Lens Artists Challenge #252: What’s Bugging You?

Talk about a loaded question! There’s a lot about life that bugs me, but I’m sure Donna of Wind Kisses meant strictly nature’s kind when she presented this challenge. When I’m out and about with my camera, all bugs are worthy of a photo, but if they should come into my house, they need permission first.

When I lived in Florida as a child, my mother had a daddy long legs spider living behind a dish in a cabinet. She never killed it and told us to leave it there because it ate other insects and unwanted bugs. We never had bugs in our kitchen.

In one visit to the WPA Rock Garden, Marlene and I (really Marlene) spotted this wonderful and big spider.

Also on this same outing, Marlene spotted a couple of praying mantises. It was amazing that when they feel threatened, they just stay still. The green mantis wasn’t camouflaged on the white flower, but the brown one had a better background on the brown leaves.

On another outing my friend Linda and I went downhill to photograph ladybugs. Unfortunately we had to climb up the muddy steep hill to get back up. It was worth it though.

One insect we always try to capture with our cameras is the dragonfly/damselfly. I honestly can’t tell the difference. Their colors are simply beautiful.

And what would we do without our busy bees. I give them lots of room since I’m allergic to them. I’ve found if you just let them do their work, they will leave you alone. We have an understanding, the bees and I.

I saved the most beautiful for last, the butterfly.

Some bugs are beneficial like some spiders and bees, but they are not welcome in my home. They never ask permission first!

Thank you for responding to my Buildings and Structures challenge last week. I enjoyed seeing all of your responses that were varied, educational and well photographed. And, thank you Donna for letting me reminisce about my mom and her spider. When you respond to this challenge, please remember to link your post to Donna’s and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Next week, our guest host is Brian of Bushboys World. Be sure to look for his post on Fragments.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

A promise delayed: The WPA Rock Garden

I’m keeping my promise made in my post on May 24, It’s All Happening at the Zoo. Today I’m showing you images of flowers taken at the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park across the road from the Sacramento Zoo.

What’s a rock garden? Wikipedia has a full history and description for you here. Our small WPA Rock Garden was built by the WPA in 1940. The WPA was an employment and infrastructure program created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 during the Great Depression. In 1988 Daisy Mah, a park employee, put her vision for the current garden into fruition. Its paths wind in, out and around, and is maintained by a group of volunteers.

We enjoy walking through the garden looking for small gems. Marlene was with me and is good at finding insects, but none were found that morning. But there were many beautiful floral delights. Here are some of them.

This was a great way to end a visit to the zoo. We’ll be back!

Lens Artists Challenge #251: Buildings and Other Structures

I enjoy photographing buildings. Why? They don’t sway in a breeze, fly away or wilt. They reflect images and scenes; have angles, leading lines, and other geometric patterns; and are often works of art. I’ll see a building and think to myself, “Wow, look at those lines and reflections!”

My fascination with buildings began in 2013 in Dallas Texas. I saw reflections in buildings that were reaching for the sky.

And it hasn’t ended there. This week, I’m asking you to look at buildings and see their beauty. There are many types of structures from which you can choose.

For instance, I found these amazing architectural structures in Melbourne Australia during my recent trip.

Of course, during my photo outings of the nearby countryside, I find many abandoned barns and stately old farmhouses. There is a different message emanating from each: of being left behind and being loved and well cared for. Yes, buildings do speak!

What does this modern museum say to you? This is the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis California. Its modern architecture is just an indication of what you’ll find inside.

Old towns have buildings that tell fascinating stories. On the left, this street in Locke California tells us the history of how Chinese immigrants built this town which is now known as the Locke Historic District. On the right, this hotel in Port Costa, which was a stop for the Central Pacific Railroad, is still hosting guests today.

And, there’s more history. The East coast of the U.S. is steeped in historical architecture. Just picture old cars being driven down these streets in Portland Maine.  What do you think about those Wedgewood looking windows?

My challenge for you, this week, is to find your own fascinating structures that capture your attention, tell a story or are just beautiful. You can capture new scenes or take a trip down memory lane in your photo archives. Remember to link to this challenge when you post and use the Lens-Artists tag. I want to see all your artful structures.

