LENS ARTISTS CHALLENGE #233: A One Lens Walk

Lately, I find that I’m usually choosing one lens to put on my Fuji camera when I go out for a photo outing with my friends. We are usually gone for few hours. I carry nothing else except for an extra battery. I mostly use my 18-55 lens which covers landscape and close ups. I’ve taken it to Bodega Bay to catch ocean scenes and to the Antique Trove to capture some indoor close ups.

When I go to the Sacramento Zoo, I always take my 55-200 mm lens. It does a great job of capturing giraffes and also gets me up close and personal with an orangutan.

You know I love Macro. When I need a lift, I take my Fuji and macro lens to the Green Acres Nursery. There I find many macro-opportunities.

The McKinley Park Rose Garden is another of my favorite places to take my macro lens.

Macro lenses are great for photographing other things like this bird. I was in the Rose Garden and saw it above me.

And then there’s my old trusty prime F/4 300 mm lens I use on my Nikon D7100 for bird shots. I don’t use it often but when I do, I appreciate it. Actually, this lens is why I’m holding on to my Nikon.

If I know I’ll be gone on a longer photo outing and not near my car, I’ll put on my waist pack containing an extra lens giving me a total of 18-200 mm in length. It also carries extra batteries, filters, water, lens cloth and tissues. My problem is, I don’t like changing lenses in the field. Maybe that’s why I challenge myself with one lens each outing.

My challenge for you is to take a lens for a walk. Yes, choose a lens and walk. You can also use your cell phone or point and shoot camera and see what you can do with it. Another trick, when you’re using a zoom lens, is to pick an aperture and stay with it. If you don’t have time or the weather isn’t cooperating, then delve into your archives. Look for images that represent one F stop or close to it. Most of all, have fun! Remember to link to this post when you take us on your one-lens walk and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We all enjoyed looking back with you during Sophia’s challenge last week. I thought your responses were unique and interesting. Next week our newest team member Donna Holland of Wind Kisses will be leading the challenge. Be sure to look for her post. Have a great week!

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

The sun commanded the sky, for a while: The Fair Oaks Bridge

Last Thursday was the one day the sun had a chance to warm us up and show us how light can be good for photography and the human soul. Marlene and I took advantage of nature’s sunshine and went to photograph our local Fair Oaks Bridge, in Fair Oaks, that spans across the American River. If you didn’t know the water level before, it’s difficult to understand how high the water level is now. As of this writing we are expecting more rain tonight.

Here are my captures of this iconic bridge and river.

Come Friday the forecast calls for partly cloudy to sunshine for about a week. That will allow the soil to dry up and storm clean up can continue. AND, maybe a chance for more photography!

Lens Artists Challenge #232: Looking Back

I have a lot to look back at; but, at 79, I prefer to look forward! However, Sophia is challenging us to look back and see how things have changed. I remember having a party-line phone when I was a kid, and now I have a phone, small enough to hold in my hand and it’s all mine!

But getting back to photography, my New England trip showed me old architecture and new. Here in Boston one side of the street has old buildings and the other has new.

I found the same in Portland Maine.

Sacramento also shows old and new. Here’s a building in Old Sacramento and another on Capitol Avenue near the State Capitol building.

Also in Sacramento I found old and new escape routes. Fire escapes (But, maybe not as I’m looking at them now. They may just be terraces, but we can pretend they are fire escapes!) and a stairwell. They used the Fire escapes instead of stairs and the stairwell instead of the elevators.

Now on to the Crocker Art Museum. The old home was gifted by the Crocker family to be used as an art museum. You are only seeing the outside, but the inside is beautiful. A new additional building was added on and is the main entrance. The two buildings are connected and can be accessed inside.

My last trip down memory lane and back is the Peanuts comic strip. During my recent visit to the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa I photographed a couple of Schultz’s early strips.

This is what the strip looks like today as Classic Peanuts after Charles Schultz’s passing.

