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.

A Favorite Place: Sacramento Zoo

I enjoy going to the Sacramento Zoo. I’ve gotten to know the animals and their habits. There are new animals, and I’ll introduce them later. There are successes and trials when photographing zoo animals.

I know I’ll not be able to capture a meercat with my camera because they just keep running, at a good speed, along the perimeter of their enclosure. Well all except the lookout who stands still and just keeps turning its head looking for danger. Plus it’s a glass enclosure and you need to photograph through children’s hand prints.

The flamingos are a favorite because they are beautiful and have fun personalities. Sometimes they fight and sometimes they show affection.

While we’re in the pond, there is one white pelican–another favorite of mine. This was the first time I saw him eating.

One of the new arrivals is the largest rodent in the world (says a docent)–a capybara.

The orangutan was not being cooperative, but I got a decent picture anyway. The zebras were doing their usual eating. The red river hog and kangaroo were also reluctant to have their pictures taken.

The lioness was posing beautifully while her mate was peaking out from under a bush.

The red panda was grooming itself before napping and I was able to catch it with eyes open before it rested it’s head. The mongoose lemur got back from it’s cage far enough for me to photograph through the wires.

The cheetahs were being exceptionally difficult. They did not want to sit still, turn and face the camera and stay the proper distance from the enclosure fence. I asked the keeper to talk to them, but I don’t think she did!

Sharing an enclosure is the Okapi and the Black Crowned Crane.

I’ve left the best for last–the giraffes. It was feed the giraffe time where guests could feed a patient giraffe some leaves.

The other giraffes had to fend for themselves.

I hope you enjoyed this zoo visit as much as I did. I’ve linked each animal with the area where their fact sheet is located for your reading pleasure!

Lens Artists Challenge #165: Going Wide

Sofia had us looking up and down. Now, Patti has us looking all around. She is challenging us to go wide, opening up our vistas.

Being lazy and not liking to change lenses in the field, I shoot my wide angles with 18 mm + lens. I do have a 10 to 20 mm lens for my Nikon, but seldom used it. When I bought my Fujifilm, I didn’t purchase an ultra wide lens. For today’s challenge, I’m going back to 2018 for some different kind of wide angle shots. These were mostly shot with my Nikon D7100 and 18 – 200 mm lens.

Let’s start with a 9/11 Flag Tribute which is more than appropriate today. This is arranged in West Sacramento on a vacant lot each year. I’m going back today to experience this once again.

The Grand Canyon (South Rim) screams for a wide angle shot. But not all wide angle shots are taken outdoors. Here I have the beautiful canyon and also the amazing Desert View Watch Tower (Which would have been perfect for the looking up/down challenge!). All were taken at 18 mm.

Each year Sacramento hosts the Wide Open Walls festival where artists from all over the world are invited to paint murals on buildings. The Johnny Cash mural was shot at 27 mm, and the monkey was shot at 18 mm (both) in a vertical format.

I’ll close with landscapes of Downieville a small resort town north of Sacramento. When we arrived, the weather turned on us and looked like rain. We’d sure welcome it now! I do love clouds and sometimes feature them in the landscape image. These were taken at 17 mm so I must have used my 17-70 mm 2.8 lens.

Today, when I go visit the 911 Flag Tribute, I’ll be using my 18-55 mm lens and get more wide angle images! Thanks for this challenge Patti!

For the horses: Pine Trails Ranch

Not having been around many horses, I take advantage of every opportunity to photograph them. For me, they are gentle giants. When the Yolo Arts & Ag Project invited us to visit the Pine Trails Ranch in Davis, I went to see what the horse ranch was all about.

The first horse to greet me was this friendly one. He came right up to the opening in the gate, poked his head through and grabbed my attention. I was able to pet him and visited him more than once.

Next I saw this beautiful horse wearing a fly mask.

There were a few horses in a row of stalls. Now, can any photographer not take a photo of leading lines?

One horse owner didn’t mind me taking pictures of his horse.

Lessons were in progress. The young girl was waiting her turn and warming up her horse, while the woman was just finishing. After the lesson the horse was waiting to be groomed.

I was lucky to find another horse owner cleaning her horse’s shoeless feet. She said her old horse didn’t need shoes because she wasn’t that active. But, her feet needed to be taken care of.

I also found some interesting scenery to photograph.

I enjoyed my morning at the Ranch and my time with the horses! Thank you Yolo Arts & Ag!

Lens Artists Challenge #164: Looking Up/Down

I look down more than up. But, after reading Sofia’s challenge, I think I may be looking up a bit more! She is encouraging us to post images where we’ve looked both ways and post our discoveries.

While I may not have my neck cranked up, Richard, my husband, does. Okay, he has his telescope pointed at the skies. He’s an astronomer/imager and has captured some beautiful galaxies and nebulas with his telescope, camera and computer. So for my looking up portion I’m posting a few of his pictures. Here are some nebulas and galaxies.

Now, my turn. Here are some images taken while looking down.

Looking down a mountain from Foresthill and looking at the American River from a bridge at William B Pond.

