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!

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 #161: Feet and Shoes

Yikes! Ann-Christine’s topic this week is more than just one challenge for me! Explanation: My real challenge is that my toes are arthritic and I can’t wear many shoes except for Birkenstocks. I have managed to find a tennis shoe that I can wear for a few hours. It’s all subjective isn’t it! For some feet shoes can mean classy, dressy, casual, fun or barefoot. For me it’s Birkenstocks because of the support they give.

Now for photography, many things have feet (okay hooves) some even have shoes like this horse.

Most animals have feet although we refer to them with different names.

Dogs have paws. With some dogs we can see their toes, but some are covered. Can we say they have socks?

Wildlife like this deer have hooves (feet) but no shoes!

My Raggedy Ann has feet and shoes.

This egret flying up from a nest has claws (feet) but no shoes.

Last, but most important, are humans. No matter how they slide, they have feet and shoes!

So much for feet and shoes. Now it’s time to rest my feet without shoes on! Thanks Ann-Christine!!

Macro practice: Green Acres Nursery

If you want to photograph macro, go to your local nursery. Most owners don’t mind you walking around with your camera. So, whenever I want to take my macro lens out and aim it at flowers, I go to Green Acres Nursery. And they recently opened a new nursery in Citrus Heights not far from where I live.

If that wasn’t enough incentive, Ray wanted to practice with his new lens that does macro images. So off we went. I was more than pleased. Not only did I find a great spinner for my front yard, the flowers were under a net covering so they were not getting direct sunlight! Wonderful!!

In addition to flowers, plants and trees, they have many yard ornaments, fountains and other garden supplies.

We had a nice morning photographing beauty. We will be back!

Lens-Artists Challenge #160: Your Inspiration

Think Anne, think! What inspires you? Patti is asking us what inspires me! My pondering was interrupted by a late breakfast at our Club House for newcomers who moved in while the complex was in lockdown. Now with relaxed rules, we can enjoy community life again.

At that breakfast, an artist, Al Fichera, who paints on his computer via a Wacom Tablet approached me to tell me how much he enjoyed my photography. “You’re a great photographer. You must have had some art background.” If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve had no art background and deem myself not the creative type. Al went on to say I must know composition instinctively. The conversation went on a little longer and in the end, I was truly inspired. Below is one of his pictures.

For me, my inspiration comes from people. Bob Scheibel, professor at L.A. Pierce College, inspired me to write. He held my hand through my first three articles for the L.A. Daily News in their weekly Neighborhood section and then let me fly on my own. This was during my first semester at Pierce in the journalism department. With his inspiring me, I went on to win Columnist of the Year in 1987. The plaque is on my wall.

Inspiring me personally are my dear friends Carol and Alyse. Carol was handed a death sentence by a doctor. She had multiple things wrong with the worse being Polymyositis, a degenerative muscle disease. To her doctors’ amazement, she lived for 23 years, before she died, when she was given less than one year. Her courage to withstand pain and her will to live was truly inspirational.

Also inspirational is Alyse who care gave to her all those years. I would stay with Carol to give Alyse some respite.

Alyse is on the left and Carol on the right. As you can see, this was taken on their 76th birthdays.

Now on to photography. I’ve often called my dear friend Marlene Frankel my photo muse. While she didn’t directly inspire me, just being out in the field with her helped made things click. For instance the photo triangle finally made sense while shooting with her. If I have a camera question, she’s first on my list to call. We’ve had a lot of fun together and she’s a sometime contributor to LAPC.

Marlene on left; Anne on right

The next photographer to inspire me is Lucille Van Ommering. When I was entering two photos for the In Focus competition, Lucille took me under her wing and gently showed me how to print out my pictures. I remember telling her, “Wow, Lucille, I’ve never seen my photos that big!” She not only printed them, but showed me how to mat them. I left her house so inspired! Thanks Lucille!!

One of the photos she printed for me.

Next is the Yolo Art & Ag Project that invites artists and photographers onto farms and orchards for a morning of fun. I would never have been able to get onto the properties otherwise.

Taken at the Clarence Scott Ranch

And finally the LAPC group under the leadership of Tina, Patti, Amy and Ann-Christine. You inspire me with your kind comments on my posts and your faith in asking me to be a guest host for this great group.

Just putting this post together has inspired me!

Competition and education: The Motherload Fair

For years I’ve been looking at my friends’ (Sandy and Ken) ribbons attached to their photographs. They participate in the Motherload Fair, Sonora, photo competition. It’s a small fair and I asked them to let me know when the next one was happening. That was about 2 years ago. A pandemic interfered. But this year they suddenly decided that with California opening up, the fair would happen.

So I entered seven pictures in various categories. The entry fee was $1 per picture. I did say it was a small fair!

Sandy and Ken print and mat their own images and I drove down for a lesson in printing and matting. I did learn a great deal. First, matting is no easy task. I did one mat and Sandy did the rest. I’ve decided that in the future, I would print out a standard size and buy a standard mat! I don’t have Sandy’s math abilities or patience! I also bought a printer just like hers. Richard has already printed out one of his astrophotography pictures. So that’s the education.

