Nuts, Lavender & Alpacas. Sounds like a strange combination, doesn’t it. It was one day in the life of a So Cal Explorer. The meetup started at Bates Nut Farm. Turns out they don’t grow their own nuts anymore, but they have a store, petting zoo and fields to explore. They also hold weddings and I loved their lighting choices
I tried some motion blur by setting a slow shutter speed and moving my camera up and down.
My favorite colors
Then it was on to the Lavender fields. Did you know lavender can be yellow as well as purple?
The final stop of the day was an Alpaca farm. I’ve never been to an Alpaca farm before and had no idea they were such sweet and gentle creatures. The owner turned out the Alpacas in a field of fresh grass. After they got over their initial curosity of us, they weren’t letting anything get in the way of their fresh meal. The Alpacas had been shorn a couple of weeks prior to our visit and were therefore “naked”. The fact that they weren’t all sheared the same way added to their personalities.
Click on any of the gallery to view larger
Photographing The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California is a funny concept to me. A ranch overlooking the Pacific ocean plants 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus in every color imaginable then charges an admittance fee to admire and photograph the results:)
Only open for a few weeks a year, it gets a big crowd wanting to have their photos taken with the flowers as a backdrop. The crowd also means it’s hard to photograph the flowers without people in the background.
My strategy has been to get as low to the ground as possible. You’ll find me sitting or even laying on the ground with my camera pointed up. This allows me to just get the flowers and the sky. Also photographing flowers on their level rather than standing over them is a more interesting photograph.
Do you agree?
Click on any photo to view slideshow
The challenge of photographing planes with propellers is that you need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the blur of the propeller, but not so slow that the rest of the plane is a blur.
When photographing the airshow at Planes of Fame, I put my camera in shutter priority mode and selected a shutter speed of 1/80. By choosing shutter priority mode, I’m selecting the shutter speed and the camera selects the aperture or f-stop. On a bright sunny day, the camera is going to select a small aperture like f-22 or f-36, depending on the ability of the attached lens. The problem with this combination is that small aperture along with the clear blue sky will show EVERY spec of dust you have on your sensor.
In order to get rid of all those spots I use Lightroom’s spot removal tool along with the visualize spots setting. The visualize spots setting is key to finding all those little buggers. If my camera sensor is dirty and it usually is, fixing these in post, can take some time.
Check out the rest and I’ll let you decide if the time is worth it 🙂
Okay. This photo is example of why airshows need to hire photographers to stage their static displays. 🙁 What could be a better photograph of a static F-22 Raptor then looking straight down it’s nose? So why block the view with light stands and other junk? Not to mention the building in the background. If there has to be a building it should be a hangar.
The side view just doesn’t have the same impact.
On May 3rd, I participated in Creating Partnerships for Progress’s (CPP) 2nd annual Hike for Healing to raise money for a medical clinic in Cambodia.
CPP is a non-profit organization founded by Angela Wendel, the organizer of the So Cal Explorers photography meetup group, and her family.
Primary Care Center
, they built a playground in Tanzania that included a merry-go-round that generates electricity. In 2011
, they partnered with Constru Casa in Antigua, Guatemala to help 4 families build new homes in 2 weeks.
In 2012, they partnered with Raise the Poor to build a library serving 25 communities and over 10,000 people in Cambodia. While there, they discovered children dying of dehydration caused by Hand, Foot & Mouth disease. They were able to provide funds to stop the outbreak and it gave them a purpose for their next project.
In 2014, they will help Raise the Poor build a primary care clinic in the community.
To learn more about CPP, the medical clinic project, or to donate, check out their website at http://www.creatingpartnerships.org/
The hike was in Peters Canyon, a regional park located between the cities of Tustin and Orange. You’ll see from some of the photos why it was called a hike-a-thon rather than a walk-a-thon 🙂
Pre- hike pep talk
And we’re off
View of Tustin and beyond
Uphill is harder with a passenger
View along the way
Waiting for the youngsters to catch up
Almost at the end of 3 miles
Smoothies were waiting at the end
Post hike rest
I wouldn’t make a good photojournalist. If I was, I would have gotten an establishing shot to show where I was. I would have photographed each sculpture in it’s entirety before zooming into the details. I would have photographed the plaques that showed who the artist is and what the sculpture is called.
So where was I? I was at the Benson Sculpture Park in Loveland, Colorado. The park contains a lagoon, flowers and plants like any park should. It just happens to also include 139 sculptures situated through the walkways and is open to the public. The purchase of the sculptures for the park is funded by proceeds from an annual show and sale.
So what did I do? I zoomed into the details, usually the face, of the sculpture’s that I found interesting. You can see the assortment of animals and people that are the subject of most of the sculptures by clicking on the link to my SmugMug page
Thanks to Shirley, my hostess and tour guide, I did remember a few stories she told me….
The hands that don’t meet in this depiction of ring around the rosie represents a child who had died and was therefore missing. It provides children, including her grandchildren, the opportunity to be photographed filling the gap.
Missing child formation
Sitting on the gorilla was also a photo op for the grandkids.:)
This is the most controversial of the sculptures. It was originally located in the center of town, but there were so many protests, they moved it to a secluded part of the park.
This finishes my trip to Colorado.
Next up…The hike-a-thon for Creating Partnerships for Progress
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acres with species-specific habitat ranging from 5-acres to 25-acres.
They specialize in rescuing large predators like Tigers, Lions, Bears & Wolves to name a few. These animals have been rescued from private owners, circuses or other zoos that could not take proper care of them. The goal is to let these animals live out there natural lives in these large enclosures which include underground dens for shelter and hibernation.
What makes visiting this sanctuary different than visiting the zoo, is that you get to see the animals from above. They have built a “Mile into the Wild Walkway” that lets you walk above the different habitats. In the orientation, they said that was good for the animals because they don’t see us as a predator or food so our presence up there doesn’t stress them.
Part of the “Mile into the Wild Walkway”
But just like at the zoo, the animals like to spend the day sleeping unless they are eating. I so needed a longer lens for this location. 🙂
Tigers take longer to make friends so they are mostly seperated
Bear headed back to his/her den
Just a bird, but I thought it was pretty
Non resident bird
Half Breed Dog & Wolf
Wolves being friendly with each other
Not sure what is in this wolf’s mouth but he buried it for later. Should have had the video going.
Pair of Tigers
Click on anyone of them to view them all larger.
After a week of training in Denver, we were sprung early on Friday, so we went to City Park. City Park is an urban park on 330 acres in east-central Denver. I had seen a photograph in one of the tourist magazines that I wanted to try and get the same vantage point of the Denver skyline. I didn’t quite get the view of the mountains in the background that I was hoping for. Here’s a sampling of my late afternoon efforts.
Denver skyline in black & white
Canadian Goose (I think)
Reflection in Ferrill Lake
Denver Skyline from City Park
Click on anyone of them to view them all larger.
Next stop…The Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Denver
Sego Canyon contains rock art from three different Native American cultures with more current graffiti mixed in, as well as a ghost town. I thought the rock art was in surprising good condition considering how old they are. There has been some graffiti added over the years, but not as bad as some places I’ve seen. It’s located off of I-70 between Green River, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado so I don’t think it has a huge tourist draw although we were hardly alone there. There were signs available to explain the three types of art and the differences between them.
There are house and coal mine ruins in the area.
What is referred to as the ghost town is where a company store and boarding house still partially stand.
To see the rock art and other ruins, check out my SmugMug gallery
Next stop..back to Denver