Lens Artists Challenge #235: Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome

I love black and white images when done right. Meaning, not every shot is suitable for black and white unless you know how to burn and doge with ease. Since I’m not artistic, I wait for the picture that is suitable for black and white. Thank you Patti for having me explore my black and white images and the concept of monochrome.

Who would have thought a beautiful lotus flower would be suitable for black and white? I did after processing this in color and then playing around a bit.

At this point I need to explain how I create a black and white image. I shoot all my images in color and process them in color. I then take the images I think might look good in black and white and export them to NIK Silver Efex (lately I’ve even converted them in Lightroom, especially for this post,), play with it and then export back into Lightroom. I liked the way the shadows fell on this flower’s petals.

For shadows I have three examples. Explanations are in the captions.

The next two are reflections that I just processed to black and white. I wasn’t too happy with the contrast of the landscape so I played with a green filter.

Here’s an image of a person sleeping in an area of dark shadows.

I’ll end with images that are among my favorite black and whites.

Thanks for this fun challenge Patti! Please remember to link to Patti’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag when you post your reply to this amazing exercise. Last week we all enjoyed your variety of responses to Donna’s Messages. Amy will be bringing you next week’s 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. 

An accidental one-lens walk: Sacramento Zoo

One lesson learned: Be careful what you challenge others to do! Recently on a Lens Artists Challenge, I encouraged participants to take a photo walk with only one lens. If that lens was a zoom lens, I suggested that they pick a millimeter setting and leave it there. Last Thursday Ray and I went to the Sacramento Zoo and I accidently put my 80 mm fixed macro lens on my camera instead of the 55 – 200 mm I usually take inside.

I didn’t notice my mistake until I started taking pictures. I decided to stay with the lens and see what how it performed. Fortunately, the zoo has put glass in some enclosures, because the lens had a difficult time eliminating fencing.

The panda was the most difficult and far away. When I was taking its picture, I couldn’t see what it was actually doing. I thought the pictures were incredible. Here are three. They are cropped in a lot.

I’m trying to learn patience and the zebra proved that patience pays off. It was eating and then looked up. It also walked away from the food trough and proceeded to do a little tap dance!

There’s a new baby giraffe at the zoo, but she and mom were not out yet. But the macro lens did well with the others.

The jaguar was eating its bone (Thursday is bone day for the big cats.). Fortunately it was close to the glass so I could get these images.

Now for the lion. He just finished his bone and I think he’s telling us it’s tongue licking good.

I kept walking back to the orangutan enclosure, but they weren’t showing off. The only one out there just wanted a head of lettuce and was headed back inside.

So, this was my one-lens walk. It took some extra walking on my part, but I learned more about my lens and had fun!

Lens Artists Challenge #234: Messages

For her first challenge as an LAPC Team member, Donna Holland of Wind Kisses has chosen the topic of Messages. I am challenged with this challenge!! When I photograph and later look at my images my messages are in the form of feelings. So I’m hoping my feelings will turn into messages for you.

My first visit is to the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery. This is a very old cemetery, full of history and simply beautiful. When I bring my camera to this cemetery, I’m overwhelmed with sadness and peace. There are family plots containing large and beautifully engraved monuments and/ or statues, and then there is the simple statement of great loss like this one grave marker. I guess the message is to live your life in gratitude.

The cemetery’s beauty is given to us by wonderful volunteers who plant flowers to bring joy for those of us who visit. There are roses, poppies, bushes and other beautiful florals. This rose had a guest and I just couldn’t resist taking its picture. The feeling is joy and the message might be any shelter is a good shelter!

On the topic of flowers, sunflowers always help me smile and feel great. I guess the message I get is “Don’t worry be happy!”

Typically, after we photograph our sunflowers, we go over to Mezger Zinnia patch in Woodland where the family plants flowers each year and encourages people to pick them and give them to someone who cannot come and pick the flowers themselves. They even provide vases. Typically, people will pick two bouquets; one for themselves and another for someone else. What does charity feel like. To me it feels like hope. The message I think is that people do care about each other.

Keeping with the yearly theme, Wide Open Walls happens once a year in Sacramento. In 2020 we found a very special mural dedicated to Ruth Bader Ginsberg shortly after her death. This mural symbolizes her determination to do the right thing while she sat on the Supreme Court. Seeing this mural filled me with pride as a woman. I guess the message is “Yes you can!”

Another image of determination is from the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Each year salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs. Following their instincts, they do this facing certain death. I’m amazed at nature’s plan for survival. I would call that courage. I’m not sure what message it sends except that you need to do what your instincts tell you to do.