When Ken brought in our entries, he was amazed at the lack of pictures. The Fair staff said that there wasn’t a lot entered this year. Now for the competition. Of the seven, I had four first place images with one of them being best of division, one second place image and two honorable mentions. Sandy took best in show and others. Ken’s won many ribbons also.

Here are my first place images:

Since this was my first time to this fair, I brought my camera. Well, I always bring my camera! Here are some captures that are captioned.

Sandy and Ken are already talking about next year. Will I enter?

Finally, here’s Sandy’s Best in Show image. It’s hard to see because of all the ribbons!!

I’m sure I have more to learn. Maybe next year!

Lens Artists Challenge #155: On the Water

Sacramento may be called the “City of Trees” but a truer name would be “River City!” Or maybe Rivers City for the two main rivers that run through Sacramento. In addition, there are many creeks. Cripple Creek runs through my community. If we travel an hour or two, we can visit water areas in the Bay Area.

So, John, it’s a pleasure to take your challenge on! I love living here so close to the rivers, creeks and ponds. But as my images will show, there are many aspects to water around here.

How about the San Francisco Bay shore line where many water fowl are present. This one was photographed while walking the Marina Bay Trail which is a short 1.7 miles. If I still had my bird book (lost when I moved), I could probably ID it for you.

We also have water in fountains. This one was photographed in Tiburon while waiting for the ferry to Angel Island.

The city of San Francisco seen from Treasure Island also gives us a great bay view.

Putah Creek runs through the UC Davis Arboretum, attracting all sorts of water birds. Here we see a great egret.

And then there are ponds. We found this on on private property, and yes we asked if we could photograph it.

Rain water leaves puddles behind that capture wonderful reflections.

Water can also hide hidden treasure. My friend Ken is gold panning near a river.

Last we have the Spirit of Sacramento. She’s an old paddle boat that got stranded when the Sacramento River receded. Once after a lot of rain, I saw her in water. She hasn’t been moved in ages.

So there you have some of the water examples in and near Sacramento. Thank you John for this fun challenge. Next week I’ll be hosting a Black and White challenge. Take care and have a great week.

Lens Artists Challenge #154: One Photo, Two Ways

Years ago while taking pictures, with a small point and shoot, at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, Richard asked me why I was squatting. I truly didn’t know photography then, but I knew that to get a better picture I needed to get down low. In her challenge this week, Tina is asking us to look at the same scene in different ways.

I’ve gone back into my archives to 2019, and found two instances where my changing distance, angle and perspective changed the image. First are the tulips at the Crystal Hermitage Gardens, Ananda Village. Just walking to face the flower while standing up changed the image. The picture on the left was lower to capture the sun and texture of the leaves.

Some more flowers. Sunflowers. Here we have a total landscape of the sunflowers. How beautiful and happy they look. Now coming in as close as we can without going into the field and changing orientation, a busy bee took the spotlight. The third image shows a little more of the bee’s habitat. And the last shows a side view of a sunflower opening.

For my last example, I chose a recent outing to the Salmon Falls Bridge, Pilot Hill, only seen during a drought and when the river bed is low. First, a full landscape view showing the river bed and bridge in the distance. Then close to the bridge. And finally a close up of the bridge itself. Each tells a story.

Thank you Tina for giving us this fun challenge!

Twice is nice: Crocker Art Museum

With Sacramento County opening up, we took the opportunity to visit the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento–not once, but twice! We wanted to see and photograph the Tiffany Glass exhibition from the Driehaus Collection.

Even though they are open, you have to reserve your spot. We were lucky. Our small camera group got tickets for the once a month free museum day in Sacramento! But our luck ran out because the Tiffany Glass exhibition wasn’t due until the following week. But the Museum is interesting in itself. It has two distinct parts: original and old and new and modern.

Here are pictures of the original and the new buildings. They are cleverly joined together so patrons can walk from one to the other without going outside.

Now I’ll show you some of the architecture inside the buildings. First let’s look at the old side. Rich wood and ornate moldings bring you into a page of history.

Now for the new more modern addition.

But what about the Tiffany exhibition? We did go back the following week. Paid to get in and were told after we took a few shots, that we were not allowed to take pictures! At least the guard let us get some pictures before he shut us down.

I’m going to end this post with a painting I thought was amazing. I don’t think my photo can convey the emotion it evokes and its artistry.

Lens Artists Challenge #152: Shade and Shadows

Before Ann Christine posted this challenge, I hadn’t thought of the difference between shade and shadow. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether we sit in the shade of the tree or the shadow cast by the tree! Here’s a definition I found on line, Shade is the darkness of an object not in direct light, while shadows are the silhouette of an object’s shape on another surface. Created by the same light, shades and shadows react differently, and both influence how one perceives space, color, and feeling.”

Here, some trees cast their shadows to give us shade!

This is building situated so it casts shade.

Here mushrooms grow in the shade. As the sun almost intrudes.

In these examples, shadows create patterns. We photographers love patterns!

Lastly, the sun helps two buildings to cast both shade and shadows.

So which comes first, the shadow or shade? Only the sun knows. Thanks Ann Christine!