Day 305—Trick And Treat (For Me)

The trick was to get the lighting right; the treat was to drink the wine! All this while answering the door and doling out Reese’s treats to the almost 50 trick or treaters I had. I know only because I bought a bag of 50 pieces and when I decided to turn out the light and concentrate on my photo shoot, I had only 3 pieces left. So, to be more accurate, 47 trick or treaters; actually 48. One little kid turned his back in because he has a peanut allergy. Poor little kid.

The wine featured in the ghoulish wine glass is, appropriately for Halloween, Ghost Pines, my new favorite red blend from Louis Martini Winery. I had intended to show the label but I didn’t really want to spend all evening fiddling. My fake spider webs look really lame but I think the Edgar Allen Poe book, “Forty-Two Tales,” is appropriate for this day. I love reading Edgar Allen Poe tales. And the Vincent Price movie version of “The Pit and the Pendulum” remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The photo isn’t one of my better efforts, but I still haven’t eaten dinner yet and I think it’s time I had something a bit more substantial than Ghost Pines red blend, however delightful a treat it may be.

Day 304—Olive You

This is a play on Cole Porter’s lyrics that came to mind when I opened a jar of Kalamata olives and some green ripe olives to nosh on with my wine and cheese tonight. This is becoming a habit, but a delightful one, I must say. And, as Cole so aptly wrote, “I love the look of you, the lure of you; The sweet of you, the pure of you . . . The east, west, north and the south of you,” and he could have easily ended the song with: ” . . .For I love olive you.” I know I do!

Day 303—Feeling A Little Bleu

When I got home this evening, a glass of red wine (a new red blend I’m trying called Phantom, appropriately enough for Halloween) and some cheese sounded fabulous. I carved off a hunk of bleu cheese I bought a few days ago, called Shaft’s Blue (bleu?) and served it with salty date and almond crackers from Raincoast Crisps. I don’t think I need anything else for dinner and if this combination couldn’t lift your spirits, nothing could!

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
Auto WB

Day 302—Slamson And Friends

Let me just start by saying that I am NOT a basketball fan. But, I had a great time at the Sacramento King’s Rhythm and Rims event today. I was there as Foxtrot Mary’s photographer. Foxtrot Mary played in the V.I.P. tent and there were lots of V.I.P.s who I didn’t recognize and lots of Sacramento Kings who I didn’t recognize, either. I did notice that they were very, very tall. Things really picked up when the mascots appeared. I don’t know why there were so many masscots there; there wasn’t a game tonight but Slamson the Lion, the King’s mascot, Harry the Hawk from Atlanta, Jazz Bear from Utah, and Rocky the Mountain Lion from Denver all appeared at the event and they created quite a stir when they made their way into the tent. They really made it fun and drew the crowd down to where the band was playing as they danced and frolicked with the audience and played air guitar with the Tim Brisson. Slamson even massaged Michael St. John’s shoulders so he could continue crooning.

Day 301—The Wild Raspberry And The Great Pumpkin

Today, The Wild Raspberry, a sandwich shop with herbal teas and coffees, celebrated its grand opening in Newcastle. I met Heather, The Wild Raspberry’s owner, a few weeks ago and she has been very gracious to share her experiences with opening a restaurant and her recommendations for vendors. The shop was buzzing with excited visitors enjoying the wonderful fare and listening to live music. This luscious dessert, aptly topped with a raspberry, was featured today along with delicious sandwiches and other treats. Out front, someone had placed a giant pumpkin weighing at least 300 pounds. I could almost hear Linus saying, “it’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

