Lens Artist Challenge #182: Interesting Objects

Of course what is interesting is in the eye of the beholder. What I find interesting are landscapes, macros, architecture but seldom objects. However, sometimes things catch my eye and I can’t resist. This week, Patti encourages to photograph or go through our archives for those objects that we absolutely needed to photograph.

For instance this old bellows camera I spotted at the Antique Trove. The flash has been made into a light source of a different kind.

When taken in context, this sign at the Folsom Prison Museum had me thinking, “Duh!” These old handcuffs must have been totally uncomfortable.

This sign as you enter the small town of Mokelumne Hill will certainly have you slow down!

A restaurant in Napa had a sense of humor when it came to identifying their restrooms.

When we visit farms during the summer months, there’s usually a pile of discarded equipment left to the elements. I love rust and all the colors it gives objects. I think these may have been some sort of stakes.

One of my favorite places to visit is Old Sacramento. On one outing I noticed this gate.

Finally, while these are not unusual; for my photographic eye, they were positioned just right. I’ve posted them in this blog before. So, some of you may know what they are. If you don’t, can you guess?

Thanks Patti for this fun exercise! I had a great time seeing all your double dipping posts last week and look forward to seeing what Ann-Christine has in store for us next week. Please be sure to link your posts this week to Patti’s post and use the Lens-Artist tag. Until next week!

Catching up, part 2: Christmas Lights

Yes, I’m still back in December 2021. On the 27th to be exact! Donna and I went out locally to photograph some Christmas lights. The conditions that night were perfect: not too cold and clear.

Last year I had some trouble with my Fujifilm camera. It was the first time using it for this function and I couldn’t get the lighting right. This year I knew it was okay to pump up the ISO. What a difference! This camera handles a high ISO so much better than my Nikon 7100 did.

Here are some of the results. Now pay attention to some of the snow men!

Did you see the great robbery in progress? And the robber’s weapon? If not, look again! As you can see, I also had fun with some slow shutter speed and zooming the lens. Thanks for visiting!

Catching Up: Swans at Mather Lake

Things happen and sometimes get us off track. I realized that I haven’t been keeping up with my personal posts that I do on Wednesdays. So….I’ll make up for lost time.

Mather Lake is a small lake, and part of the Sacramento Regional Parks System, at the southern end of Sacramento. It’s a great place to photograph swans and other small wildlife like beavers, etc. So I said I’d go and crossed my fingers, hoping there would be swans more in the middle of the lake so I could capture them with my 300 mm lens.

Again, I will thank my friend Ray who made me a short monopod for my heavy lens. Wow, what a difference! We walked around the lake and I was happy. There were many Mute Swans, and some were by the shore! Here’s some of what I captured.

We didn’t see any other critters, but I was happy with these swans. I think they are so graceful in the water. On our way back to our cars, I spotted a juvenile swan. I looked it up and it was a juvenile. It was by itself so maybe it was mature enough to be on its own.

This is not my “Swan Song.” There will be more catching up posts, in addition to my regular LAPC weekly post, soon.

Lens Artists Challenge #181: Double Dipping

This week Tina encourages us to share photos from other challenges in which we participate or places in which we post. I’m typically not one for taking part in challenges except of course for LAPC. For the last year and a half, I have waited, with joy and anticipation, until 9 a.m. PST for the latest LAPC challenge to be posted. Then I would formulate my response and go through my archives. This was an enjoyable experience as I revisited former outings, bringing back fond memories.

And there I stay. You can call me one-challenge-Anne! But I do post in a few other places. First is the juried competition club Sierra Camera Club. I have gain so much knowledge by having my photos judged and critiqued. I’ve also found critiques of fellow members’ photos invaluable. Here are some of my past entries. With each entry, I choose a picture that will give me feedback in different areas.

The Sierra Camera Club is a member of the Photographic Society of America which I also joined. I quickly joined one of their Projected Image Division groups (PID). Each month we upload two images to be critiqued by the group members. I used the knowledge gained in the Sierra Camera Club to good use while looking at and critiquing the other group members’ photos. It’s all a wonderful learning experience. Here are some of my entries.

And finally, my own group of seniors, Camera Totin’ Days. We go out once a week, take it easy, enjoy shooting our photographs and then eat lunch. Here are some images from our outings.

