Lens-Artists Challenge#205: The Eyes Have It

During a photography competition, the judge always looks into the subject’s eyes–whether human or animal. Are they sharp and have a catch light. This week, Tina challenges us to focus on the eyes of a subject. Eyes are doorways into the soul.

I managed to find some images in my archives to show you. Let’s start with one I enjoy looking at. My friend and I were at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge driving the course. Towards the end, a bald eagle was in a branch right over the road. To get this picture, I climbed up through her car’s sunroof. Look at those eyes. What do you think he’s telling me?

Two more animals: The coyote is on the hunt. You can see that he is focused in his eyes. While the parrot, is just being colorful and beautiful.

Burrowing owls are very small, but their eyes are big in comparison. Is he flashing a do not disturb sign with those eyes?

I don’t capture enough candid portraits of people. Here are two that tell different stories. The first gentleman was sitting on a bridge bench. His glasses hide the despair in his eyes, but his body language speaks. The woman is taking a break at the Pirate Festival. Her eyes are narrowed and relaxed. To me she’s reflecting on a good day of fun.

Another of my favorites is this flamingo trying to sleep at the Sacramento Zoo. What is he trying to tell me as I snap his picture?

A dog’s eyes are a true reflection of what he/she is thinking. I think he/she wants attention. What do you think?

Eye focus equals communication. At Toastmasters we teach “eye contact.” Look directly into your audience’s eyes. You can tell immediately whether or not your message is reaching them.

Thank you Tina for this wonderful eye opening topic. Remember to link your reply to her post. Next week we begin our tradition of summer guest hosts during July. Next week Aletta Crouse of Now at Home will focus on Treasures. Be sure to look for her post.

During the remainder of July we have:

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to look for and check out their blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when I will host, “What’s Your Groove”.

Until then, have a safe and fun summer. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

A country wedding: Pheasant Trek

If you’re dreaming of a wedding set in the country, Pheasant Trek at Dunnigan Hills may be the place for you. A working ranch of olive groves and vineyards, Pheasant Trek, in Yolo County, mostly bills itself as a wedding and event destination. We were invited there through the Yolo Arts and Ag Project.

On the way there we stopped to catch this scene and more.

The actual ranch consisted of buildings, a barn, a water tower converted into a bridal dressing room, an enclosure for a cow and two donkeys. Here are some of the buildings seen from the central part of the ranch.

Here are the animals.

I walked around to the back of the ranch and found these.

Yes, I was a little disappointed, but there was enough to photograph and keep me busy. I’m wondering what Yolo Arts and Ag has in store for us in July? Really, I’m very appreciative that we are allowed to photograph in these venues.

Lens-Artists Challenge 104: Doors/Doorways

I dug deep into my archives to find images for Sylvia’s (My Colorful Expressions) challenge. I just wanted to see what my earliest photos looked liked. And this is what I found: little or no editing, lots of HDR, and hardly any cropping. Through Sylvia’s challenge, I could see how much I’ve learned.

When I started photography, HDR was the BIG thing. That’s the reason I moved up from the Nikon D3100 to the D7100. The D3100 didn’t do auto bracketing. Looking at the photos, I can see that NIK Color Efex does a much better job of creating that type of image.

I love to photograph doorways and doors. The more rustic the better. And if the door is red, wow! Anyway, here they are, photos from 2014 and 2015. I did a small amount of editing. I just couldn’t help myself!

Let’s start with a couple of HDR taken from the Sacramento Delta.

I do love red doors, actually anything red!

Here’s a unique door knocker in Fiddletown and a double door entrance in Jackson.

Take a look at this old structure in Amador County.

And this one from Bodie, a ghost town. This was another HDR.

Another HDR image from the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. I like the reflection and iron work in the door.

I’ll end with this barn at Gibson Ranch. The sun was situated just right to shine through the open doors. Oh, yes, it’s red!

Thank you Sylvia for giving me this opportunity to go through old photos. It’s amazing how much you can learn when look at where you’ve been. Remember to link to Sylvia’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

It was my pleasure to challenge you last week, and we enjoyed all your wonderful local vistas. My son is on his way to recovery and feeling better. Thank you all for your kind thoughts regarding his well-being. This is truly a wonderful and caring community.

Next week Tina will be presenting the challenge, so be sure to look for her post.

 If you, or any of your photo friends, would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Just a short post: McKinley Rose Garden

A rose will always be a rose! And I do love them. They are the only plants I personally take care of. I have a small but beautiful rose garden. But today I’m writing about my adventure at the McKinley Park Rose Garden in Sacramento.

