A very fun evening!

Action Camera and Tamron lenses sponsored a photo walk in Virginia City yesterday evening. Ken Hubbard, the walk leader, is a national representative for Tamron lenses. I’ve had the privilege of taking night photography workshops with Ken previously, so I was excited to explore Virginia City in the evening light.

The town is quiet at 8 p.m. A few cars on the street but, with most stores closed, the pedestrian traffic was very light. VC’s street lights are beautiful, and cast an orange glow on everything. I chose building exteriors and store windows as my subjects for the evening. The store windows offered challenges with interior lights creating hot spots the images and competing with the ambient light from the street lights. I set the Canon 6D Mk II on Manual, played with ISOs of 100, 200, and 800, and various apertures. Shooting on a tripod, I bracketed exposures. This allowed me to be choosy in my selection of images to combine while processing. I also experimented with black and white for several of the images, as you will see in the images below.

Walking up Main Street and I saw these bottles in the window, backlit by the room lights. Next time, I’ll use a smaller aperture to extend the depth of field and make the bottles a little sharper. Of course, shooting at an angle through vintage glass may not allow full focus on the bottles.

One of the store fronts. I tried to mask the interior light using the item nearest the glass, with limited success (in my mind). I worked this image in both color and black and white, and decided I like the b/w version best.

Another of the store fronts. I had better success using the ambient light in this image. I combined 4 of the bracketed exposures and then applied a filter from the Nik Collection for the final image. I liked the color version of this image. Another challenge was the condition of the glass in the store windows – this glass wasn’t too bad.

My favorite image from the evening! This restaurant on the south end of town was wonderful. When I first saw this scene, there was a pickup on the right encroaching into the building. When I walked by again a couple hours later, the truck was gone and I was able to get this. Again, I compared the color version to the black and white version, and chose the b/w. I cropped in a little to reduce clutter on the sides, and had to decide if the fluttering bunting in the center of the image was worth worrying about. (You can’t take your eyes off it now, can you?)

Low light photography is challenging but fun – I experiment with is occasionally. The smoke around Virginia City wasn’t horrible, but did limit my shooting. The moon came up and was a beautiful reddish orange from the smoke, but I didn’t even try for moon shots mostly because of the smoke. Take a chance and go out in the late evening, and just experiment. You will learn a lot and might surprise yourself. Be careful where you go. Take a friend to watch your back. Yes, I’ve found myself in places where I shouldn’t have been without backup so I speak from experience.

On a positive note, the music from one of the bars made the evening pleasant! Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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PS Challenge – May 1, 2017

Happy May Day every one! (I’m celebrating Spring in the United States, not the USSR’s holiday – just to clarify.) Temperatures are moving upward, so it’s shorts weather. Also time to start those outside projects that have waited until winter came to a close. I have 6 cy of soil to move, then the planting, topped off with ground cover rock. We’ll see how motivated I am.

Today’s PS Challenge image comes from Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, taken during our visit on Saturday. This is an old sign advertising a show at Piper’s, on display in the lobby area. The light was terrible and the best view obscured by its placement on the wall opposite the grand staircase. I bracketed exposures to improve my chances of getting a good, usable image. I processed the bracketed exposures in Photomatix, then cleaned things up in PhotoShop. I had to ‘warp’ the image to make it fully presentable, due to the camera optics and combining the exposures. I like the result.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

PS Challenge – April 30, 2017

Today’s PS Challenge image is representative of many things. First, I took it ‘selfie-style,’ which is a big challenge because I don’t take good selfies and the PowerShot G9 doesn’t have a forward camera setting. Second, my lovely bride and I were on the V&T Railroad just leaving the Eastgate Station (east of Carson City) and heading for Virginia City. We were celebrating Susan’s retirement and had a wonderful time. The Carson Valley Pops played well and Piper’s Opera House was an excellent setting! Last, it’s the end of April – 2017 is a third of the way over! Temperatures are starting to rise and I’m going to mow my lawn for the first time this year today. Wahoo?

But anyway – this little camera continues to amaze me with its simplicity, complexity, and most important, its ability to make great images – even of me ‘selfie-style.’