Day 300—More Leaf Drops

I love Action Camera in Roseville. I stopped by there late this afternoon to have the sensor on my Nikon D800 cleaned; there were some spots on it that tend to show up on photos that include lots of sky and, at Action Camera, they cheerfully clean sensors and dispense advice and information at no charge. Today, Pete, one of the knowledgeable sales people who was excited to fondle my D800 when I first got it there a few months ago, cleaned the sensor and discovered that my UV filter had come apart. Yesterday I noticed a rattling and wondered what was loose. Luckily I had bought a filter that could be reassembled and he put it back together again for me and advised me to keep an eye on it. Although it was made to reassemble, it is apparently not a common occurrence. But, the most exciting piece of advice I got today involved focus points. I had asked if I was being paranoid and imagining things about the auto focus problems that have bee reported with the D800. He told me that I could actually make many adjustments using the menu system to fine tune the auto focus system. I was clueless that there were so many options and I plan to spend tomorrow studying them. But for now, the most exciting thing I learned is that I can actually group focus points to make the camera more responsive to auto focus on an area. And, it seems to work! I used my new found knowledge for today’s shot, grouping a cluster of auto focus points. I focused on a leaf that was laying on top of the fountain. Since it was getting dark out, I also used the on camera flash, with flash compensation set to -3.

Day 298—Da Wine And DeWalt

Good news today for Famous Mo’s Coffee House & Theater. Today we got a letter from ABC that our beer and wine license was approved. Yay! We didn’t have any spirits on hand to celebrate but as luck would have it, our wine rep stopped by with some wines for us to sample. We had to improvise a serving table and decided the oriented strand board setting on saw horses where the table saw was worked best. And although the rep arrived without wine glasses, the wine glasses that we’re trying to sell on Craig’s List came to the rescue. I thought the wine bottles, glasses, DeWalt drill, tape measure, and the 2 by 6 board on the table made an interesting composition. By the way, the Earthquake Zin was my favorite today!

Day 297—Another Dramatic Sky

As I drove home this evening, the sunset was beautiful and, appropriately, I was driving on Sunset Ave. in Rocklin. I pulled over and took this shot. Today’s weather was not at all as dangerous as yesterday’s weather but today’s sunset made the sky just as dramatic.

Day 296—Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service announced a tornado warning in Placer County late this afternoon, while we were winding up the day at Famous Mo’s. When we walked outside a flash of lightening illuminated the clouds but I didn’t have my camera at the ready. Three of us stopped off for a glass of wine before going home and I took this photo a few minutes before the tornado warning expired just before 7PM. The sky was actually clearing in the west where I faced and the storm was heading east into the foothills ready to dump snow on the Sierras. Amazingly, today’s Flickr theme is “danger” and I had planned to feature a dangerous looking (and probably actually dangerous) table saw blade without a safety shield, the kind that contractors tend to use to get the job done faster, but, when I saw the storm clouds, and related them to the potential danger of a tornado (I thought California had earthquakes, not tornadoes) I thought this angry sky made a better subject.

Day 295—Wings

The hummers were elusive today, playing a game of cat and mouse with me and buzzing me to show their discontent with my presence. The sky was overcast and the light was flat and dull so I didn’t expect to get anything too exciting. I finally captured a few shots of one at the feeder from a distance. Let me just say that this shot involved lots of processing, including a trip to Photoshop and “content aware fill” to remove part of the hummingbird feeder, then more tweaks and adjustments. There is quite a bit of grain due to all of the cropping and other processing but overall, I like this shot. Because the light was slightly brighter when I took this, there is a bit of backlighting to show off the wings.

Day 294—Part 2: Mission Accomplished

This little guy must be a baby. A slightly larger hummer buzzed and fed nearby while this one bathed, completely unafraid of me as I walked over while he splashed and plunked down in the chair just 3 feet from the fountain. I couldn’t resist posting these four shots. I was really taken with the water ripples in the last shot. I changed to my 28-300mm lens at 300mm and used the flash at -3. Oh, and “mission accomplished” refers to my quest earlier this morning to photograph a hummer before I got intrigued by the water drops on the chives.

Day 294—Drop Line

The chive plant which lives in the top of a strawberry jar next to the hummingbird’s fountain served as my test subject while I waited for Arnold and Jerry (yes, it’s two boy hummingbirds) to decide to bathe this morning. They perched tantalizingly out of the range of my dimmed flash and 24-70mm lens so I focused on the water drops on the chives while I waited. I decided I liked the chive shots so much, I abandoned the mission and they’re out there now bathing as I write. Tomorrow is another day and of course I’ll try again because I DO give a damn, so there, Rhett!!! Whew, I don’t know where that came from. 😉

One of the Flickr challenges from a few days ago was “lines” and I think this meets that challenge. And I don’t feel even remotely guilty about using my on camera flash.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fine Weather

