Monthly Archives: November 2010

Photowalking territory

Some photographers feel that in order to take really good photos of stuff with a pretty background or find wildlife going about its business in its natural environment, one must travel to far away lands.  There are those who fly to other continents or drive across country in search of the ever elusive perfect photo; the proverbial “money shot.”  I too have fallen prey to this misconception and I admit that I have also traveled far and wide purely for the purpose of capturing images to bring home to my hum drum life back in the city.

Living in California, we are fortunate, blessed, if you will, to have a wide range of subject matter at our fingertips, a plethera of diverse environments and habitats at our disposal, and while some of my favorite, if not best, images have been taken at least a day’s drive away from my Central Valley home, one need only step outside their back door to find nature at its finest.  It’s all around us, and with a little patience, anyone can capture some pretty cool images of this wonderous world that we share.

Over the past several days I have been pestering my wife to take a trip back up to Auburn with me to hike around and take some more photos like our last trip I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.  I had the idea to start a tradition of going on a hike (with the camera, of course) on the day after ThanksGiving to justify, and then work off the over consumption of the holiday.  What I didn’t take into consideration, was that after spending two days preparing for and then hosting the ThanksGiving meal for a house of ten to fifteen people, my wife might be a little less than enthusiastic about embarking on a hike first thing the next morning.  Yes, for those of you saying to yourselves, “what was he thinking?  Obviously, he wasn’t”, I now see the error of my ways.

I have to hand it to my wife, though.  She is a real trouper.  Knowing how important this whole hiking thing after ThanksGiving was to me, she agreed to accompany me on a hike/walk a couple of days later, but a little closer to home.  Which brings me back to the misconception that you have to go far away from home to find nice scenery in which to hike in, walk through or photograph.

This photo was taken in Lodi yesterday and probably no more than a ten minute drive from our home.  Lodi Lake is a park that encompasses a rather large open space area with walking and biking trails that meander along the Cosumnes River, and, of course, a lake.  Not only is the area beautiful, and right in town, it also boasts a broad range of wildlife.  We were lucky enough yesterday to see this family of six deer just strolling through and meer feet away from us, grazing on grass and low tree branches.  Yes, that is the roof of a residential home in the background just beyond the deer.


We even got to see this crazy goose acting like a fool in the middle of the lake.

At the end of the day, we got in a walk to work off our (my) excesses of the holiday meal, got in some nature sights, had my wife at my side, now that she had a couple of days to recoup from all of her hard work preparing the meal and hosting a house full of people.  We also saved a bunch of dough in gas and travel time. 

So, when you’re thinking that geographical globe hopping is the only way to get out and take some pretty cool photos, or just escape the city, stop and take a look around.  You just might not have to travel any futher than your own back yard.

Why you takin my pichur man?


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Working in downtown Sacramento over the past four years I’ve seen just about every oddity one can imagine.  Yesterday after running to EDD to drop off some documents I took my afternoon break and walked back to the office through the Downtown Plaza shopping mall.   Anyone who is familiar with Downtown Sac  knows about the infamous K Street Mall and the ever vanishing storefronts in the Downtown Plaza.  So, as I am walking through the mall I spy a cool shot of the Renaissance Tower building at 801 K Street, better known by the locals as the “Darth Vader” building for it’s inposing fasade of black glass, kind of peeking through a skylight of the mall, like Vader is looming over the mall wondering how fun it would be to take a giant step forward and squash all those crazy people who still find some value in shopping downtown. 

  Anyway, I pulled out my camera (yes, I always carry a camera) and snapped a photo.  No sooner did I put the camera away and start to walk away a not-so-soothing voice blurts out “Hey, why to takin my pichur man?”  “What?”, I said.  “Why you takin peoples pichur man, you undecover cop or sumpthin”  Clearly I had agitated this woman and she wasn’t going to let me go with out some explination.  “No, I’m not taking pictures of people”, I assured her.  “I’m photographing that black building over there.”  “I done see no black buildin, look like you takin my pichur,  I aint on no wanted list.”  “Well, you can’t see the building from where you’re sitting ma am.  Look.” and I took my camera out and showed her the photo that I had just taken, but she was not impressed, even though it clearly showed the building and not her or any other people for that matter because the angle of the shot was upward.  I then put my camera back in my pocket and as I got a few feet away I heard her mutter under her breath “shudn auta be takin pichurs of people”.

 If you are ever in downtown Sacramento, whether on a break from work, having lunch or just visiting, stay off of K street and steer clear of the Downtown Plaza shopping center.  A lot of  freaks hang out there.

Fall foliage frustration

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Why is it that whenever I pack up my camera gear and head out to capture some fall foliage photos (yes, I head out in the fall) I find no fall colors?  Or, the ones that I do find have a bunch of crap in the foreground or background polluting up my scene?  Today was one such adventure.  It’s the second week of November and rain is just around the corner so I drove for two hours in search of the elusive blazing red tree nestled between some orange, yellow and the other hues of the season but found nothing.  I know, your probably thinking “this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing, or where to go”.  Not true.  The best place to capture the splendors of fall, we can agree, is the mid western United States.  Well, I live in California, so I go where the color is in my state.  I headed up to Auburn State Recreational Area just north/east of Sacramento.  There were some brilliant red tree’s in the town of Auburn, but by the time I spotted them I was  merging onto the highway to head home and the camera was packed away.  Besides, who wants a shot of a fire read tree with a Kentucky Fried Chicken drive through window directly behind it?  Not me.

At the end of the day I had no fall foliage photos but plenty of rocks.  Rocks?  Who the hell said anything about rocks?  I spent $20 in gas and an entire day (one of only two that I have off of work) and got 98 photos of rocks?  Don’t get me wrong, I like rocks just as much as the next guy, and OK, they’re pretty cool rocks.  I will likely mount and frame one of the photos for my home, but I wanted fall foliage photos, not a bunch of rocks. 

 If anyone out there knows Central and Northern California and can educate me on the when and where to find the most spectacular fall color in this state, please comment on my blog and let me know.