Art, art everywhere: Wide Open Walls, part 3

One more time we ventured down to Sacramento to find more murals. We began at Sac State (California State University, Sacramento) because we heard they had mural on and around the campus. We found none! So we headed back to the city. Photographing murals requires a lot of driving and patience. Sometimes we find other gems too.

Here’s what we found this recent Sunday morning. I didn’t photograph murals I had found in previous years except for the Johnny Cash mural. It’s so impressive. So was the reflection of the mural on a building across the street.

Another building had its walls dedicated to the women of the suffragette movement.

This wall was colorful and full of dragonflies.

And what a great “Reserved Parking” sign.

Here’s some of the other things that caught my eye.

I hope you enjoyed this series.

Lens Artists Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Before I started photography, I took nature for granted. While I liked pretty flowers, I never noticed their delicate intricacies. However, becoming a photographer changed all that. I now I look at the light shinning through the petals and the stamens holding pollen for the bees.

Guest host I. J. Khanewala‘s challenge is for us to discover the ordinary around us and cherish it. I do cherish nature.

It might be an eagle, hawk or deer.

Or maybe a landscape in the country, an ocean scene or a well known tourist spot.

But what happens when nature itself provides challenges like the wind storm we had last winter. It blew most of the almond blossoms off the trees in the orchards, devastating the almond crop. Ordinarily these trees would be full of blossoms.

But sometimes humankind provides the igniting spark that destroys what nature has taken so long to create.

In one fire season we went from a scene like this.

To a scene like this, taken yesterday. The results from the Caldor fire.

Let’s not take our extraordinary nature for granted any longer. Be careful to leave areas you visit just as you found it–beautiful!

Lens Artists Challenge #168: Seen Better Days

It’s tough getting old. In fact, this week, it’s been painful to walk the dog because of problems in my right foot–arthritis. I know I’ve seen better days. In fact Richard and I always talk about it. “Remember when we…….?”

But I don’t think that’s what Tina had in mind when she challenged us to post pictures of items that have seen better days. Over the years, I’ve taken many, a lot, an enormous amount, zillions of pictures of things that have seen better days. It was difficult to find them in the archives, so I picked two from each year. I love texture, rust and anything old. Here is what I found.

When I first started photography and going on outings we frequently passed this house that became more dilapidated each time. The boat “The Point Reyes” was another draw for photographers. However one group decided to do steel wool photography on the stern and caught most of it on fire. Imagine lighting steel wool on an old wood boat! This was particularly sad because the boat had rested there a long time. She’s still there, minus much of her back.

Apple Hill is a Fall favorite of ours, and one of the farms has old trucks and equipment. A small town off the I-80 has an old hearse and the garage that housed it.

On one of our farm trips, the buildings, except for the family home, were left to do their natural thing. Here are steps of the interior of a building and the window of another. Also the “Spirit of Sacramento” has been left to die a natural death. She’s usually on the dry ground, but at this point it was a rainy winter and she’s in a large puddle.

The small town of Rough and Ready may have been rough, but they weren’t ready for Marlene and I to visit. We couldn’t find a parking place and residents weren’t friendly. We did find some old stuff to photograph. These may not be that old, but they’ve seen better days.

And, last, on a more recent outing we came across this old house on our way home.

As we remember the days behind us, let’s make the most of the ones ahead! Thanks Tina for this fun challenge.

Yolo Arts and Ag: Capay Canyon Ranch

Sometimes you just feel like a winner! That’s the way I felt when we (Marlene, Ray, Richard and I) went to the monthly Yolo Arts and Ag Project in Esparto. The flyer said that at Capay Canyon Ranch we would be able to see the almond orchard and processing of the almonds. Usually we go when the trees are blossoming and that’s all we get to see. And you feel more like a winner when you find a wonderful photo opportunity on the way there and back. Here’s what our morning was like.

On our way to Capay Canyon Ranch.

At Capay Canyon Ranch.

I managed to get some of the warehouse and machinery before I was asked to leave for safety reasons. I truly thought we had the ability to photograph anywhere we wanted.

I walked around and found some almond trees and grapes being dried for raisins.

Then I found where the almonds were getting ready for shipping. There were large mounds of almonds everywhere with bags to mark where each were to be delivered. It was a treat to catch the large machine as it dumped almonds on the mound.

