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.

 

Loss of a friend. Message – Be open to new experiences

Today I got the telephone call I was expecting. My friend Greg now has a new bird’s eye view of the world. Photography brought us together, and this past year I enjoyed his company on many of our Tuesdays with Seniors photography outings. I met Anne and Greg at the same time, and we formed a team on many Tuesdays.

Our day was never very predictable, and it was much more than just finding a spot to take pictures. We met at 9:00 a.m. loaded with camera gear, and much enthusiasm.  Greg never was one to take a direct, fast route.

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Michigan Bar Road. Lovely colors. Using my tripod and some post processing tips from Greg.

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Cows looking for some shade. Greg sings to them.

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Off the beaten path

 

He liked looking for alleys, narrow lanes, and forgotten places. Sometimes we ventured back to check out the scene again and again. Each time he marvelled at discovering something new.

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Quiet spot in Folsom.

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Another new place to explore.

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Locke, Ca. a Greg favorite.

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Captured at the Highland Games in Woodland. Not a selfie.

Greg volunteered at the California Auto Museum, and arranged for Sac Photographers to spend a morning there.

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Journeying along with Friends

Greg liked talking to people, and occasionally Anne and I would have to interrupt him. He often tried to embarress me, which my husband says wouldn’t be too hard.

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Got to talking with a local Knight’s Landing resident and pooch.

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Love the dog’s expression

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Never know what you will find when you went out on Tuesday.

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This time the local resident captured Greg’s attention in Plymouth, Ca.

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Knight’s Landing

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Greg enjoyed showing me this double outhouse. Luxurious accommodations.

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Greg and Anne finding something of interest in Jackson, Ca.

Greg explained HDR to me. It helped me capture this image.

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Majestic hotel lobby of the National Hotel

After shooting all morning, or just driving around we would stop for lunch. Sometimes we ate at a Chinese, or Mexican, or BBQ restaurant. Then there was this one time we went looking for a pizza place and found all restaurants in the town  closed. (Remember, we liked the quiet of shooting on a Tuesday.) So we found a country store, and made our purchases. Arriving at a restaurant I never knew what wisecracks Greg would come up with. In the afternoon we stopped and Greg would fortify himself with a chocolate bar, soda, and jerky.

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Ate here. I think we can still return.

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Worth a trip to Jackson

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Carlos, the owner of Fat Freddy’s in Jackson Ca. In a past visit Greg learned all about how this eatery got its name, and more.

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River Walk farmer’s market

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We stayed close to home and enjoyed the farmer’s market on the River Walk in November.

Greg’s knowledge of the area extended beyond driving logistics to historical information. I learned a lot. Our discussions ranged from personal stories, to politics, to solving the world’s problems. Bernie just lost a vote. In the end the day ended with each having some new thoughts, many images, and a feeling of camaraderie.

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A soft spot for strays.

I told Greg that my first car was a Ford Maverick. He said I needed to take a picture of this car.

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Greg identified this car as a Ford Maverick. Not.

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Having fun at the Highland Games.

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I will keep looking for another road to follow. 

I thank you for opening my eyes to new experiences. Thanks Greg.

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Street Photography in Old Sacramento

Observing people and capturing photographs that tell a story provided the inspiration for my shoot in Old Sacramento.  When I moved to Sacramento in 1980 this area was being revitalized as a tourist destination. Each year my 4th grade class field trip to the California Railroad Museum and California History Museum enhanced the California History curriculum. I travel back in time with my grandchildren’s class and I share history with friends and family.  There is a good mix of historical and modern fun. A one room school house, Wells Fargo Bank, and a statue of a Pony Express rider Candy Haven, a place to get a free samples and grab some fun photos. Kite City moved to a larger space and now sells interesting toys as well, and I usually get parking validation after buying kitchen gadgets at a William Sonoma boutique. A store with only socks, a place with magic tricks, tee shirts, souvenirs, antiques, can keep me entertained. Horse drawn carriages and wooden sidewalks add to the ambiance. This is all set next to the Sacramento River where the Tower Bridge rises to let river traffic through. Another bridge pivots when traffic want to pass.

Street entertainers, families out for a stroll with their dogs, train conductors, and people dressed in period clothing makes this a perfect place to people watch. Today this is my photographic interest. On this sunny, but cool Sunday I walked around trying out my new Nikon 18-200mm lens.  I had the most fun speaking to entertainers, and people with their dogs. I spoted some people lost in activity, and I tried to imagine their story.

Checking out Engine 21

Checking out Engine 21

I've been working on the railroad

I’ve been working on the railroad

Helping Others

Helping Others

Eyes for you!

Eyes for you!

Take a bite.

Take a bite

Red Hat Society Lady

Red Hat Society Lady

Tie Straightening

Tie Straightening

Figuring it out

Figuring it out

Meet Trawler. His home is on a boat.

Meet Trawler. His home is on a boat.

Trawler and his proud owner

Trawler and his proud owner

Sheriff watching over Old Sac

Sheriff watching over Old Sac

Young entertainer and his dog take a break

Young entertainer and his dog take a break

Writing intensely

Writing intensely

Christopher's Musical Marionettes entertains crowds

Christopher’s Musical Marionettes entertains crowds

Ballerina captures girls imagination

Ballerina captures girl’s imagination

This dog is loved

This dog is loved