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

My lovely bride and I snuck out for a quick dinner last week and, on the way, I saw a sticker on a car that read, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost.”  For some reason, the phrase resonated with me – maybe because I was hungry – but the thought seemed incomplete.  Susan and I discussed the sticker over dinner, brainstorming ways to complete the thought.  We decided that it needed to say, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost – Some Of Us Are Taking Pictures!”  I slept well that night, meeting a subliminal need to be profound.  Maybe it was the good dinner and wonderful company – I’ll go with that (love you, Cutie!).

In my last post, I teased you with a promise to deliver a great composition montage from my photography challenge.  Here you go!

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This is the stamp mill at Coloma State Park, overlaid with a texture from a classic Chevy I found in a barn yard. I placed the wood stamp mill in the rusty areas of the texture and let the faded grey areas interact with the background and foreground.

The challenge for last week was street photography.  The instructions were simple: go to a location(s) and take pictures of street scenes – include people if you can.  I was a bit apprehensive for this challenge.  I don’t live in a big city where people can be oblivious of activity on the street.  And the Carson Valley is not small enough so I know everyone.  Granted, I know lots of people here, but not everyone and, in true pioneer spirit, being too invasive can get you shot around here – figuratively, not literally.  So, I traveled across the Valley to the Town of Genoa.  It’s a quaint little place – the oldest settlement in Nevada (unless you’re from Dayton, where they take exception to Genoa’s claim, but I digress).  Tourism is big in Genoa with lots of people around, so I felt safe with my camera over there.  Genoa has one main intersection with a 4 way stop.  I parked a little bit away from the intersection and started taking pictures: a nice couple walking through the Genoa State Park; vehicle traffic going through the intersection; a family stopping at the General Store from their bicycle ride; and a group of men enjoying drink outside the Genoa Bar, the “Oldest Thirst Parlor in Nevada.”  My attention kept returning to a group of people placing mulch in the planting areas along the street.  I recognized one of the workers, so I approached and said howdy.  They are members of the Friends of Genoa, and were sprucing up the downtown before a major tourism conference next week and a big event, the Genoa Cowboy Festival, the first weekend in May.  They were very chatty and welcomed me and my camera.  Here’s my image.

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I got rave reviews from the photo challenge facilitator, who liked that the woman’s red jacket complemented the red in the stop sign, the ‘V’ positioning of the people, and the lines created by the tools connected the people in the picture. Better lucky than good? Yes, I think so!

One of the great things about being retired/self-employed is that my time is mine to use as I wish.  Susan and I live in a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.  Several of these neighbors are members of an ATV group that hits the trail at least once a month.  This month’s trip was southeast of Dayton, the Rawe Peak area, and featured fun stops at the Como Mine and the Palmyra town site.  If you want more information on this area, just Google ‘Como Mine’ or ‘Palmyra, Nevada’ and you’ll find lots of information on the area.

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This is Lynn, John, and Bob, with the Como Mine in the background.

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Looking down to the road from the mine equipment. The high desert was beautiful.

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This drum was intriguing. I don’t know enough about this mine to tell you what its purpose was.

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The remains of the only building ‘standing’ in Palmyra.

I can’t go anywhere without looking for a little wildlife.  We hit the jackpot near Palmyra, as we found a band of 6 horses, including a young colt.

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Here he is with Mom. A fire passed through this area some years ago, making tough walking to get close to the horses. Not too close, however – this was shot with the big lens and then cropped.

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The yellow grass, bare trees, and reds in the horses created quite the challenge for my limited photography skills. The horses were mostly cooperative and didn’t run away.

We also went to a nearby mountain, just down from Rawe Peak, to enjoy the views and let a couple group members do their geo-caching thing.

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Looking northeast towards Stagecoach, Nevada.

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Looking northwest towards Mt. Rose. Dayton is in the right side of the image, and Mound House is on the left.

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Looking across the Dayton Valley to Virginia City on the hillside (along the light brown line in the far mountainside). Mt Rose is just out of the image on the left.

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The view to the southwest and the Carson Valley. Jobs Peak, Freel Peak, and Little Sister are the prominent snow covered peaks. Lake Tahoe is just over the ridge of the far mountain range.

I’ll close this week with a images of the wild horses closer to home.  I checked on them the other day, and they are enjoying the spring very well.  I now have images of 7 new ones this year.  I know the names of 4 of the 7.  I hope you enjoyed my fun week.  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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These are the two little ones in Shorty’s band, I think. They didn’t get too far from their Mamas.

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This is one of my favorite images from this year, and is available on a small note card or as a larger print. Sorry, I had to get one commercial plug into the post!