Lens Artists Challenge #171: Weird and Wonderful

If you think about it, life itself is weird and wonderful. Ann-Christine asks us, in this week’s challenge, to find images in our archives or take our cameras out to find things that fit the weird and wonderful description. I’ve chosen to delve into my archives.

Buildings. I’ve found a few that are both weird and wonderful. There’s Drake’s Barn that serves food and drinks and hosts events. I took this photo shortly after it was built and the grounds were not ready for events. The The Ziggurat (the Pyramid Building) is an office building.

The the Manetti Shrem Museum in Davis is a beautiful and different building. I think the architecture is a work of art. Inside art exhibits are ongoing and outside are sculptures.

Hatcheries The Nimbus Fish Hatchery was a new experience for me. Yearly the Chinook salmon and steelhead swim upstream in the American River to lay eggs. The salmon that make it then die. Not that many make it. The hatchery catches and kills the salmon, removing their eggs and hatches them for release back into the river. This way more salmon are reproduced.

Fungi. I’ll close with mushrooms. They take many shapes and have many colors. These wild fungi are definitely weird and wonderful to photograph.

I’m not sure these images fit Ann-Christine’s challenge, but it was fun, weird and wonderful!

Art, art everywhere: Wide Open Walls, part 3

One more time we ventured down to Sacramento to find more murals. We began at Sac State (California State University, Sacramento) because we heard they had mural on and around the campus. We found none! So we headed back to the city. Photographing murals requires a lot of driving and patience. Sometimes we find other gems too.

Here’s what we found this recent Sunday morning. I didn’t photograph murals I had found in previous years except for the Johnny Cash mural. It’s so impressive. So was the reflection of the mural on a building across the street.

Another building had its walls dedicated to the women of the suffragette movement.

This wall was colorful and full of dragonflies.

And what a great “Reserved Parking” sign.

Here’s some of the other things that caught my eye.

I hope you enjoyed this series.

Lens Artist Challenge #170: Street Art; and Wide Open Walls, part 2

No, I’m not being lazy. Patti, through her Street Art, challenge has given me the opportunity to continue my series on Wide Open Walls and also post on her request.

As I wrote in Part 1, Wide Open Walls is a yearly activity in Sacramento sponsored by stores, companies, etc. Artists come from all over to exhibit their art on brick, stucco and other finishes all over Sacramento. This year we went out three times in search of the new murals and whatever else we could find. We go on Sundays so we don’t have to pay for parking.

I like this type of art for its bright colors, imagination and in many cases messages. I try to dodge cars and other objects. And I sometimes break the murals up in three pieces to get the entire piece in closer than what a wide angle could do. Here is what I captured on a recent outing.

Part three is coming right after I edit them! Stay tuned!! Thank you Patti for letting me do two in one!

Sacramento is getting more interesting: Wide Open Walls, part 1

I love it when it’s Wide Open Walls week. This is when Sacramento City invites artists to paint murals on sides, backs and sometimes fronts of buildings. Over the years we’ve seen beautiful art pieces decorate the city. It’s no exception this year. We went out three times to find the new murals. We found some of them, some of the old ones and structures, etc.

So, here’s part one of our adventure!

Lens Artists Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Before I started photography, I took nature for granted. While I liked pretty flowers, I never noticed their delicate intricacies. However, becoming a photographer changed all that. I now I look at the light shinning through the petals and the stamens holding pollen for the bees.

Guest host I. J. Khanewala‘s challenge is for us to discover the ordinary around us and cherish it. I do cherish nature.

It might be an eagle, hawk or deer.

Or maybe a landscape in the country, an ocean scene or a well known tourist spot.

But what happens when nature itself provides challenges like the wind storm we had last winter. It blew most of the almond blossoms off the trees in the orchards, devastating the almond crop. Ordinarily these trees would be full of blossoms.

But sometimes humankind provides the igniting spark that destroys what nature has taken so long to create.

In one fire season we went from a scene like this.

To a scene like this, taken yesterday. The results from the Caldor fire.

Let’s not take our extraordinary nature for granted any longer. Be careful to leave areas you visit just as you found it–beautiful!

Lens Artists Challenge #168: Seen Better Days

It’s tough getting old. In fact, this week, it’s been painful to walk the dog because of problems in my right foot–arthritis. I know I’ve seen better days. In fact Richard and I always talk about it. “Remember when we…….?”

But I don’t think that’s what Tina had in mind when she challenged us to post pictures of items that have seen better days. Over the years, I’ve taken many, a lot, an enormous amount, zillions of pictures of things that have seen better days. It was difficult to find them in the archives, so I picked two from each year. I love texture, rust and anything old. Here is what I found.

When I first started photography and going on outings we frequently passed this house that became more dilapidated each time. The boat “The Point Reyes” was another draw for photographers. However one group decided to do steel wool photography on the stern and caught most of it on fire. Imagine lighting steel wool on an old wood boat! This was particularly sad because the boat had rested there a long time. She’s still there, minus much of her back.