Sophia, this was fun! Thanks for the journey. I am happier with my cell phone then a party line

We all enjoyed seeing your 2022 fabulous favorites last week. When you respond to this challenge, please remember to link to Sophia’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. I’ll be leading the Challenge next week so stay tuned!

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #231: Favorite Images of 2022

To be honest, 2022 wasn’t my favorite year. I spent most of it in the blahs with a few exceptions. Now John has tasked us with the challenge to pick our favorite images of what was my blah year! To do this, I decided to pick one favorite from each month.

January: Laura and I went to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The Tule Elk were out. What is this one trying to tell me?

February: An outing to Grass Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills yielded this pine cone in perfect light.

March: Ray and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Lincoln to photograph Great Egrets and Blue Herons nesting in three trees.

April: Again another yearly visit to Ananda Village and their Tulip Festival. It’s the same each year and it’s always beautiful.

May: My year can’t be complete without showing you a visit to the Sacramento Zoo. One of my favorites is the pelican who lives with the flamingos. He’s missing a wing and can’t fly. This time he was close.

June: Our yearly trip to the Land Park pond to photograph the Lotus wasn’t as spectacular as previous years, but you never give up.

July: My wanting to get Downtown Sacramento building images ended with me getting a flat tire and the AAA driver getting lost! But I was able to get a few photographs.

August: brought us down the the Amtrak station in Sacramento. I tried in-camera double exposures and got one fairly good shot.

September: Another annual event, Chalk It Up. This artist’s piece of Gene Wilder was amazing.

October: I finally had the opportunity to photograph outside of my local area. I joined friends on a New England cruise. Before the cruise we spent time in Virginia. Here’s an image from the Luray Caverns.

November: My photo buddies and I went to the California Museum. It’s a place I need to return to without my camera. I spent a lot of time photographing angles and lines.

December: We were staying with the grandkids in Reno, Nevada when a snow storm hit. This is a picture of the sun rising on the mountains with houses and Reno below.

So that was my year in pictures. Thank you John for helping me realize it wasn’t a blah year after all. I’m anxious to see all of your favorites. When you post please remember to link to John’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Sofia leads the challenge so look for her post.

 For more information on joining the challenge each week, check here.

Happy 2023: Day two in Bodega Bay

Happy New Year everyone! Each year we wish that this brand new year brings health, happiness and prosperity. I’m wishing for good health. Health brings happiness and a prosperous attitude. Above all, let’s keep smiling through this year! Smiles are catching and have a healing quality.

We did a lot of smiling during our brief stay at Bodega Bay. On day two, we went to the beach. Again we had cloud cover with a hint of sunshine. Almost sounds like an ice cream sunday, doesn’t it. Yum!

Here are pictures from our beach visit. Here a seagull found its best photographic side.

Learning how to fish.

The beach.

Beach views from the top of the hill.

A colorful kite shop in town. I resisted buying the candy.

This was a great way to end 2022. What will 2023 bring us? I gave up predicting years ago. I also gave up making resolutions. I just try to be the best me that I can be.

Right now it’s still raining in the Sacramento area, and that is good even though some areas are flooding. Our lakes are filling up and we will probably get a good snow pack in the mountains that will give us water during the summer.

Take care everyone, and I wish you the best this year.

Rain, rain: Stay, stay

You know the old saying: Be careful what you ask for. Well, we asked for it: RAIN. And we’re getting it. I’m not complaining about the rain, but I am complaining about the cold, damp, fog that we’re getting along with it. We will have one day of partial sunshine this week. But not rain everyday it’s not sunny.

This is challenging for photographers. Our images end up flat. We recently went to Bodega Bay for three days, and, of course, it was foggy (which you expect in the morning at the coast) and overcast. We did manage to get out for a while during our two full days there.

Here’s day one. We went to a wharf in the tiny town of Bodega Bay. We did get some sun coming through the clouds. Some of the pictures just called for black and white editing.

