So many choices, so little time

My parents were very diligent and took great care with photographs. Essentially their photographic life started for them after WWII. At first they used corners on each picture, and my Dad carefully lettered the page. Later they moved on to using self sticking albums. Later still, they added slides, a case, a projector (built like a truck), and screen. Again each is labeled. They treasured these memories. Once when the family was living overseas in Karachi, Pakistan and the idea that we might have to be evacuated arrangements were made to keep the albums safe.

All of this is now at my house. And I need to think about what to do with this history.  In truth, I favor looking at the older family photos. Starting to piece together my parents life in Europe before 1945. I found some documents with photographs on their ghetto cards. These ID cards were required by the Germans. The scanned images are poor, but with a bit of work I can see my mother around the age of 14 years. I need to get in touch and see if I can get a better scan. When I started my family genealogy in the 1980’s I uncovered a family photograph from my father’s side taken when a family member visited. As often the case after a visit a photo is placed in an album and the others in the photograph never sees the image. Luckily, in talking to this cousin my father was able to see the last photo of his mother and family before the Shoah.

My parents documented their extensive travels. These beautiful landscapes hold less interest for me. Maybe I should catch the travel bug while I still can travel. When the family scatters, group photos only happened at times of celebration. A few weeks ago my family gathered to celebrate a wedding. So nice when the occasion is such a happy one. My brother’s marriage now extends my family into Argentina. The last time I studied Spanish was in 9th grade (some 55 years ago). I wasn’t any good at it, and rolling those R’s near impossible.  I am trying out Duolingo and Babbel. But if I am serious I will check out some of the other online learning programs. So far in Duolingo I can only drink aqua or leche. I can eat una manzana or él pan. Just  figured out how to put in accent marks on my iMac. But probably there are more interesting things to eat. Don’t want to live on bread and water! Has anyone had a good experience with a language program for conversational Spanish?

Am I spreading myself out too thin? Sometimes I feel like I should just stick with one thing, but then I get pulled in another direction. You can probably tell from the way this post is flying all over the place. Maybe I need to figure out just what I want from my life. I just retired from babysitting my grandkids. Another story for another day. Not good.   Photography connects many of my directions. Learning, travel, connecting, collecting memories, and family genealogy. This I share in my blog. I sometimes share on my Flickr site, but Facebook needs my attention if I want to connect with my local peeps.  I will try and wean myself off of following FB and use my time differently. Continuing to search my genealogy ties draws me into the Holocaust and my Second Gen family friends. Such a great group of friends. I just want to find out my parents, and grandparents’ story. Now I’m thinking of Spanish? Will I ever travel again? Then I need time to do my yoga stretches and my therapy exercises to get rid of my plantar fasciitis.  I need to kick up my activity level just to stay in shape. Libby has been getting the short end of the stick since my plantar fasciitis kicked in. No daily walks, just play time in the backyard.

Ok I’m a bit panicked. I have spent the better part of this month reorganizing my photo collection in Lightroom CC. Thought I knew what I was doing, but somehow keywords for 6000 images were deleted. Finally got it back, backed up the photos, and the catalog, and right now my images are not synched with my catalog. I know this is more tech info than most want to know, but I wanted to add images to this post, and I can’t. Time to walk away from the computer and hope that the backup problem resolves soon. 15 more minutes to complete second backup. Technology is great when it works! Sorry no images today. Got to figure out Lightroom synch.

It all takes time. I just hope I can figure out what I want to accomplish and have time to do just that! That’s all I can ask of myself.

Online, Prints or Albums?

How do you like to look at your photographs? In the past the choices were print or slides. The prints were placed in albums and carefully labeled, or at the other end of the spectrum left in a box or trunk unmarked. Some photographs become part of the household display in frames on the mantle or hung on the wall. There have been instances when film was found undeveloped. The discovery of Vivian Maier, a noted street photographer comes to mind. If you aren’t familiar with her work the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier is worth watching. Many WWII film canisters have been found. Slides often in containers without a projector available.

