I’m back to shooting for the 2009 Photo Challenge this week with this shot for the Curves theme. We took a day trip to Bodega Bay to do some whale watching, but the wind was furious and the surf too wild to see anything. Fortunately, the tide was low so the tide pools were easily accessible.
The wind was definitely a force of nature yesterday. The Sonoma Coast can get darn windy, but yesterday was something else. I was worried about sand blasting my camera so I kept it tucked into my jacket when I wasn’t shooting. The wind literally pushed my 6 year old backwards as she walked and our parked mini-van was shaking from the wind. We didn’t spend a lot of time out in the elements, but long enough for this shot of natural curves.
I took a dozen or so shots of these mussels trying to get the curves just right, but in the end none of the shots compared to how they look in nature. The patterns and colors were truly spectacular if you took the time to appreciate it. Most people gravitate to star fish or sea anemones, but these guys are worth a look.
I took last week of the 2009 Photo Challenge off. I just couldn’t get into the theme – Emotion. Emotional shots to me can’t be planned. I knew there was no way I could take an honest emotional shot given that I work full time. I see a lot of joy and happiness in my kids, but I didn’t want to use them as subjects. I’m also not entirely comfortable taking pictures of strangers. That is an area I need to work on, but I don’t think the Photo Challenge is the right venue.
I have certainly hit the ground running this year, at least in terms of photography. I decided to attempt the 2009 Photo Challenge so I’ve been taking a lot of photos. I’ve only missed one day so far, which means I’ve posted 34 photos for the challenge alone. I’ve also posted about 40+ other photos to Zooomr and Flickr. That has to be one my best months ever with about 75 photos in the month.
I’ve also been very pleased with the quality of the shots I’ve been posting, and several have received a lot of faves and views. While I’d like to think I’m growing as a photographer, I’m certain the 2009 Challenge has helped me improve. In fact, a friend is buying prints of three shots taken specifically for the 2009 Challenge. That will be my first photography sale. I’m also contributing a photo to a fund raising auction for my kids’ school later this month.
One of the high points of January was my first photowalk with Jeremy Brooks and Andrew Lighten. I was on a jury in San Francisco and Jeremy and I decided to meet up one evening. It just happened that Andrew flew into SF that day. Hanging out even for a short time with other photographers is very rewarding. Thanks guys. I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to get to other Bay Area photowalks this year. This is one of the shots I took on that walk:
January was a good start to the year for me. I know the economy sucks and California is heading into a severe drought, but I’m looking forward to this year. And looking back, this is my favorite shot of the month:
One final thing, I want to give a little promotion to the PhotoNetCast podcast. I’ve only recently started listening to this and have really enjoyed it. It’s entertaining and informative. I know everyone listens to TWIP, but you should also listen to PhotoNetCast. Really.
I’m trying the Photo Challenge again this year. Last year didn’t go so well, I gave up pretty early. I’m going into the 2009 Challenge with modest expectations. The challenge is a photo-a-day with a new theme everyday. The details of the 2009 challenge are on the Photo Challenge blog. The daily theme is posted the day before, so you don’t have much time to plan.
I know I won’t be able to take and post a photo everyday this year. With work, kids, vacation, etc it just isn’t possible. I’m hoping for 300 shots for the challenge. Even those 300 might not be daily, but if I know starting out that I can’t get one a day, I won’t be disappointed if I don’t make it. If I get 300, I’ll feel I accomplished my personal goal. And I think that is the point of the challenges – grow as a photographer and have fun.
After five days I’m keeping up. I’ve taken and posted a shot everyday. It’s not easy, and they aren’t are all shots I would normally post. Since the Photo Challenges use Flickr, I finally went ahead and upgraded to a Pro account. I still prefer Zooomr, but will be posting all my photos on both sites from now on.
Day 1 – Chair
I’ve been keeping up with the April Challenge, but seem to fall behind in the 2008 Community Challenge. Maybe because there is so much that falls apart. Anyway, here are the shots for week 14 and week 15 (which by my count is this week).
I set out yesterday evening to shoot the old Sunset Twine building because the light hits it perfectly with few shadows. The building is truly amazing. It was a working factory up until about a year ago (maybe two). Developers had planned to turn it into condos, but the city kept dragging its feet on approving plans, so the developer finally gave up. I want to see the building preserved and hope someone comes along to take care of it before it falls down.
