Day 182—Lunch At Lucca

Today my friend Peggy and I ate at our favorite downtown pre-Music Circus restaurant, Lucca on J St. in Sacramento. We were served on the patio and enjoyed a delectable lunch of fresh, seasonal California/Mediterranean style cuisine. Peggy ordered Stuffed Sweet Peppers with brown rice, canario beans, zucchini, spinach, feta, and pecorino with basil marinara and I had Basil Garlic Minestrone and Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad with arugula, toasted pistachios, and ricotta salata, a fabulous sheep’s milk cheese I’d never tried. You can see Peggy’s fork headed toward the plate just as I snapped the photo of her sweet peppers. . .an action shot of sorts!

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 200
f/1.4
1/400
WB Auto
SOOC

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 200
f/1.4
1/400
WB Auto
SOOC

Day 181—No Shortage Of Feathers

It is molting season at my house and there is no shortage of feathers. Today’s challenge theme is “feather/feathers” so I selected a few of Bobo’s most vibrantly colored tail and wing feathers and photographed them on the kitchen table. I still have made no progress in learning Lightroom but I was able to change my watermark, designed in Adobe Illustrator with a little help from Adobe Photoshop, from black to white so it will show up on photos with dark backgrounds. Woot! Maybe this weekend I’ll be able to spend a little time and advance beyond importing.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
f/5.6
1/4
WB Fair Weather
SOOC

Day 180—Cardoon

While I was in Newcastle this afternoon, I ran across several clumps of dried thistle that I believe to be cardoon, or wild artichoke. This is my favorite of the shots I took today. It looks like a fall shot; it is very monochromatic and there is no hint of the brilliant blue summer sky that I captured in a few of the shots.

I have made no progress using Lightroom. I can download photos to Lightroom from my camera and export them with my watermark. Beyond that, I can do nothing. At this point my shots must be SOOC. While I prefer to post photos straight out of the camera to my blog, it is nice to be able to crop them, and make other modest adjustments if I have to do so. I hope soon to be able to do more to my photos in Lightroom.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
f/16
1/100
SB Fair Weather
SOOC

Day 179—Over And Under

Today I am introducing two changes that affect my blog. First, I have switched my photo import software from Apple Aperture to Adobe Lightroom 4. This is a huge change for me and I think it will be a slow transition for me, but thanks to Kelby Online Training and specifically to Matt Kloskowski, I have help (along with my friend and fellow photoblogger Melinda who also recently switched). Today was the first time I used the software to import photos and it is just enough different from Aperture that it took me twice as long to do it, although the actual download seemed much faster to me than downloading in Aperture. I was having so many problems with Aperture that when Melinda, my major photography support system, switched, I decided I’d better hop on the bandwagon with her.

The second change, is the addition of a watermark to my photo. I have considered watermarking the photos that I publish on line for more than a year but I never got around to designing a watermark. Lightroom makes it simple to add a watermark to a photo, something Aperture didn’t feature (at least not that I ever discovered) so when the Kelby training video showed how easy it was to add one to a photo, I designed one using my favorite font (Melmo) and a small graphic of a lens aperture that I designed. So, today’s photo features the first use of my very own watermark.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the subject of my photo today, it is a detail of a Savage 24B over and under, a combination rifle and shotgun. Since today’s challenge theme is “over and under” I think it perfectly meets the challenge. The shotgun stays propped behind my bedroom door. It is the only gun remaining from my late husband’s gun collection; a friend coached me through firing the shotgun part and it now serves as my personal protection.

Focal Length 300mm
ISO 200
f/5.6
1/6
WB-Custom
SOOC

Day 178—Plane and Solid

Today’s challenge theme is “Geometry” and, once again, the gods of Serendip have brought the subject of my day’s photo to me. My neighbors’ above-ground swimming pool is filled for the summer and already today, the ball has been in my yard twice. The second time it came over, before flinging it back over the fence, I decided it met today’s challenge so I kept it a while to photograph it. It’s been quite a few years since I took Plane and Solid Geometry in High School but I do know that this beach ball is a sphere (solid) with a circle (plane) at its polar end. I don’t know what to call the geometric shapes that form the longitudinal segments but their bright, primary colors are what drew me to photograph the ball in the first place.

Focal Length 85mm
Manual Mode
ISO 100
f/1.8
1/125
WB Shade
SOOC

Day 177—Lettuce Have Lunch

Today’s shot is a pile of Romaine lettuce that I chopped up for Caesar salad to have for lunch. I took the shot through the salad bowl, with the camera setting on the countertop so I didn’t even need to set up my tripod. Today’s challenge theme is “pile or stack” and this is, indeed, a pile.

Focal Length 300mm
Manual Mode
ISO 100
f/13
1 Sec.
Custom WB
SOOC

Day 176—Fire Light

After spending the afternoon shoveling out the room that is sometimes my photography studio but which has, of late, turned into my catchall room into which I toss stuff and shut the door, I was rewarded with a lovely display of late afternoon light shining through a basket I had only minutes before placed onto an uncluttered table top in that room. It looks almost as if the basket were on fire. I got my camera and was able to set up my tripod unimpeded, something I haven’t been able to do in there in months.

I used timed shutter release to avoid camera shake because of the slow shutter speed.

Focal Length 300mm
Manual Mode
ISO 100
f/5.6
1/6
WB Fair Weather
SOOC

Day 175 Part 2 – Twelve-spotted Skimmer

While lazing on my patio this afternoon, I spotted what I have learned is a spotted skimmer, a male twelve-spotted skimmer to be exact (thank you, Google). I’ve been seeing these dragonflies all over this spring (I guess it’s now officially summer) and have never been able to capture one in focus until today. Of course this is cropped because this guy was perched far up in my neighbor’s ornamental pear tree atop a dead twig.


Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100
WB Fair Weather
f/11
1/125
Cropped

Day 175—Warm Colors

As I left the grocery store this morning, I was intrigued by how the late morning light played on the exterior stucco walls so I took a few shots at various angles. When I got home and looked at the day’s challenge theme, which is “warm,” I realized my serendipitous find seems to meet the challenge since my local Bel Air Market is painted in what I consider to be warm colors. And, in yet another serendipitous event, I once again failed to change my white balance setting which was left over from yesterday afternoon’s clouds, so it was set to cloudy instead of fine weather. But, as it turns out, that just gives a bit more warmth to the colors. When I was framing the shots I tried to keep the sky out of the frame and invariably I moved and there is a bit of sky in each of the 6 shots I took this morning so I cropped it out to eliminate the distraction.

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 100
f/7.1
1/800
WB Cloudy
Cropped

Focal Length 50mm
ISO 100
f/7.1
1/800
WB Cloudy
Cropped

Day 174—Red Tail

As I left the gym this morning, I was treated to a fascinating display by a of pair of red-tailed hawks. One flew over the parking lot just as I was driving away and when I turned onto Pleasant Grove Blvd., I saw four hawks soaring over the baseball fields so I pulled into the next parking lot by the fire station to watch. One pair quickly disappeared but the other circled, soared, and screamed overhead. I assume I was witnessing mating behavior. I have read that a precursor to mating includes locking talons and while I didn’t witness locked talons, they were flying around with their talons outstretched as if they were going to pounce on prey but they were high up and they never approached the ground. They finally disappeared from view after about a half hour.

I set the shutter speed to 1/320 but I should have set it higher or used Shutter Prioritiy because my photos aren’t crisply focused. The first shot is SOOC and the second and third shots are cropped. I also made a RAW fine-tuning adjustment to sharpen them a bit.