Sometimes new isn’t as good as old: Donner Snow Sheds

Our loyal group of senior photographers made a return visit to the Donner Snow Sheds located above Donner Lake in Nevada County. No longer used as a shelter for trains coming through the Sierra Nevada mountains, they are now hosts to art and graffiti from locals.

Since these works of art change as they are painted over, we decided it was time for another walk through the tunnels. I was there in July 2016 with Linda and Marlene. Neither of them were available for this visit.

Honestly, I was disappointed with the art. First, the initial tunnel was barren of art. I did find familiar scenery in between that and the second tunnel. The third tunnel had the most to photograph. Of course, there was beautiful Donner Lake!

To make matters worse, I experienced some altitude illness. At an elevation of 7,057 feet above sea level, I shouldn’t have had that trouble! I’ve been over Donner Pass and at Donner Lake a few times without trouble.

But all things come to pass! It was an enjoyable outing with great friends. Maybe I’ll do it again in a couple of years as the graffiti is painted over.

A walk in the park! Chalk It Up 2019

I’m late in attending this annual activity that started in 1991, but I made it to Chalk It Up this year. Artists claim their squares on the sidewalk that surround Fremont Park in Sacramento and create wonderful pictures.

The festival is a three-day affair on a weekend. Friday is the day the artists begin and they work through the weekend, finishing their creations on or before Sunday. Some artists had sponsors and they showed their names on the square. I’m not sure how much it cost to paint a square.

This is from their website: Chalk It Up promotes and supports Youth Arts by offering small grants to K-12 classrooms, and youth arts projects throughout the Sacramento region. We do this in large part with our annual Chalk It Up! Festival which encourages artistic expression of all kinds through a three day celebration of chalk art, live music, and regional food and craft vendors.

This year it was on Labor Day weekend (It may always be on this particular weekend!) and we chose to attend on Sunday. I was amazed at how many people were out on that last day, and how they calmly walked along the perimeter of the park. We were not allowed on the sidewalks. Some squares were finished but others were being worked on.

Once we walked around the park, we walked the sidewalks that ran through the park where there were food and craft vendors and a band. Different bands entertained throughout the weekend.

So, walk along with me! I did my photography thing while taking and processing these images. I cropped in when I wanted to show the picture and artists. While my watermark in on these as the photographer, I did not create these wonderful art pieces.

It’s been a long time! The Haggin Museum, Stockton California

I’m still here! I just haven’t been shooting for fun lately. It’s been so hot and I’ve been lacking the incentive to go outside to take photos except for real estate shoots. I’m enjoying those, and I do a good job now. Practice makes perfect!

It seems we went from rain right into the summer heat waves. No Spring! Hopefully Autumn will be better. Last week we ended August at the Haggin Museum in Stockton California.

The outside was simple and pretty:

It was a lovely museum. The exhibits were well placed and accessible. The interior was sleek and very photographic.

We went there to see a black and white photography exhibit, Masters of American Photography, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. The exhibit was outstanding! The collection featured images from Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others spanning from the 1880s to 1980s.

Since shipbuilding is Stockton’s oldest industry a Stephens Bros. Boat Builders exhibit was locate in one of the galleries.

On loan from the Smithsonian Institute, an exhibit explored Dolores Huerta’s public life as an activist and showed the multi-ethnic aspects of the labor movement.

There was also an exhibit of J. C. Leyendecker’s work for magazine covers and advertisements. This gallery was cleverly placed in the hall spanning the entire circle upstairs.

The museum has three levels. The bottom level showed store fronts as they looked in Stockton’s early days.

They also had small galleries featuring rifles, etc. and American Indian items.

They also had vehicles, agricultural machinery, old fire engine and European Art. One of my favorites was the globe clock.

I also tried to shoot through glass windows without a tripod or polarizing filter!

And, a museum featuring famous photographers would miss a great marketing opportunity if they didn’t cater to photographers in their store!

I hope you enjoyed this visit!

