Springtime at Ananda: Crystal Hermitage Garden, Part 2

We are back at Crystal Hermitage Garden, Ananda Village in Nevada City. In my last post, I showed you the tulips planted by the volunteers and promised to show you more of the grounds. Well, I’m keeping that promise. Tulips are planted in October and bloom in April when the Tulip Festival is held. As of this writing the Festival is over, but many people enjoyed its beauty for the month and a half it was available.

The Garden is on three terraced levels. The bottom gives us a view of the mountains. In one picture you can see the gold top of the Temple where members and guests can meditate/pray.

The middle level shows the lovely gardens, pool, and gazebo.

The top level continues with rows of tulips and a small church.

This ends the 2022 tour. Hopefully, in 2023, they will plant again in October and receive guests in April.

Lens-Artists Challenge #198: Light and Shadow

“In layman’s terms, photography is quite simply the process of capturing light with a camera to create an image.”… PhotographyTalk.com

When you read the above quote, you realize that Patti’s challenge of Light and Shadow goes to the essence of what we do as photographers. We can’t take a picture without light or the absence of it, shadow.

In fact, in black and white photography you absolutely need the contrast between light and shadow. The image below is Waterton Lake in Waterton Lake National Park, Canada. The success of it in black and white relies on the light, shadows and contrast.

Next we have a sculpture at the River Walk in West Sacramento. On the left see it as it really is, and on the right see the shadow it casts.

Light can also add character to a subject. The way the light hits this old wheel adds to its texture and age and adds shadows.

This aging sculpture in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is back lit. The sun almost adds a halo effect.

Just changing your perspective changes the image. The feeling of this iconic sculpture in Roseville taken in bright sunlight changes when taken from a different side and in the shade.

And, finally, what do we do when there is no light? We use artificial light. The Tower theater’s sign is shining bright in neon in Downtown Roseville, and a Christmas display lights up this fake house front, putting the people in shadow.

How we use light and shadow creates our own personal photography style.

Thank you Patti for this fun post and bringing us back to the basics of photography. When you post your reply, remember to link to Patti’s post and tag Lens-Artists. Next week’s challenge will be presented by Ann-Christine through her Leya site. So stay tuned!

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

During rain storms: Crystal Hermitage Garden

We had our fingers crossed because this year, after a 2-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ananda Village, in Nevada City, opened their beautiful garden to us. Each year volunteers plant and care for beautiful tulips in the Crystal Hermitage Garden. This year we had to buy tickets online for a specific date and time. I think that was wise so they could handle all the visitors after a 2-year close.

Why did we have our fingers crossed? It rained for days before we were to go and was drizzling the morning we left. We didn’t get rained on, but it was cloudy and sometimes sunshine poked through. We were in luck and the tulips had lots of water drops on them.

This will be a 2-part post. Here are some of the tulips we saw.

Next week, I’ll show you the wonderfully landscaped grounds and more tulip beds. Oh, I’m not complaining about the rain. It was welcome since we are in a drought year. I think we will still be rationed this summer.

Lens-Artists Challenge #197: The Rule of Thirds

Not only haven’t I taken a photography class, I tend not to follow rules when it comes to photography. I just go with what looks good to me. I think it helps that I spent 20 years in business with a graphic artist (I was the writer.) and learned the basics of doing a flyer layout: have an odd number of graphics, avoid having text run down the center of the page (tunnel vision), and spread your text around the page.

This week Tina introduces us to the Rule of Thirds. The reason for this rule is basic–it helps us compose pictures that are pleasing to the eye, avoiding symmetry. But sometimes it’s better to have an image that is almost symmetrical or totally symmetrical.

Let’s see what I did in 1918.

Here are some floral examples. One is definitely centered. Although the second flower is centered, the water drop is not and it is the focal point. The last one is not centered, taking up 2/3 of the frame.

Next let’s look at some wildlife. The Canada goose in the left side of the image, giving it room to fly away. The small burrowing owl is centered but looking toward the left side of the frame. They are so small that a good crop was needed to show detail.

Landscapes are the most fun. In the first image, a white boat starts out in the lower left of the picture. You know where it is going! The second image starts out in the lower right corner with the road that takes you through the mid section and back to the right. The third is symmetrical taking us right up to and through the gate.

Sunsets can also be asymmetrical.