Next, a lotus leaf photographed at William Land Park and a lotus flower from a garden in Locke.

I’ll close with something you need to get low to photograph and even lower if you want to get underneath them. Mushrooms taken in my community.

So what have I discovered? I need to look both ways to capture more wonders. Thanks Sofia!

Lens Artists Challenge #163: Keep walking

Amy wants us to walk. I don’t have a choice! I walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles each morning–unless the weather doesn’t permit. I do this to keep Gem, my dog, happy. He leads the way, has his various routes around the community, knows the other dogs and knows the humans who have the treats! We have a small lake and there’s always something going on with the geese and ducks. Too bad I don’t bring my camera with me. This is his joy and my exercise. Okay, I enjoy it too. It helped me feel less alone during lockdown.

My joy, is walking with my camera. My photo group goes out once a week, and sometimes to our favorite places where we can walk, talk and take photographs. One of my favorites is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s on the American River and supports a great deal of wildlife. Here’s a few photos taken during a 2019 walk.

We also like to walk the Sacramento Zoo. The animals sometimes put on a show for us. Here again is a 2019 visit.

And how about the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery! We go there about once a year. It’s so peaceful to walk about, there is so much history to be found. One year they were going to take away the flowers, saying they weren’t there when the cemetery was first started, and they wanted to keep the cemetery original. Everyone protested and we won.

I’ll close with an image from an outing to the Folsom Farmers’ Market that moved me–our flag in glory.

So, how do I feel about these photo outings? I enjoy them and look forward to them as much as Gem does his morning walks. It’s good exercise and a good time with dear friends.

A return trip: Locke

I’ve been to the town of Locke a few times, but never on the weekend. This time we went on a Sunday and some stores and museums were open. My challenge was to photograph something different or from a different angle.

Known as the Locke Historic District, CA (U.S. National Park Service), Locke was originally a town built for the Chinese immigrants who came to work the farms and orchards. For a full history, click on the link above. The town remains basically the same as you can see from the pictures. It hasn’t changed at all in all the years I’ve visited.

By going on a Sunday, we found many residents home and working in their yards or just relaxing. A couple of stores were open too. It’s a very small town and main street is a far cry from a typical small town thoroughfare. Two restaurants serve the town. It’s about a mile to Walnut Grove, also founded as a need to house Chinese workers, where you can find more restaurants, etc.

My neighbors joined us for this expedition and just weren’t prepared for how the town was kept as original as possible. Even the toilet bowl garden hasn’t changed or the old barn with all the wheelbarrows

I was lucky that the open store had cold drinks and a few items to photograph.

Doorways are fun to photograph in Locke.

The old buildings have remained the same. The one with the bulging front is still standing.

Someone has his/her own way of dealing with this pandemic.

I also liked these chairs sitting in a yard.

I’m sure we’ll go back to Locke again, maybe next year. Things will probably remain the same.

Lens Artists Challenge #162: It’s all about the light

While I would like to take photos when the light is just right, sometimes I can’t. Then I go with what I’ve got! Yes, photography is all about the light or maybe the absence of it. This week, Tina has given us the challenge to share images that show the power of light.

I’ll start this post with a shot from Yosemite at first light in the Valley.

As the sun rises throughout the day, we get shadows depending on how high the sun is. Of course, when it’s directly overhead, that’s not the best time to take photos. The next two were taken in Locke California in the partial morning sun.

We can see how colors become dramatic when the sun hits them. Sedona, Arizona.

I think when the sun shines on even a mushroom it adds dimension and helps the picture pop. Here are two examples of sun and shade.

I love to take photos of flowers. This tulip almost looks as if it has a candle glowing inside because of the way the sun is hitting it. Taken at Ananda Village.

As the sun sets objects seem to have a glow. Taken at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.

And finally the sun goes below the horizon and we have darkness–no light except man made. The Tower Bridge in Old Sacramento.

Controlling the light is another challenge for me. I bought diffusers, but haven’t used them yet. I guess I need to get started! Thanks Tina for this insightful challenge!

When the heat turns up: IKEA

I’m just going to be blunt–It’s been a lousy summer here in Sacramento California. Our triple digit days outnumber our double digit days. And, then there are the fires that are raging in our forests. Our homes in the Sacramento Valley are not in danger, so I won’t complain about the smoke that blows in from the fires. All this means we take our cameras inside. One of our favorite places is IKEA.

We visited the IKEA store in West Sacramento on a recent Sunday and had a great time. Yes there were more shoppers than during the week but the place had a different vibe. I was looking to photograph something different than I had in the past. Fortunately displays had changed.

All the pictures below were shot with my macro lens which was the only one I brought in with me. I like the challenge of photographing with just one lens. This lens is an 80 mm so I got up close to take pictures of just a part of my subject.

Here are some of the images. Can you tell what they were?

After taking photos, we dined in the IKEA café. The food is great and the prices reasonable. My choice was a smoked salmon, potato salad and green salad plate. Yum! I guess I should have taken a picture of it!