me with the symmetry and shapes within the view.

Here are a few of my favorite window views….

Symmetry

Symmetry

On the first level, I was really fascinated by the floor to high ceiling walls of windows looking into the courtyard.  The line to obtain his signature was long and not moving rapidly, so I had plenty of time to look from where we were patiently waiting to meet Kondos.  So, had some fun with my Nikon and a few presets in Lightroom to share my viewless window images.  I appreciate the ability to make images of the same subject from various angles and process with different results.

Added Grain

Added Grain

For the next image, I tried different lens corrections and liked the curve gained when I shifted the horizontal perspective.

Angles & Details

Angles & Details

Equally fun was the elongated image I acquired with the vertical lens correction.  The sepia tone gave me a greater shadow at the bottom, which I chose to keep.

Vertical Play

Vertical Play

A few more window shots–some with a view of the courtyard!

There is such a lack of color with these shots that even the first image in “color” appears to be black and white.

Reservation Required

Reservation Required

Amazing what a few preset changes and slider movements can really change in an image.

Building with a History

Building with a History

Be sure to check your local museums and look into becoming either individual members or a family membership.

We will be back soon!