Portraits can also be off center. I did ask her parents permission to photograph her. I think by the way she posed, she’s had her picture taken before! Notice there’s a little room to her left.

So, yes, I break rules, but I sometimes follow them. It all comes down to what looks good to me!

Thank you Tina for giving us the nudge to look at how we compose and whether we can do anything different. When you post your reply to this challenge be sure to link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Patti will lead us next week with a Light and Shadow challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

A lingering cold: Horton Iris Farm, part 2

I’ve been down and out with a week long cold. I guess you realize that I’m not happy, especially having to miss a photo outing. Even Gem is upset because he’s getting a very short walk each morning.

Fortunately, I do have the second part of last week’s post to show you. Last week you saw the beautiful iris blossoms at Horton Iris Farm in Loomis. Now I’ll show you the rest of the farm.

When you come into the farm, there’s this cute bird feeder.

Then there are methods of transportation.

More flowers and farm art (old machines).

It’s a large farm, so there’s plenty of space for landscape images including a pond.

So that’s Horton’s Iris Farm. Now back to nursing this s****d cold!

Lens-Artist Challenge #195: Colorful Expressions

Color! It motivates, depresses, and makes us happy. Marketing companies know the effect color can have on our emotions. Just look how it’s used in print and television ads. Bright colors are usually used to get us to buy—now. More subdued colors are used to relax us and encourage us to come in for that spa treatment. How do you react to these subliminal motivators?

Better yet, how does color affect your photography? How we photograph is reflective of how color motivates us. I like bright bold colors, red being my favorite. In fact, as I write this post, I’m wearing a red blouse. I shy away from pastels, and you’ll never see me wear a soft pink! But, back to photography. My personal preferences are carried forth in what I choose to photograph.

If I see red, I’m going to photograph it. These umbrellas are an example. The umbrellas take up most of the image with a large splash of color. It draws attention and, for me, is exciting.

The canopy below is a much smaller representation of red, but it still caught my eye. It is small and in the background. Even though it’s small, it’s bright enough to pull you into the frame.

A photographed color can be soft and light, creating a sense of calm. Or, it can be bright, demanding our attention. These two flowers are an example of this. The soft pick versus the bright yellow and red. Which suits your mood? I know I said I’m not drawn to pink, but flowers are the exception.

Color can also fill the frame, be solid, or lead us through the frame. The orange pumpkin dominates, leaving me feel excited and wanting to bake pumpkin bread. While the soft yellow on the ground and trees accents the branches and glides us along the pathway, having me feel at peace.

Mother nature often paints her landscapes in duotone so the subject can stand out as does this cypress tree against the blue ocean. I could sit a long time watching the waves crash onto the shore, creating a calmness within me.

Or She paints a beautiful expansive vision of color as these poppies drape the hillside. This wild poppy field left me in awe of nature’s work.

I’m also drawn to rust which has a texture of its own, creating its own colorful patina. I can just feel the age of this wheel and admire its beautiful colors.

Before I close this challenge, I had a bit of color fun by processing selective color. This is the first time I’ve done this. Remember this photo, all that’s left in color are the red umbrellas. If you haven’t processed selective color, give it a try. It is fun!

And then there’s the rare “what is that!”  Sometimes color surprises us. Wouldn’t you stop to take a picture of an old pink barn. Yes, even I did!

This week, show us how color affects your photography. What emotions does it bring to the surface? Which ones are you particularly drawn to? When you create your colorful expression, remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you, Sofia, for last week’s challenge that explained what bokeh is and how we use it as we photograph. We enjoyed seeing all your beautiful responses. Our guest host John RH, of John’s Space, will be presenting next week’s challenge. Be sure to visit his site.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Decision: The Nesting Tree

To buy or not to buy! To use or not to use! That’s my dilemma!! I’ll start at the beginning. For wildlife photography, I’ve been using an old, used prime F/4 300 mm lens on my Nikon D7100. It’s a bit heavy, hard for me to hold steady and the Nikon is not that good in low light. I finally decided to buy a used Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens for, of course, my Fuji XT3. It worked great and was easy for me to hold steady, but the barrel was tight when I zoomed. It’s in the return process. Question: should I get another one? Or just keep using the Nikon set up?

Here are some images from the Fuji set up taken at what I call the nesting tree in nearby Lincoln.

Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons nest each year in these trees. It’s a treat to sit and watch the activity. They fly off and bring back food and nesting materials to the nest. These next pictures were taken with the Nikon set up. Since I photographed mostly egrets on my previous visit, I was trying to photograph more of the herons. The trees are not close and I had to do a lot of cropping with these pictures for both set ups.

Do you see much difference? Both sets were processed in Lightroom and Topaz Sharpener AI. There is the handling ease, but that comes with about a $1,500. cost for a good used lens. I don’t think I need a new one because I don’t do that much wildlife photography.

So that’s my decision and dilemma! What do you think I should do?

Oh, if you want to see amazing Great Blue Heron Photography visit Babsje’s blog for wonderful stories and images. She is totally dedicated to the herons.

Lens-Artists Challenge#192: Earth Story

In her challenge this week, Amy wants us to think about our earth. It impacts our daily lives: the water we drink, the oceans that provide us enjoyment, the soil that brings us food, the trees the help us breathe. We rely so much on our earth.

I was raised mostly in the Bronx, New York, in a mostly concrete jungle. Yes, there were trees and parks, but I was never taught to appreciate nature. It wasn’t until I had kids that I began that appreciation. Our vacations were camping get-a-ways. We took the boys to every National Park and many State Parks–from the ocean to the mountains and even the desert. Unfortunately the pictures I took then were with a point and shoot camera, and mostly of the boys. I do have them in albums for my own joy.

Photography gave me the opportunity to not only enjoy our earth, but also record it. Let’s begin with my local Sacramento County area. We are lucky to have many creeks around the valley like our neighborhood Dry Creek.

Mather Lake is a nearby treasure for photographers and fishermen (and women). I go there to photograph swans, but on this day I found a pelican and cormorants.

We are a couple of hours away from the coast, giving us a wonderful day trip. Heading west, the Marin Headlands is a great spot for water sports, fun and photography.

North of us is Table Mountain which was formed from ancient lava (basalt) flows. It is very rocky and in Spring, it is loaded with wildflowers. It’s called Table (mountain) because of it’s mostly flat surface.

We go east every Fall to find the beautiful orange and gold color of Autumn.

I’ll end this post with nature’s way of painting her earth with golden light–a sunset. This one, taken in nearby Yolo County, is setting on a field of earth giving sunflowers.

Thank you Amy for having us remember to cherish our earth and take care of it. Would we survive without it? Please remember to link to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We totally enjoyed your all your curvy responses to Patti’s challenge. Next week, get ready to celebrate because John will host LAPC #194. For his challenge, be thinking about what is special to you regarding birthdays or anniversaries.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #191: Curves

While I don’t enjoy driving on curvy roads, I do like photographing these roads that meander and bring our vision into a photograph. This week Ann-Christine is asking us to post images of curves. I look for curves in most of my compositions.

I’ve chosen to sort through my 2020 archives. I love trees and the way the trunk bends, branches bend and leaves hang.

Effie Yeaw

At Mare Island I saw all types of curves.

Next we have three different types of curves: A different kind of cucumber, a sculpture wheel and a hillside of poppies that curves on the horizon.

Near Jackson, California

And a beautiful curvy road near Sugar Pine Reservoir.

My exception from 2020 images is this one taken recently at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. This museum’s architecture is amazing with curves and lines. You’ll be seeing more in coming posts.

There are curves, man made and nature made, all around us. Thank you Ann-Christine for helping us become aware of the softness around us. When you post your curves please link to Ann-Christine’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find you in the reader. Amy will be presenting next week’s challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Oh no, birds again: Yolo Bypass Wildlife area

Let’s hope you see more birds once I get my new Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens. To do most wildlife photography, I’ve been using my Nikon D7100 and an old metal F/4 300 mm prime lens. It was almost impossible for me to hold until Ray made me a short monopod that helps hold the camera and lens steady. The other problem is the Nikon itself. It’s not very good in low light. So photographing in cloudy and overcast days was difficult.

So, I finally decided to try the Fuji lens which I hope is lighter. It’s coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, Laura and I recently went to our local wildlife area in Yolo County, just across from Old Sacramento. The Yolo Bypass is a favorite for local photographers.

I was lucky to get a series of a great egret hunting for what ended up being a cricket, beetle or some other bug.

There were also some other birds.

And then two cormorants.

Get ready and fly.

I’m not sure what bird this is but….

And here are some landscapes taken with my Fuji.

Now, I’m anxious to test out my new lens, but we will have to wait!