I began my digital connection early with a 3mg pixel Sony Mavica on mini cds in about 2001. I liked the idea of seeing results immediately, but the digital world had a long way to go before I could use it consistently. The shutter lag, and resolution were not up to the task. I probably have the disks, somewhere. But the technology changed and even my iMac doesn’t have a CD player. My digital switch came in 2004 with my first dslr Nikon D70. Followed by D200, D7000, D600, D7100, Panasonic point & shoot, Olympus OMD-E5 mirrorless, and Fuji x100f. I use one of the highlighted cameras depending on my subject matter, and how much I want to shlep. They each serve the purpose and I can get great image from each one.

My photo collection in Lightroom CC is about 35500. I have used Adobe Lightroom since it began, and the changes also grew with the improvements in digital photography.  I retired from my teaching position and high school librarian. I have the need to be organized, and I like to  to have a place for everything. That includes cataloging my images. Lightroom (LR) originally was created to keep images organized. Photoshop was to take care of processing. I’m very glad the two work together now. I have keywords for my images going back to 2004, and my needs change. And crazy as it sounds,  I like to catalog my images. When I am stressed I often review, redo, and remember my photo journey. While making these changes I get to look back over my work. I enjoy this time. I review my growth, impressed by some of my earlier images, saw camera improvements especially in noise reduction, and the improved LR can assist with  changes.

I like to see my photographs enlarged and hanging around my house. Though these are not family snapshots. Many of the images were taken a while ago when I was enrolled in photography classes at the local community colleges. I use Nielsen Bainbridge frames, and I use Bay Photo service to print. Now in my new house I may change out some of these prints.  I also have a couple of photographs printed on metal from a local company with nice results.

I also like to be able to browse through albums though I haven’t kept this going as much. Shutterfly allows me to print books, and I find it easy to share my work. For an online presenceI like the way my work looks on my Flickr site. Flickr recently partnered with SmugMug and I hope that this will prove a positive move. I used SmugMug many years ago when I first started my very brief photography business. Family stuff happened. Now photography is for my pleasure!

Back to my original question. I enjoy my photographs in a variety of ways. In the back of my mind I need to think about my eyesight. My mother lost her eyesight due to macular degeneration. Unfortunately, I also have this condition. So far the dry version has a slow progression, and has not impaired my vision. So using a variety may help me in the long run.

So what do you do with all your images? I hope you enjoy them, and have fun creating.

 

 

Can my camera lead me out of my comfort zone?

I grew up watching my Dad talk to everyone he met. At times I felt a bit embarrassed. We would be stopping at a grocery store and the conversation would start with the cashier.  I would think, just pay for the milk and bread already. Standing in line my Dad would strike up a conversation with the people waiting behind us.

Well I find that lately I am following in my Dad’s footsteps. This is particularly true when it comes to my dog. My Libby acts as quite the ice breaker. Her friendly demeanor draws people to her. I love sharing her with others. When my parents were in an assisted living setting I always visited with my dog. I kind of miss taking her there. When I am at a pet store I start conversations from treats, training, leashes and everything in between. Rather than be bored waiting on line I look around, and inevitably I’m in conversation. Sometimes I find I have a question to ask, or an opinion to state (My 2 cents worth!). I shop by myself, and if I have trouble deciding I will ask anyone around. Lately I can’t find helpful sales people around. The shopping experience has changed, but that is a conversation for another day.

I am often told that I look like someone else. This has happened on both coasts of the country. It has happened when I was 40 years younger, when my hair was long, short, straight or curly. No not me, I reply. Then I am asked if I am related to … No and I have no sister. Have you ever been mistaken for another person? Another conversation starter.

How does this relate to my original question? Well I bought my new camera with the intention to get into bringing personality into my photography. A simpler camera, an easy way to change settings, a totally silent shutter, and a less invasive look helps. Having a big camera with a powerful zoom can capture people without their knowledge. Stand back and peek at the world. Less confrontational. Until they turn and see your big lens pointed at them, I fear. More of a paparazzi feel to the image. May make for an interesting story. This may be something I am over thinking, and I need to change my attitude.

This image was taken with a zoom lens. Not sure if the natural feel would have been there if they were aware. I felt safe capturing the moment.

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My street photography tells a story!.

For me to capture people close up I will need to bring myself into the game. This is where I move out of the comfort zone. But if I start with my new found use of conversation with people I meet, I may get a more satisfying photograph. Then I will have a story behind the image to remember. That will be “the connection”.