After the wharf, we drove up a hill to look down on the bay. Again, taking advantage of some sunlight.

Clouds make for amazing sunsets.

In my next post you’ll see the beach and other sites. Till then, let it rain. Can it rain without a cloud cover? I didn’t think so.

Lens Artists Challenge #230: Last Chance

My last chance is my first chance! Tina encourages us to post favorites from 2022 that have not been previously shown in LAPC. This is easy for me since I just took these photographs this past week.

We went up to Reno to stay with the grandkids. We were smart enough to take the train because we don’t have the proper tires to drive in the possible snow that was predicted to fall at higher elevations. The train ride was beautiful and I did take cell phone pictures going and coming. Today’s images are of the snow storm that hit us the night of December 10. I have never experienced anything like this. I’ve been in a hurricane and many earthquakes, but this was different.

It was snowing and I took some pictures. These were before the big storm hit.

During the night the wind started. It was slapping the house hard and the windows shook. I woke up early Sunday morning and went to the family room windows. It had started to snow hard and the trees were swaying violently. There was nothing I could do so I went back to bed. When we woke up, the wind had stopped and there was about 3-feet of snow. My son’s truck was stuck in the snow. He had someone come to dig it out and clear the driveway and walkway to the front door. It took three men about three hours to complete the job.

My kids were a day late coming home because the highway was closed. I woke up early Tuesday morning and caught some of the sunrise. My son’s back yard looks down on Reno.

Again, I’ve never been through a storm like this. When we took the grandkids to school on Monday, the scenery was just beautiful.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of your hidden favorites. Please link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. We totally enjoyed all your patterns during last week’s challenge. As we at LAPC take a 2-week break for the holidays, we are excited that Donna Holland of Wind Kisses is joining the LAPC team. She’s been a faithful follower, poster and guest host. Please be sure to follow her at her site, windkisses.com. 

Have a fun, enjoyable and safe holiday season. We will be back on January 7, 2023 when John will be leading the challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #229: Perfect Patterns

As photographers, we are drawn to patterns probably without even realizing it. It’s an integral part of composition. This week Ann Christine helps make us aware of these patterns by challenging us to look for them in our photos.

I’ll start with patterns found in architecture.

Nature offers patterns of her own.

And, how about fabric!

Here are some more examples of patterns we find as we photograph.

Finally, we can make our own patterns in post as we have fun processing.

Thank you Ann Christine for challenging us with this fun topic. Please link to her post if you have yet to find and show us your own patterns and use the Lens Artists tag. Last week, we had fun seeing your creative diagonals. Tina will be challenging us next week. Be sure to look for her post. Stay safe this holiday season.

Lens Artists Challenge #228: Diagonals

This is a great morning here in the Sacramento California area. It’s raining and it’s a steady rain. And, I’m also excited about Patti’s challenge on diagonals this morning. She compared diagonals to leading lines that lead to the focal point of a photograph.

Here are some of my images showing leading lines.

I also enjoy photographing objects on a diagonal just for the fun of it, and was recently to the California Museum where I found great diagonals.

Sometimes shooting a picture on a diagonal adds interest. This clown’s face is more interesting on the diagonal rather than straight on.

And when we compose a picture, we may end up with a visual diagonal, leaving some negative space.

Here’s my last fun photograph on a diagonal.

Patti, I hope I didn’t take your great challenge too far from your original intent. This was fun and thank you for brightening up a wonderful rainy morning. Please remember to link your reply post to Patti’s and use the Lens Artists tag. It’s supposed to rain off and on through Monday. Yay!!

