Dr Marm never without my Nikon!

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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!

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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!

Lensbaby Spark Fun

Winter Blues

Winter Blues

According to  the groundhog, “Punxsutawney Phil” we are due for an early spring…however, many states have endured horrific winter weather over the past week.  In the Sacramento, California area our snow level dropped to 900 feet which is insane for us!  Of course, the next day no clouds were in the sky and nothing but beautiful blue overhead.  What these images can not share is the temperature–our morning lows have been 30 degrees or so with our day high nearing 60.

I decided to take my Lensbaby Spark out for a jaunt in the backyard to celebrate our chilly, but dry weather.  The Spark lens is the lightest Lensbaby in my collection and easy to manage on my D600.  The challenge and fun aspect of this lens  (in my humble opinion)  is that you do not secure your composition–hands need to maintain constant pressure on the Spark to keep the effect you desire.

My favorite aspect of using a Lensbaby is the fact you can achieve so many different results with the same tool.  Creativity is unlimited.  The next two images are of the same Oak Tree which towers over the backyard and yet appear so different, because of the lens flexibility.

Over Head

Over Head

Love the look of swirls–especially with fall color but still creates a fun abstract result with bare branches.

Just a Twist

Just a Twist

Some flowering varieties, one in various shades of green and the other with a splash of color.

Abstract Beauty

Abstract Beauty

The light in this shot allowed the creative aperture of the “sun” to show through a bit.

Backyard Blooms

Backyard Blooms

Anyone else ready for spring???