I’ll close with an image from the annual Chalk It Up Festival in Sacramento. Artists from all over gather and create their art with chalk. This art is beautiful, but it can’t last long. After the weekend festival, people will walk on it and sprinklers will spray water on their beauty. Why do the artists put all that effort into it? Do they get pleasure from seeing the enjoyment people get from their effort. I feel grateful that I get a chance to see their art. Maybe the message is to create joy for others.

Thanks Donna for this soul searching topic. At least it was for me. When you post your messages, be sure to link to Donna’s wonderful post. I know she, and the entire team, will want to see all your replies. Oh, be sure to use the Lens Artists tag. Next week it’s Patti’s turn to challenge us and she’s giving us a hint on her theme: Shadows & Reflections in Monochrome.  

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

Going indoors!

During our three-week rain, we were needing to get out with our cameras. So, we decided to re-visit our favorite indoor venues: The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and Antique Trove in Roseville.

We’ve been to the Crocker Art Museum many times so as I walked around I was looking for new art and maybe a new slant on things. I settled on shadows. Here are some art and shadows.

Some walls and indoor architecture were interesting also.

The Antique Trove always has new items and booths to explore. I was attracted by the neon signs. Of course all of them were advertising beer.

Here are some other items I found interesting.

Where do you go when it rains and you want to take your camera out? We have more museums to explore in the greater Sacramento area. We do need some more rain to get us out of this drought, but maybe not those atmospheric rivers we had. If I had my way, it would rain at night and the sun would shine during the day!

LENS ARTISTS CHALLENGE #233: A One Lens Walk

Lately, I find that I’m usually choosing one lens to put on my Fuji camera when I go out for a photo outing with my friends. We are usually gone for few hours. I carry nothing else except for an extra battery. I mostly use my 18-55 lens which covers landscape and close ups. I’ve taken it to Bodega Bay to catch ocean scenes and to the Antique Trove to capture some indoor close ups.

When I go to the Sacramento Zoo, I always take my 55-200 mm lens. It does a great job of capturing giraffes and also gets me up close and personal with an orangutan.

You know I love Macro. When I need a lift, I take my Fuji and macro lens to the Green Acres Nursery. There I find many macro-opportunities.

The McKinley Park Rose Garden is another of my favorite places to take my macro lens.

Macro lenses are great for photographing other things like this bird. I was in the Rose Garden and saw it above me.

And then there’s my old trusty prime F/4 300 mm lens I use on my Nikon D7100 for bird shots. I don’t use it often but when I do, I appreciate it. Actually, this lens is why I’m holding on to my Nikon.

If I know I’ll be gone on a longer photo outing and not near my car, I’ll put on my waist pack containing an extra lens giving me a total of 18-200 mm in length. It also carries extra batteries, filters, water, lens cloth and tissues. My problem is, I don’t like changing lenses in the field. Maybe that’s why I challenge myself with one lens each outing.

My challenge for you is to take a lens for a walk. Yes, choose a lens and walk. You can also use your cell phone or point and shoot camera and see what you can do with it. Another trick, when you’re using a zoom lens, is to pick an aperture and stay with it. If you don’t have time or the weather isn’t cooperating, then delve into your archives. Look for images that represent one F stop or close to it. Most of all, have fun! Remember to link to this post when you take us on your one-lens walk and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We all enjoyed looking back with you during Sophia’s challenge last week. I thought your responses were unique and interesting. Next week our newest team member Donna Holland of Wind Kisses will be leading the challenge. Be sure to look for her post. Have a great week!

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

The sun commanded the sky, for a while: The Fair Oaks Bridge

Last Thursday was the one day the sun had a chance to warm us up and show us how light can be good for photography and the human soul. Marlene and I took advantage of nature’s sunshine and went to photograph our local Fair Oaks Bridge, in Fair Oaks, that spans across the American River. If you didn’t know the water level before, it’s difficult to understand how high the water level is now. As of this writing we are expecting more rain tonight.

Here are my captures of this iconic bridge and river.

Come Friday the forecast calls for partly cloudy to sunshine for about a week. That will allow the soil to dry up and storm clean up can continue. AND, maybe a chance for more photography!

Lens Artists Challenge #232: Looking Back

I have a lot to look back at; but, at 79, I prefer to look forward! However, Sophia is challenging us to look back and see how things have changed. I remember having a party-line phone when I was a kid, and now I have a phone, small enough to hold in my hand and it’s all mine!

But getting back to photography, my New England trip showed me old architecture and new. Here in Boston one side of the street has old buildings and the other has new.

I found the same in Portland Maine.

Sacramento also shows old and new. Here’s a building in Old Sacramento and another on Capitol Avenue near the State Capitol building.

Also in Sacramento I found old and new escape routes. Fire escapes (But, maybe not as I’m looking at them now. They may just be terraces, but we can pretend they are fire escapes!) and a stairwell. They used the Fire escapes instead of stairs and the stairwell instead of the elevators.

