Feelin’ the spirit: July 4th

It was a parade, it was lunch, it was fun! Every July 4, the residents in our new senior community decorate their golf carts, trucks, cars, and even bikes for the annual July 4 parade. I was invited to ride in my neighbor’s two-seater Miata that she decorated with flags.

I was amazed as we drove around to see how many other residents were lined up on the parade route. All were yelling “Happy fourth of July,” and some were throwing candy into the carts, cars and trucks. We waved and yelled back. I was also trying to take pictures as the car was moving of people moving. Not easy.

After the parade, we had a hot dog lunch, which fortunately was inside. It was a hot day. I had fun, and I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be decorating something–maybe. My Camry????

I can show you some of the carts and cars, but we are asked not to take pictures of the homes. I did my best, and you’ll get an idea of how this zany senior community celebrates. The last picture is of our honored guest, a World War II veteran who still fits into his uniform.

 

Navigating the not so perfect: Various outings

I learned long ago that we all can’t be winners and neither can outings. I’ve made lemonade so many times recently. It’s not that the outings were truly “lemons,” but either the potential for great images was not there or I was off and not seeing opportunities.

For instance, the John Muir National Historic Site was one I had been to before, but forgot. Basically it’s a tour of his home and orchard he inherited from his father-in-law. The movie shown in the Visitor’s Center did give us great insight into his life and dreams.

Another venture was to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area a small preserve near West Sacramento. Seeing wildlife here is either okay, great or bad. The morning we went viewing, the wind was blowing so hard even the birds were taking cover! After we drove the route, Linda, Teresa and I went to see if any burrowing owls were brave to fight the wind. They burrow in Davis, California. We spotted two little owls.

Last, is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Summer is not the best time to view the many deer, roosters, coyotes and birds that live there. This visit was in September, and I guess it wasn’t cool enough for the wildlife to come out and smile for the cameras!

Even though there may not have been great photo opportunities, these outings were fun. When you’re with fellow photographers who enjoy getting out with their cameras, the camaraderie is what makes the day. I guess I’m saying a day out with a camera and friends is always a winner.

A scavenger hunt: Old Sacramento

Sometimes you just want to have fun, so I borrowed a scavenger hunt list for a Tuesday morning outing. With camera in sling, four of us hunted the streets of Old Sacramento for items on the list. They ranged from “Something you can taste through the lens” to “bokeh” to “lines and patterns.” We exercised our minds and imaginations!

Here are some of my trophies.

This was a fun exercise. And, of course, photo buddies who help and joke around made it an extra special morning.

Bernie Sanders lost a vote and supporter: RIP Greg Morris

First of all, my photo buddy, friend and mentor, Greg Morris was never one to not speak his mind, especially on politics. So, when I first got the news of his death during the morning of January 31, the first thing I said to my husband was: “Bernie Sanders just lost a vote.” Richard knew what that meant because we’ve been expecting that phone call for a couple of weeks.

Greg not only introduced me to his candidate, Bernie Sanders, but to a great deal about photography. He loved HDR, his tripod and talking to people. He’d always remind me to bring my tripod along on photo outings. Just once, I caught him hand holding his camera.

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Greg chats with a homeless man in Midtown, Sacramento.

He also introduced me to towns (Locke was a favorite), rivers and out of the way places I would have never known existed. The greatest part, he never took a freeway! That’s why it took us so long to get anywhere. He was our driver and guide, never taking gas money. So, Marlene and I would treat him to lunch at various places he knew of. Small restaurants with great food. Only once did he disappoint us. He promised us the best pizza in Downieville; however all the restaurants in that small town were closed for the season!

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Greg poses as the famous Mona Lisa in Locke. He then had me pose in another cutout.
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Thank goodness the Downieville grocery was open. It may not have provided us with pizza, but my rice bowl was good.

We never got a chance to go back for that pizza during the season. Greg passed away from a cancerous Glioblastoma brain tumor. From the diagnosis to the end was three short months. Soon the guide became the guided as Marlene and I took him out locally for photo shoots. It amazed me that as frazzled as his brain was becoming, once we arrived at the shoot, he’d get his photo gear ready and was once again the amazing photographer.

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Greg’s outing with us was to Discovery Park, Sacramento.

As much as he loved photography, he loved his family: daughters Tiffany, Erica and Mimi; his two granddaughters, and niece Shonna and her family. We are all going to miss this guy with the wonderful sense of humor who would sing to cows, do weekly crazy selfies and post them on Sacramento Photographers, chat with strangers, give restaurant wait staff a humorous time (It was usually the same old line.), help new photographers and not only post great pictures, but give us a history lesson too.

RIP Greg. And, Bernie, don’t worry, I’ll vote for you. Greg did convince me.

 

 

When it rains; shoot indoors: Fairmont Hotel, San Jose

When it rained in San Jose, it poured. Dedicated photographers never give up, especially when you don’t often get to shoot together. So photo buddy Nicci, of niccicarreraromance.com, and I went to to lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.