This barn was moved a couple of years ago to this spot by the river to make room for a parking garage downtown. The move was about a 1/4 mile as the crow flies. I tend to not like development that displaces or destroys old buildings, but I was ok with this move because it preserved the building and put it in a new riverside park. Moving it was a good compromise.
I’ve actually been keeping up with the April Challenge, so far. It’s only Day 5, so I guess it’s not much of an accomplishment yet. Here are the shots for days 2-5.
April 2, 2008
Paint peeling off the old barn/shed in my backyard. This building is probably 100+ years old, and looks like it. It is also my next project at home. I’ve neglected it for too long and will be fixing it up over the next few months.
April 3, 2008
I’ve blogged before about trains (or lack thereof) in Sonoma County. This is a section of track north of Penngrove, CA.
April 5, 2008
One of the thousands of pieces of glass from my car window that was smashed yesterday in a random act of stupidity. Actual size is 1/2 inch long.
These shots were taken as part of the April photo challenge.
My first shot for the April photo challenge. It also works for this week’s 2008 Challenge. My town is known for its streets, or actually how badly the streets need repairs. This street is in downtown, off the main drag.
We’ve gotten a bit of press over the sad state of our streets, and at one point Petaluma had the worst streets in the San Francisco Bay Area. A distinction most residence aren’t proud of. In addition to being annoying, the potholes actually damage cars and put extra wear and tear on them. The city is working to make improvements, but there are many streets in dire need of repair. I’ve heard people say our streets are worse than the streets of Baghdad. Having never been there, I can’t say, but they are worse than many dirt roads I’ve driven.
At some point in Petaluma’s past, trains ran down this stretch of track in downtown. Since I’ve lived here, it’s been a hazard and an eyesore. The trestle runs along the water front of the Petaluma River turning basin, a main pedestrian thoroughfare in downtown. Several years ago the trestle was fenced off to prevent people walking on it because it had deteriorated to the point where it became a safety hazard. Now the 85 year-old trestle sits, neglected, in the heart of town as a sad reminder of our past.
But, there are some who care about preserving history for future generations. The Petaluma Trolley Project is working to get the trestle and trolley service restored to Petaluma. There is even talk of putting the trestle on the National Register of Historic Places. I would love to see the trestle restored with trolleys running along the river. I’m not sure it would help traffic, but it would be cool, kind of like the Cable Cars in San Francisco. OK, maybe not as cool, but for a small town like Petaluma it would be great.
So much local history gets lost, and it seems there is little support for preserving old landmarks. Developers want to make money off the land, or turn places into resorts to generate profits. I’d like to see more historic places preserved for everyone.
The Petaluma Argus-Courier has a good article on the efforts to restore the trestle and its history.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been behind in the 2008 Challenge. This week I’m trying to catch up a little by posting two shots, both of which I took this morning while on a walk with my dog.
Only a few blocks from downtown sits one of the town’s dairies. I don’t know how long this one has been around, but I’m pretty sure the site has been a dairy since Petaluma became a town. This one also sits across the street, diagonally, from city hall. Petaluma has a long history as a diary town, so it’s nice to some reminders right in the middle of everything. The trucks coming and going are probably a nuisance since it’s a residential neighborhood, but I like seeing it.
Petaluma has its share of graffiti problems, but this is actually authorized graffiti artwork. I am totally opposed to graffiti as vandalism, but completely support property owners who allow graffiti artist to paint walls as a form of
expression. In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater allows graffiti art on the back wall of the building. The art is clearly visible from one of the busiest streets in town and has grown more colorful and expressive in recent months. This shot is inside an old room attached to the building that has no roof. Fortunately the left over cans and trash aren’t visible from the street.
I took this for the 2008 challenge last week and posted it to Zooomr and Flickr, but haven’t had a chance to blog it yet. I also submitted it to JPG Magazine under the “Fresh” theme for Issue 16. I’d appreciate a vote if you like it.
This scene is very representative of the farmland around Petaluma at this time of year – green and yellow with a bright blue sky. Even though much of the country is still in winter, California gets to experience Spring starting in February. We’ll get some more rain before Summer, but at least we have color early. The color will fade by June and the fields will all be brown then, so I always enjoy the green while it lasts.
The irony of this shot is that the county landfill is nestled in the hills in the background. Fortunately, you can’t seen it in this shot.