Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Solstice Sunset Photo Contest

Rick Sammon, one of the best sunset/sunrise photographers around, ran a contest for a Winter Solstice Sunset photo.  The only rule was the photo had to be taken at sunset on the solstice.

I thought this was an awesome excuse to go out and find the best place to take a sunset photo.  I made a whole day of it.  The winter solstice being just 2 days after my birthday, I thought I would just make a day with the family.  We spent the day in San Francisco, doing cool things at Golden Gate Park.  We ended the day at Treasure Island.  Treasure Island is a small island in the bay about halfway between Oakland and San Francisco.  You get to it via the Bay Bridge.  I think it's technically part of San Francisco.  It used to be a naval base, but was closed many years ago.  It's now very rundown and reminiscent of a ghost town.  We drove around the island checking it out.  There are some wine tasting rooms, a marina, an RV storage, a small residential community, and a couple small parks.  And a lot of rusty old buildings.

it was a little weird being there.  I could only imagine what it must've been like when it was an active base (if you ask my uncle, he could tell you.  Apparently he was there for a month in 1967 when he was in the Navy).

From Treasure Island there is a very awesome view of the San Francisco skyline.  The bay bridge.  On a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Richmond Bridge too.  And Alcatraz looks like a hop, skip and jump from the island.

There's a fantastic sculpture on the island.  From photos it looks to be about 15 ft tall.  But in reality it has to be 4 or 5 stories tall.  This thing is phenomenal.  It's huge.  I was absolutely in awe.

Anyway .... My plan/goal was to get a photo of the skyline with the setting sun.  Hoping for a decent silhouette of the skyline.

I took several (20 or so).  I took lots with a starburst effect due to a closed aperture.  I took some with an open aperture for a softer look.  Ultimately I liked the starburst effect better.

My favorite was one with some rocks from the Treasure Island shore in the foreground and the skyline in the background with a starburst sun behind a couple buildings (was hoping it would be behind Coit Tower, but it didn't happen).

I was really pleased with this photo.  Textbook silhouette landscape photo.  Almost panoramic, but wasn't really.

I am pleased to say that it won second place in the contest.   :D

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Goal Recap and 2014 Goals

From this post here (2013 Goals) I set my 2013 photography goals.

Almost immediately into the new year I realized I wasn't going to reach one of my goals (Project 52), and that was OK with me.  I watched a photography webshow that advised against doing a weekly/daily photo project.  I agreed with their reasons and re-thought that goal.  But I did, however continue to shoot photos of food and to try to improve that one area of my photography.  But I didn't do it as a weekly project.  And I think I learned more by not doing the project than if I had stuck it out.

The other 2 goals - "Storytelling, make a book" and "Street Photography" I met to some degree.

My goal with the photobook was to get the photos taken for the book. I still have a few more to get (office scenes and Christmas and a round of classroom photos).  But otherwise I think I have enough to create a book.  I took on new roles in the worship service at the church this year and that's prevented me from taking photos on Sunday mornings.  But I'm still working on this and I consider this a goal achieved.

My goal with street photography was to get out of my box and go do it.  And I did.  I was embarrassed and felt on the spot, but I did it anyway.  I actually did it a few times at a local street fair.  I didn't get into San Francisco for any street photography, but that wasn't part of my goal.  My goal was to just get out and try it.  And I did.  I don't know that I like street photography that much, but I do believe that it has the ability to stretch me and grow me both as a person and as a photographer.

Other photography milestones (for lack of a better word) met this year ...

  • bought a flash and started playing around with that
  • did a couple portrait sessions to work on portrait work
  • took official band photos for the church band
  • took photos for the end of the year slideshow for the preschool
  • went to an all-day photography class
  • signed up for Photoshop Creative Cloud (so I have full photoshop now for only $10/month)

2014 Goals

This is hard because where I currently reside in my photography skillset, I'm not sure where I want to go and what's next and what's reasonable.

  • Definitely want to finish the photobook.  
  • Take photos for VBS next summer
  • Get proficient enough with the flash that I can use it with minimal "guess and check."  This requires LOTS of practice.
  • Save up for a buy a new camera.  I feel like I've outgrown mine and want one that does better in low-light.  I'm willing to buy used.  I know what camera I want.  Just gotta save up for it - cause they're expensive.
  • Go to another photography seminar/class.  I'd like to hit up Joe McNally's One Flash, Two Flash class if it comes near here.  Other thoughts are a Lightroom or Photoshop class.  But none of those are coming near me yet.  I'll keep an eye out on them.  I'll settle for an online class or two as well.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Santa Cruz

Spent the weekend in Santa Cruz and took my camera with me.  The whole time there I was thinking of Scott Kelby's Shoot Like a Pro tour and thinking of travel photography.  What things are iconic.  What are interesting.  What tells the story.  I don't know how successful I was as a whole, but I think a few moments I was pretty close.  I think I'll take a stab and putting these in a mini photo book.

