Lens Artists Challenge #178: You Choose

In this weeks challenge, Tina asks us to choose our own topic. For most people that might be easy, but for me, it’s a bigger challenge. You see, I just can’t make up my mind. After thinking and thinking, I decided to focus on the 365 Challenge.

After 2 years, I knew I needed something to help me along with my photography hobby. I’d heard about the 365 where you shoot a photograph each day for the year. It was the best decision for my taking control of my camera and photo habits.

Here are 2 photos from week one of 2015.

If I were to take the same images now, I would process the sunset shadows better and not put the rose in the middle of the frame. Moving on to week 15, family and pets were a favorite subject. My dog now leaves the room when he sees a camera!

Week 22, getting better with floral composition and macro.

Week 42, I visited Dry Creek near my house often and I finally got a decent one of Gem. Now I know how to lighten up his face a bit.

Week 52, I think this is how I developed my love for macro. On the last day, I had an image in mind. Through the year, I learned how to time things for the optimum light and was on my way to photograph a fence with the sun casting a deep shadow. However, I got a flat tire on the way, and here’s my closing shot for the year–not planned, but well executed!

Doing the 365 helped my photographic abilities and my focus on the hobby. Now I need to go out at least once a week with my camera. If you haven’t tried the practice, take the plunge. You can also do the 52 challenge where you obligate yourself to one picture a week. Most of all, have fun doing it.

A Colorful Trip: Empire Mine State Historic Park, Part 2

Here we are back in Nevada City at the Empire Mine State Historic Park. Last week’s post showed the Bourn Cottage and grounds. Now we take a brief walk to the mine area. Here there are buildings including a glimpse of the mine and the blacksmith shop. I’m sorry I didn’t get a very good shot of the mine. It was totally photographer error and lack of tripod. I just don’t like to carry them, but needed to this time.

On the way to the mine from the Cottage I saw this building I hadn’t photographed before.

Here are some photographs of the mine area.

A docent and his dog were sitting near the mine entrance.

There were two blacksmiths in the shop one was using fire. The other was demonstrating how the large bellows was used to forge tools.

We had a great visit and were glad to be there while the ginkgo trees were turning color. Next visit, I’ll tote the tripod.

Lens Artists Challenge #177: Celebrating

We need to find cause to celebrate. And we need to do this frequently. If we can’t create our own celebration, we can always find one! Amy encourages us to do just that with her challenge this week.

I’ve chosen three festivals I’ve visited during the past years. I visited the Nevada County Fair in Summer, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley, 2019. It’s a small fair, but large enough for a photographer to have fun.

In December of the same year, we went to experience the Nevada City Victorian Christmas where vendors sold crafts, musicians played and attendees dressed in costume.

In 2020, there wasn’t much happening but we did find a celebration at the Asian New Year Festival in Isleton in February, just before lockdown.

Lions were dancing. Here we can see two dancers getting into their costume and dancing.

Let’s end the fun with a Taiko drumming demonstration.

Thank you Amy for helping us celebrate down memory lane with your wonderful challenge. Seeing pictures from these outings made me smile!

A colorful trip: Empire Mine State Historic Park

Why do we go back to sites that we’ve been to before? The answer is simple: There’s always something different to see and photograph. This time we went to the Empire Mine State Historic Park in Nevada City to capture some Fall color. We weren’t disappointed! The Ginkgo trees were in their splendor.

All the images in this post were taken near the and of the Bourn Cottage. To read the history of this home follow the link. Here are some images taken this trip.

Now for the colorful grounds.

Oh, I have many more images but how much color can you handle! My next post will show more of the grounds going to the mine and the mine grounds.

Lens Artists Challenge #176: One Story

Can one picture really tell a story? It can, but it depends on the person whose memories it jiggles. This week Ann-Christine asks us to post one picture that tells one story. We can post more than one image along with its story. While going through my archives, I found I typically relate stories with people. Here are three from my past photographic adventures.

In this story, meet Greg Morris. We met when I began photography. We were both of advancing age and could easily keep up with each other. We began going on photo outings once a week. He would drive and I would buy lunch. I’d never knew where we would end up, but we took the day to get there and back. This was taken during a trip to the historical town of Locke in 2015. Always posting selfies (Set up in his home studio.) in our local camera group, it was logical that he would pose as the Mona Lisa for me.

Soon after that trip, Marlene joined us for the remainder of our adventures until Greg passed away from brain cancer.

This next story takes place in Palm Desert in 2016. We joined my cousins at their time share. They went there every year to relax, I went to be with them and take photos and Richard (husband) came for no other reason than to be with us. We were at the Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms near sunset. The desert can be beautiful. This image shows my cousins walking hand in hand. I could feel the love between them. It was so beautiful.

My last image is a shadowed shot of three amigos, me, Marlene and Laura, commemorating our photography vacation in Kauai. It’s Marlene’s practice to take a shadow picture when we go on a shoot. We had a great time taking our photos and eating shave ice. I learned it’s not necessary to carry every piece of camera equipment through the airports. Laura decided it was good to keep a Snicker bar handy just in case I got hungry. Marlene discovered it’s not good to fall and hurt your foot the first day out. I was also introduced to Fujifilm, Marlene’s new camera, and knew I had to have one.

Three trips down memory lane. Thank you Ann-Christine!

Macro and more: Bushnell Gardens

Just let me put my macro lens on my camera and I’m happy. Add to that a nice windless morning and newly watered plants and I’m euphoric. That’s what we found one morning at Bushnell Gardens, Granite Bay, one morning.

