Been awhile since I posted some of my photo activities. I do get out and shoot very often but, as it takes more time to process, arrange, and display my images, I do tend to be behind in sharing them here. Let’s go back to August 15, 2014. I attended a meetup of the West County Photo Group. The plan was to do a late afternoon shoot of downtown Petaluma culminating in a brief bit of lightpainting near the Petaluma River footbridge. The late afternoon light was hard and bright and my HDR tendencies came out in full force. Here are some of the better images.
#1 – The classic Petaluma downtown building
#2 – Another view of the same building – although the lens has made the building look a bit weird, I like this one that way just for fun.
Every year or so. I try to attend the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. When I can get up early enough, I try to get to the launch of the ‘dawn patrol’ group (around ‘O’ dark 5am something or other) because the flames from the balloons and lighting (blue hour stuff) of the balloons is – to me – the best photography this event has to offer. Fog and wind can screw up this event but fortunately I’ve been luck more often than not. Here are a few image from the event.
Dawn Patrol with running lights.
In early March this year, with one of my photo meetup groups, I journeyed early in the morning to west Marin County to Toluma Farms to photograph their goat and sheep ranch operations. They are a Marin County dairy, organic farm and creamery. Just twenty minutes west of Petaluma, in the town of Tomales.
Recently I returned to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge for a photo meeting with a group from Solano County. I had visited this site a year ago and the temps were in the 30’s, the sky was deep blue, the air was clear, and there was snow in the mountains. One year later, in the midst of a drought, the temps were in the 70’s, the sky was pale blue, the air was dirty, and there was no snow in the mountains. Quite a change. Nevertheless, we decided to make the best of the day and see what we could see.
Got up early today to try to catch sunrise and some clouds over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve shot here a few times before and really like this location because of it’s open sky view for almost 360 degrees of the north bay marshes and distant hills. Through in a view clouds and some ground fog and voila! instant landscape photography. I will say though that the air temps were in the low 30’s and it felt like it.
So Sharon and I headed out about 6:30am this morning for the 30 minute drive over to Ramal Road off of Highway 12. The sky almost too cloudy and I could see that the fog might close in for periods of time but…the pink and blue colors to the east and bit of water in the wetlands, looked very promising. Here’s a couple of early shots.
Recently, we attended the last demonstration day of 2013 at Sturgeon’s Mill for a photo shoot. Sturgeon’s Mill is located between Sebastopol and Graton in western Sonoma County and is a restoration project being undertaken by a local nonprofit group. Their goal is to restore this historic steam powered sawmill. Here is a bit of background info from their website:
Considered one of the last great mills of its kind, this mill has survived since 1914. It was originally built in the 1880s on the Korbel property near the Russian River. It was passed to Mr. Michael Sugarman, of the hardware store on 4th Street in Santa Rosa, and later to Mr. Meeker, for whom Camp Meeker is named.
It was purchased from Meeker by Wade Sturgeon in 1913 and was dismantled and moved to Sturgeon’s Coleman Valley site where Sturgeon began his lumber business in 1914. The mill was moved again to its current site in Occidental in 1924 where it has since remained. In 1943 Wade’s son Ralph Sturgeon and his friend James Henningsen bought and ran the mill. Now, in an effort to preserve this wonderful piece of history, this restoration project has been born.
I first learned of this mill last year when a photo group I follow did a similar shoot there. Somehow this facility had completely missed my attention and as I tend to like old rusty things, this seemed like a great place to have some photographic fun. We arrived just after opening time at 10am and were greeted with this view:
Recently, I visited once again the Tin Can Rally held in Petaluma at the local KOA.
My visit to this event last year had impressed me with several facts: 1. old trailers can be fun, 2. people who fix them up are weird but also fun, and 3. one can get great photos from one of these deals. It’s all a bit of Americana and hobbyist coming together. The exhibitors are proud of their restorations and love to dress up in the period (usually 1950’s or 1960’s).
So, about a week ago, in response to an email from the AC34 organization, I entered a ‘win a ticket’ contest and…on last Friday, I found out I won two tickets to the 4th semi-final race for the challenger series. So on August 10th my wife and I drove down to San Francisco to attend the race and sit in the very nice grandstand for free! Very cool. Here are a few from the day.
7 – The ‘Auld Mug’ and Me. They bring the real cup out for display and you can get your picture took with it (and the two nasty looking guys protecting their genitals). Some day that cup will be all mine!
Here are some scenes from the America’s Cup Village where we watched the race from.
8 – They had a display of all 33 challengers and defenders of the America’s Cup from 1851 until 2010, very cool.
9 – For fun they had radio control sail boats you could try.
Well, continuing with my summer series of event photography, I spent an evening recently at the Sonoma County Fair with some other photographers. We had been given special passes to bring our heavy photo gear in the gate without being given the bums rush by the security. This mostly meant that we could set up and use our tripods, which in the evening hours are a big help to creative photography at a venue like the county fair. I did this once last year as well so that helped with some time management issues as we again only had 2 hours to shoot with our gear. The other complicating factor is that we could only shoot between 7-9pm and…sunset was at 8:20pm which meant the really good light was only about 15 minutes [sigh]. So you go with what you are given.
Here are some of my keepers from the shoot:
From the Midway
On July 20th, I attended the Civil War Days event at Duncans Mills in west Sonoma County. This is a two day event in its 15th(?) year or so that usually has between 500-1000 reenactors and 3,000 to 4,000 attendees per day. I had attended this once before in 2011 and been very pleased with my images of the event and well, it was fun too! So back I went with one of my photo meet up groups. I spent the entire day there and staid until the evening to have dinner with a friend who is one of the reenactors at the event.
I will say that as a photographer, playing with these images to try to create that 19th century photo look is part of the fun of this for me. At times I used a pinhole lens and/or a creative lens called a Lensbaby to distort some of the images. You will see some of these in these few images from the event.
A familiar figure was seen roaming the event.
A blacksmith’s forge heating up some iron.