Then on our way home, we came upon this old house. Now who can resist photographing something old and falling down?

A great big thank you to Capay Canyon Ranch for giving us access to an amazing photography and learning opportunity! I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Lens Artist Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

It’s sort of early here in Sacramento for Fall color which is Amy’s challenge this week. In fact, we don’t get much of our own but have to drive about 2 hours to see the lovely yellows and oranges. So let’s look back on previous years and day trips.

Let’s look at what 2018 brought us when Marlene and I visited Markleevile.

In 2019, Jean and I went on a Fall Color search near the town of Murphys and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Not much color to see!

The following year, 2020, wasn’t a banner year for colorful leaves. Jean and I went hunting in the Eastern Sierras.

Maybe we will get lucky this year. Laura and I are planning a hunting trip in a few weeks. Wish us luck. Thank you Amy!

Lens Artists Challenge #165: Going Wide

Sofia had us looking up and down. Now, Patti has us looking all around. She is challenging us to go wide, opening up our vistas.

Being lazy and not liking to change lenses in the field, I shoot my wide angles with 18 mm + lens. I do have a 10 to 20 mm lens for my Nikon, but seldom used it. When I bought my Fujifilm, I didn’t purchase an ultra wide lens. For today’s challenge, I’m going back to 2018 for some different kind of wide angle shots. These were mostly shot with my Nikon D7100 and 18 – 200 mm lens.

Let’s start with a 9/11 Flag Tribute which is more than appropriate today. This is arranged in West Sacramento on a vacant lot each year. I’m going back today to experience this once again.

The Grand Canyon (South Rim) screams for a wide angle shot. But not all wide angle shots are taken outdoors. Here I have the beautiful canyon and also the amazing Desert View Watch Tower (Which would have been perfect for the looking up/down challenge!). All were taken at 18 mm.

Each year Sacramento hosts the Wide Open Walls festival where artists from all over the world are invited to paint murals on buildings. The Johnny Cash mural was shot at 27 mm, and the monkey was shot at 18 mm (both) in a vertical format.

I’ll close with landscapes of Downieville a small resort town north of Sacramento. When we arrived, the weather turned on us and looked like rain. We’d sure welcome it now! I do love clouds and sometimes feature them in the landscape image. These were taken at 17 mm so I must have used my 17-70 mm 2.8 lens.

Today, when I go visit the 911 Flag Tribute, I’ll be using my 18-55 mm lens and get more wide angle images! Thanks for this challenge Patti!

Lens Artists Challenge #164: Looking Up/Down

I look down more than up. But, after reading Sofia’s challenge, I think I may be looking up a bit more! She is encouraging us to post images where we’ve looked both ways and post our discoveries.

While I may not have my neck cranked up, Richard, my husband, does. Okay, he has his telescope pointed at the skies. He’s an astronomer/imager and has captured some beautiful galaxies and nebulas with his telescope, camera and computer. So for my looking up portion I’m posting a few of his pictures. Here are some nebulas and galaxies.

Now, my turn. Here are some images taken while looking down.

Looking down a mountain from Foresthill and looking at the American River from a bridge at William B Pond.

Next, a lotus leaf photographed at William Land Park and a lotus flower from a garden in Locke.

I’ll close with something you need to get low to photograph and even lower if you want to get underneath them. Mushrooms taken in my community.

So what have I discovered? I need to look both ways to capture more wonders. Thanks Sofia!

Lens Artists Challenge #163: Keep walking

Amy wants us to walk. I don’t have a choice! I walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles each morning–unless the weather doesn’t permit. I do this to keep Gem, my dog, happy. He leads the way, has his various routes around the community, knows the other dogs and knows the humans who have the treats! We have a small lake and there’s always something going on with the geese and ducks. Too bad I don’t bring my camera with me. This is his joy and my exercise. Okay, I enjoy it too. It helped me feel less alone during lockdown.

My joy, is walking with my camera. My photo group goes out once a week, and sometimes to our favorite places where we can walk, talk and take photographs. One of my favorites is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s on the American River and supports a great deal of wildlife. Here’s a few photos taken during a 2019 walk.

We also like to walk the Sacramento Zoo. The animals sometimes put on a show for us. Here again is a 2019 visit.

