Lens Artists Challenge #251: Buildings and Other Structures

I enjoy photographing buildings. Why? They don’t sway in a breeze, fly away or wilt. They reflect images and scenes; have angles, leading lines, and other geometric patterns; and are often works of art. I’ll see a building and think to myself, “Wow, look at those lines and reflections!”

My fascination with buildings began in 2013 in Dallas Texas. I saw reflections in buildings that were reaching for the sky.

And it hasn’t ended there. This week, I’m asking you to look at buildings and see their beauty. There are many types of structures from which you can choose.

For instance, I found these amazing architectural structures in Melbourne Australia during my recent trip.

Of course, during my photo outings of the nearby countryside, I find many abandoned barns and stately old farmhouses. There is a different message emanating from each: of being left behind and being loved and well cared for. Yes, buildings do speak!

What does this modern museum say to you? This is the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis California. Its modern architecture is just an indication of what you’ll find inside.

Old towns have buildings that tell fascinating stories. On the left, this street in Locke California tells us the history of how Chinese immigrants built this town which is now known as the Locke Historic District. On the right, this hotel in Port Costa, which was a stop for the Central Pacific Railroad, is still hosting guests today.

And, there’s more history. The East coast of the U.S. is steeped in historical architecture. Just picture old cars being driven down these streets in Portland Maine.  What do you think about those Wedgewood looking windows?

My challenge for you, this week, is to find your own fascinating structures that capture your attention, tell a story or are just beautiful. You can capture new scenes or take a trip down memory lane in your photo archives. Remember to link to this challenge when you post and use the Lens-Artists tag. I want to see all your artful structures.

Many thanks to Amy and her challenge of Cloudscapes and Skyscapes last week. I love skies and enjoyed the beautiful images that you all posted. Next week Donna will be hosting LAPC. So, look for her exciting challenge.

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

Lens Artists Challenge #246: Still Life

This week Patti challenges us with Still Life. Yikes! Fortunately she gave us a broad description of what she wanted us to post. “You can photograph just about anything: flowers, silverware, a variety of products (think of advertising), fruit, kitchen utensils, tools, and objects around your office or home,” she says.

Since this is my second attempt at posting my response, I’ll be brief. Three types of still lifes I enjoy photographing are flowers, buildings and sculptures.

McKinley Rose Garden in Sacramento.

Buildings in Melbourne, Australia.

Thompson Building Supplies and Nursery.

Thank you Patti for giving us a broad definition for still life images. In my first attempt at this post I was more eloquent, but frustration kicked in when WordPress wouldn’t let me post it. Let’s cross our fingers for this one. When you post your reply, please remember to tag Patti’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

I enjoyed seeing and reading about your environments last week as you responded to Tina’s challenge. Next week Ann-Christine will be leading the challenge. Be sure to look for her post.

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


Experiencing something for the first time can be exhilarating, exhausting, and engaging. Looking forward to that experience can create feelings like anxiousness, happiness, and anxiety. It’s even more exaggerated when the experience is something you wished for but thought would never happen.

My recent trip to Australia falls into that last category. My wish: to go to Australia and photograph with Leanne Cole in Melbourne. You see, when she was in the U.S. in 2015, I had the great opportunity to take her to Santa Cruz and go down to Monterey for a day. She was visiting a friend in Saratoga. We both remember that day. I was amazed at how at ease she was with her camera. And the thought of visiting with her in Australia was a dream come true.

This exciting trip was with my friends Sandy and Peg who are sisters. They invited me along as their adopted sister. Peg was detained a day so Sandy and I flew the long trip together.

I had a day alone with Leanne, walking Melbourne, when Sandy went to pick up Peg at the airport. We had breakfast, lunch and met Sandy and Peg for dinner. What a wonderful day that was. Melbourne is an exciting city with amazing architecture and the Yarra river running through it. Here is a sample of images from that day.

The next morning Leanne picked us up and took us to Port Campbell where we spent 2 full days photographing iconic scenes—places I have seen in Leanne’s blog many times.

On the way to Port Campbell

Leanne had arranged a wonderful rental house for us at Port Campbell where we enjoyed our 2-night stay. We explored the beaches and sights.

On our way back to Melbourne, Leanne took us to a rainforest, Maist’s Rest.

I had never been in a rainforest before, and this was outstanding. The ferns (which I love) were huge. Here’s a peak.

We had a wonderful time and experienced new things. This was the highlight of my almost 1-month vacation. Thank you, Leanne, for driving and being our very own tour guide. I totally enjoyed our girl friend time and the fun with all four of us. We all appreciated your time. And I’ll admit that Australia has great coffee!

There will be future posts on my blog about this trip. From Melbourne we journeyed to Sydney and then cruised for 11 days. Maybe I can fit some into an LAPC post.

But today, your challenge is to show and tell us about a new experience you had. It could be a trip, the birth of a child or grandchild, a road trip to a new place, the possibilities are endless. As you respond, please link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We all enjoyed your responses to Sofia’s challenge of Spring. Your narratives and images were imaginative and beautiful. Some of you even got in the Spring mood while walking in snow! Next week, April 1, Donna Holland will be challenging you and she’s not fooling around! Be sure to look for her post.

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

Lens Artists Challenge #236: East Meets West

I think I may have taken this challenge from Amy too literally. When I saw the challenge title, I immediately thought of our cross country trip taken 10 years ago for our 50th wedding anniversary. I’ve tried to think of other ways to do this post, but I keep coming back to the trip across the United States and back. I’m sure I’ve posted some of these images before, but not in this context. So let’s start.

My dream trip has always been to take our trailer and tow it across the country. I didn’t want to go overseas; I wanted to see my country. Richard finally relented and we took my dream trip in 2013. I had just bought my first camera, a Nikon D3100, and was totally new at photography. In fact, that is when I started this blog as sort of a journal of the trip. I’ve picked out just a few images to share. My memories of this trip don’t need a visual.

The U.S. is big (We took three months and didn’t see it all.) and each state has its own culture and beauty. I was amazed at how flat middle America is, that we have more National Parks in the West than in the East, and the abundance of our National history is on the East Coast. But no matter how different the culture, jargon and lifestyle is, everyone we met were gracious and kind.

I have 10 pictures to share (Yes, it was tough!) and I’ll caption them.

So, that’s my brief look at my cross country trip of the U. S. — from “Sea to Shining Sea.”

When you post your response to this challenge, please remember to link to Amy’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. I hope you enjoyed preparing your reflections and shadows last week as much as I did looking at them. Next week Bren of Brashley Photography will be challenging us with using clarity to create softness in your photos. Look for her post.

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


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. 

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.

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 #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.