In search of vineyards, part 2: Napa Valley

When is a valley hilly? Never. In spite of that Marlene and I went to Napa to find more vineyards for my daughter-in-law Jess. We did find vineyards, but mostly wineries. I thought the Plymouth area vineyards were more eye catching and had more rolling hills.

But we did find lovely things to photograph, including the vineyards. We first found the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia which is a branch campus of the private culinary college. The building was simply beautiful, inside and out! You’ll find a store that has everything “kitchen,” a Julia Child exhibit and exhibition of her husband Paul’s photography.

They also have a restaurant, cooking classes, rotating exhibits, host events, and more. If you’re in Napa, stop in for an amazing experience.

Next we found the CIA at Greystone. This is where they teach students to become our future chefs. The building was Greystone Cellars, once the largest stone winery in the world. Its amazing history through its purchase by the CIA can be found here.

Marlene and I did not take the tour, but viewed as much of the building as we could. We shot the entry and outside. I really could have used my ultra-wide lens here!

And, yes, we did get vineyards!

And, so ends my vineyard quest. At least I hope so!!!

In search of vineyards: Plymouth, California

My first commission (well sort of a commission) came from my son and daughter-in-law. “We want a lot of your pictures in our new house,” Greg said. Jess was more detailed–vineyards and oak trees. So, I waited until the leaves on the grapevines were green and the grapes were maybe turning color.

My first effort was going to Plymouth in Amador County to search the vineyards closer to home. We had some success. But first we went to Michigan Bar Road and that nice farm. I’ve posted pictures from it in this blog before, so for those who have followed me for a long time, you’re not experiencing deja vu! If you’re new to this blog, here’s your chance! I did try to take a different view of it.

We then went to the Amador Flower Farm where I found a beautiful old oak, and flowers for close ups. The close ups were done with my 18 – 200mm lens. (Yes, I’m keeping it!).

Now for the wineries. They were all located on Shenandoah Rd and it was an easy ride. I think Jess will be happy with some of these.

My search didn’t stop here. Next post: Napa Valley!

A farm tour: Dr. Heather’s Goat Farm

It’s amazing how history repeats itself. Just a year ago, in June, my Chiropractor, Dr. Heather Rosenberg, Roseville Disc and Pain Center in Roseville, hosted an open house at her farm. I brought my young grandkids, Ryan and Olivia, and friend Linda. It was a fun morning visiting the animals, other guests and Dr. Heather’s family. We totally enjoyed the morning that was complete with samples of goat cheese and goat milk ice cream. You can re-visit that post here.

Now, back to the present, photo buddy and patient of Dr. Heather, Lucille suggested we take the photo group to visit the farm. Dr. Heather liked the idea and up to Auburn we went early one Saturday morning in May.

This was a different sort of visit. When we got there, Dr. Heather had just finished milking the goats and was cleaning out the machinery. We began by taking pictures of the goats in the barn. Trying to simplify her life, she sold her egg laying chickens. We were told to roam around and soon she would take us on a tour.

The tour consisted of a walk around the small lake, after which, we were free to roam with our cameras again. For me, this visit was totally different and more focused on photography. Are the pictures different? I think so. Take a look and let me know!

It’s all in a name: Folsom Zoo Sanctuary; Sacramento Zoo

I was ready with my debit and Sacramento Zoo membership cards in hand to pay for my visit at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary only to be told that they have no affiliation with the Sacramento Zoo and couldn’t give me a discount! They were not a zoo, but a sanctuary!! That’s what’s in a name!!!

Marlene and I had visited the Folsom Zoo, in Folsom, once before and found it not too favorable for photography, but Ray set up this outing for our Tuesday group and off we went. I just wasn’t prepared for the difference between a zoo and sanctuary to be explained so explicitly and rudely. What makes one better than the other?

You might say that the sanctuary takes in animals that can’t be released into the wild while the zoo breeds animals into captivity. I find there’s a place for both. When you look at the amazment in children’s faces you understand that a zoo is where they learn about animals they may never get to see. I think it’s great that a sanctuary gives animals a home when they can’t be in the wild any longer, and their stories touch your heart. For me, there’s a place for both.