Many thanks to Amy and her challenge of Cloudscapes and Skyscapes last week. I love skies and enjoyed the beautiful images that you all posted. Next week Donna will be hosting LAPC. So, look for her exciting challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

It’s all happening at the Zoo

Oh my, we were late in getting to the Sacramento Zoo and the small parking lot in William Land Park was almost full. And, the big yellow school busses were dropping off school aged kids. It was going to be a tough day of photography! I’m guessing the big cats already enjoyed their bones, because the ones that were in their enclosure were just about to nap.

One cheetah had begun to rest when the other one came over and this happened.

When we got to the giraffe enclosure, Cheyenne, the new young giraffe was out in the yard. What a treat!

All in all, it was a pretty good morning at the zoo after all. Next we went to the WPA Rock Garden, and I’ll show you that in my next post.

Lens Artists Challenge #250: Skyscapes or Cloudscapes

As photographers, we appreciate a sky full of clouds, dark foreboding clouds and even a lightning strike, what we don’t like is a plain blue sky. Sometimes I enjoy the large amount of blue in my pictures. But. I admit that plain skies are not as pretty as big puffy cumulus clouds. This week, Amy challenges us to post some beautiful sky or cloudscapes.

I noticed while going through my archives, that great skies are not the norm in California. It’s a rare night that a sunset is worth photographing. If I’m lucky, I have my camera with me and I’m able to get it. Sometimes I hear people talking about that great sunset that I totally missed!

But I didn’t miss all of them. Read to the end!

Here are some random skies that I liked.

Some skies are moody and dark when the sun isn’t shining.

Sometimes a beautiful sky is the result of post processing. The following two images were processed in NIK Color Efex.

And what would a post about skies be without a sunset. Fortunately, I was out and about for these.

Thanks Amy, I’m going to be more aware of the skies now when I photograph landscapes. I also noted as I roamed through my archives that unless I’m thinking landscape, I tend to photograph tight, eliminating the sky. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and link to Amy’s post when you respond to his challenge.

I totally enjoyed seeing all the public art around the world that was posted last week. They were colorful and happy posts. Thank you John! Next week, I’m presenting the challenge so stay tuned!

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Flower therapy: Jensen Botanical Gardens & Green Acres Nursery

It’s hard to remember the cold, rainy weather when the sun is shining and the temperature is in the low ’90 degrees (fahrenheit), but that’s where we were just last month. Given a nice day, Ray and I went to find the small tulip patch at Jensen Botanical Gardens. We didn’t realize just how small would be! But, the tulips were beautiful just the same.

After that, we went to my favorite floral place, Green Acres Nursery.

Flowers and macro are my therapy. I hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I had photographing them. As for the weather, we went from the high ’60s to low ’90s in one day. Fortunately our furnace broke a couple of days ago and the air conditioner still works. Stop to enjoy the flowers everyone!

Lens Artists Challenge #249: Art in the park (and other places)

This is one challenge I’m not twisting and putting my own spin on for John’s Art in the Park. I’m presenting two pieces of public art that I think are amazing. The first is our annual Chalk It Up held every September in Fremont Park. This park is a large square block where chalk artists gather annually to sketch and paint images. The amazing part for me is that these art works will disappear within a few days. To put that much effort into creating a work of art only to have it gone, takes something special from the artists. We usually get there early to avoid the crowds. These images were taken in 2021 and have been posted on my blog. I’m hoping that you will enjoy seeing them again or appreciate them for the first time. The artists paint with liquid chalk or color with regular sidewalk chalk.

My next art in the park selection is dear to me and tugs at my heart strings. It can be found in the World Peace Rose Garden next to our State Capitol building. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran and was a radio operator traipsing through the jungles. The sculptures depict the medics, the wounded and the soldiers who walked through the jungles. They are simply amazing. And it’s a sad day in history that our soldiers came home to such a poor reception. I’m so glad that the wrong is being righted.

I’m happy to share these two pieces of art. Thank you John for this challenge. Remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag in the reader section. Next week Amy will be presenting a wonderful challenge so look for her post.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Catching Up: The nesting tree

I have been remiss in posting. This is caused by some traveling and a broken computer. You don’t realize how much, as a photographer, you depend on your computer until you don’t have it. Not only could I not edit photos, I couldn’t get to my archived images. Frustrated doesn’t begin to explain how I felt.