And how about the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery! We go there about once a year. It’s so peaceful to walk about, there is so much history to be found. One year they were going to take away the flowers, saying they weren’t there when the cemetery was first started, and they wanted to keep the cemetery original. Everyone protested and we won.

I’ll close with an image from an outing to the Folsom Farmers’ Market that moved me–our flag in glory.

So, how do I feel about these photo outings? I enjoy them and look forward to them as much as Gem does his morning walks. It’s good exercise and a good time with dear friends.

Lens Artists Challenge #162: It’s all about the light

While I would like to take photos when the light is just right, sometimes I can’t. Then I go with what I’ve got! Yes, photography is all about the light or maybe the absence of it. This week, Tina has given us the challenge to share images that show the power of light.

I’ll start this post with a shot from Yosemite at first light in the Valley.

As the sun rises throughout the day, we get shadows depending on how high the sun is. Of course, when it’s directly overhead, that’s not the best time to take photos. The next two were taken in Locke California in the partial morning sun.

We can see how colors become dramatic when the sun hits them. Sedona, Arizona.

I think when the sun shines on even a mushroom it adds dimension and helps the picture pop. Here are two examples of sun and shade.

I love to take photos of flowers. This tulip almost looks as if it has a candle glowing inside because of the way the sun is hitting it. Taken at Ananda Village.

As the sun sets objects seem to have a glow. Taken at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.

And finally the sun goes below the horizon and we have darkness–no light except man made. The Tower Bridge in Old Sacramento.

Controlling the light is another challenge for me. I bought diffusers, but haven’t used them yet. I guess I need to get started! Thanks Tina for this insightful challenge!

Lens-Artists Challenge #160: Your Inspiration

Think Anne, think! What inspires you? Patti is asking us what inspires me! My pondering was interrupted by a late breakfast at our Club House for newcomers who moved in while the complex was in lockdown. Now with relaxed rules, we can enjoy community life again.

At that breakfast, an artist, Al Fichera, who paints on his computer via a Wacom Tablet approached me to tell me how much he enjoyed my photography. “You’re a great photographer. You must have had some art background.” If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve had no art background and deem myself not the creative type. Al went on to say I must know composition instinctively. The conversation went on a little longer and in the end, I was truly inspired. Below is one of his pictures.

For me, my inspiration comes from people. Bob Scheibel, professor at L.A. Pierce College, inspired me to write. He held my hand through my first three articles for the L.A. Daily News in their weekly Neighborhood section and then let me fly on my own. This was during my first semester at Pierce in the journalism department. With his inspiring me, I went on to win Columnist of the Year in 1987. The plaque is on my wall.

Inspiring me personally are my dear friends Carol and Alyse. Carol was handed a death sentence by a doctor. She had multiple things wrong with the worse being Polymyositis, a degenerative muscle disease. To her doctors’ amazement, she lived for 23 years, before she died, when she was given less than one year. Her courage to withstand pain and her will to live was truly inspirational.

Also inspirational is Alyse who care gave to her all those years. I would stay with Carol to give Alyse some respite.

Alyse is on the left and Carol on the right. As you can see, this was taken on their 76th birthdays.

Now on to photography. I’ve often called my dear friend Marlene Frankel my photo muse. While she didn’t directly inspire me, just being out in the field with her helped made things click. For instance the photo triangle finally made sense while shooting with her. If I have a camera question, she’s first on my list to call. We’ve had a lot of fun together and she’s a sometime contributor to LAPC.

Marlene on left; Anne on right

The next photographer to inspire me is Lucille Van Ommering. When I was entering two photos for the In Focus competition, Lucille took me under her wing and gently showed me how to print out my pictures. I remember telling her, “Wow, Lucille, I’ve never seen my photos that big!” She not only printed them, but showed me how to mat them. I left her house so inspired! Thanks Lucille!!

One of the photos she printed for me.

Next is the Yolo Art & Ag Project that invites artists and photographers onto farms and orchards for a morning of fun. I would never have been able to get onto the properties otherwise.

Taken at the Clarence Scott Ranch

And finally the LAPC group under the leadership of Tina, Patti, Amy and Ann-Christine. You inspire me with your kind comments on my posts and your faith in asking me to be a guest host for this great group.

Just putting this post together has inspired me!