Getting back to why the Folsom Zoo is not a great place for photography, their cages are too thick. We can’t shoot through the thick metal and make it disappear. Knowing that, I just took pictures of the crowds, the beautiful landscaped and designed walkways and some animals not in caged enclosures.

Meanwhile, at the Sacramento Zoo, in Sacramento, there were so many children visiting the day we went. I couldn’t get close to some of the exhibits. Or, by the time I could take the shot, the animal was out of reach or went back inside.

So, here are a few images from both the zoo sanctuary (FZ) and the zoo (SZ)!

Rainy day visit: Folsom Prison

We’ve pretty much exhausted our rainy day photography options. We’ve been to the Antique Trove twice, IKEA once, and last Tuesday we went to Folsom Prison. Doesn’t everyone want to visit a prison?

I was a little disappointed when all we could photograph was the one gate and from a distance. We were also not allowed to take pictures of officers or inmates. The small museum saved the morning. There were treasures in there. However, shooting through the glass enclosures proved to be difficult!

Aside from the Johnny Cash concerts, Folsom Prison was one of the nation’s first maximum security prisons. It was built in the decades following the 1848 California Gold Rush, relieving the overcrowding at San Quentin State Prison.

Today the prison houses medium security male inmates.

Take a look at what I saw, beginning with the outside.

Inside the museum there were many inmate made artifacts.

And there were some weapons made by inmates too!

Some other things at the museum.

There was quite a bit of space dedicated to the Johnny Cash concerts.

Good-bye Folsom Prison!

A slow start to 2019: January

If I thought 2019 would start off with a BANG, I was wrong. I didn’t hold a camera in my hand for the first two weeks. After that there were five photo opportunities, but few great photos. A lot had to do with the rainy weather, which we’re still having, and also with my not feeling well.

So here we are in February and the rain is still coming down. I’m not complaining because California needs the rain. We have a great snow pack now that will hopefully see us through the dry summer. What does that mean for photography? If you can’t make it up to the snow, you’re shooting inside! I’m amazed at how many businesses welcome photographers. This year we’ve been to the Antique Trove in Roseville twice, most recently today. You’ll see those pictures in my next post.

So, here are some picks from January!

These were from an experiment with oil and water. It’s more difficult than the tutorial made it seem!

These are from an outing to Old Folsom Historic District. It’s a section of Folsom where you can walk, shop and eat. Best of all, the parking is free!

This next outing was to Old Sacramento. I’ve shown you images from there before. It’s always a challenge to find something new.

So, there you have some highlights from January!

Getting photos organized: Kauai, Day 4

Who can say no to 250 free photo prints? I can’t. So when Shutterfly posted this freebee with only one and a half days to prepare, I went to town and got the last quarter of 2018 sorted and done. It’s not like they weren’t organized. Lightroom and my desktop system is great for doing that. I just needed to go through them and pick the ones I wanted 4 x 6 prints of, and change the dpi to 300 for printing. Of course nothing is free. Their shipping is pretty high.

You’ve seen a lot of them through this blog, and I’ve printed some out for competition in the Sierra Camera Club. I print 4 x 6 prints for scrapbooking. It’s a great feeling to have 2018 completed. However, 2019 is totally void of pictures! I’ll be going out shooting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, maybe I can learn some of Photoshop this weekend! I’ve been told to delve into Photoshop, I need to shoot less and edit more. That’s a great goal for 2019!

In the meantime, here’s day 4 of the Kauai trip. Going along the south shore, we visited the Spouting Horn and Po’ipu Beach. When we were in the town of Koloa we saw the Monkey Pod tree, the Sugar Mill Monument and ate delicious pizza for lunch. In the evening, we went to Smith’s Garden Luau. The grounds were beautiful and the food delicious. After dinner we sat in the front row so we could have a great vantage point for shooting pictures. But, a crop sensor is just not that adaptable to low light situations where there’s a lot of movement. Marlene’s mirrorless camera did the best.