Here are a few of my better shots.

from our bed and breakfast; tucked away behind a garden and really cute grounds.

a pseudo pano of a church from far away.

I thought this wall was cool with the texture.

Also from the bed and breakfast.  The waterfall was very small.  I got to use slow shutter speed.  Not bad for my first attempt.

from the B&B - the water wheel in the river

RR Tracks to nowhere

I was amused

Saw some OK surfing going on.

It was hazy, so I couldn't get a good shot of the boardwalk.  And when I found a good location, I was done shooting for the day.

Sea lions under the pier on the wharf.  they let you get really close to them (and safely behind a fence)

My seafood tacos for lunch

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fun with Flash

Thanks to the Scott Kelby, "Shoot Like a Pro" tour, I bought a flash and accessories for it.  I was pleased that he gave us suggestions for flashes and things that won't break the bank.  I was able to get a flash, a wireless trigger, and a softbox-tripod kit for less than $150.  And now I've been playing with them.

Due to our busy schedule, the only models available to me are my daughters after bathtime.

These aren't going to win any awards and I won't ever put them in my portfolio.  But I felt like I got a good start to shooting with a flash.  I started by just shooting with some backlight and using the flash to brighten up their faces.  But then when I wasn't content with it, I grabbed my reflector/difuser disc and put the black side on, put it on a chair, and had them sit in front of it.  It worked well enough for my purposes.  Couldn't do it all the time ... especially since you can totally see the wrinkles.

One of the first I took.  I think it's OK.  I'm struggling finding good focus when working with a flash cause it's too dark for the camera to focus on it's own and my eyes suck.  I think there might be too much shadow on the camera left side.  She's not dark and mysterious enough for half-lit face.

love the catchlight here

GOOFINESS!  I wasn't sure where to put the flash, so I went for over and lit all of her.  I love the catchlight in her eyes.

starting to go over to the side again, but not as far as before.

I think this is the best photo with her.  Decent focus, good exposure on the face, good smile, good catchlight, realistic coloring.

I couldn't get her to do a real smile, so I had her sing.  Again, I think the flash here is pretty good.

lighting 2 is a lot harder than just one.  Especially when they can't keep their hands down.  This isn't bad, but I think Audrey is a bit overlit.

She got really mad at me when I said it was almost bedtime.  Then we took this.  And I love it.  I wish the focus was on her face and not her hair, but otherwise I absolutely LOVE this photo.  The flash was directly in front of her face; I would've loved to try it from the floor shooting up, but didn't really have time to move things and get her to do this again.

So I moved to the floor.  This totally overlit her arms and her face was dark.  I LOVE Lightroom.  I really feel like I did a great job in post-processing of this photo. 

And in B&W, to add to the edgy mood of her pose.

Scott Kelby Photowalk

Last Saturday, Scott Kelby hosted his annual Worldwide Photowalk.  My friend and I attended in Crockett, CA, which is underneath the Carquinez Bridge and home of the C&H Sugar Factory.  It's a very old town, run-down in places, not yuppified.

I was feeling totally uninspired.  I took what I think are technically decent photos, but really struggled with any sort of creativity and something that would make me go "WOW!"  (I really should go out and do photowalks more often so I'm not struck so blank when I go.)

At any rate, here are some of the best of what I took.

This was one of the more charming spots of the town.  I'm a sucker for long staircases with plants and bushes.

I kept seeing these little (no ... big) guys all over town.  On businesses, houses, fences.  It was definitely a unique part of the town.

A piece of the old and still charming (vs. the old and rundown)

The Carquinez Bridge(s)  I believe the truss bridge is the old and the suspension bridge is the new one.  Fun Fact ... when I moved here, only the truss was open.  I've lived in California long enough to see the new replacement bridge be finished.

These railroad tracks were the beginnings of what allowed the C&H Factory to be built here.  They go right by the front door of the factory.


Friday, September 13, 2013


I've created a portfolio.  After watching Scott Kelby and Matt Klakowski on The Grid  I decided to go ahead and really put some time and effort into my portfolio.  To really narrow down what is in it and such.  Even though I'm not really trying to be a professional (although I wouldn't mind some money on the side), a portfolio is a great way to really gauge your skills and improvement.  By putting only my best 25 images or so in there and updating it when I get better shots, I'm able to say, "Hey!  I've updated most of my images recently."  or "Oooh ... I haven't shot anythign better than these and these are 5 years old."

A portfolio is different than my flickr page.  Flickr is for photo sharing.  Where all my acceptable shots get placed for other people to see what we're doing, etc.  To hold all the photos from a given event.  But a portfolio is only my BEST shots.

So ... without further ad ...