Now that John, Sophia and I are joining the Lens-Artists team, I’m looking forward to some new experiences.  Patti will be leading our next challenge so be sure to visit her Pilotfish blog or to watch for her post in the Lens-Artists Reader section.

Lens Artists Challenge #180: Favorite Images of 2021

Happy New Year everyone! Tina is asking us to post our favorites from 2021. It’s nice to have that in the past! Hopefully this year, we will move on to a more normal situation. What has gotten me through the last 2 years is photography. I’ve enjoyed going on photo outings with my friends, who have remained healthy and COVID free. Our small photo pod goes out once a week. I’m thinking lunch after our shoot is probably what we look forward to also.

And each week I would anxiously wait for our challenge each Saturday. Not only is posting here fun, I’ve learned so much from comments and seeing all your posts. This year, I’m honored and delighted to become part of the Lens-Artists team along with Sofia Alves of Photographias, and John Steiner of Journeys with Johnbo. We are joining Tina, Amy, Patti and Ann-Christine who have brought us fun challenges in past years. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

So, back to my favorites. The first two are lotus. Each year the William Land Park in Sacramento brings forth these beauties. I decided to take the chance and do a black & white of one of them. The other is in color.

I entered the McKinley Park Rose Garden contest last year. The roses were turning brown, and I just didn’t think my images would win against other images taken a week before. This rose won first prize.

While at the Mother Lode Fair in Sonora, this clown stuck his face right at my lens. Of course I didn’t send him away. This will be entered in this year’s photo contest at the fair.

Each year Sacramento hosts “Chalk It Up.” This is my favorite from that morning. It seems like the child is actually in the water. The artist is still working on it. The second photo is a slow shutter shot at a small fair in a Citrus Heights Mall parking lot.

Next we have the back view of the Bourn Cottage in the Empire Mine State Historic Park in Nevada City. And also the ceiling in a restaurant that burned down a few weeks after my photo pod and I ate lunch there! I can’t go back for another shot!

Coming into the Holiday season last year, Donna and I, at the last minute, because it wasn’t raining, to photograph Christmas light displays. I do like to have fun zooming. The photos are handheld.

Last are photos from my trip to the Sacramento Zoo on December 30. I’m still in the processing stage, but I thought these were worth posting now. The flamingo is sleeping, but opens its eye. Maybe it felt the camera’s presence?

Thank you Tina for prompting me to look through last year’s outings.

Again it’s a pleasure to be a part of the LAPC team along with Tina, Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and new members Sofia and John. I’m looking forward to seeing all your favorites. Next week Tina will be presenting the challenge. Be sure to tag Lens Artists when you post.

An uneventful photo outing: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

It was windy. Maybe that’s why the birds were scarce at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, near Willows, this month. The driving tour at this wildlife refuge is a 6-mile circle with three places to get out of the car. Otherwise we are to be in the car. So, it pays to have a long lens and be on the correct side of the car to photograph out the window.

Our (Ray, Richard were with me.) first trip around, there were hardly any birds. We thought it was probably because of the wind. I didn’t even see flocks of snow geese in the water. Other wildlife that usually inhabit the refuge found a better spot or were hiding.

Since it takes 1 1/2 hours to get there and a lot of gas, I was disappointed, and soon got hungry. We had a great meal in town and then went back to the refuge. It wasn’t as windy this time, and this is when I got the bulk of my pictures (Still down from previous visits.).

The snow geese were back in numbers. We were lucky to catch a fly off.

Now for the really sad part: the only bald eagles we saw were out of range for my Nikon 7100 and prime F/4 300 lens. But that didn’t stop me! You know what they say, “Garbage in; garbage out!” I worked on those eagles, but couldn’t get them to the point of putting them in the blog. I will tell you it was a pair with their juvenile.

This is why I titled this post “An uneventful photo outing!” Maybe next time we will have better luck.

I hope you’ve been having a great holiday season and will have a wonderful New Year!

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #179: Serene

This is serendipitous, my photo outing today brought our small group to Mather Lake— a swan habitat in Rancho Cordova. And, Patti’s challenge was SERENE. Perfect!

I find swans relaxing. They swim so gracefully. And I like it when their wings are up. Even though it was foggy, drab, cloudy and cold, I found warmth in the swans presence.

