Springtime at Ananda: Crystal Hermitage Garden, Part 2

We are back at Crystal Hermitage Garden, Ananda Village in Nevada City. In my last post, I showed you the tulips planted by the volunteers and promised to show you more of the grounds. Well, I’m keeping that promise. Tulips are planted in October and bloom in April when the Tulip Festival is held. As of this writing the Festival is over, but many people enjoyed its beauty for the month and a half it was available.

The Garden is on three terraced levels. The bottom gives us a view of the mountains. In one picture you can see the gold top of the Temple where members and guests can meditate/pray.

The middle level shows the lovely gardens, pool, and gazebo.

The top level continues with rows of tulips and a small church.

This ends the 2022 tour. Hopefully, in 2023, they will plant again in October and receive guests in April.

During rain storms: Crystal Hermitage Garden

We had our fingers crossed because this year, after a 2-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ananda Village, in Nevada City, opened their beautiful garden to us. Each year volunteers plant and care for beautiful tulips in the Crystal Hermitage Garden. This year we had to buy tickets online for a specific date and time. I think that was wise so they could handle all the visitors after a 2-year close.

Why did we have our fingers crossed? It rained for days before we were to go and was drizzling the morning we left. We didn’t get rained on, but it was cloudy and sometimes sunshine poked through. We were in luck and the tulips had lots of water drops on them.

This will be a 2-part post. Here are some of the tulips we saw.

Next week, I’ll show you the wonderfully landscaped grounds and more tulip beds. Oh, I’m not complaining about the rain. It was welcome since we are in a drought year. I think we will still be rationed this summer.

Lens-Artists Challenge #197: The Rule of Thirds

Not only haven’t I taken a photography class, I tend not to follow rules when it comes to photography. I just go with what looks good to me. I think it helps that I spent 20 years in business with a graphic artist (I was the writer.) and learned the basics of doing a flyer layout: have an odd number of graphics, avoid having text run down the center of the page (tunnel vision), and spread your text around the page.

This week Tina introduces us to the Rule of Thirds. The reason for this rule is basic–it helps us compose pictures that are pleasing to the eye, avoiding symmetry. But sometimes it’s better to have an image that is almost symmetrical or totally symmetrical.

Let’s see what I did in 1918.

Here are some floral examples. One is definitely centered. Although the second flower is centered, the water drop is not and it is the focal point. The last one is not centered, taking up 2/3 of the frame.

Next let’s look at some wildlife. The Canada goose in the left side of the image, giving it room to fly away. The small burrowing owl is centered but looking toward the left side of the frame. They are so small that a good crop was needed to show detail.

Landscapes are the most fun. In the first image, a white boat starts out in the lower left of the picture. You know where it is going! The second image starts out in the lower right corner with the road that takes you through the mid section and back to the right. The third is symmetrical taking us right up to and through the gate.

Sunsets can also be asymmetrical.

Portraits can also be off center. I did ask her parents permission to photograph her. I think by the way she posed, she’s had her picture taken before! Notice there’s a little room to her left.

So, yes, I break rules, but I sometimes follow them. It all comes down to what looks good to me!

Thank you Tina for giving us the nudge to look at how we compose and whether we can do anything different. When you post your reply to this challenge be sure to link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Patti will lead us next week with a Light and Shadow challenge.

 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/

A lingering cold: Horton Iris Farm, part 2

I’ve been down and out with a week long cold. I guess you realize that I’m not happy, especially having to miss a photo outing. Even Gem is upset because he’s getting a very short walk each morning.

Fortunately, I do have the second part of last week’s post to show you. Last week you saw the beautiful iris blossoms at Horton Iris Farm in Loomis. Now I’ll show you the rest of the farm.

When you come into the farm, there’s this cute bird feeder.

Then there are methods of transportation.

More flowers and farm art (old machines).

It’s a large farm, so there’s plenty of space for landscape images including a pond.

So that’s Horton’s Iris Farm. Now back to nursing this s****d cold!

Growing more than just flowers: Horton’s Iris Farm, part 1

I walk Gem every day. He has two routes: one is 1 1/2 miles and the other 2 miles. This gives us the opportunity to see the neighbors’ gardens grow. These walks make me think of personal growth. When do you stop? I don’t think we ever do.

Which brings me to my photography journey and the reason I started this blog many, many years ago. This was to be my journal showing the progress of my photographic ability–which when I began was practically non-existent. I decided not to take classes because I didn’t want homework and still shy away from challenges that want you to take new photos. So, by asking questions, making mistakes, camera clubs with juried competitions, and field experience I’ve come along and progressed. And, I’m still learning!

I now find myself giving advice to new photographers and can hold my own with other seasoned photo hobbyists. I may have picked the long route to get here, but I arrived anyway.

Have you taken on something new and followed your own path to success? I’d like to hear about it.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures taken at a recent visit to Horton’s Iris Farm in Loomis. We may have been a bit to early to catch more of their beautiful irises. Horton’s is a farm where they grow and sell plants. You can buy plants at their farm or online. You can also cut your own bouquets. They also grow zinnias and sunflowers, and have a pumpkin patch in October. Enjoy!