We enjoyed all your responses to last week’s challenge. I got to see many places I’ll never be able to get to. Next week is Ann-Christine’s turn to lead this challenge. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #227: Home Sweet Home

Wow Tina, you sure put me on an emotional and visual trip this week! When I read your wonderful challenge, I immediately went back to 2013 when we took a cross country trip of the United States in our 5th wheel trailer. This was my dream vacation and so Richard conceded to take me from coast to coast for our 50th wedding anniversary. Conceded, because he had a torn meniscus and long trips are not his delight.

I had also just taken up photography as a hobby and bought a Nikon D3100 (an entry level camera). I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. As I was going through my archives for this post, I had to laugh. Some of the pictures were down right bad. Some were okay. Some were good. That was the visual part for me. The emotional part came as I remembered how moved I was at some of the towns we visited.

The United States is a BIG country and in three months we couldn’t see it all. We set out with no plan except to visit relatives along the way. It’s difficult to put it all into one post, but I’ve chosen the most important to me.

Let’s begin.

One of our first stops was the Petrified Forest National Park (NP). Here logs were formed naturally into crystalized chunks.

We pushed on through parts of Nevada, New Mexico and Texas where we visited relatives. We stopped in Little Rock Arkansas near the border of Tennessee. While there we enjoyed the grand Mississippi from our campsite. I was amazed at the push boats that push barges up and down the river. Some of them pushed three and four across and many barges deep. The pilots only stop for provisions and drive the boats night and day.

We also found great baby back ribs one night, and Larry’s Pizza which was an amazing place. Waitresses walked around with whole pies, offering slices to the customers. When I asked for a pie that I didn’t see at the buffet, she had them make one and brought it to me! Now that’s service!! Yes, food is a great motivation for me. And, no, I didn’t eat the whole pie! She brought it around to other patrons.

We can’t leave Little Rock without a visit to Central High School which was integrated in 1957. Nine black children dared to integrate this school. There was such an uprising that then President Eisenhower called out the National Guard. The school is now a National Historic Site. A park ranger gave us a tour, acting out what those children went through. It was as if she were living through history again and bringing us along. This is something that I will always feel and remember. The school is still integrated and its history is its past.

Before we left Little Rock, we went into Memphis Tennessee. This is where I filled my soul with music and my tummy with cat fish. Beal Street was our destination because it was mentioned in one of my favorite Marc Cohn songs “Walking in Memphis.” I wanted to walk the streets and hear the music like he did. I was not disappointed. Hucksters were outside restaurants and music came through the open doors of the clubs. I have posted pictures of Beal Street in LAPC posts before. On our first visit, the street was close to autos for bikes.

We continued north through Tennessee to the Great Smoky Mountain NP. We didn’t realize that the campground we chose required us to go through Pigeon Forge, a vacation spot that is much like a Disney adventure. We did go there some nights. Great entertainment, but not as amazing as the NP.

We continued through Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, stopping in New Jersey to visit our cousins. Our mistake was made there. We should have parked the trailer, gone into New York and picked it up on the way back. Driving a large rig was not easy in New York. But we made it to Long Island to visit some more cousins. Richard just had to go into NYC to visit Times Square. We paid $30 to park.

Leaving New York City, our next stop was Niagara Falls. This was a must for me. I was amazed at the amount of water falling from the three falls: American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the largest and more well known, the Horseshoe Falls. We had dinner on the Canadian side to get this photo.

We then started home and stopped in Springfield Illinois where the corn is “as high as an elephant’s eye!”

Next we drove to St. Louis Missouri so Richard could get a shot in his knee. He was ready to get home!

Our last big stop was the Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado. What magnificence and altitude!

Our trip didn’t end here, but this post will. Through it all, I learned more about my country and its people, what unites us and what divides us. There is so much more to the United States then New York City, Florida, Hollywood and San Francisco. I encourage you to visit the lesser known places of your home country.

Thank you Tina for taking me back in time and reliving this trip. Please remember to link your post to Tina’s and use the Lens Artists tag. I enjoyed seeing and experiencing all your textures in response to guest host Jude’s post last week. Next week’s challenge will be hosted by hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info.