“Smile!” That’s what I told a dear friend who has the pandemic blues. That’s what I’m telling myself today! Thank you Olivia for creating this wonderful reminder.
Olivia is my 9 year old (almost 10) granddaughter. I saw she was working and concentrating on something at her desk after she finished her school work. She came over to me and showed me this awesome and colorful picture. I smiled and asked if I could have it. She thought a few seconds and shook her head yes. It now has its place on my fridge. Actually I’m thinking of framing it. What do you think?
So many of us have reached the depression stage in this pandemic. In addition, here in California, we have fire. Our entire state is blazing. Those of us who have forced inside because of smoke and ash really shouldn’t complain. We have our homes. But it’s still depressing.
I’ve gone in my kitchen a lot lately just to be reminded to SMILE! You have my permission to print and copy this wonderful smiley face when you feel depressed and trapped inside. I’m sure Olivia won’t mind!
Oh, WordPress wouldn’t let me use Olivia’s picture as the featured image, so I’m using the Mickey Mouse puzzle my grandson Christopher made for me. Mickey helps me smile too!
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.
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.
His home. The movie call it a mansion.
In the kitchen.
In the living room. Couldn’t pass up this photo opportunity.
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.
This is the one clear image I got. I couldn’t find him in my bird book.
A Great Blue Heron hides from us and the wind.
One of the burrowing owls. They are so small and cute.
The wind was blowing so hard he closed his eyes!
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!
The American River
A tree lined path.
A bench with a river vista.
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.
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.
Lines, patterns and shadows.
Three of a kind.
Sign with bokeh in the background.
Block of color
biker and older person
Hole and texture
You can smell it through the lens
This was a fun exercise. And, of course, photo buddies who help and joke around made it an extra special morning.
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.
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!
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.
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 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!
The model village in the lobby.
The spinning Ferris Wheel attached to a gingerbread house.
The lobby has several sculptures placed in front of mirrors.
One of the Christmas Trees.
A zoom abstract of the tree.
Another zoom abstract shot just slightly different.
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.
The streets in Jackson are decorated for the Christmas holiday.
This is one way to store a bike!
I love texture and found it at a yarn store.
Marlene went in to shop.
I went in to shoot!
I liked this doorway. I’m glad I was able to lighten it up so the doors and plants were visible.
The rest of the pictures are in the National Hotel.
They were very gracious about letting us shoot in their lobby.
I used flash.
Greg and Marlene used slow shutter speeds.
I liked the reflections in this grand piano.
These windows were beautiful. I caught the colors outside on the street.
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!
The parrot’s eye as I shot through the small square in the cage enclosure.
Here you can see the faint markings of the cage.
A wolf/dog blend.
He looks like any other dog–NOT!
The mountain lion.
This is the only shot I could get of one of the bears. Again, shot through an enclosure square. We couldn’t get directly on to the enclosure because outer fencing prevented it.
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:
“100 acres of beautiful gardens for active recreation or peaceful contemplation
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.
I’m just wondering if they teach the Great Egrets to pose.
Ready for take off.
A Blue Heron up close.
He’s watching for a fish. Laura has the picture of him catching one.
Canna blooming by the stream. The sun was so bright that the background is so dark. I like it that way.
Twisted tree bark yielding to the wind.
A family on the walking path.
The wind was blowing and the green muck collected at the end of the stream.
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!
The river scene from the boat ramp.
More from the boat ramp.
Walking along the rocky shoreline.
This goose was thirsty.
He didn’t mind being photographed.
Grasses along the shoreline.
The river as seen from the shore.
It slowly goes behind the horizon.
Not a big display of color, but interesting clouds.