Sometimes new isn’t as good as old: Donner Snow Sheds

Our loyal group of senior photographers made a return visit to the Donner Snow Sheds located above Donner Lake in Nevada County. No longer used as a shelter for trains coming through the Sierra Nevada mountains, they are now hosts to art and graffiti from locals.

Since these works of art change as they are painted over, we decided it was time for another walk through the tunnels. I was there in July 2016 with Linda and Marlene. Neither of them were available for this visit.

Honestly, I was disappointed with the art. First, the initial tunnel was barren of art. I did find familiar scenery in between that and the second tunnel. The third tunnel had the most to photograph. Of course, there was beautiful Donner Lake!

To make matters worse, I experienced some altitude illness. At an elevation of 7,057 feet above sea level, I shouldn’t have had that trouble! I’ve been over Donner Pass and at Donner Lake a few times without trouble.

But all things come to pass! It was an enjoyable outing with great friends. Maybe I’ll do it again in a couple of years as the graffiti is painted over.

A walk in the park! Chalk It Up 2019

I’m late in attending this annual activity that started in 1991, but I made it to Chalk It Up this year. Artists claim their squares on the sidewalk that surround Fremont Park in Sacramento and create wonderful pictures.

The festival is a three-day affair on a weekend. Friday is the day the artists begin and they work through the weekend, finishing their creations on or before Sunday. Some artists had sponsors and they showed their names on the square. I’m not sure how much it cost to paint a square.

This is from their website: Chalk It Up promotes and supports Youth Arts by offering small grants to K-12 classrooms, and youth arts projects throughout the Sacramento region. We do this in large part with our annual Chalk It Up! Festival which encourages artistic expression of all kinds through a three day celebration of chalk art, live music, and regional food and craft vendors.

This year it was on Labor Day weekend (It may always be on this particular weekend!) and we chose to attend on Sunday. I was amazed at how many people were out on that last day, and how they calmly walked along the perimeter of the park. We were not allowed on the sidewalks. Some squares were finished but others were being worked on.

Once we walked around the park, we walked the sidewalks that ran through the park where there were food and craft vendors and a band. Different bands entertained throughout the weekend.

So, walk along with me! I did my photography thing while taking and processing these images. I cropped in when I wanted to show the picture and artists. While my watermark in on these as the photographer, I did not create these wonderful art pieces.

It’s been a long time! The Haggin Museum, Stockton California

I’m still here! I just haven’t been shooting for fun lately. It’s been so hot and I’ve been lacking the incentive to go outside to take photos except for real estate shoots. I’m enjoying those, and I do a good job now. Practice makes perfect!

It seems we went from rain right into the summer heat waves. No Spring! Hopefully Autumn will be better. Last week we ended August at the Haggin Museum in Stockton California.

The outside was simple and pretty:

It was a lovely museum. The exhibits were well placed and accessible. The interior was sleek and very photographic.

We went there to see a black and white photography exhibit, Masters of American Photography, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. The exhibit was outstanding! The collection featured images from Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others spanning from the 1880s to 1980s.

Since shipbuilding is Stockton’s oldest industry a Stephens Bros. Boat Builders exhibit was locate in one of the galleries.

On loan from the Smithsonian Institute, an exhibit explored Dolores Huerta’s public life as an activist and showed the multi-ethnic aspects of the labor movement.

There was also an exhibit of J. C. Leyendecker’s work for magazine covers and advertisements. This gallery was cleverly placed in the hall spanning the entire circle upstairs.

The museum has three levels. The bottom level showed store fronts as they looked in Stockton’s early days.

They also had small galleries featuring rifles, etc. and American Indian items.

They also had vehicles, agricultural machinery, old fire engine and European Art. One of my favorites was the globe clock.

I also tried to shoot through glass windows without a tripod or polarizing filter!

And, a museum featuring famous photographers would miss a great marketing opportunity if they didn’t cater to photographers in their store!

I hope you enjoyed this visit!

In search of vineyards, part 2: Napa Valley

When is a valley hilly? Never. In spite of that Marlene and I went to Napa to find more vineyards for my daughter-in-law Jess. We did find vineyards, but mostly wineries. I thought the Plymouth area vineyards were more eye catching and had more rolling hills.

But we did find lovely things to photograph, including the vineyards. We first found the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia which is a branch campus of the private culinary college. The building was simply beautiful, inside and out! You’ll find a store that has everything “kitchen,” a Julia Child exhibit and exhibition of her husband Paul’s photography.

They also have a restaurant, cooking classes, rotating exhibits, host events, and more. If you’re in Napa, stop in for an amazing experience.

Next we found the CIA at Greystone. This is where they teach students to become our future chefs. The building was Greystone Cellars, once the largest stone winery in the world. Its amazing history through its purchase by the CIA can be found here.

Marlene and I did not take the tour, but viewed as much of the building as we could. We shot the entry and outside. I really could have used my ultra-wide lens here!

And, yes, we did get vineyards!

And, so ends my vineyard quest. At least I hope so!!!

RIP Sharon Brooks Janis: Sacramento River Walk

I guess it’s easy to say, “We’re at that age when our friends leave us.” But, it still hurts when they do. My dear friend Sharon died Tuesday morning. I won’t go into her illnesses, but she died peacefully in her sleep. For that I’m thankful.