Looking through my over 40,000 images I am currently drawn to the photographs with people in them. Now I want to  review why I like them. I am not talking about my family photos. That is a different set of circumstances.  I am looking at some of my landscapes where I included people in the image and the landscape provides the environment.

In the middle of Old Sacramento this couple would not have noticed me. Again, I was using my zoom lens.

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Eyes for you!

I also need to look at location and situation where people and environment come together. Festivals, city streets, group gatherings parades all provide good opportunities. Here are some photographs I have taken over the years.

Renaissance Fair

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What did I do wrong?

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Playing with fire

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Father & son juggling

4th of July Parade

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Folsom 4th of July Parade

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Street performer in Seattle. A tip provided the incentive, and a face to face encounter!

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This time no eye contact. 

Captured this couple in the mining town of Columbia. They had finished shopping. Some post processing added an old time feel.

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Quietly seated among the daffodils

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Silhouette at McKineley Park

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Through the corn maze

Captured from a distance or from the back is easy enough for me, but now I’m looking to up my photography and make the connection.

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With my 35mm viewpoint found in the Fuji X100F I can capture the person in their environment. Find a good location and wait. This is one street photographer’s approach. I need to be comfortable with my new camera’s capability. Many street photographer’s share their images in black & white. Usually I focus on color, so I may need to study what makes the black & white process pop.  My raw files can always be changed to black & white later.

Not sure how conducive the suburban or rural life will give me similar settings. Luckily Fair Oaks brings back Fiesta Days this weekend and  I plan to be there making a connection.

 

New Camera, New Perspective

I wanted a new perspective when out taking picture. I no longer say, “Out shooting.” I wanted to add human interest into my images. With that in mind, I purchased a new single focus small camera. The Fuji X100F provides a lot of features in a compact camera.   With a 23mm lens (35mm perspective) I now need to zoom with my feet. It is easy to change my settings, and easy to walk around without being too conspicuous. I wouldn’t say this replaces all of my camera equipment, but I have been using it exclusively this past month. I carry this camera everywhere. That’s the way to get to know your gear.

I have already posted some images in a previous blog I took during the March for our Lives event.

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Looks like they came to stay!

I have less to worry about when I take my Fuji out for the day. Do I bring other lenses? Should I change lenses now? Which bag do I take? Should I bring my tripod? And then to use or not use that tripod.

With my Fuji camera all I may need is my sunglasses. Usually for a day’s outing I won’t even need an extra battery or memory card. I need to consider the weather though since this camera is not weather sealed. But I am more of a fair weather photo friend anyway.

This past month I took it with me for a family outing to San Francisco. When I am with family I don’t want to make it all about photography. But I do want to capture memories. Kids grow up so fast.

My husband, and two of my grandchildren headed to Richmond making our first stop at the Hunter Hill Safety Rest Area. Over the years I have taken many photographs here on our way to the Bay Area.

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My 16 year old granddaughter always makes a great model.

Picking up my son in Richmond we headed to the Oakland Ferry Building to take a ride to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

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Import/Export – See tankers being loaded and unloaded with cargo.

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Oakland Bay Bridge in the distance

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What a view going under the Bay Bridge

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No crowds this morning. Selfie time.

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Oakland Bay Bridge goes through Treasure Island

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First stop Golden Gate Ferry Building

 

 

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Heading to Fisherman’s Wharf

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Ride is over and tickets are collected.

With the pleasant, quiet ferry ride over we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf in search of food.

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This street musician captured my eye. I should have gotten a bit closer, but the group was leaving me behind.

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Faced with many choices. 

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Warned to watch out for Sea Gulls. This guy had no problem finding food!

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Now the Sea Gull travels in style!

After lunch we head over the the Musee Mecanique

This free museum was full of action this Tuesday.

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Pinball Attention

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Granddaughter and her Aunt

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Glad this mirror is not in my house!

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Not easy to get everyone in a photograph

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We walk up to North Beach in search of the perfect slice of pizza.

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Cyclists getting instructions

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Segway getting instructions

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Tie Dyed in San Francisco

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Hot Lips

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Yummy Gelato!

Tired and ready to take an Uber to the Ferry Building and head back to Oakland.

FYI for the price of the ferry we were able to park in a covered garage in Oakland! Not a bad way to travel!

Fun day for everyone!

More about my camera adventures to come