Day 366—Leading Lines

This is a shot of the railroad tracks at the train station in Rocklin, leading me into Year Three of In Focus Daily. As I downloaded today’s shots, the computer warned me that my start up disk was almost full and I needed to delete some files. I still haven’t figured out what I did but mysteriously, it seems that I stopped importing files to the external disk drive, where I store my photos, the day I began to experiment with creating catalogs after attending a Lightroom Workshop on December 4. I am still so tenuous about working with Lightroom that I haven’t a clue where those files are why they are no longer going to the external drive I set up for that very purpose. I guess I will start off the new year trying to figure it out.

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Focal Length 28mm
ISO 160

Day 365—”The Time Has Come. . .”

“… the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

Today’s Flickr theme is “Poem or Lyrics” and because I failed to execute any adequate photographs of birds today, despite taking several shots of gold finches eating in the neighbor’s birch tree (“Yellow bird, up high in banana” — er — birch tree) I am resorting to posting a shot of something that represents one stanza from Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” This verse has been on my mind since Friday when we were doing sound checks at Famous Mo’s prior to the party. After a while, when required to speak endlessly into a microphone, you start to say silly things; for me it was this stanza from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and the opening and closing lines of another Lewis Carroll favorite or mine, “Jabberwocky.” Because “Jabberwocky” is total nonsense, I couldn’t think of anything to photograph that might represent it so I decided to photograph the Brussels Sprouts I just bought at Whole Foods. I know they’re not exactly cabbages but they’re in the cabbage family and I already photographed a pig with wings a couple of weeks ago so Brussels sprouts it is.

Day 365-13-2

Focal Length 60mm
ISO 100
6/10 second

Day 364—Antepenultimate

This is the third from the last post I will be making to In Focus Daily for 2012. It’s the antepenultimate post. Look THAT up in your Funk and Wagnall’s! Since I’m so close to finishing two years of daily posts with an almost perfect record (yesterday’s post didn’t get published until about 2 AM this morning but I purposely backdated it, perfectionist that I am–a little too anal maybe?) I wanted to make sure I posted something today that reflects one of the main reasons I started this blog: to improve my photography skills, and in particular, learn how to focus.

My first tendency was to post this shot straight out of the camera, harking back to my first 18 months when I obsessed about making sure I posted everything SOOC, not realizing that RAW shots are imperfect and require processing. Thank you, Scott Kelby for finally drilling that into my head. The credit should actually go to my friend and fellow photoblogger, Melinda, who tried unsuccessfully to get that information through my thick skull starting two years ago. So, I made a few modest tweaks to clarity, contrast, whites, and blacks and then realized I needed to crop the tiniest bit of green leaf protruding from the bottom left.

I love lilies and I brought these red lilies to Famous Mo’s party last night and, since no one will be there for a couple of days, I brought them back home with me after the party. I used a combination of natural light from the transom over the door and the incandescent light in the entry, with a black background to isolate the blossoms from an otherwise busy background.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
5 seconds

Day 363—Sound Check

We had a rockin’ sound check at Famous Mo’s tonight. Foxtrot Mary, our designated house band, hosted a private party for some of their friends giving us the opportunity to set up our showroom and stage and to test our sound system and lighting. We are not open for business yet and don’t expect to be open for at least another month. We continue to wait for building permits from the City of Rocklin so we still have gaping holes in our floor and no kitchen but we cordoned off the danger zones, set up all our tables and chairs, brought in food from Costco, and had a party.

We were excited to have Dana Moret, a phenomenal singer, and her guitarist husband, Jim Papastathis III, join Foxtrot Mary as they jammed in the second set. Dana brought the house down when she sang “House of the Rising Sun” accompanied by Foxtrot Mary’s Tim Brisson and with Nikki Brisson singing backup.

And, I must add, in a not insignificant side note, Dana Moret is the powerhouse behind Famous Mo’s new website which, like Famous Mo’s itself, is still under construction but, thanks to Dana, will actually see the light of day before Famous Mo’s opens.

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Day 362—Repeats…In Black And White

My shots today are both repeats, signaling that year two of this blog is winding down and because I’ve been so busy with Famous Mo’s lately, I haven’t been able to take the time to plan new and interesting shots. I took both as Famous Mo’s late today; the first as I started to load up my car with miscellaneous stuff to take home and the second as I was leaving for home. I decided to change them both to black and white so they wouldn’t be identical to previous shots. Well, maybe I have posted a black and white moon. I still love taking shots of the moon, waxing, waning, crescent or full. And, for some reason, I love the look of the oak tree across from Mo’s.