The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas; and, as an added bonus, we were able to photograph Christmas In The Park directly across from the hotel. I had a wonderful time talking with Nicci. This was the first time we went on a photo outing since Leanne Cole’s visit in September.

The only problem was our visit was way too short, and the welcomed rain!

 

 

 

Great feedback: Back to Jackson, part 2

Wow, I am so grateful for all the feedback I received from my last post. Most of it was on Facebook. It really helped me shape the next part of my journey.

I began this blog as a way to talk about my new hobby and document my chosen paths. I chose not to take classes, but study tutorials, practice and join Meetup groups. And, it’s worked. It took about 3 years, but I am confident now and ready for the next step–learning more about processing and putting my work out there. I’m not looking to sell anything, but to get more feedback. Most of all, I’m having fun and have met new friends and wonderful, helpful people.

In the meantime, I promised you the images from Jackson and here they are. I will always be open to feedback, and I’m willing to listen and try new things.

 

 

It’s all happening at the zoo, maybe: The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary

I don’t know why I went with expectations, but I did. I heard that the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary was more of a rescue venue than a real zoo, but I had to check it out with Marlene and Greg.

Here’s what their website has to say about the zoo: “Since 1963, this small unique California zoo has been providing sanctuary to some very special animals. All are non-releasable. Many were raised, and rejected, as wild pets. Others were injured or orphaned in the wild. Most are native to North America. All have names and personalities, and their individual stories are posted at the exhibits, along with factual, up-to-date information about their species.The distinctive educational focus of the zoo promotes responsible and appropriate behavior toward all animals. The zoo teaches about common and uncommon animals, both wild and domestic, and includes those in between, like feral pigs and wolf-dog hybrids. Zoo programs stress that wild animals don’t make good pets.”

After reading this, I had expected a small zoo, limited animals, but not the inability to photograph them well. This is not a zoo for photographers. I’m not sure whether it was the way the cages were designed or the type of enclosures, but we had a difficult time focusing through the wires. So, I decided I’d shoot through the squares in the fencing and do whatever closeups I could when I couldn’t make the cage disappear.

Did I mention that it was also cold and damp. Yes, we’re getting a little rain here in California, but when I found sun, I stood in it! I remember living back east and experiencing summer sun showers. Couldn’t it happen here in winter?

Again, too many expectations!

 

 

There’s never enough of a good thing: UC Davis Arboretum

Its beauty changes with the season and its only about 1/2 hour away. After Laura, Linda and I left the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, we went on to the UC Davis Arboretum.

I’ve been there several times and have posted images. But, there’s always something new to be found whether it’s wildlife or plants. We go there to walk and shoot, but there’s more going on. From their website, here is what they have and offer to the general public:

The loop is 3.5 miles, and you’ll find people walking and riding bikes. Families enjoy the scenery, bring picnic lunches and you can find students studying during school. And, it changes with each season.

This trip, we caught the last of the Fall colors, a few birds and the crisp cool air. Take a look.

 

 

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An unexpected gift: Sailor Bar, American River, Sacramento

Sometimes you just have to ask. Let me explain. Greg, Linda and I were at Sailor Bar, a popular boat launch area on the American River in Sacramento County. We arrived late afternoon to shoot and catch the sunset. Greg, who enjoys meeting and talking with people, was talking with a man who offered Greg a free monopod. Not liking monopods, Greg graciously declined.

I thought, “That’s what I get for not being outgoing and striking up conversations!” They talked some more and again the question about the monopod came up. I then decided to act upon my need for one.

I walked over and said to the gentleman, “Did I hear you offer a free monopod? I could use one.” The guy was happy to go back to his house and bring it back to me. All it needed was a ball head and it was a Manfrotto. Great, I have a Manfrotto ball head on my extra tripod. This monopod, without ball head, is worth $200. What a gift! The sunset wasn’t much, but getting that monopod was something, and all I had to do was ask!

 

 

From one pond to another: William B. Pond

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but…I do like to keep things close, especially when I’m driving. When we were leaving McKinley Park, Marlene suggested we go to the William B. Pond Recreation Area which was close to where we were going to eat lunch.

This park is named after the first Regional Parks Director, William B. Pond and is a man-made lake. We first went down the stairs to the viewing area. From there we saw the lake, ducks, and geese. The highlight for me was the standoff between two Mallards and their mates. We then walked along the river, shooting puddles and sights.

Before we left, we walked over the bridge for another vantage point and saw to cyclists each on what would be a low profile tricycle. You’ll see the image.

I still can’t believe that I had never been to these two beautiful areas that were so close. Sacramento has a lot to offer in recreation in addition to the American and Sacramento Rivers. It was a day of fun and we didn’t have to drive a distance to get there. Again, I’m not lazy; just practical!

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Down the stairs to the viewing area. Marlene is capturing some alone time.