Every Bloomin’ Thing.

31 03 2012

This post goes out to the fine folks at Every Bloomin’ Thing (EBT) in Susanville, CA.  They had a class for the kids today all about Strawberry’s, their benefits, and how to care for them.  It was just the thing needed to get the kids outside on a super snowy Saturday here in Northern California.  It’s a good day when you come away from your kiddos class learning something new too!  Apparently, strawberries contain more Vitamin C than oranges!  Who would have thought?

The staff at EBT was fantastic. They were genuinely interested in helping the kids learn about strawberries, and how to care for them.  The cost was only $5.00 to participate, but every kid came away with a new terra cotta pot, 3 strawberry plants, and personally decorated plant i.d. tag.

To top off the day, a big bowl of melted chocolate was brought out with all of the big strawberries you could eat, and everyone got to dip strawberries in chocolate!

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Another satisfied customer putting on the finishing touches...





It’s Almost Time…

24 03 2012

It’s almost that time of year again when gardeners all around the US will begin getting their hands dirty, and bringing to life things that would otherwise cost a FORTUNE in the grocery store.  I personally love the fresh salsa that my garden provides.  I am also a huge melon fan, and this year, I’m going to attempt to grow both Cantaloupe and Watermelon.  We’ll see…

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I’m going to start both of them from seed.  In Northern California,  grow light is almost a must if you plan on harvesting anything you grow.  Every seed packet you get says to start 4 to 5 weeks before the danger of last indoors.  I bought Jiffy Seed Starting Mix this year as opposed to the little pods that come in the plastic green houses.  I have a bunch of plastic trays from last year that I would like to re-use.  I disinfected the trays with one part bleach to 10 parts water.  Rinsed well and let dry.  You can see at left what I started out with.  My tray, seed starting mix, Popsicle sticks (for labeling), and last but not least, my seeds.  I just followed the directions on the back of the package and… Viola!  The pic below is what I ended up with.

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I am a big fan of Park Seed Co. and flipping through their catalog, I saw a grow shelf that they are selling for about $300.00.  That’s a little rich for my blood, although it looks real nice with adjustable height lights, and nice sturdy shelves to set starting trays on. Because I consider myself a semi-handy guy, I decided to make my own.  I have a couple of old plastic shelving units in the rafters of my garage that will serve the purpose, and I purchased two grow lights from the Mart last year.  I will make the lights “adjustable” by using regular garden twine, and tying them to the shelves allowing enough length for brand new seedlings, and then pulling up the lights as the babies grow.  It’s still a little cold for using the shelves in the garage, so I think I’ll start the seeds in my laundry room on top of the dryer.

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Well, we’ll see how this all works out.  I’ll post more later when I set up the plastic shelves with the grow lights.  Until then stay tuned for some new photography stuff.  I’m going to a three day training on Crime Scene and Forensic Photography for my job.  I know,  I know.  But, things I Iearn there, will more than apply to off duty photography!  Until then… Stay safe!

Jerry





Free Time?!?! What’s That?

19 01 2012

I’ve been so busy the past two weeks I haven’t been able to post anything!  I’ve only been able to shoot a few photos.  That’s the problem with needing to have a real job.  Bleh!  Oh well.  Anyway, we are supposed to get some snow out of this series of storms that are coming through in the next few days. If so…..I’m hoping to get out and shoot some nice snowy pictures.  Until then…. I’ll leave you with a night shot from a few weeks ago.Image

 





It’s beginning to …. get closer to Christmas

19 12 2011

Living in Northern California, you get used to certain things happening at certain times during the year.  Christmas, 4th of July, Halloween, etc. all happen on the same day every year because the calendar says so.  But, with that, you can usually tell what’s coming up due to feeling in the air.  On the fourth, it’s usually hot and you have more daylight to do with what you wish, and on Halloween the leaves are turning and it’s a little cooler out.  This Christmas however, I WILL be DREAMING of a white Christmas because I don’t really think it’s gonna happen.  It’s super cold out, but there’s just no moisture in the air.

It doesn’t seem to matter to my kids though.  You would think there’s nine feet of snow on the ground with how excited my kids are about Santa getting here.  I think they were both pretty good this year.  We’ll see what Santa thinks though.

I want to wish EVERYONE the Merriest of Christmas’ and I hope you all have a wonderful new year!

Me and the Mrs.





