Lens-Artists Challenge#205: The Eyes Have It

During a photography competition, the judge always looks into the subject’s eyes–whether human or animal. Are they sharp and have a catch light. This week, Tina challenges us to focus on the eyes of a subject. Eyes are doorways into the soul.

I managed to find some images in my archives to show you. Let’s start with one I enjoy looking at. My friend and I were at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge driving the course. Towards the end, a bald eagle was in a branch right over the road. To get this picture, I climbed up through her car’s sunroof. Look at those eyes. What do you think he’s telling me?

Two more animals: The coyote is on the hunt. You can see that he is focused in his eyes. While the parrot, is just being colorful and beautiful.

Burrowing owls are very small, but their eyes are big in comparison. Is he flashing a do not disturb sign with those eyes?

I don’t capture enough candid portraits of people. Here are two that tell different stories. The first gentleman was sitting on a bridge bench. His glasses hide the despair in his eyes, but his body language speaks. The woman is taking a break at the Pirate Festival. Her eyes are narrowed and relaxed. To me she’s reflecting on a good day of fun.

Another of my favorites is this flamingo trying to sleep at the Sacramento Zoo. What is he trying to tell me as I snap his picture?

A dog’s eyes are a true reflection of what he/she is thinking. I think he/she wants attention. What do you think?

Eye focus equals communication. At Toastmasters we teach “eye contact.” Look directly into your audience’s eyes. You can tell immediately whether or not your message is reaching them.

Thank you Tina for this wonderful eye opening topic. Remember to link your reply to her post. Next week we begin our tradition of summer guest hosts during July. Next week Aletta Crouse of Now at Home will focus on Treasures. Be sure to look for her post.

During the remainder of July we have:

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to look for and check out their blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when I will host, “What’s Your Groove”.

Until then, have a safe and fun summer. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists #203: Local Vistas

There are challenges and there are challenges! This post is late because we need to drive up to Reno last night to help my son who is sick. At 12 pm EST today we were in emergency with him. He will be okay. So let’s get on with my original post and see some local vistas. Thank you for your patience.

Sometimes you need a nudge to realize what’s going on around you. For me that nudge was photography. Before I found this passion, I really wasn’t paying much attention to what the greater Sacramento area had to offer. I was busy caregiving to my mom, being daytime guardian for my older grandkids, running a part-time business and helping in the family business when needed.

But wonderful grandkids grow up, my mom passed away and eventually, I shut down my business. I had a void to fill, and I chose to fill it with photography. And how lucky I am to live in the Sacramento area. There is so much to see, so much to enjoy and so much to photograph.

Here are some of our local Sacramento Vistas

You know how much I enjoy the Sacramento Zoo. It’s going to be moving a little further away, but still in Sacramento County. The cheetah is enjoying his bone and the Wolf’s Gueron is snacking away too.

We have two rivers for our enjoyment. Old Sacramento sits on the Sacramento River. It’s a great place for tourists, families and is home to the Sacramento Railroad Museum. First is a view of the waterfront from the iconic Tower Bridge and then a sunset image of the Tower Bridge.

Not far from Old Sacramento is the Capitol Mall. I think we have a most beautiful capitol building and its grounds include the World Peace Garden. Here is a picture of the Capitol dome on a full moon night.

Moving into Sacramento City, each year we host Wide Open Walls. Artists come from all over to paint bright and beautiful murals on our buildings’ walls. This is a yearly festival, and most building owners keep the murals up. Some are fading already. This one touched my heart last year. It will always be a reminder of the pandemic and its heroes.

Discovery Park is close by and is part of the American River Parkway (A trail that is 32 miles along the American River.) The trail is for bicyclists and runners. It has picnic facilities. The golden hour adds to its beauty.

Let’s move further down the trail to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center which is part of a “100-acre nature preserve with riparian and oak woodlands, shrub lands, meadows, and aquatic habitats.” There we find deer, turkeys, coyotes, raptors, snakes, etc. Here is one of the inhabitants we come upon most of the time.

I can’t end this post without showing you our sister county, Yolo. We leave our suburbs and in just a few minutes we’re in Yolo County or should I say “country!” Here is where we go to photograph our rural scenes and sunflowers.

And we just have to go over the Tower bridge to the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to find wildlife.

Now you can see why I love living here. But I bet you love your area too. What are your local vistas? Where do you photograph when you don’t have a lot of time or are not on vacation? What about your hometown excites you? Is it the countryside, city, gardens, amusement venues? This week, tell us about and show us your local vistas.

