Lens-Artists Challenge #223: Flights of Fancy

Oh John, how many scenarios went through my mind when I read this amazing challenge! My mind was actually going through Flights of Fancy! I finally settled on one. Different Flights of Fancy of various people.

Some people like festivals that take their imagination to a certain time and places where they can leave their current world behind for a couple of days. They dress and act as if they were in that time and place. Take this Pirate Festival I attended a few years ago. It was fun even for the non-participants.

Closely related to festivals are the reenactments. Marlene and I visited the Civil War Reenactment at nearby Gibson Ranch a few years ago. The participants were so into recreating their Flight of Fancy that everything was in the time of the Civil War: dishes, tents, costumes, language, etc. When it came time for the battle, the South didn’t have enough soldiers so they drafted some of the audience. These shots are from the end of the battle with cannons firing and causalities on the ground. Of course, the North won. The South surrendered with a full ceremony. It was great.

Now for my Flight of Fancy. For years I’ve fancied traveling again. Finally the chance came and so did my passion to photograph different places and things. Within that passion is the fun of creating abstract images from colorful landscapes. Here are some ceiling shots I took aboard the ship.

I’m ending with my husband, Richard’s, Flight of Fancy. He looks to the skies and beyond. Actually, his telescope looks for him. He’s an astronomer who images. There’s a camera on his scope that takes pictures of deep space objects like galaxies and nebula. He normally has his shutter open for 24 minutes to take 4 color shots, and he takes 20 pictures. That’s dedication and a nap while it’s happening! Here are a few of his images

From left to right: M8, the Lagoon Nubula; M31, the Andromeda Galaxy; from left to right: NGC 4312 NGC 4321 Galaxies.

No matter what your Flights of Fancy are, I hope they come to realization. When you post your response, please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and link to John’s post. Last week we were taken to scenic mountains from all over the world. Thank you Amy! Next week Sophia leads the challenge on Exposure.

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

New England Trip: Staunton & Lexington, Virginia

This was my request. I asked to visit a small town, much like Sutter Creek near me. So off we drove to Staunton (pronounced Stanton) and Lexington. These two towns were quaint and different. The difference was in the age and ornamental qualities of the buildings.

Let’s visit Staunton first. We stopped at a street that was blocked off to traffic.

Top row: An employee setting up an outdoor smoking area for a smoke shop. A wooden Indian sculpture inside the shop. Instruments made from cigar boxes.

Second row: People enjoying outdoor dining.

Third row: A cute store and a theatre.

Still in Staunton, some interesting buildings.

The Augusta County Courthouse
Yikes! A giant praying mantis!

In Lexington, we took a horse drawn carriage ride. It was great, but made photography difficult. Our guide apologized for not being able to stop because it would get her off schedule.

I mostly rested in Alexandria, Virginia. So our next stop will be Boston! Stay tuned.

Lens Artists Challenge #222: The Mountains Are Calling

My east coast travels in the United States made me appreciate the varied topography we have in California. Amy wants us to show and talk about the mountains that call to us. In Northern California, we have mountains. I am fortunate to live close to the range called the Sierra Nevadas, a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. It’s highest point is Mt. Whitney at 14,505 ft. I’ve never been up there. (Visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at 12,000 ft. was enough for me!)

Locally, we have Table Mountain, near Oroville in Butte County. The North and South tables are flat mesas that were formed from basaltic eruptions. I’ve been there three times, but not recently. It’s very difficult to walk on the uneven surface. Here are some images. Notice the beautiful wildflowers. They and the small waterfalls draw photographers there each year.

Next the Sierra Nevadas host Donner Lake at 5,936 ft. I’ve shown you images of this beautiful spot before, but it’s been a while since I’ve shown you the tunnels where the trains passed through the mountains. Not used any more, it houses graffiti art.

Now for other finds with single images. First is Ananda Village in the Sierras (Nevada City). They host the Tulip Festival each year. Here you can get a good view of the Sierras.

Foresthill is a small mountain town that recently had a fire come through. Fortunately, this image was taken a year before. It just shows how life can change in an instant.

Last is Hope Valley which is famous for having Fall Colors each year. I’ve posted images from this area. But the valley also has a small lake.

I haven’t even mentioned the National and State Parks that add to the beauty of this State. I love the mountains so thank you Amy for letting me show off my nearby beauties. When you reply to her post be sure to link to her post and use the Lens-Artist tag. We enjoyed all your beautiful florals last week in response to Ann-Christine’s challenge. Next week Sophia will be leading the challenge so look for her post.

New England Trip: Luray Caverns

There’s so much to see in Luray, Virginia, beginning with Luray Caverns. I have visited many caverns and caves, but this was the largest. It was long and winding; not like others where you traversed down narrow steps to the bottom. And, of course you had to climb back up. These caverns were more or less level, walkable and well lit.

I was amazed by the colors and water features. In some cases, you could see the water dropping from the stalactites. There were audio tours available, but we just started out on our own. There was so much to experience and photograph.

Here are some of my favorite images.

The caverns were the stars of the show that also included a museum, a Garden Maze, Shenandoah Heritage Village, Toy Town Junction and a Rope Adventure Park. We did go into the Heritage Village and Toy Town since it was included with the cavern price. The other attractions were at an additional cost. You could spend some serious money there, especially if you have children.

By the time we got back to the condo, all us seniors were weary and ready for a relaxing evening. Our next stop is Staunton and Lexington, VA.

For the want of a hot tub part: Charles Schultz Museum

You never know what will bring you to a place, but when the opportunity knocks–take it! Ray needed to get a part repaired for his hot tub and the only place he could locate that could fix it was in Santa Rosa which happens to be the location of the Charles Schultz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip) Museum.

