A Visit to Lodi: Micke Grove Park & the Deshmesh Sikh Temple

About an hour south of Sacramento is a municipal park that houses a Japanese Garden and a small zoo. Of course we, Ray, Richard and I, had to go visit Lodi and Micke Grove Park. This park is part of the San Joaquin County park system and home to a Fun Town for children, zoo, Japanese Garden, small lake, golf course, softball fields, water play features, horseshoe pits, museum and children’s playgrounds. We walked the garden and zoo.

The garden was small but beautiful. However, it was either in super sunshine or dark shade. In retrospect, bracketing would have been what to do, but I didn’t take my tripod. Here are some images. I liked the water reflections.

Next we went about a block to the zoo. It was a lot smaller than our Sacramento Zoo, the enclosures were thicker so we couldn’t have the fencing disappear, but it was interesting.

Some of the birds.

They did have a snow leopard.

After leaving the park, we had lunch and then went to visit the Deshmesh Sikh Temple which we happen to spot on our way to the park. They were very courteous and let us inside with our cameras.

It was a fun day in Lodi. There is more to Micke Grove Park to see though. We just might be back!

Lens Artists Challenge #146: Focusing on the Details

Given this week’s challenge by Patti to focus on details, my mind went back to a Toastmaster Photo Club I tried to start and a speech given by a professional photographer in the group. He talked and demonstrated about a different way to focus on details: finding the picture within the picture.

He showed us how to focus on the details of an image to find more images by cropping sections. His example was of a construction site. First he showed us the entire landscape of the site. Then he focused in on a worker, continued with more sections and ended with a pair of shoes. It was an amazing lesson.

Today I’m going to try the same with a landscape taken yesterday at Scotts Flat Reservoir in Nevada City. I was hiking with my daughter-in-law Jess and granddaughter Olivia. Here’s my picture within a picture.

First the landscape.

Next I isolated Jess, Olivia and their dog Hana.

My final capture from this landscape is of a log on the beach.

Although the official Toastmaster group disbanded, a few of us kept meeting until 14 months ago when the pandemic shut us down. We continued to share information, but I will never forget this lesson on details and finding the picture within the picture.

In search of poppies: Sutter Creek

You never know where you’ll end up when on a photo outing with your photo pod. You start out with a destination in mind and a fork in the road can lead you somewhere else! That’s what happened when we started out to find a field of the California Poppy, our State flower. Our destination was Jackson, but I’m not sure where we ended up. Not Jackson and no poppy fields.

So we decided to capture the flowers and poppies in Sutter Creek. It’s always fun to visit that small town anyway, and it was getting to be hungry time. We found potted poppies and other things in the town.

On our way back to the town we spotted a mine from the road, but it was too early to enter it, if we could due to the COVID pandemic. So we took our pictures from the road and went into town.

Now in Sutter Creek. Stores and restaurants were just beginning to open.

With full tummies and a nice walk around town, we headed home. We stopped along the way to photograph this barn and vineyard.

We weren’t done yet! We spotted a model airplane airport and Ray instinctively drove in to see what was happening. Once in, I remembered I stopped there with Richard, but there was a new type of plane that I’d never seen before. The wings were like cellophane and it buzzed around the sky fast.

I still want that poppy field and hope to get to it before it’s gone. But, we did have a fun journey!

Seeing it foretells drought: Salmon Falls Bridge, Pilot Hill

Let’s be honest, we’d rather not be able to see the Salmon Falls Bridge because that would mean there’s plenty of water feeding into Folsom Lake, which is at approximately 65% of its regular level right now. Located in Pilot Hill, El Dorado County, the bridge is the remainder of a flourishing gold rush area town that was founded in 1850. You can read more history by following the above link. Preceding a drought or a drought condition, the bridge is visible, so we went to see it.

The approach from the closest parking lot. And walking closer to the bridge we did find remnants of an old structure.

We needed to cross the stream to access the bridge. In this picture Marlene is getting help from Gert and his hiking stick. And leave it to visitors to use their imagination, making tee pees out of sticks.

We made it to the bridge. People were fishing, walking, etc. We weren’t the only curious folks. I waited to take these pictures.

We walked across the bridge and along the way found pelicans and cairns and other neat things.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to see this disappearing bridge, let’s hope for a good rainy season for 2021/2022. I hope you enjoyed seeing it too.