Every year they have a photo contest to see which photographer will win the coveted first place prize. Last year, I was lucky enough to win first place. This is the winning photo.

This year I also went down to the garden to take photos. That day, the wind was blowing and the roses were either on their way out or budding. But with my macro lens on my Fuji, I did my best. I used a high shutter speed and hoped for a slight breeze. Of course it was the last week of the contest–no going back another day! You know I procrastinate.

Here are the best of lot. We are allowed five entries. In 2020 I received an honorable mention.

We’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know–even if I don’t place.

Lens-Artists #203: Local Vistas

There are challenges and there are challenges! This post is late because we need to drive up to Reno last night to help my son who is sick. At 12 pm EST today we were in emergency with him. He will be okay. So let’s get on with my original post and see some local vistas. Thank you for your patience.

Sometimes you need a nudge to realize what’s going on around you. For me that nudge was photography. Before I found this passion, I really wasn’t paying much attention to what the greater Sacramento area had to offer. I was busy caregiving to my mom, being daytime guardian for my older grandkids, running a part-time business and helping in the family business when needed.

But wonderful grandkids grow up, my mom passed away and eventually, I shut down my business. I had a void to fill, and I chose to fill it with photography. And how lucky I am to live in the Sacramento area. There is so much to see, so much to enjoy and so much to photograph.

Here are some of our local Sacramento Vistas

You know how much I enjoy the Sacramento Zoo. It’s going to be moving a little further away, but still in Sacramento County. The cheetah is enjoying his bone and the Wolf’s Gueron is snacking away too.

We have two rivers for our enjoyment. Old Sacramento sits on the Sacramento River. It’s a great place for tourists, families and is home to the Sacramento Railroad Museum. First is a view of the waterfront from the iconic Tower Bridge and then a sunset image of the Tower Bridge.

Not far from Old Sacramento is the Capitol Mall. I think we have a most beautiful capitol building and its grounds include the World Peace Garden. Here is a picture of the Capitol dome on a full moon night.

Moving into Sacramento City, each year we host Wide Open Walls. Artists come from all over to paint bright and beautiful murals on our buildings’ walls. This is a yearly festival, and most building owners keep the murals up. Some are fading already. This one touched my heart last year. It will always be a reminder of the pandemic and its heroes.

Discovery Park is close by and is part of the American River Parkway (A trail that is 32 miles along the American River.) The trail is for bicyclists and runners. It has picnic facilities. The golden hour adds to its beauty.

Let’s move further down the trail to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center which is part of a “100-acre nature preserve with riparian and oak woodlands, shrub lands, meadows, and aquatic habitats.” There we find deer, turkeys, coyotes, raptors, snakes, etc. Here is one of the inhabitants we come upon most of the time.

I can’t end this post without showing you our sister county, Yolo. We leave our suburbs and in just a few minutes we’re in Yolo County or should I say “country!” Here is where we go to photograph our rural scenes and sunflowers.

And we just have to go over the Tower bridge to the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to find wildlife.

Now you can see why I love living here. But I bet you love your area too. What are your local vistas? Where do you photograph when you don’t have a lot of time or are not on vacation? What about your hometown excites you? Is it the countryside, city, gardens, amusement venues? This week, tell us about and show us your local vistas.

Remember to link to this post as you share your local vistas and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we all had fun with Sofia’s Minimalism/Maximalism challenge. So many interpretations and creativity came from all of you. Next week our guest host Sylvia Bacon will present a great challenge so stay tuned!

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #202: Minimalism-Maximalism

I absolutely love our LAPC community. Why? Because I learn so much about my approach to photography and how I photograph. When I started looking for samples in my archives that would fit the parameters Sofia suggested, I found that I don’t do minimalism. For me, minimalism means a lot of negative space. I tend to fill the frame. I do simple. I also don’t photograph high-key images. That is unless I get my exposure wrong and I discard those!

I did find some images that might fit with negative space.

This lone pelican is surrounded by water that fills whatever space is left.

Some samples of simple but not minimal.

I think this is the closest I’ve come to a minimal image. You can imagine most of the bridge as white space. But even then there’s more going on.

Oh, I did find an image that might do as minimal.

I’ll end with two examples of simple and busy. Or my macro and landscape.

I now will try to do some high/low key with negative space. Isn’t learning fun! Got to love LAPC!!

Thank you Sofia for presenting me with this learning experience. I’ll be hosting next week, so stay tuned. Remember to link your reply to Sofia’s post. Take care everyone.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

May was…: M3 Ranch, Woodland

What can I say. May was sometimes good and sometimes disappointing–for photography. I’ve taken you on many Yolo Art & Ag farm tours and this one of the M3 Ranches in Woodland promised such varied crops like olives, garlic, almond trees, agave plants and more. How exciting! Well, maybe not.