Next week I’ll show you more about this farm. It’s more than just irises!

Lens-Artist Challenge #195: Colorful Expressions

Color! It motivates, depresses, and makes us happy. Marketing companies know the effect color can have on our emotions. Just look how it’s used in print and television ads. Bright colors are usually used to get us to buy—now. More subdued colors are used to relax us and encourage us to come in for that spa treatment. How do you react to these subliminal motivators?

Better yet, how does color affect your photography? How we photograph is reflective of how color motivates us. I like bright bold colors, red being my favorite. In fact, as I write this post, I’m wearing a red blouse. I shy away from pastels, and you’ll never see me wear a soft pink! But, back to photography. My personal preferences are carried forth in what I choose to photograph.

If I see red, I’m going to photograph it. These umbrellas are an example. The umbrellas take up most of the image with a large splash of color. It draws attention and, for me, is exciting.

The canopy below is a much smaller representation of red, but it still caught my eye. It is small and in the background. Even though it’s small, it’s bright enough to pull you into the frame.

A photographed color can be soft and light, creating a sense of calm. Or, it can be bright, demanding our attention. These two flowers are an example of this. The soft pick versus the bright yellow and red. Which suits your mood? I know I said I’m not drawn to pink, but flowers are the exception.

Color can also fill the frame, be solid, or lead us through the frame. The orange pumpkin dominates, leaving me feel excited and wanting to bake pumpkin bread. While the soft yellow on the ground and trees accents the branches and glides us along the pathway, having me feel at peace.

Mother nature often paints her landscapes in duotone so the subject can stand out as does this cypress tree against the blue ocean. I could sit a long time watching the waves crash onto the shore, creating a calmness within me.

Or She paints a beautiful expansive vision of color as these poppies drape the hillside. This wild poppy field left me in awe of nature’s work.

I’m also drawn to rust which has a texture of its own, creating its own colorful patina. I can just feel the age of this wheel and admire its beautiful colors.

Before I close this challenge, I had a bit of color fun by processing selective color. This is the first time I’ve done this. Remember this photo, all that’s left in color are the red umbrellas. If you haven’t processed selective color, give it a try. It is fun!

And then there’s the rare “what is that!”  Sometimes color surprises us. Wouldn’t you stop to take a picture of an old pink barn. Yes, even I did!

This week, show us how color affects your photography. What emotions does it bring to the surface? Which ones are you particularly drawn to? When you create your colorful expression, remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you, Sofia, for last week’s challenge that explained what bokeh is and how we use it as we photograph. We enjoyed seeing all your beautiful responses. Our guest host John RH, of John’s Space, will be presenting next week’s challenge. Be sure to visit his site.

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 #194: Bokeh

When I began photography, my first goal was to photograph something with a soft blurry background behind it. I had no idea that was called bokeh. Now Sofia is asking us to show our bokeh images, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing I learned how to do it!

Actually, I love photographing flowers with bokeh.

I don’t do usually portraits, but sometimes I can catch one with a bokeh background. This one, of a dog looking up at someone, happened to be taken at Sutter Creek.

Although this one wasn’t candid, it did end up with a slight bokeh. This was taken of my chiropractor, Heather Rosenberg, DC for her monthly newsletter. If you live near Roseville, CA, she’s the best!

Although I prefer to do close ups with a macro lens, whatever lens you have will work. Sometimes a background ends in bokeh even though you’re not intending it to.

Here I was just trying to capture the changing leaf colors with an 18-55mm lens and ended up with a nice background.

In this photo, I was trying to get underneath the mushroom to capture its folds and details with my 18-55mm. (I was too lazy to go back to the car for my macro lens.) Again, I ended up with a nice bokeh.

Sofia mentioned bokeh having a speckled look. I’ve found that water lends itself to that. I think I’ve shown this leaf before. I took the picture after the garden was watered and the drops gave the image a great speckled look.

Sometimes I carry a water bottle with me sprinkle the flowers before I photograph them to get a speckled effect. I didn’t have to do that with this image.

Thank you Sofia for a fun challenge that is dear to me. Again, I love closeup and macro photography. Thanks again to John for inviting us to celebrate his birthday with him last week. I will be leading next week’s challenge. Remember to link Sophia’s challenge to your reply post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 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!

In search of red buds: U.C. Davis Arboretum

Sometimes the spirit is more willing than Mother Nature wants to give us. Recently Laura and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum, in Davis, to photograph the red buds and the wildlife it attracts. Yes, our spirits were willing to take the images, but there were hardly any red buds and birds. We did find some.

I’m guessing there might be more now. But we did find some nice scenery. I had my 55 – 200 mm lens on my Fujifilm XT3 so I did a lot of stepping back for some of these landscape shots.

We did come across a group of cormorants sitting on the shore of the creek. I focused on this one.

And, I couldn’t resist photographing flowers and more in close up.

When I needed to rest, Laura went further while I sat on a bench and people (and dog) watched.

So, our red bud search gave us a beautiful walk and a lot of photo opportunities even if we didn’t see many red buds on the trees.