December 2011 Lunar Eclipse

10 12 2011

Well, I did it.  I got up early on Saturday morning to brave the cold and attempt to photo the eclipse.  My son Josh, told me he wanted to get up with me and check it out too.  When I went into his room at 4:15 this morning and tried to wake him up, he mumbled something, tolled over and went back to sleep.  After I got to the park, set up my tripod, and checked the temperature, I thought I should have stayed in bed too.  I was 17 DEGREES!!!  I thought for sure my camera and lens was going to going to freeze, or at least fog real bad after getting out of the warm car.  It held up though like a champ.  I ended up putting the seat down in our SUV, opening up the back hatch on the car and just shooting out of the back.  The wind was blowing a little too, so I think staying in the car (with the heater on high!) helped reduce a little bit of wobble on the tripod.  I got there a little early so I was able to get a decent photo of what we were starting out with, moon wise.

With it being so cold, I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to just make up some excuse about clouds and no visibility, but I stuck it out and was able to capture these…

While I was waiting for the for the eclipse to get into full swing, I decided to snap a long exposure nighttime shot.  It’s one of my favorite styles of photography.

90 second exposure

We were about at the half way point by now, and this is what it looked like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was tough getting the right exposure.  You have to detail in different lights.  It you want to capture the overall detail of the moon, you have to use a fairly quick shutter speed.  For the picture above left, I used 200 ISO, f5.6, and 1/60 shutter.  I wasn’t really getting the detail of the “eclipse” that I wanted so I monkeyed with the exposure until I got the photo on the right.  All I think I did was use a 2″ shutter.  It overexposed the bottom half of the moon, but started to bring the upper half out a bit.

The last two photos are when the moon is fully eclipsed, and why I even showed up this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed with the quality of the photos taken with my 75-300 telephoto when it was extended all the way to 300.  The images weren’t nearly as sharp as I wanted.  I’m hoping to acquire a 70-200 f2.8, ahem….Santa?  Until then the other will have to do!

I hope you all were able to enjoy the eclipse like I did.  If so, feel free to leave a link to your photos in the comments below.  I would also like to hear about different techniques you all used to capture your images!

 





Upcoming Lunar Eclipse

8 12 2011

Saturday morning Northern California (all of the Pacific Time Zone as a matter of fact) will be in pretty good position to view a total lunar eclipse.  The timeline goes a little something like this….

0445 hrs –  the eclipse will begin

0605 hrs – start of eclipse totality

0657 hrs – end of eclipse totality

The sun will be starting to rise around 0600 hrs, and should give the whole experience a little extra “Mood Lighting”.  I plan on being up early to try and capture a piece of this phenomenon.

I’m not sure exactly how I will shoot the photos.  I’m going to try a low ISO, about F8, and a longer than normal exposure.  I think I’ll probably use my 75-300 telephoto lens and attempt to get “above” the lights of town.  I might even drive a little ways out of town to escape the lights.  Of course all of this is subject to change.  Things in my head rarely work out as I envision them.  Just ask my wife about the wood floor project.  I finally got the trim pieces around the doors replaced.  And it only took me 8 months!!  Progress if you ask me…

Stay tuned


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What To Do?

7 12 2011

It seems that just everyone that owns a DSLR camera today thinks of themselves as a professional photographer.  I for one have a totally opposite way of thinking.  I think those that are TRUE professional photographers have something to offer the world that cannot be duplicated by a weekend shooter.  I purchased my DSLR a little less than a year ago, and really did my homework on how to use it.  It is possible to open the box, charge the battery, set it to “Auto” and start snapping away.  If you are the type of person that just wants to take a picture to reminisce about later….fine.  I have nothing against that at all.  As a matter of fact, more power to you.  You aren’t the ones I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the ones that do the same as mentioned above, yet start charging for their services, and don’t know the first thing about leaving the “Auto” setting.  Much less knowing the advantages of shooting in RAW or when to shoot JPEG.  I wouldn’t think of charging anyone for photos until I get the blessing of a true PROFESSIONAL photographer.  I am in the process of “interning” for a very good friend of mine.  She is a fantastic photographer that captures moments, not just takes pictures.  It is through her guidance and tutelage that I am acquiring my photography education.  The more I learn from her, I know the key to making great portraits or creating the right composition is not in how expensive your equipment is……it’s in seeing the art you are trying to make before releasing the shutter.  Stay tuned….Image








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