A Yolo Arts & Ag adventure: Oliver Farms, Woodland

The season has begun. Each month (Not every month during the pandemic.), during spring and summer, Yolo Arts & Ag hosts local farms and orchards for photographers and artists to spend the morning, doing their art. While I don’t get to all of them, I’ve taken the opportunity to go to most and I haven’t been disappointed. In March we were invited to the Oliver Farm in Woodland. Marlene and I took the opportunity.

Sally Oliver has left the farm buildings as was after her husband passed away 2 years ago. The almond trees are gone and she now leases the grounds to a certified organic farm, producing radish
seeds and curly chard among other rotating row crops.

I found the old buildings a photographic delight. Here are some images taken that morning.

On the way home, we stopped to take pictures of wild mustard growing in an orchard.

The next visit is scheduled for May. Where will Yolo Arts & Ag take us?

Lens-Artists Challenge #143: Colorful April

This challenge is having me feel melancholy. It’s been two Aprils since we were able to visit Ananda Village and photograph their beautiful tulips planted on the terrace. But Amy’s challenge of Colorful April didn’t say which year so I’m going deep into my archives for this one.

The year 2019 was the last visit we made to Ananda Village’s Crystal Hermitage Garden and their April display of tulips. The garden is currently closed because of the pandemic. I miss seeing the beautiful flowers in a calming and spiritual setting. Here are images from my 2019 visit.

It’s nice to have these visual memories. Hopefully we will be back to Ananda Village in 2022.

An end to a wonderful get away: Napa

Here in California when we think of Napa Valley, we think of grapes, wineries and wine. And, there was no shortage of that on the third day of my short get-away trip with Sandy and Peg. Here are some scenes from off the road.

We also managed to find the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (closed for tours) and the The Richie Block Building in St Helena.

Before we headed back to Windsor, we came across the Peju Winery in Rutherford. The grounds were beautiful as was the large inside tasting room.

It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait for the next phone call asking if I’d like to get away!

Lens-Artists Challenge #141: Geometry

I cringed when I saw the word geometry in Patti’s challenge post. All I could think of was math; my worst subject in school. But, shapes I understand. We look for them as we do our photography. They help make our images interesting. Many give our pictures depth and help them look three dimensional.

Here’s what I found while looking through my archives.

One of my favorite buildings, the CALSTRS building in West Sacramento has many angles, lines and shapes.

And here are a couple from Fort Point in San Francisco: stairs and a shape within a shape within a shape (actually a hallway).

There are lots of triangles and other shapes at the top of the transformers at the Folsom Historic Powerhouse and in the stairs at the Great Bear Vineyard.

And the flowing structural lines at the Manetti Shrem Museum at UC Davis and The Barn in West Sacramento.

Last, a simple store entrance gives us rectangles, squares, triangles and circles. Taken in Sutter Creek.

The Russian Fort: Fort Ross, Jenner California

I’m still enjoying my short get-a-way to Windsor even though I’ve been home a while. In my last post Lens Artists Challenge: #140: An Change of Scenery, I showed you Windsor and the surrounding countryside. The following day, we drove toward the ocean and ended up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. What a photographers dream that was.

Before you got to the Fort, also called the Russian Fort because it’s a historic Russian-era fort compound that has been designated National Historic Landmark status, you walk through the grounds of beautiful scenery and beaches. Here is a sample:

And now for the Fort. I know I’m giving you a lot to look at, but I’m hoping you’ll think it’s worth your time.

The next day we went to Napa. I’ll save that for another post.

Lens-Artists Challenge #140: A Change of Scenery

It was like this challenge from Beth of Wandering Dogs was just meant for me! I just returned from a scenery change. After a year of wandering around the Sacramento area with my photography pod, my friend Sandy, who lives in Tuolumne City, invited me to spend time with her and her sister Peg in Windsor in Sonoma County, California. I didn’t need to even think about it before I said YES!

Sandy picked me up on Monday and returned me on Thursday. We had two full days of seeing the sights and taking pictures. I haven’t been able to edit all the pictures yet, but I can show you the small town of Windsor.

Here are the small shops and buildings in the downtown area.

From the town we go into the countryside.

Day two had us go to the coast, ending up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. The next day we drove through Napa. Those pictures still need editing.

I totally needed and enjoyed my time away. A change of scenery is always a good idea, especially after a year of in and out of lockdown. And thank you Sandy for driving and Peg for your hospitality.