Apple Hill is a Fall favorite of ours, and one of the farms has old trucks and equipment. A small town off the I-80 has an old hearse and the garage that housed it.

On one of our farm trips, the buildings, except for the family home, were left to do their natural thing. Here are steps of the interior of a building and the window of another. Also the “Spirit of Sacramento” has been left to die a natural death. She’s usually on the dry ground, but at this point it was a rainy winter and she’s in a large puddle.

The small town of Rough and Ready may have been rough, but they weren’t ready for Marlene and I to visit. We couldn’t find a parking place and residents weren’t friendly. We did find some old stuff to photograph. These may not be that old, but they’ve seen better days.

And, last, on a more recent outing we came across this old house on our way home.

As we remember the days behind us, let’s make the most of the ones ahead! Thanks Tina for this fun challenge.

Yolo Arts and Ag: Capay Canyon Ranch

Sometimes you just feel like a winner! That’s the way I felt when we (Marlene, Ray, Richard and I) went to the monthly Yolo Arts and Ag Project in Esparto. The flyer said that at Capay Canyon Ranch we would be able to see the almond orchard and processing of the almonds. Usually we go when the trees are blossoming and that’s all we get to see. And you feel more like a winner when you find a wonderful photo opportunity on the way there and back. Here’s what our morning was like.

On our way to Capay Canyon Ranch.

At Capay Canyon Ranch.

I managed to get some of the warehouse and machinery before I was asked to leave for safety reasons. I truly thought we had the ability to photograph anywhere we wanted.

I walked around and found some almond trees and grapes being dried for raisins.

Then I found where the almonds were getting ready for shipping. There were large mounds of almonds everywhere with bags to mark where each were to be delivered. It was a treat to catch the large machine as it dumped almonds on the mound.

Then on our way home, we came upon this old house. Now who can resist photographing something old and falling down?

A great big thank you to Capay Canyon Ranch for giving us access to an amazing photography and learning opportunity! I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Lens Artist Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

It’s sort of early here in Sacramento for Fall color which is Amy’s challenge this week. In fact, we don’t get much of our own but have to drive about 2 hours to see the lovely yellows and oranges. So let’s look back on previous years and day trips.

Let’s look at what 2018 brought us when Marlene and I visited Markleevile.

In 2019, Jean and I went on a Fall Color search near the town of Murphys and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Not much color to see!

The following year, 2020, wasn’t a banner year for colorful leaves. Jean and I went hunting in the Eastern Sierras.

Maybe we will get lucky this year. Laura and I are planning a hunting trip in a few weeks. Wish us luck. Thank you Amy!

Sidewalk Fun: Chalk it up 2021

Remember when you were a kid playing with sidewalk chalk? Each year Sacramento takes it a step further with their Chalk It Up contest held Labor Day weekend. Artists are invited from all over to paint with chalk at Fremont Park. Some squares are sponsored by a business or organization.

Last year, because of the pandemic the 2020 festival was shown all over Sacramento, typically in front of the artists’ homes. In 2021 the show returned to Fremont Park and other venues around Sacramento — a big change for us visitors.

We went to the park early, before the start time, in the morning before the crowds came. Fortunately, some of the artists started early; unfortunately some had their work covered by plastic sheeting.

But there were enough to make the trip worthwhile. Here are some I liked and then I’ll show you my favorites.

Now my favorites.

I’m always amazed with what these artists create with sidewalk chalk and liquid chalk. I can’t wait for next year.

Lens Artists Challenge #166: Artificial Light

In Sacramento California, the weather forces us indoors during a triple digit heat wave or lots of rain (We could sure use some of that now!). When we can’t take photos outside, my photo group wanders inside. Most commercial retailers don’t mind if we come in with our cameras just as long as we don’t use tripods and a flash. These activities are perfect for Ann-Christine’s challenge this week.

One rainy season had us float into Ameigh’s Hardware Store. They were great about hosting us. I found a few treasures in their garden section to focus close up on. They were fun to photograph, and helped me create some abstracts too. The ambient lighting in this store was ample.

The Antique Trove is another of our favorites. I tend to shoot close up at these venues. I get distracted by all the enticing things around me and can’t separate them from each other. There have been a few times when I’ve moved something, but I put it back the way I found it. Price tags also get in the way and the lighting is not super bright–up goes the ISO!

We also go to museums which have recently opened up again. One favorite is the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker has an old wing (building) that was cleverly attached to a new section (building). I love the architecture and warmth in the old wing. This wing houses the ballroom and lovely staircases and ceilings. The lighting is not as bright here as it is in the new wing.

And, we always have IKEA. I can’t create a still-life, but when I see the opportunity, I use it. The ambient lighting is brighter here.

Last we sometimes shoot in the dark, especially at our State Capitol building during the Holidays. I love the way the rotunda is bright with the tree showing its lights. And, of course, I have to zoom a bit!

I mostly choose to photograph in ambient light rather than use a flash and enjoy the challenge of doing this indoors. Thank you Ann-Christine for this fun challenge.