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!

Lens Artist Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge–Subjects That Begin with the Letter A

I love the letter “A” not only because it is the first letter of my name, but it’s also for Apple Hill in Placerville. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I read Patti’s post that gave us this challenge.

Of course in Apple Hill they grow apples. Imagine that! Each year the Apple Hill Growers Association organizes this event. Growers in the area open their orchards/farms, a certain amount, to the public. They sell pies, cupcakes, jelly or caramel apples, anything apple. I don’t care for pie, but the cupcakes and donuts are delicious. I do bring home a large slice of apple pie for Richard.

We spend the day driving from place to place, exploring the grounds and buying fruit from the fruit stands. It’s a wonderful photo day. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t go this year. However, I do have images to show you from previous years.

People of all ages come to enjoy the grounds, pony rides and food.

The grounds at some of the orchards are simply beautiful.

There are also a few old trucks, museum sets, and flowers.

I’m hoping that the pandemic will be over next year. I did miss visiting Apple Hill this year, but didn’t want to risk the crowds. Take care and stay safe everyone!

On a hunting trip: Wide Open Walls

We weren’t hunting with guns; we were hunting with our cameras — for murals. Each year Sacramento hosts Wide Open Walls and invites artists to paint amazing images on the sides of buildings. These paintings are huge.

We never get to see them all, so we photograph what we can. Some are from years back, but they are new to us. I’ve shown you some before. This year we only saw a fraction of the new art. I guess we’ll have to go back.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm, so I didn’t have my ultra-wide 10 – 20 mm lens available. But I think the 18 to 55 mm did a good job. Sometimes I had to angle the image to get the entire mural in.

Here are some of these colorful masterpieces. Click on each image to see it in its entirety.

We heard there was a mural of Ruth Bader Ginsberg painted before her death. We hunted and found it in an alley behind a restaurant. Some great murals are in alleys, but I’m hoping they do another in a more prominent location.

While hunting for these murals, I found other things to photograph which I’ll show you in another post. Hopefully I’ll go hunting again for murals soon!

Lens-Artist #113: A Labor Of Love

When I first saw this challenge given by Rusha Sams, my immediate thoughts went to raising children. They are conceived in love, raised with love and then their children are loved. Beyond that, when I was traveling, I wasn’t taking pictures. It’s only in my senior years that I discovered photography as a form of self-expression and a passion.

So, bringing “A Labor Of Love” down to very basic terms, I chose to show an activity that is a labor of love for participants and fans alike. My topic: Hot Air Balloon Festivals.

I’ve only been to two Hot Air Balloon Festivals. The first was in September, 2012 when I bought my Nikon D3100. I chose an entry level camera to start because I wasn’t sure about photography. It didn’t take long before I upgraded to the D7100. I heard about the balloon festival in Windsor, California. So, off Richard and I went in our 5th wheel trailer, staying two nights in what they set aside as a campground. I was warned that the show started promptly at 4 a.m., and it did.

I woke up to the announcer on the loud speaker saying, “Good morning Windsor!” I jumped out of bed, got dressed, grabbed my camera and ran out the door to be greeted by total darkness. Once on the field, I realized I hadn’t set my camera! I saw the green “A,” turned the dial, and ran toward the “Dawn Patrol” that had just set up. The rest is history. I had a great time. I loved the challenge of getting the shots, lying on the ground as the balloons went up in the air, kneeling down to catch a picture of the balloon being blown up. It was an exhilarating morning. Here are a few of my first shots with my camera.

Fast forward to September 2017 when I was shooting with a Nikon D7100 at the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival, Reno, Nevada.

Linda and I decided to stay one night at a hotel and waking up at 3:30 a.m. rather than waking up at 1 a.m. and driving 2 hours. It was a smart move for two seniors! This was a larger festival and just as much fun.

I saw many of the same balloons in Reno as I did in Windsor. The pilots have such a love for this sport that they travel from festival to festival. Weather is a big factor on whether they can take their balloons up. The second day at Windsor, it was too windy for them to fly.

This was a nice memory to catch up on. Thank you Rusha!

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.