Day 361-16

Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100

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Focal Length 300mm
ISO 100

Day 361—Flies

My brother is a nut fisherman and when he is not casting fly lines into Shasta Lake after the elusive Rainbow Trout, he ties flies. Today’s Flickr theme is “scattered” and this morning I noticed the pile of flies Arthur had on his desk were rather scattered and chaotic, perfect for the challenge. I moved them to a clear space atop a cabinet and re-scattered the flies. The second shot is a fly in the making. I took the third shot for nostalgic reasons. These are vintage spools of silk fishing line from the 1930’s when my father went to work for Sunset Line and Twine Company. Sunset was started during the Depression, and was the first fishing line manufacturing company west of the Mississippi. I had never seen the original Sunset logo nor had I known that at that time, Sunset also sold fishing reels, like the one in the background of the shot which has “Sunset Line and Twine Company” engraved on it.

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Day 358—Whelk

Today’s Flickr theme is “spiral” so after my photo attempts of curlicued ribbon failed, I remembered that most of the shells that I’ve rounded up over the past few years have spiral patterns. This is the Lightening Whelk, the Texas state shell.

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Day 357—Dancing Bokeh

Tonight, I inadvertently discovered “dancing bokeh” when I rearranged the tiny lights on a pine cone wreath just as the timed release triggered the shutter. This wreath is my favorite Christmas decoration, made by a friend for me more than 25 years ago. Early every December, he retrieved the wreath and embellished it with new seeds, nuts, and unusual cones, making it more elegant each year. It is the only decoration I consistently display at Christmas and a couple of years ago, I found some tiny, battery operated lights to enhance its beauty. I love the idea of dancing bokeh, something that deserves more in depth exploration and experimentation.

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Day 356—Christmas Wish

All I want for Christmas is a convenient place to pull over on any road when I see a spectacular sight. This morning as I left for the gym about 7:30 (I just looked at the capture time for this shot and realized I forgot to “fall back” the setting on my camera) a spectacular rainbow spanned the entire sky but, alas, there was no place to pull over without getting killed. Within 3 minutes, I found a place to pull over but in that short time, everything changed; the sun, the light, the rain, the sky. The spectacular sight was gone and just a small portion of the rainbow remained visible and the intensity of it was gone as well. I added some clarity, vibrance, and saturation to bring back what the sky had looked like just a few minutes before I took this shot but if I’d been able to pull over when I noticed the sight, I would have had an SOOC shot, not a tweaked one. So Santa, are you listening?

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Day 355—Ornamental

I don’t have a tree this Xmas but I did buy a couple of new ornaments; I featured the flying pig a few days ago and today, it’s another ornament that I thought was pretty but unusual for a Christmas ornament because it is black. Since black is my favorite color (or technically speaking, lack of color) I had to have it. It is embellished with gold and is quite lovely in color but I especially liked the shot after I changed it to black and white which emphasized the bokeh.

Day 355-98

Focal Length 66mm
ISO 100

Day 354—Thank You, Costco

For today’s shot, I was inspired by last night’s Placer Camera Club theme, “food,” and I was buoyed by the knowledge that my wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano photo, taken in Parma, Italy last year, received accolades at the meeting. But most of all, because I was in desperate need of something to photograph for my blog today, I decided my humble bowl of Kirkland brand broccoli cheddar soup, purchased at Costco the other day, would make a perfect subject. I actually heated it in a sauce pan instead of the microwave to add a bit of authenticity, not that it is in any way apparent in the photograph, but I know how it was prepared, and I added a few florets of fresh broccoli on top to make it look a bit fresher. Actually, for commercially prepared soup, it’s not bad, so “Thank you, Costco” for providing my evening repast AND my photo of the day.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100

Day 353—Xing

Down the street from Famous Mo’s is a branch of the Placer County Library which is located on land once owned by the Union Quarry Company. A lake in front of the library fills the abandoned quarry itself. Canada geese are local residents and have apparently qualified for their own crossing signs, one on Granite Drive and one on Rocklin Road. I have been fascinated by these signs for months and, as we deal with the city of Rocklin over building permits and requirements, I am amazed that the geese managed to acquire the proper easements without apparent difficulty! These geese apparently take advantage of this sign when they are not swimming in the quarry pond.

