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.

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 #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.

A return trip: Locke

I’ve been to the town of Locke a few times, but never on the weekend. This time we went on a Sunday and some stores and museums were open. My challenge was to photograph something different or from a different angle.

Known as the Locke Historic District, CA (U.S. National Park Service), Locke was originally a town built for the Chinese immigrants who came to work the farms and orchards. For a full history, click on the link above. The town remains basically the same as you can see from the pictures. It hasn’t changed at all in all the years I’ve visited.

By going on a Sunday, we found many residents home and working in their yards or just relaxing. A couple of stores were open too. It’s a very small town and main street is a far cry from a typical small town thoroughfare. Two restaurants serve the town. It’s about a mile to Walnut Grove, also founded as a need to house Chinese workers, where you can find more restaurants, etc.

My neighbors joined us for this expedition and just weren’t prepared for how the town was kept as original as possible. Even the toilet bowl garden hasn’t changed or the old barn with all the wheelbarrows

I was lucky that the open store had cold drinks and a few items to photograph.

Doorways are fun to photograph in Locke.

The old buildings have remained the same. The one with the bulging front is still standing.

Someone has his/her own way of dealing with this pandemic.

I also liked these chairs sitting in a yard.

I’m sure we’ll go back to Locke again, maybe next year. Things will probably remain the same.

Lens Artists Challenge #158: Along Back Country Roads

Just what are back country roads? Could they be roads that are new to you and fun to explore? Could they be taking a wrong turn and ending up on a road that’s barely suitable for driving? For Wandering Dogs, Beth and her husband, it’s getting your tires dirty and seeing the beautiful countryside. So this week she’s challenged us to take that road less traveled.

For me, it means adventure and new roads, paved or not. I’ve mentioned my photo outings with my friend Greg, who passed away, in other posts. He, Marlene and I would set out in the morning and return in time for dinner–maybe! We didn’t know where he was taking us and sometimes neither did he. He had a passion for turning down side roads, especially when it said “Dead End!” These are from some of those trips.

Sometimes it’s the need to get away for an hour or two. Early on during lockdown last year, I was getting antsy. When Richard noticed me scratching at the front door, screaming “Let me out!” (A slight exaggeration, but true feeling!), he said let’s go for a ride. We didn’t go far; just up Highway 80, looking for small towns. One of these towns was Dutch Flat, and it was small.

Another of our escapes had us looking for the Sugar Pine Reservoir. The was one of those times when taking the wrong turn could get you into trouble. The GPS showed us a way back, but it didn’t say how narrow and twisty a dirt road it was. It took us 4 hours to do what should have taken at most 1 hour!

Photo buddy Jean likes to get in the car and go with sort of an idea of where to head. For this outing we headed out to the Eastern Sierras in search of Fall colors, but Jean smelled water, and off we went. We found a stream and a lake and I don’t remember the name.

So these are some of my road less traveled excursions. Yes, there were more, but I’ll save them for another time.

Poppy field? Not this year! Mokelumne Hill & Jackson

Maybe we didn’t go far enough last time we went in search of a poppy field. So we drove further south on Highway 49 to Jackson. No poppy field. It was then I decided that there would be no golden orange field for me this year. Little clusters of poppies were along the road. We even went further than Jackson to Mokelumne Hill, a quaint little town that Marlene and I had been to before. No poppy field!

So here are some pictures from Mokelumne Hill.

Now on to Jackson and lunch.

Next year will be the year for me to find a poppy field! In the meantime I did have fun taking photos with my photo buddies.

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!

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 #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.

Out of the area: Port Costa, Contra Costa County

Bulletin: most places won’t let customers use their restrooms because of COVID! That’s what Jean and I found out when we left recently to drive out of the Sacramento Valley with our cameras. We were driving to Port Costa, an old little port city in Contra Costa County. I had been there twice before, but that was several years ago. Nothing changed! I decided to take pictures in a way I didn’t before.

On our way down to the port, we stopped at this viewpoint to take a picture of the Carquinez Bridge while it was being enveloped by approaching fog. A couple of seconds after I took this image, the bridge was totally fogged in.

We then made the usual stop at the C&H Sugar refinery. Photographers are not allowed in, but they do let you take pictures at the entrance. You may have seen this view before if you’ve been following this blog for some time.

Now for Port Costa itself. The railroad still runs by it.

The town is old and the hotel shows it. Homes are overrun with overgrowth.

The shoreline, beyond the railroad tracks is interesting and we saw some kayakers paddle by.

It was just before we left Port Costa that we realized there was not a public restroom to be found. We did find a portable toilet at a small park near a fishing pier. The flush bathroom was closed. It was a good stop in more ways than one!

Before heading home, we stopped at Mare Island. I knew that the only public restroom was in the museum which was closed. There was a Navy ship in for repairs. No, we couldn’t go on board! So, after taking our pictures as best we could because it was all fenced off, we headed to a Starbucks in Vallejo.

When we found the Starbucks, we were allowed to buy coffee but not use their restroom! CostCo to the rescue. Fortunately there was one on the way home. All in all, it was a fun day. We did learn, though, not to go too far from home!