Add the fact that he offered to buy, photo buddy, Richard and I lunch, we couldn’t refuse. The museum is part of a complex that houses a gift shop, ice rink with ice cream parlor and the museum itself.

First the gift shop. You want to buy it, they had it. I was more taken with the decorative pieces.

The next building housed the ice skating rink and ice cream shop. This is the window of the shop just outside the skating rink.

Now for the museum itself.

These are just a small amount of pictures I took. One of the docents said they change the exhibits regularly. Maybe Ray’s hot tub will break again and we will return!

Lens Artists Challenge #121: Flower Favorites & Why

I’m not a fan of gardening. Somehow, digging in dirt is not appealing. But I do enjoy others’ efforts. I enjoy the beauty and joy flowers bring to our eyes and other senses. This week Ann-Christine asks us to pick our favorites! That’s difficult. I suppose I like roses and sunflowers. Oh, but, then there are tulips, orchids and lotus.

Roses. Here are two from my rose garden. This garden was here when we bought the house and I’ve managed to keep it going. I’m lucky to live next door to a wonderful gardner who showed me how to deadhead them. So I go out with a long-sleeved shirt and gloves, hoping they won’t get mad at me for trying to help them. Those thorns! From my garden.

We have several public rose gardens in the Sacramento area. One of them is the McKinley Rose Garden. Each year they host a photography contest. I’ve received an honorable mention and won first place. Here are two from that garden–not the winning images.

Each year Ananda Village in Nevada City hosts a tulip festival. I’ve gone each year except for the two Covid years. Here a two images from this April. You’ve probably seen them in this blog.

This year, I went to the Horton Iris Farm. They mainly grow to sell. A few of us were taking pictures. When photographing flowers, I do mostly macro. I guess I like the challenge.

Speaking of macro, whenever I need an emotional lift, I go to my local Green Acres Nursery. On this visit, a cactus lifted my spirits and the orchid had me smiling with its beauty.

Oh my, I almost forgot the sunflowers! They bring me such joy. Each year we would go out looking for great sunflower fields and then head over to Metzger’s Zinnia patch. For the last 2 years, I missed this opportunity because of the drought, gas prices and Covid. But, photography lets us enjoy the past.

Wildflowers are nature’s gift to us. Here are two wildflower images of poppies near Jackson and purple flowers (I don’t know their name) at Pacific Grove.

Last is the lotus. Each year the pond at Land Park, Sacramento fills with lotus blossoms. Here is my attempt at a black and white conversion.

Thank you Ann-Christine for helping me remember the joy flowers bring to me. When you respond to this challenge, remember to tag Ann-Christine’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we learned a valuable lesson with Patti’s One Subject Three Ways. I enjoyed seeing all your responsesAmy will be challenging us next week, so look for her post.

I finally got away: Shenandoah National Park

I had the good fortune to be invited by friends (Ken, Sandy and Peg) on an 8-day New England Cruise and a week in Virginia prior. It was a great trip, and I’ll be showing you pictures as we I process them. This first batch is from Shenandoah National Park (Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When my husband and I went across country in 2013, we missed seeing this area, but did see the Great Smoky Mountains NP. So this was a great opportunity for me to see more of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I can’t say I was disappointed; the mountains are beautiful. But the scenery is pretty much the same at one turn out to another. I’m sure if you can or are into hiking, you’d see more. However, four seniors (Me the oldest.) weren’t into, or could do, either. Walking is our thing.

Here are pictures taken from behind the condo we stayed at.

We stopped at every road going through the Park. It was foggy, and I worked to alleviate much of it with Lightroom. The scenery is lush and green; a welcome change from what we have in drought ridden California.

Our next stop is at the Luray Caverns. There’s a lot of images to process, so memories of this trip will be interspersed with local outings.

Lens Artists Challenge #220: One Subject Three Ways

I find that I’m getting lazy when I photograph. I used to do as Patti suggests in this week’s challenge: bend down, sit down, walk around and even lay down to get the shot. Now I find that I stop myself after I take one shot and begin to walk away. I think it’s more physical aging than being lazy.

Sometimes I don’t have to bend down to get a different perspective. Sometimes I just walk around and aim the camera up. This red sculpture is found in Roseville’s Sculpture Park. While it’s a well known landmark, Roseville has cleverly hidden it behind a shopping center. But it can be seen from the freeway. Maybe the sculpture came first and the shopping center second.

My next example is of stepping back and changing position to get a different scene from the same area. This was taken at Fort Ross Historical Park in Jenner. I’ve never seen wild Calla Lilies, but they are here. We start out with a larger view of the coast and then come in to find the wildflowers (you can barely see them).

Sometimes it’s patience that gives us a new perspective on a picture. This Orangutan at the Sacramento Zoo required patience as I waited and followed his moves.

Finally, it’s taking a shot of many and bringing it down to just one for a different perspective. These poppies were found in Sutter Creek, Amador County.

Thank you Patti for reminding me to position myself to get the “one subject three ways!” When you post on this challenge please remember to link to Patti’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. We all enjoyed finding our special treasures as prompted by Tina last week. Ann-Christine is hosting next week’s challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #219: Treasure Hunt

I enjoy a good treasure hunt, especially when it involves photography. I’ve participated in a couple of outings that involved finding treasured objects, and had fun. This week Tina encourages us to participate in her treasure hunt. So here goes!

I found all but the moon. But that was for extra credit since I do have a sun image. Each image is captioned.

Thanks Tina, this was fun. It’s good to be back with LAPC after being gone on an enjoyable vacation. I’m sorry to have missed some challenges, but without internet, it was not possible to participate. If you haven’t posted your response yet, be sure to link to Tina’s original post when you do. Next week, Patti will host the LAPC challenge. Be sure to look for her post.

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