Now on to the Crocker Art Museum. The old home was gifted by the Crocker family to be used as an art museum. You are only seeing the outside, but the inside is beautiful. A new additional building was added on and is the main entrance. The two buildings are connected and can be accessed inside.

My last trip down memory lane and back is the Peanuts comic strip. During my recent visit to the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa I photographed a couple of Schultz’s early strips.

This is what the strip looks like today as Classic Peanuts after Charles Schultz’s passing.

Sophia, this was fun! Thanks for the journey. I am happier with my cell phone then a party line

We all enjoyed seeing your 2022 fabulous favorites last week. When you respond to this challenge, please remember to link to Sophia’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. I’ll be leading the Challenge next week so stay tuned!

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

Lens Artists Challenge #231: Favorite Images of 2022

To be honest, 2022 wasn’t my favorite year. I spent most of it in the blahs with a few exceptions. Now John has tasked us with the challenge to pick our favorite images of what was my blah year! To do this, I decided to pick one favorite from each month.

January: Laura and I went to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The Tule Elk were out. What is this one trying to tell me?

February: An outing to Grass Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills yielded this pine cone in perfect light.

March: Ray and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Lincoln to photograph Great Egrets and Blue Herons nesting in three trees.

April: Again another yearly visit to Ananda Village and their Tulip Festival. It’s the same each year and it’s always beautiful.

May: My year can’t be complete without showing you a visit to the Sacramento Zoo. One of my favorites is the pelican who lives with the flamingos. He’s missing a wing and can’t fly. This time he was close.

June: Our yearly trip to the Land Park pond to photograph the Lotus wasn’t as spectacular as previous years, but you never give up.

July: My wanting to get Downtown Sacramento building images ended with me getting a flat tire and the AAA driver getting lost! But I was able to get a few photographs.

August: brought us down the the Amtrak station in Sacramento. I tried in-camera double exposures and got one fairly good shot.

September: Another annual event, Chalk It Up. This artist’s piece of Gene Wilder was amazing.

October: I finally had the opportunity to photograph outside of my local area. I joined friends on a New England cruise. Before the cruise we spent time in Virginia. Here’s an image from the Luray Caverns.

November: My photo buddies and I went to the California Museum. It’s a place I need to return to without my camera. I spent a lot of time photographing angles and lines.

December: We were staying with the grandkids in Reno, Nevada when a snow storm hit. This is a picture of the sun rising on the mountains with houses and Reno below.

So that was my year in pictures. Thank you John for helping me realize it wasn’t a blah year after all. I’m anxious to see all of your favorites. When you post please remember to link to John’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Sofia leads the challenge so look for her post.

 For more information on joining the challenge each week, check here.

Happy 2023: Day two in Bodega Bay

Happy New Year everyone! Each year we wish that this brand new year brings health, happiness and prosperity. I’m wishing for good health. Health brings happiness and a prosperous attitude. Above all, let’s keep smiling through this year! Smiles are catching and have a healing quality.

We did a lot of smiling during our brief stay at Bodega Bay. On day two, we went to the beach. Again we had cloud cover with a hint of sunshine. Almost sounds like an ice cream sunday, doesn’t it. Yum!

Here are pictures from our beach visit. Here a seagull found its best photographic side.

Learning how to fish.

The beach.

Beach views from the top of the hill.

A colorful kite shop in town. I resisted buying the candy.

This was a great way to end 2022. What will 2023 bring us? I gave up predicting years ago. I also gave up making resolutions. I just try to be the best me that I can be.

Right now it’s still raining in the Sacramento area, and that is good even though some areas are flooding. Our lakes are filling up and we will probably get a good snow pack in the mountains that will give us water during the summer.

Take care everyone, and I wish you the best this year.

Rain, rain: Stay, stay

You know the old saying: Be careful what you ask for. Well, we asked for it: RAIN. And we’re getting it. I’m not complaining about the rain, but I am complaining about the cold, damp, fog that we’re getting along with it. We will have one day of partial sunshine this week. But not rain everyday it’s not sunny.

This is challenging for photographers. Our images end up flat. We recently went to Bodega Bay for three days, and, of course, it was foggy (which you expect in the morning at the coast) and overcast. We did manage to get out for a while during our two full days there.

Here’s day one. We went to a wharf in the tiny town of Bodega Bay. We did get some sun coming through the clouds. Some of the pictures just called for black and white editing.

After the wharf, we drove up a hill to look down on the bay. Again, taking advantage of some sunlight.

Clouds make for amazing sunsets.

In my next post you’ll see the beach and other sites. Till then, let it rain. Can it rain without a cloud cover? I didn’t think so.