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Day 352—Seeing Double

As followers of this blog may have noticed, I love taking photos of the moon. I haven’t perfected that yet but I keep trying. I have found that that sunny 16 rule seems to work best but I still have to work to keep my camera perfectly still when I take these shots even when I use a tripod. While I feel that is a necessary thing to do, sometimes the result of not keeping the camera still makes for an interesting shot. I was apparently still panning when I took this shot. Not quite still enough but interesting none the less. The second shot is what I was after.

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Day 351—Pretty Paper

Willie Nelson’s Christmas song, “Pretty Paper” came to mind when I found this parrot toy for Bobo at The Bird Shop today. Lots of little presents wrapped in pretty paper. Actually, this is only a replacement toy as Bobo has obliterated an almost identical one that is currently hanging in her cage. This shot reeks of desperation, photographically (or 365 Blog-ally) speaking. I guess by now it’s understandable that desperation might occur occasionally. I have posted 715 daily shots since I started this blog almost two years ago and for most of them, I have given considerable thought to the shot. I guess I shouldn’t feel too much guilt about being desperate to find something, anything, to photograph.

I spent today catching up on things that I needed to catch up on—laundry and bills and grocery shopping and replenishing Bobo’s food supply and finding a shot to submit to my monthly camera club evaluation—so I almost forgot to take a new photograph today. My friend Melinda will be happy to know that I also spent time today creating “Collections” in Lightroom and I feel such relief knowing that by using Collections, I will be able to quickly retrieve my photos. I learned about Collections in the Lightroom Workshop we attended at the Sacramento Convention Center earlier this month. I still haven’t applied all that we learned that day but I’m starting to understand it a little better.

I considered taking a new “food” shot today because the camera club theme is “food” but I have lots of already processed food shots to choose from so I didn’t want to start over and besides, despite my need to go grocery shopping, I only made it as far as Costco for wine and toilet paper so my cupboards are still bare. And while I consider wine a fruit (from my Weight Watcher days) I’m not sure my camera club considers it “food.” So, when I looked around desperately for something to photograph indoors or out, my eye lit upon Bobo’s new toy, laying on the window seat. I set up the tripod, clipped the camera to it and fired away. Nothing too exciting but the papers are colorful. . . and sort of pretty if you squint a little. 🙂

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 160
WB: Fair Weather

Day 350—And Whether Pigs Have Wings

What I learned about photography today is that one needs to service one’s equipment upon occasion. Or at least look at it to make sure it functions properly. Besides the camera, which requires lots of TLC, the tripod can become useless and actually dangerous to the camera, if the legs or the camera mount loosen. Both things happened to me today. Fortunately, I didn’t let go of the camera before realizing that one leg wasn’t holding and I wondered why the camera clicked onto the mount without any resistance whatsoever. So I got out the allen wrench that came with the tripod and tightened everything. Except that the camera mount requires a Phillips head. When everything was tight, I photographed my newest Christmas ornament. It caught my eye when I was up in Auburn last week and since I love Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” I got it. This seems to answer the question of whether pigs have wings. Now, is the sea boiling hot? and what about those cabbages? And perhaps more importantly, what about those poor oysters?

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Day 349—Morning Silhouette

When I arrived at the gym early this morning, the sunrise had turned the cloudy sky into an Aurora Borealis of sorts. Instead of taking some shots in the parking lot, I thought the view from the back side of the gym was preferable to the parking lot side so I walked inside, dropped off my gear, got my camera, and headed back outside to take some photos of this spectacular sky. Sadly, in the two or three minutes it took me, the colorful display had vanished. Even the clouds had changed and were no longer interesting. So, I took a tree silhouette shot and went back inside.

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Day 348—Splat!

This morning as I shed my gym clothes getting ready to take a shower, I watched the steam build up on the glass walls of the shower and it occurred to me that a photograph of a hand print on the glass would be rather cool, especially because today’s Flickr challenge theme is “prints.” So, while the steam filled the bathroom, I ran downstairs and retrieved my camera and tripod. Yeah, yeah, I am aware that I wasted precious water as I did this, but it was so worth it!! 🙂 It was only after I’d squeegeed the shower walls that I realized the challenge was plural (prints) and I had photographed only one print. It’ll have to do.

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