And I was lucky. I’m somewhat stymied by having a short telephoto lens, for my Nikon 7100, that’s a 300 prime. This means that wildlife has to be close enough for me to capture them. Fortunately, some of the swans were lakeside and others were swimming in the middle. Even typing this, I feel serene. This is what I’ve edited so far.

This swan was close enough for me to photograph it and its shadow.

Next I have a series of a swan fishing (I think!). It looks under the water with its head fully submerged. Next it’s still skimming the water before looking up. Last, with head up water drips from its beak.

They are also graceful in flight. It’s always a surprise when they take to the air. They didn’t fly too far off the water. I do wish they would yell, “Hey photographer, I’m going to fly now!”

I almost thought I’d have to leave without an image of a swan swimming with its wings up. As I was walking back to the car, there it was! Happy! Happy!

These swans cheered me up on a very drab day, bringing me serenity and joy. Thanks Patti!

Exploring Roseville at night

A modern day boom town, Roseville was stretching its borders when we first moved here in 2001. What was once a small railroad town is now a hub for corporations (At least before the pandemic hit.) and new housing. When I was doing business in Roseville there were four main areas: Downtown Roseville, the Historic District, East Roseville (corporate) and West Roseville (housing). A couple of weeks ago, we ventured into Roseville for sunset and night photography.

We began at the Roseville Sculpture Park. This large red metal sculpture can be seen from the Interstate 80 freeway. The sculpture is named “Cosmos” and was dedicated to the people of Roseville in 1990 by a local developer.

We did find a couple of mushrooms along the path to the sculpture. I didn’t have my macro lens, so I photographed these at 55 mm. Actually the car was in the parking lot and I was too lazy to go get the lens. I think if there had been more than two mushrooms, I would have changed lenses!

Next we went to Downtown Roseville and its main street: Vernon Street. There are two theaters, restaurants and shops around Roseville’s City Hall. Here are some of this area approaching sundown.

After we enjoyed dinner, we returned to Downtown to catch some of the town’s lights. The Christmas tree was up in the Town Square and a decorative display of a house caught peoples attention. These were taken without a tripod because you know, I’m lazy!

We ended our evening cold but happy.

Lens Artists Challenge #178: You Choose

In this weeks challenge, Tina asks us to choose our own topic. For most people that might be easy, but for me, it’s a bigger challenge. You see, I just can’t make up my mind. After thinking and thinking, I decided to focus on the 365 Challenge.

After 2 years, I knew I needed something to help me along with my photography hobby. I’d heard about the 365 where you shoot a photograph each day for the year. It was the best decision for my taking control of my camera and photo habits.

Here are 2 photos from week one of 2015.

If I were to take the same images now, I would process the sunset shadows better and not put the rose in the middle of the frame. Moving on to week 15, family and pets were a favorite subject. My dog now leaves the room when he sees a camera!

Week 22, getting better with floral composition and macro.

Week 42, I visited Dry Creek near my house often and I finally got a decent one of Gem. Now I know how to lighten up his face a bit.

Week 52, I think this is how I developed my love for macro. On the last day, I had an image in mind. Through the year, I learned how to time things for the optimum light and was on my way to photograph a fence with the sun casting a deep shadow. However, I got a flat tire on the way, and here’s my closing shot for the year–not planned, but well executed!

Doing the 365 helped my photographic abilities and my focus on the hobby. Now I need to go out at least once a week with my camera. If you haven’t tried the practice, take the plunge. You can also do the 52 challenge where you obligate yourself to one picture a week. Most of all, have fun doing it.

A Colorful Trip: Empire Mine State Historic Park, Part 2

Here we are back in Nevada City at the Empire Mine State Historic Park. Last week’s post showed the Bourn Cottage and grounds. Now we take a brief walk to the mine area. Here there are buildings including a glimpse of the mine and the blacksmith shop. I’m sorry I didn’t get a very good shot of the mine. It was totally photographer error and lack of tripod. I just don’t like to carry them, but needed to this time.

On the way to the mine from the Cottage I saw this building I hadn’t photographed before.

Here are some photographs of the mine area.

A docent and his dog were sitting near the mine entrance.

There were two blacksmiths in the shop one was using fire. The other was demonstrating how the large bellows was used to forge tools.

We had a great visit and were glad to be there while the ginkgo trees were turning color. Next visit, I’ll tote the tripod.