Remember to link to this post as you share your local vistas and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we all had fun with Sofia’s Minimalism/Maximalism challenge. So many interpretations and creativity came from all of you. Next week our guest host Sylvia Bacon will present a great challenge so stay tuned!

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #201: Three of a Kind

Today, Ann-Christine challenges us to create a post that has” three separate images that are somehow related.” She also explains that, “There is a special word for this art of three – triptych.” Yes, we learn something new every day.

Now, I don’t usually go on a photo outing with the thought of creating a series of three images that are related to each other, and I thought this would be a daunting challenge. How surprised I was to find, while going through my archives, that I do take a series when there is something interesting. So here are my “triptych” trios.

A ride at the Nevada County Fair. This is a kids ride of cars that starts off slowly and then increases to a rapid spin. Picture one is stationary, two is starting the spin, and three is at maximum.

Sculptured abstract. You’ve seen part of this next trio in our recent “Light and Shadow” challenge. I posted the sculpture and its shadow, but today I’ll add an abstract taken when I got really close with a long lens. This was taken in West Sacramento.

Trains. Now on to the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. This is always a fun place to take a camera. This old train was sitting on mirrored glass. The mirrors were also overhead and to the side. What fun I had. These are not the only images of this fantastic opportunity I took that morning. First is the train reflected on the glass. Second is the side of the train reflected on the glass above. Last is the top of the train in reflection.

Yard art. For my last trio, I’m taking you to the Antique Trove in Roseville. We go there when we need to be indoors because of rain or heat. It was rainy, but the back part (yard) was open. I saw cute owl sculptures.

I believe if I kept going through my archives, I’d find more trios. I think we instinctively take photos this way.

Thank you Ann-Christine for a fun challenge, teaching us a new word and helping me find more insight into how I photograph.

And thanks to Amy and her “Every little thing” challenge. She reminded me that small joys can overcome large burdens. Next week Sofia will present her challenge on Minimalism/Maximalism–Single or Flamboyant, Plain or ”More Is More”? Intrigued? Look for her post.

Remember, to link your post to Ann-Christine’s and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #200: Every Little Thing

I like photographing little things with my macro lens. Sometimes I don’t even use a macro lens to get close. Amy us challenges this week to post “every little thing that makes you smile.” So, here are some close ups that are still making me smile.

How about small flying things like a butterfly, praying mantis and bee.

Every year we get baby geese around our pond. While they are so cute, the dads won’t let you get close. This little one was walking with its family and I had a long lens!

Or getting down low to photograph small mushrooms in the grass, capturing their caps and folds.

And, of course, getting close to capture the small details of flowers like a rose and a backlit daffodil.

These are some of the small things that make me smile. I believe we need to keep looking for things small and large that bring us happiness and make us smile. Thank you Amy for the reminder.

I’ve enjoyed seeing all your responses to John’s Mechanical and Industrial challenge last week. Remember to link your response to this challenge to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week Ann Christine will be hosting LAPC. Be sure to look for her post.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #196: Humor

“Why did the camera stop dreaming about a career in photography? He couldn’t remain focused.

What did the woman think about her friend who was a photographer? She wished someone would shutter up.

Why did a man always rave about how great his digital camera was? He couldn’t think of any negatives.”

From the Kidadl Team

This week, guest host John of John’s Space has challenged us to post images of humor. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor–I do but it’s mostly sarcastic. So do I usually take humorous photos? No, but I do find some situations funny, especially at the Sacramento Zoo. If you go to a zoo enough, you’ll find the animals either look funny or are in funny situations. The following are examples.

Are these flamingos fighting, kissing, or what?

And, what message is this snow leopard sending? Is he smiling?

I’ve never had a lion stick his tongue at me before!

Watch out this orangutan is getting ready to kiss someone!

The okapi have beautiful markings on their rear ends, but maybe this one didn’t like my taking a picture of it!

This zebra is just taking care of an itch, maybe!

I’ll end with the giraffes. They have such expressive faces.

Thank you John for helping us find some smiles in today’s tense world. As you answer this challenge, remember to link to his post and tag Lens-Artists. And thank you everyone for joining in on last week’s colorful challenge. I enjoyed seeing and reading all your responses. Next week Tina will lead our challenge. Be sure to stay tuned.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Spring is here: My first roses

I don’t like to garden. However, I did inherit a small rose garden when we bought this house. I do like roses and somehow through their growing season, I get out there and trim them.

This post is short and sweet. Here are pictures of the first roses in my garden this year.

