Macro Therapy: Green Acres Nursery

There are days when you just need some therapy–Macro Therapy. I’m fortunate there’s a Green Acres nursery, in Citrus Heights, about 10 minutes from my home. Recently in July was one of those mornings. I was feeling a little blah so I grabbed my macro lens and camera, and off I went.

Green Acres is great because they don’t mind us coming in with our cameras, taking our time and taking home picture memories of their products. Here are half of mine from that morning.

I still need to process the rest, so be on the lookout for more gorgeous flowers. Oh, macro therapy does help!

Lens-Artists Challenge #206: Treasures

This challenge given to us by Aletta, of Now At Home, brought me back to 2020, the year of lockdown. There are many things I treasure like family, friends, health and our pets. But in 2020 one thing was clear, I truly treasured my weekly photo outings. My senior photo buddies and I created a photo pod and went out in our cars (some separate and some together), met at a designated outdoor spot and spent a couple of hours enjoying photography. Later we would have lunch outdoors (when restaurants opened to outdoor service)–a perfect ending to a brief respite.

I’m showing you some images from my 2020 calendar. I’m sure a lot of these are repeats, but I treasure each and every one of them. If it weren’t for photography, I would have been clawing at my front door, screaming “Let me out!”

Fortunately, my front door doesn’t have any claw marks thanks to photography and friends!

Thank you for all the great interpretations of last week’s challenge “The eyes have it.” I enjoyed them all. When you respond to Aletta’s challenge, please remember to link to her post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is hosting Seeing Double so be on the lookout for his post.

July will continue with:

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 Favourite Images.

I’ll be back in August with “What’s your groove?” Until then enjoy your summer and stay safe.

 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/

Triple digits heat wave: Lotus pond, Land Park

Let’s go back 21 years when we moved to Sacramento, there was maybe one week of triple digit temperatures during the entire summer. We’ve already had that many and it’s not even the end of June! The heat stiffles any desire to grab a camera and go out for the day. Enough griping!

Recently Marlene and I took advantage of a morning when the temperature was to max out in the 90s and went to William Land Park in Sacramento to photograph the lotus blossoms. I think they were just as affected by the heat as we were. Also the cluster of lotus were far away from the bank of the pond. Getting super close was not possible. Here are some of the blossoms. The close ups are well cropped.

What truly impressed me was the size of the leaves. They were impressive. The lotus aren’t the only attraction at the pond. There are others:

Also, in today’s world, I always get pleasure from the kindness and friendliness of others. We met three women who saw our cameras and asked us to take their picture with their cell phone. We talked with them. They offered advice on how I could reduce the pain in my hip. They also had us take a picture of each of us and them with our cameras. Here’s the one I took of them and Marlene.

This last picture was taken just before entering the pond area. It’s not a lotus but I liked the lighting.

It’s supposed to be cooler this week, so maybe I won’t be so grumpy! We’ll see what July brings. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and stay safe.

Just a short post: McKinley Rose Garden

A rose will always be a rose! And I do love them. They are the only plants I personally take care of. I have a small but beautiful rose garden. But today I’m writing about my adventure at the McKinley Park Rose Garden in Sacramento.

Every year they have a photo contest to see which photographer will win the coveted first place prize. Last year, I was lucky enough to win first place. This is the winning photo.

This year I also went down to the garden to take photos. That day, the wind was blowing and the roses were either on their way out or budding. But with my macro lens on my Fuji, I did my best. I used a high shutter speed and hoped for a slight breeze. Of course it was the last week of the contest–no going back another day! You know I procrastinate.

Here are the best of lot. We are allowed five entries. In 2020 I received an honorable mention.

We’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know–even if I don’t place.

Lens-Artists Challenge #202: Minimalism-Maximalism

I absolutely love our LAPC community. Why? Because I learn so much about my approach to photography and how I photograph. When I started looking for samples in my archives that would fit the parameters Sofia suggested, I found that I don’t do minimalism. For me, minimalism means a lot of negative space. I tend to fill the frame. I do simple. I also don’t photograph high-key images. That is unless I get my exposure wrong and I discard those!

I did find some images that might fit with negative space.

This lone pelican is surrounded by water that fills whatever space is left.

Some samples of simple but not minimal.

I think this is the closest I’ve come to a minimal image. You can imagine most of the bridge as white space. But even then there’s more going on.

Oh, I did find an image that might do as minimal.

I’ll end with two examples of simple and busy. Or my macro and landscape.

I now will try to do some high/low key with negative space. Isn’t learning fun! Got to love LAPC!!

Thank you Sofia for presenting me with this learning experience. I’ll be hosting next week, so stay tuned. Remember to link your reply to Sofia’s post. Take care everyone.

 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/

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!