Catching up, part 2: Christmas Lights

Yes, I’m still back in December 2021. On the 27th to be exact! Donna and I went out locally to photograph some Christmas lights. The conditions that night were perfect: not too cold and clear.

Last year I had some trouble with my Fujifilm camera. It was the first time using it for this function and I couldn’t get the lighting right. This year I knew it was okay to pump up the ISO. What a difference! This camera handles a high ISO so much better than my Nikon 7100 did.

Here are some of the results. Now pay attention to some of the snow men!

Did you see the great robbery in progress? And the robber’s weapon? If not, look again! As you can see, I also had fun with some slow shutter speed and zooming the lens. Thanks for visiting!

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!

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.

Color and light: Night time carnival

I like to photograph at slow shutter speeds and zoom my lens in and out. So when I learned there was a small carnival at a the Sunrise Mall shopping center, in Citrus Heights, parking lot, my photo buddies and I got down there. We did the same visitation in 2018 and the carnival was much better: more rides, more people and a working Ferris wheel. I think the almost rainy weather may have had something to do with it.

But, I had fun anyway. Here’s some of what I captured that evening.

I’ve got my camera ready for next year. Hopefully there will be a working Ferris wheel and more rides.

Sidewalk Fun: Chalk it up 2021

Remember when you were a kid playing with sidewalk chalk? Each year Sacramento takes it a step further with their Chalk It Up contest held Labor Day weekend. Artists are invited from all over to paint with chalk at Fremont Park. Some squares are sponsored by a business or organization.

Last year, because of the pandemic the 2020 festival was shown all over Sacramento, typically in front of the artists’ homes. In 2021 the show returned to Fremont Park and other venues around Sacramento — a big change for us visitors.

We went to the park early, before the start time, in the morning before the crowds came. Fortunately, some of the artists started early; unfortunately some had their work covered by plastic sheeting.

But there were enough to make the trip worthwhile. Here are some I liked and then I’ll show you my favorites.

Now my favorites.

I’m always amazed with what these artists create with sidewalk chalk and liquid chalk. I can’t wait for next year.

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 Artist Challenge #150: Get Wild

Get wild! That’s the challenge given this week by Dianne Milliard of Rambling Ranger. She gave us parameters: no ” groomed gardens or animals in the zoo. No people or signs of people.” So that left out some of the parties we have in our senior community!

I gave it some thought and focused on an event that was a one time opportunity for me. Something I had never done before. But something wild and caused by nature. The total solar eclipse in August 2017. The event was seen in many places, but we chose Weiser Idaho. We got there a couple of days early so we could get a good spot for our RV. Richard checked out his sun scope and I was trying to get my Nikon d3100 ready. I shot with the 3100 just in case something happened. I didn’t want to ruin my d7100.

I was so nervous and truly beyond my photographic level. I read tutorials, etc. I wanted a trial run, but nature doesn’t do that!

The filter Richard (My husband is an astronomer.) made for me wasn’t the best. So I walked around and talked to other photographers (with more knowledge) and one of them gave me one of his filters. I am always amazed at how generous photographers are!

Eclipse day arrived. I perched the 3100 on the tripod while Richard had his sun scope ready to go. The moon was about to cover the sun, but I couldn’t find it while the camera was on the tripod. I wasn’t going to miss this. Off came the camera and I shot the eclipse hand held.

Here are some of the pictures I got that day.

The beginning:

The last crescent, diamond ring and Totality

The reversal begins as the moon moves away from the sun.

So this was my wild adventure of mother nature at it’s wildest.

Another outcome from this was Richard meeting a former science teacher who talked to him about becoming a NASA Ambassador. Now he gives astronomy talks at libraries and via zoom.

Thanks Dianne. This was a fun and wild challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge 136: Subjects starting with the letter “S”

I enjoy our weekly challenges because they help bring back memories of fun photo outings. And, as I dig way back into prior years, I see how my photography has improved. This week Patti has given us the letter “S” and suggested many ways we could post on it.

I just dove into my archives and here are some memories that I enjoyed re-visiting.

In 2018, Marlene and I went with a Meetup group for a photo walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It was a wonderful day topped off with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (There aren’t any in Sacramento!). On the left is a probable homeless man sleeping on a bench. On the right is a sightseeing bus with lots of tourists. What a dichotomy of life.

Also taken in 2018 is a sunset with sunflowers taken in Yolo County.

Jumping to that infamous year 2020, we have a delectable sweet treat taken at the Isleton Asian Festival, a shed taken on a road trip and shadows on a gazebo at the UC Davis Arboretum.

Now for some recent pictures in 2021, I’ll close this post with a sidewalk at Coyote Pond in Lincoln and snow at Donner Lake. Both taken this year.

Thank you Patti for this fun challenge!

Winter white: Donner Lake

The snow beckons, but not in the middle of a storm or when it’s 6-feet deep. I’m a fair-weather-snow type of gal. I like the ambient temperature not freezing and to have ample snow on the ground. Had we made it up to Donner Lake a few days earlier it would have been perfect, but life did not permit. But it was still good when we did get there.

Donner Lake Village is a small town wrapping around the lake. It’s quaint and attracts tourists and residents year round. It is close to all major sky areas for winter sports, and in the summer is just stunning. When we went up, I didn’t even need to put my snow boots on. The weather was perfect.

The lake is about 1 1/2 hours from my home. Richard drove and Ray and Sally came along. Here are some of my images captured that day.

We were able to enter the Donner Memorial State Park Visitors’ Center, but the museum was closed. I had a different kind of fun in the gift shop.

Outside the gift shop was a photographer’s snowy opportunity.

After lunch, we went back into town for a last look.

We are expecting another storm soon. Maybe then I can go up again and need to wear my snow boots!

Lens-Artists #131: Emotions

Patti’s challenge of Emotions was a true challenge for me. Wow, where do I start? Right now here in the U.S. emotions are all over the place from the pandemic to politics to what do I make for dinner! I went out on a photo shoot this morning to ground myself. It worked. Photography is my get-away-from it all.

While searching in my archives for street photography, I realized there were none from last year. I’m thinking I’m lucky to have photographed what I did in 2020. So here are images that I think depict or evoke emotion.

Anticipation. My younger granddaughter is waiting for her birthday party guests to arrive.

Delight. This young girl is in total delight on this bungee ride on the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

Hopelessness. Taken on the same trip as above.

Patience. Husband waiting outside of store for wife.

Attitude. Taken at the Sacramento Zoo with her mom’s permission.

Joy. This is Tom Rigney at the Sacramento Music Festival. He and his band Flambeau were favorites. The festival was discontinued a few years ago.

Love. This feeling can extend between humans and their pets.

My personal emotional challenge this next week is to let go of fear and concentrate on joy and gratitude. Stay safe everyone!