So here I am playing catch up. For this post I’m showing you images from the nesting trees where great egrets and blue herons build their nests each year. The birds feel safe there because the two trees are in the middle of a gully. One sits in the nest while its mate flies and brings back twigs. It’s fun to watch them.

This is a stretch for my Tamron 18 – 300mm lens but I did get some nice images.

This is about the only instance where I can predict they will be flying. This type of photography helps me learn how to watch carefully and be fast.

More to come!

Lens Artists Challenge #248: Mood

Boy, have I been in a mood lately! And It’s not a good one! Why? It’s because my computer has been down and out for about a week. No blogs, no working on pictures, no…. Fortunately, I was able to keep up with your postings on my laptop, but it doesn’t have my pictures or editing software on it.

The tech guy is about to leave and I’m already working out my mood by doing this blog post.

When I first read Sofia’s challenge, I wondered do we as photographers create the mood in a photo or does a photo give us the mood. How much is up for interpretation? What feelings do we put into the photo? Will others see it the same way as we do?

I can tell you it’s been my experience that two photographers can photograph the same scene and the pictures will come out different. Two people can look at the same image and get different stories and feelings from it.

So, here’s a brief look at some moods. Some I create like when I’m feeling blue and down, I take myself and my macro lens to Green Acres Nursery for a pick me up.

Tension eases when I photograph flowers. When I process them, my mood is relaxed. The flowers help me create that mood.

Nothing beats the excitement of doing something you are challenged at. My limit of a 300 mm lens and my lack of speed and fine motor coordination makes wildlife photography a challenge. On a typical outing, I usually come home with a few good images. The mood? Exhilaration and happiness.

When I look at these animals, I sense their need for survival and curiosity at the humans behind the lens.

There’s another type of excitement–having fun. You all know how much I enjoy doing slow shutter photography, especially at night. We were out to capture Old Sacramento at night and the ferris wheel just added to the fun.

The action and colors of the ferris wheel are exciting and photographing it is challenging.

And lastly, there is the amazement of the unexpected. My moment of amazement happened when I woke up one morning at my son’s home in Reno NV and saw a snowy landscape like I’ve never seen before. I was truly excited and in awe of the beauty before me. Mother Nature did her very best the night before. Never mind that three men had to dig us out!

I think I may have turned Sofia’s wonderful challenge around, but that’s the way it affected me. Even challenges are subjective! If you haven’t posted your response yet, please remember to link to Sofia’s original post and tag Lens-Artists. I truly enjoyed your back lighting responses to Ann-Christine’s challenge last week. Next week, it’s John’s turn to challenge us. So look for his post. In the meantime stay safe!

Lens Artists Challenge #247: Backlit

As photographers, we look for unique lighting situations. This week Ann-Christine suggests we look for images where the sun is lighting our subject from behind. I’ll admit that I take advantage of light without planning for it. I’m thinking I should get up early for that sunrise, but…… Or stay up late for sunset, but…. Or plan for the blue or golden hours, but… I just enjoy being out there with my camera photographing in whatever light nature gives me.

I’m a little late with my response, so I’ve had the chance to see many wonderful responses already. Here are some of my photos where I’ve put the sun backlighting my subject.

You know I photograph lotus flowers each year. The next two images are from the same shoot at Land Park’s pond. On the left, the lotus seems to be bowing under the sun’s strength. On the right, the sun creates translucent petals.

Other floral or leaves. Almond blossoms are backlit and in shade. Autumn leaves seem to be soaking up the sun so they can continue to change their color. A tree captures the sun on the back of its leaves during autumn.

Animals. I’ve chosen a deer and a horse. I enjoyed the glow the sun gave their bodies as it shined behind them.

When the sun is at your back, you create a self-portrait–your shadow.

My next images were taken just a few minutes or seconds apart. See the difference the setting sun makes in this landscape. I may have worked with the color in the second image, but I really can’t remember. You can still see the difference.

Finally, this challenge must end with a sunset!

Thank you Ann-Christine for this enjoyable challenge. Backlit images are so relaxing. Please remember to link to Ann-Christine’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag in the WP reader.I enjoyed seeing all your still life images last week and got many ideas. Next week Sofia’s challenge is on Mood: Places, photography styles, situations or portraits where moods are recognizable.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info.