Christine Roosa Photography

Thursday, August 29, 2013



This man












Man of God
Andrew and Josh Christmas reading

Former Marine (read as: Pure Awesomeness!)



Josh and Andrew play guitar

20 years ago, before either of us knew the other one existed, he went through a dramatic and life changing event.  That event has continued to shape and mold his personality and character.  And has helped create the person you see in the above photos.  I thank God that he survived that event.  I thank God for the person he's become.  And I pray that he continues searching for God and growing into the man God wants.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Moon Rising

Having enjoyed my sunrise shoot so much the other day, and having discovered a local spot where the bay (and the hills in the peninsula) I was aching to get out and watch the sunset.

I chose a day based on what my schedule allowed.  The sky wasn't anything special that day.  There was a grass fire a couple miles east of me, so the sky was hazy.  But there were no storm clouds (I missed one heck of a lighting storm the other night ....) or anything spectacular.  Living in a valley, however, I've not been able to watch sunsets regularly like I used to growing up.  When I was in college I had a dorm room on the top floor of the tallest building on the hill looking west.  It was an ideal sunset watching location.  And I LOVED it.  But the last 8 years or so have really been lacking in sunset availability.  So any sunset is awesome in my book.

At any rate, I hopped in my car and drove to "my new spot."  Got there in plenty of time.  Due to high winds on this hill, I did not take a tripod.  My tripod isn't very sturdy to begin with, let alone with high winds.

I was waiting for the sun to do it's thing.  Got a couple "practice" shots in, set my exposure, got a feel for the location and waited.  I sat down on the bench, facing east, and saw this.


The slight hazy/smokey sky with the sun reflecting off it was pretty in and of itself.  But the moon coming up just behind the clouds ... MONEY!  I was excited to get it; kinda wish I noticed it a minute earlier when it was only half up.  I've been aching for a decent moon photo for the better part of 6 months.  I like this one enough to share it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunrise over the Valley

I got it in my head last week that I wanted to find a spot to take sunrise photos.

I love sunrises and sunsets.  I love seeing how the sky changes color.  And how vibrant it can get.  I love how the opposite horizon is affected as well.  And how it's different EVERY time.  No two sunsets or sunrises are the same.

This time of year is great for sunrises.  It's late enough in the morning that I don't have to get up at completely ungodly hours.  It's still warm enough that pants and a sweatshirt are sufficient.  The bay area gets some really iconic fog that makes for fantastic photos - especially with the sun reflecting off it or shining through it.

We live in a valley and really can't see much of a sunrise or sunset.  Gotta climb some hills to really get to a good spot to see one.  Or stand on a freeway overpass.

Friday morning came and I had totally forgot that I wanted to go.  Annie came in the room at 6 and I remembered.  The sun was starting to come up.  I grabbed flip flops and Annie and we ran out the door and went to find a location.  My first location was way up high on a hill.  Unfortunately it was so foggy Friday morning that I couldn't see anything.  I drove down the hill a tad and grabbed a couple shots, but was just barely on a shoulder of a 2-lane road and couldn't really stay there.

So we drove some more.  I saw a road go up a hill and decided to follow it.  It went around a bend and at the top of the hill is a school.  And a parking lot.  And a small field that overlooks the valley.  I parked and Annie and I both got of the out car and we watched the sunrise.  It was fun.  I got a couple decent shots - especially of a really thick patch of fog.  But I felt like I missed the best part of the sunrise.  So I decided to try again the next day.

Saturday morning came and I couldn't sleep.  I was afraid of missing it again.  I grabbed my phone, my camera, my tri-pod and a soda and left.  This time I took the time to get dressed.  I drove off to the same place as the day before.  I was up earlier and knew where to go, I was sure to get some better photos this time.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the fog that I had the day before.  So the photos weren't as mysterious and glowy.  But the sun was neat.

Watching the sunrise made me feel like the neighbor boy from The Incredibles.  Mr. Incredible says, "What are you waiting for?"  The boy replies, "I don't know!  Something AMAZING!"  Yeah ... that's how I felt.

Stood there waiting.  Snapping a photo here and there.  Then watching and waiting.  How was the light going to change?  How were the clouds going to reflect the light?  What color would it be?  Will I get "God-Rays?"

It was absolutely gorgeous.  I loved it.  Spectacular.

I only hope my photos did it justice.

The fog from Friday Morning's outing

Sunburst from Friday 

dublin hills sunrise panorama.jpg
Sat AM Panoramic - built in Photoshop Elements, processed in LR



I love this one.  I love the way the mist and the light make it feel like the Serengeti or somewhere ominous.  Anywhere. Can't see the city.  Can't see the field. 

(I'm struggling with editing/processing sunrise and sunset photos in LR.  Trying to get the colors right and to get the right balance of light and dark.  I tried a bracketed set for HDR, but it didn't work right.  Also have a hard time remembering what the light looked like to properly process in LR.)