I also inherited a small iris garden which bloomed the first year we moved and nothing since–until now 4 years later. I’ve got two plants blooming. I’m wondering if the rest bloom whether I will get different colors like I saw at Horton’s Iris Garden last week.

I’ll be posting the pictures from Horton’s next week. So get ready for more beauty!

Lens-Artists Challenge #191: Curves

While I don’t enjoy driving on curvy roads, I do like photographing these roads that meander and bring our vision into a photograph. This week Ann-Christine is asking us to post images of curves. I look for curves in most of my compositions.

I’ve chosen to sort through my 2020 archives. I love trees and the way the trunk bends, branches bend and leaves hang.

Effie Yeaw

At Mare Island I saw all types of curves.

Next we have three different types of curves: A different kind of cucumber, a sculpture wheel and a hillside of poppies that curves on the horizon.

Near Jackson, California

And a beautiful curvy road near Sugar Pine Reservoir.

My exception from 2020 images is this one taken recently at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. This museum’s architecture is amazing with curves and lines. You’ll be seeing more in coming posts.

There are curves, man made and nature made, all around us. Thank you Ann-Christine for helping us become aware of the softness around us. When you post your curves please link to Ann-Christine’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find you in the reader. Amy will be presenting next week’s challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artist Challenge #190: Close and Closer

I’m happiest when I have my macro lens on my camera. Yes, I love macro and close up photography. But Patti is correct in this week’s challenge of getting close and closer. Getting close to the subject changes the story slightly. My images are cropped sections of a larger area, but I believe the feeling is the same.

To begin, we visited the Manetti Shrem Museum, an art museum on the U. C. Davis campus. More than what’s inside, I love the exterior. All the lines and angles. They can also be found inside. The first image shows some of the exterior as seen from the hall in the museum. The second photo is cropped in to show more of the detail in the metal. The shadows also add design to the image.

The second set shows a winter scene at Donner Lake. Photographed from the roadside, the long, curved driveway invites the viewer toward the home. I drastically cropped in the image to show the window and its reflection which creates a design of its own. I’m glad we can crop in a photo and respect the owner’s property.

Next we have a path at Fort Ross on the California Coast. Uncropped it shows a winding path leading through a tree umbrella. Cropped, the focus is on the detail of the trees.

Last we have an old farm building. This was taken at one of the Yolo Art and Ag Project farm visits. In the landscape a photographer is taking a picture of the same building. In the close up, I focused on the window. Processing it in black and white added a more realistic quality to the age of the building. Do you think the photographer was doing the same thing?

Thank you Patti for showing us how getting closer can change the look, feel and story of an image. And thank you Tina for encouraging us to find our oddest ends last week. Next week, Ann-Christine will lead our challenge. Please remember to link to Patti’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find your post in the WordPress Reader.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #189: Odds and Ends

This challenge is a challenge for me because I don’t typically keep photos that don’t make it into my blog posts. Maybe I’m too good of a housekeeper! But, I do have one, only because I did a post, forgetting that I hadn’t finished editing. So for Tina’s challenge this week, here is a macro image of an orchid from Green Acres Nursery.

And I did find this one of a flamingo’s rear that I don’t think made it into a Sacramento Zoo post. Let’s just call it “art!”

And here are some true odds and ends I did find in my archives. First the lumber jack from the LumberJacks restaurant and a metal chicken sculpture nearby. These were taken while out with my friend Marlene. We were looking for a metal horse sculpture. Never found it.

I must include these photos from 2020 just before the pandemic hit because I haven’t been able to get good photographs of almond blossom trees since. In 2021 we had a BIG wind storm before we were supposed to go out to photograph an orchard, and all the blossoms were blown off the trees. This year we were one week too late.

I’ll end with an iris from my garden. The plant bloomed one year in 2020 and never again!

Thanks Tina, from now on I’ll leave some Odds and Ends as I process.

Thank you all for participating in Karina’s (Murtagh’s Meadows) Special Places challenge last week. It was interesting to visit your special places. Next week Patti will host the challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

In need of photo penicillin: Green Acres Nursery

I’ve not been feeling well, but I wanted to get our with my camera. Where to go that’s close? Maybe somewhere I can do macro photography. Of course, Green Acres Nursery in Citrus Heights! And it’s about 10 minutes from my home. I met Marlene there and we set out for some photo penicillin.

I like this particular Green Acres because their flowers are under shade and easier to photograph. We stayed about an hour and then went out for lunch. A short but sweet visit. Here are some images from that trip.

It’s great to have such a wonderful garden nursery nearby that allows photographers to take photos. Thanks Green Acres!