She lived in Chatsworth California, more than 300 miles from me. While we didn’t talk on a daily basis, we did keep in touch via phone calls and infrequent in- person visits. Sharon was a “doer,” taking on various roles at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Granada Hills. She was Sisterhood president, catering chairperson and helped in many other areas. Some how she found time for everyone and everything. As I sit here, I’m at a loss not being able to go down to Southern California for her funeral.

During her last visit here in Sacramento, we went down to Old Sacramento. I remember sitting with her just watching the activity on the Sacramento River. She was diabetic and had neuropathy in her feet. Walking any distance was not possible. So, I’m not going to post the second part of my Napa trip (that will be my next post), but post my recent visit to the Sacramento River Walk. Included in the gallery are some iconic shots, some new scenes and some street photography. I hope this will honor her, especially since I couldn’t say good-bye in person.

Sharon, may your memory be a blessing for all of us who knew and loved you. Shalom.

In search of vineyards: Plymouth, California

My first commission (well sort of a commission) came from my son and daughter-in-law. “We want a lot of your pictures in our new house,” Greg said. Jess was more detailed–vineyards and oak trees. So, I waited until the leaves on the grapevines were green and the grapes were maybe turning color.

My first effort was going to Plymouth in Amador County to search the vineyards closer to home. We had some success. But first we went to Michigan Bar Road and that nice farm. I’ve posted pictures from it in this blog before, so for those who have followed me for a long time, you’re not experiencing deja vu! If you’re new to this blog, here’s your chance! I did try to take a different view of it.

We then went to the Amador Flower Farm where I found a beautiful old oak, and flowers for close ups. The close ups were done with my 18 – 200mm lens. (Yes, I’m keeping it!).

Now for the wineries. They were all located on Shenandoah Rd and it was an easy ride. I think Jess will be happy with some of these.

My search didn’t stop here. Next post: Napa Valley!

Practice makes perfect: McKinley Park and Green Acres Nursery

Flowers, flowers and more flowers! I’ve been shooting a lot of them lately, trying out a lens. I like being able to do close ups without a macro. You might be shooting a landscape, see a nice flower, want to shoot it, but didn’t bring your macro lens. So I’ve been practicing with a lens I might keep. It’s an 18 – 200mm Nikon lens.

Being a person who has difficulty making up her mind, I’ve practiced and practiced with it. I’ve pretty much made up my mind to keep it, but….

Here are the captures at the rose garden in McKinley park in Sacramento.

Some other pictures taken at McKinley park that night.

Moving ahead about a week, here are the images captured at Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento. They encourage photographers to visit and take pictures!

So should I keep it?

It’s that time of the year: Sunflowers and zinnias

Nothing can make you smile like a sunflower! When you see a whole field of yellow and orange looking at you, you just get a great feeling. This year I had the opportunity of visiting Woodland twice and photographed two sunflower fields and Metzger’s Zinnia Patch.

When we visit the sunflower fields, we are careful not to disturb the plants and shoot from around the patch. As photographers, we are happy we’re allowed to take pictures. Cooperation goes a long way!

Bee colonies are kept near the fields to help polinate. I can assure you they are busy bees! Here are some “sunnies.”

We also stopped at a safflower field.

Now for the zinnias. What is special about this patch of zinnias is that the Metzger family allows people to pick the flowers and encourages them to share with others who can’t get out. You’ll see moms and their kids having fun choosing their favorites.

Do you like sunnies as much as I do?

A bit of country: Clarence Scott Ranch, Winters, California

All the comforts of suburbia are great and I love it, but it’s nice to visit the country once in a while. Thank goodness for the Yolo Art and Ag project which gets us out into the country and on farms and ranches that we would otherwise not gain entry.

This was the case during a recent Thursday when we went to visit the Clarence Scott Ranch in Winters. This Ranch has a bit of everything and lots of scenery for photographers and artists. Hay and cattle are their predominat income sources.

I’ve begun to rely on just one lens when I go on a photo outing. It challenges me, and it’s easier to carry. And, at this point, less weight is important to me since this year has given me a few health challenges. My gear consisted of my Nikon D7100 and the Nikon 18 – 140 mm lens. It’s hard for me to grasp that my camera is OLD now and reduced in price for less than half of what I paid! But it’s the same for a car. Once it’s off the lot…….

On the way home, we stopped to photograph sunflowers and zinnias in Woodland. You’ll see these in my next post. Right now let’s look at the Ranch. The clouds were spectacular!

Artists and photographers were busy too!

I was also fortunate to watch a woman shoeing her horse. A first for me!

To the market we go: Folsom Farmers Market

Summer, it’s the season when local farmer’s markets abound, and I do enjoy taking pictures of the produce and people. But, you never know what you’ll find when you get there. The Folsom farmers market, in Folsom, was more representative of large growers than local. I asked several vendors where their farm was located, and they answered they were representing a large farm based elsewhere. Here are some produce images.

I was probably also not “in the mood!” I find that my attitude and health affect what and how I shoot. Whatever it was, I enjoyed taking photos of the dogs than the produce.

There were a couple of food trucks that I thought were interesting.

But, I truly enjoyed how the light fell on this flag.

So, maybe, it was a good morning shoot after all!