The first clue was there was no greeter to take our names. The roads were open and we drove around them. I’m thinking maybe we missed something???

We did find the almond trees. At least we think they are almonds.

Then we found a pond that they call their oasis.

And now the agave plants.

The grape vines already had fruit.

I think these are the olive trees. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

I’ll end with some of the vistas I photographed.

Working with the images for this post, I’m thinking it wasn’t such a disappointment after all.

Lens-Artists Challenge #201: Three of a Kind

Today, Ann-Christine challenges us to create a post that has” three separate images that are somehow related.” She also explains that, “There is a special word for this art of three – triptych.” Yes, we learn something new every day.

Now, I don’t usually go on a photo outing with the thought of creating a series of three images that are related to each other, and I thought this would be a daunting challenge. How surprised I was to find, while going through my archives, that I do take a series when there is something interesting. So here are my “triptych” trios.

A ride at the Nevada County Fair. This is a kids ride of cars that starts off slowly and then increases to a rapid spin. Picture one is stationary, two is starting the spin, and three is at maximum.

Sculptured abstract. You’ve seen part of this next trio in our recent “Light and Shadow” challenge. I posted the sculpture and its shadow, but today I’ll add an abstract taken when I got really close with a long lens. This was taken in West Sacramento.

Trains. Now on to the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. This is always a fun place to take a camera. This old train was sitting on mirrored glass. The mirrors were also overhead and to the side. What fun I had. These are not the only images of this fantastic opportunity I took that morning. First is the train reflected on the glass. Second is the side of the train reflected on the glass above. Last is the top of the train in reflection.

Yard art. For my last trio, I’m taking you to the Antique Trove in Roseville. We go there when we need to be indoors because of rain or heat. It was rainy, but the back part (yard) was open. I saw cute owl sculptures.

I believe if I kept going through my archives, I’d find more trios. I think we instinctively take photos this way.

Thank you Ann-Christine for a fun challenge, teaching us a new word and helping me find more insight into how I photograph.

And thanks to Amy and her “Every little thing” challenge. She reminded me that small joys can overcome large burdens. Next week Sofia will present her challenge on Minimalism/Maximalism–Single or Flamboyant, Plain or ”More Is More”? Intrigued? Look for her post.

Remember, to link your post to Ann-Christine’s and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Street Photography?: The Fountains

I love street photography, but I’m finding out that I lack patience and I’m too timid to take some candid shots. If you ask them if you can take their picture, then they pose. Marlene and I went to The Fountains, an outdoor shopping center in Roseville, recently to do street photography. One, the stores were just opening and there weren’t many people. Two, At its best, this center is a leisurely shopping center–not bustling.

Any way, I was able to get some window cleaners on the job.

This is the fountain in the middle of the shopping center. At a peak shopping time, people usually sit around with their children or cell phones! At prime time, It’s jets propel water synchronized to music. Of course we were too early for that.

I did have some fun with chairs. First are the chairs as the were and second are the chairs with a Photoshop twirl filter. Which do you like better?

I took some other fun photos.

I tried to photograph this guy through a fire enclosure, but he saw me and offered to have me take his picture. Marlene and I talked with him and found out that he has terminal cancer. Marlene offered to take his picture with his cell phone, and he allowed it.

So this was my try at street photography. Not that successful, but I had a good time. Next time we’ll have to go into Sacramento City, on a Sunday so we can park, later in the day, find a busy area and wait for people to walk by. Oh, yes, I’ll find some patience too.

Lens-Artists Challenge #200: Every Little Thing

I like photographing little things with my macro lens. Sometimes I don’t even use a macro lens to get close. Amy us challenges this week to post “every little thing that makes you smile.” So, here are some close ups that are still making me smile.

How about small flying things like a butterfly, praying mantis and bee.

Every year we get baby geese around our pond. While they are so cute, the dads won’t let you get close. This little one was walking with its family and I had a long lens!

Or getting down low to photograph small mushrooms in the grass, capturing their caps and folds.

And, of course, getting close to capture the small details of flowers like a rose and a backlit daffodil.

These are some of the small things that make me smile. I believe we need to keep looking for things small and large that bring us happiness and make us smile. Thank you Amy for the reminder.

I’ve enjoyed seeing all your responses to John’s Mechanical and Industrial challenge last week. Remember to link your response to this challenge to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week Ann Christine will be hosting LAPC. Be sure to look for her post.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/