Day 293—A Hint Of Fall

The liquidambar tree behind Famous Mo’s is a problem tree with its roots long ago surfaced into the flowerbed filling it with lumpy roots and those horrible spiny pods that will cause one to turn an ankle if stepped on. It is unhealthy and has some bare branches that are dying or already dead. As far as I’m concerned, the only redeeming quality of a liquidambar is the gorgeous reds, yellows, and oranges that the leaves turn in the fall. Today I found this pair of leaves growing directly out of the main trunk, I suspect in an effort to try to save the tree. The midday sun shone through them and the rest of the canopy provided lovely fall bokeh for a backdrop. The bokeh in all of the shots I took was gorgeous. As I examined each of the dozen shots I took today, I liked the bokeh in the first one I took which was from a slightly different angle than the others. Then I realized that if I cropped out the pair of leaves, the photo was very abstract, perfect for today’s Flickr theme, “abstract.”

Day 292—Crazy Quilt

The challenge a few days ago on my Flickr group was “lines.” This morning I saw this dragonfly on the wall as I entered the gym. It was in deep shade and I had my 24-70mm lens on so I couldn’t zoom in close because it was high up on the wall. Despite the lack of good light and the lack of good contrast, I think the detail is pretty good, despite the severe cropping. And, the crazy quilt of veins in its wings is fascinating. Lots of lines.

Day 291—Men At Work

I am resurrecting my “Men At Work” series, at least for today anyway. I took only a handful of shots during the day, all as I stood by helplessly while the guys hoisted a heavy compressor onto the roof at Famous Mo’s and then slid another off the roof. Of course, they didn’t need my help and I couldn’t have helped in any event as an elevation above a step stool renders me totally helpless. That fact is probably why I was so nervous as I watched them nonchalantly clamor up and down a wobbly, flexing ladder placed precariously in the bed of a pick up truck, using ropes, pulleys and friction to move the heavy pieces of equipment. The accomplished the task without so much as a hangnail and I was relieved when it was over. When I viewed the shots, I was glad that the second photo shows only an optical illusion that Lyle’s head was chopped off appearing as if the compressor bashed him. I’m reflected in the window, watching the scene unfold before my lens.

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fine Weather

Day 290—Part 2—Fun With Dick And Jane

Fun with Arnold and Maria? Maybe with Arnold and Jerry? I can’t tell.

I’m having a great day so far and it’s not even 8:15AM yet. When I noticed that the fountain was not bubbling, I refilled it and Arnold and another hummer, I’m not sure if it’s a male or female because their gorgets are both very red in certain lighting, were waiting for the water to be replenished and while I sat a couple of feet away, they flitted and bathed for me. While bathing, one kept right behind the bubble, almost out of sight and I didn’t want to get up for a better vantage point because I knew they’d leave if I did. So I kept shooting while they bathed and flitted about.

Day 290—Red Sky At Morning

I don’t think any sailors need to take warning just yet but I looked out a few minutes ago to see if there might be some clouds that I could photograph for today’s Flickr challenge, “weather.” I was greeted with this glorious red sky. I underexposed this a stop because once again I was up in the middle of the night watching Moose Peterson videos and that’s something I learned when photographing skies and landscapes in order to make the colors pop. I love you Moose!

Focal Length 200mm
ISO 100
Auto WB

Day 289—Persistence Pays

This morning when I opened the blinds, Arnold was flitting around the fountain so I grabbed the camera and went outside to sit by the fountain and wait. He disappeared immediately but I could hear him and after about five minutes he reappeared, flitting through the photineas and preening while sitting on one of the bare twigs. Then, Mrs. Arnold (shall I call her Maria? oh no, that’s over) appeared and let Arnold have a piece of her mind. Then she flew down to the fountain and carefully assessed the dangers of entering the water, just as if I weren’t there. She finally approached the bubble and I managed to get her in focus on one of the three shots I took. (Note to self: next time try using manual focus to avoid AF focusing on something else). I also remembered to turn on the flash, with the flash compensation set to -3 so I could actually get an exposure in the low light. This isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with it. I love the droplet of water on her beak and her little feet sticking out.