I began slowly, being a bit dismayed when all I saw were trees, but then I found the plants. This nursery is simply beautiful in its landscaping. It’s a relaxing place to photograph. Here are some macros I shot that morning.

In addition to plants and trees, they have many other beautiful things that you could fall in love with, or photograph!

Inside the store, Christmas had already arrived.

Our morning continued on Douglas Blvd. in Roseville with a building that caught our attention, but you’ll have to wait for my next regular post to see it!

Lens Artists Challenge #175: Follow Your Bliss

Bliss is what we all chase. It’s that something that relaxes, yet drives us to accomplish. It’s what we enjoy as a participant or spectator. This week, Lindy Low LeCoq encourages us to “show us your sense of wonder and excitement. Whether it be one activity that is your passion, or many different interests you follow, this is a wide-open opportunity to showcase how you “follow your bliss.”

One thing that comes to mind for me is music. I can’t sing, follow the beat or play an instrument. But music sooths my soul. I listen to both words and melody. One place I used to totally enjoy was the Sacrament Music Festival. Richard and I would work it every year, and the music was fantastic. Our favorites were Tom Rigney and Flambeau, who would play anything from zydeco to rock and roll, and Dave Bennett, whose clarinet rivaled Benny Goodman’s and his piano playing was as close to Jerry Lee Lewis as you could get. I’m sad that they discontinued it.

Even as I was enjoying music, I was also following my bliss for photography. When the pandemic and lockdown hit, photography was my outlet. Richard and I went for rides for the first few months of lockdown, going in search of snow and the California Poppy.

Soon my photo buddies formed a photo pod and went out once a week. One outing was to the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park.

Another was to the California State World Peace Capitol Rose Garden in Sacramento.

And of course there are my friends who share in my love for photography. I’m dedicating this post to my friend Jean Armstrong who passed away this month after a short fight with brain cancer. She and I enjoyed going on day outings and, because she drove, we’d end up finding some sort of water. She loved the lakes and ocean. Here are two from our last outing together in January this year. We went to Port Costa (near the bay of course).

Thank you Lindy for reminding me to continue to follow my bliss. It’s so important especially now.

Decorated for Halloween: The Gibson House, Woodland

October 28! We had to get to the Gibson House in Woodland before Halloween. Why? We raced against time because the historic home was decorated for the holiday and on November 1, the decorations would be taken down.

I had never heard of the Gibson House and wanted to see it decorated. So, Marlene, Diane and I went off to photograph it. The house is on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a Yolo County Park and is operated by the Yolo County Historical Museum. The house and grounds were restored by the county and is now a hub for regional art displays, programs and more.

The outside of the house.

The inside was furnished to represent what it might have looked like when the Gibson family owned it. Of course there were a few visitors on display too. We were not allowed to go upstairs.

The blacksmith shop was closed, but the barn had been turned into an art gallery. The museum reaches out to area students for participation. They painted this mural.

We also found a beautiful old, rusty tractor.

This ended our trip to the Gibson House which is a treasure in Woodland. Maybe they will decorate it again for Halloween!

Lens Artists Challenge #174: Shapes and Designs

Just look around you. Wherever you are, open your mind and see the shapes and designs of the objects around you. In this week’s challenge, Patti encourages us to see the shapes and designs around us. Truthfully, I didn’t truly see the possibilities until I started photography. Now I see them everywhere!

For instance at an outing to Ironstone Vineyards a few years ago, we were down in their cellar that they call the Cavern. The round wine barrels stacked and angled down a cavern hallway offers many shapes and designs.

Water lends itself to shapes and designs too. The fountain at the Fountains shopping center offers many shapes and designs. A single burst of water takes its own shape while the entire fountain lets your imagination free. A crystal ball turns our design upside down.

Fairs and carnivals also offer us photographic opportunities for shapes and design. The Ferris wheel was photographed at the Nevada County Fair. Just sitting still we can recognize many shapes like triangles, rectangles and, of course, round. But at night during a carnival, light play turns it into a design bursting with color.

Sunflowers give us various shapes too.

I’ll end with trees. They are beautiful in design with their branches gracefully stretching out. Add some fog and you have a more dramatic scene.

Thank you Patti for helping us find adventure in our archives!

Lens Artist Challenge #173: Interesting Architecture

Architecture surrounds us whether it’s a historical building, a small store, a different sort of home or an iconic skyscraper. In this week’s challenge, Tina encourages us to share our images of interesting architecture, opening the field to what is fascinating to us.

While California is known for cities like Hollywood and San Francisco, it is primarily an agricultural state. In Sacramento we are so close to a countryside of farms, ranches and orchards. Here are two country houses, very different in architecture, that I’ve visited through the Yolo Arts & Ag Project.

Close to Sacramento is Donner Lake, a busy place for summer and winter recreation. Some people live there full time and some have homes to enjoy as a get away. Here is a winter scene.

We also have buildings of historical value. One is the Gibson House, It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, in Woodland and another, bulging in the front for years, is located in Locke which is a historic district. I think it’s amazing that it is still standing.

And, of course there’s Folsom State Prison. Its architecture gives us a hint as to its age–141 years. Built in 1880, it’s a minimum to medium security prison and houses only men.

Next is Sacramento’s very own Tower Bridge. Spanning the Sacramento River, it connects Sacramento to West Sacramento, and is used as a branding image for many ad campaigns.

And finally, my favorite building, the CALSTRS building. In the picture above, it’s located just after another amazing architectural wonder, the Pyramid (The Ziggurat) Office Building. Here you can see it up close.

This ends my tour of interesting architecture in and around Sacramento. Thank you Tina for this fun challenge!