Just a short post: McKinley Rose Garden

A rose will always be a rose! And I do love them. They are the only plants I personally take care of. I have a small but beautiful rose garden. But today I’m writing about my adventure at the McKinley Park Rose Garden in Sacramento.

Every year they have a photo contest to see which photographer will win the coveted first place prize. Last year, I was lucky enough to win first place. This is the winning photo.

This year I also went down to the garden to take photos. That day, the wind was blowing and the roses were either on their way out or budding. But with my macro lens on my Fuji, I did my best. I used a high shutter speed and hoped for a slight breeze. Of course it was the last week of the contest–no going back another day! You know I procrastinate.

Here are the best of lot. We are allowed five entries. In 2020 I received an honorable mention.

We’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know–even if I don’t place.

May was…: M3 Ranch, Woodland

What can I say. May was sometimes good and sometimes disappointing–for photography. I’ve taken you on many Yolo Art & Ag farm tours and this one of the M3 Ranches in Woodland promised such varied crops like olives, garlic, almond trees, agave plants and more. How exciting! Well, maybe not.

The first clue was there was no greeter to take our names. The roads were open and we drove around them. I’m thinking maybe we missed something???

We did find the almond trees. At least we think they are almonds.

Then we found a pond that they call their oasis.

And now the agave plants.

The grape vines already had fruit.

I think these are the olive trees. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

I’ll end with some of the vistas I photographed.

Working with the images for this post, I’m thinking it wasn’t such a disappointment after all.

Lens-Artists Challenge #200: Every Little Thing

I like photographing little things with my macro lens. Sometimes I don’t even use a macro lens to get close. Amy us challenges this week to post “every little thing that makes you smile.” So, here are some close ups that are still making me smile.

How about small flying things like a butterfly, praying mantis and bee.

Every year we get baby geese around our pond. While they are so cute, the dads won’t let you get close. This little one was walking with its family and I had a long lens!

Or getting down low to photograph small mushrooms in the grass, capturing their caps and folds.

And, of course, getting close to capture the small details of flowers like a rose and a backlit daffodil.

These are some of the small things that make me smile. I believe we need to keep looking for things small and large that bring us happiness and make us smile. Thank you Amy for the reminder.

I’ve enjoyed seeing all your responses to John’s Mechanical and Industrial challenge last week. Remember to link your response to this challenge to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week Ann Christine will be hosting LAPC. Be sure to look for her post.

 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/

Lens Artists Challenge #199: Mechanical/Industrial

When I first read this week’s challenge from John, Journeys with Johnbo, I immediately thought of the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park in Folsom. It wasn’t our destination, but we came upon it while visiting the Old Town of Folsom. And just our luck, the docent was on his way down to open the facility.

The Powerhouse is located on the American River. Here’s how it looks on the outside.

Before I take you inside, please read this brief summary of the Powerhouse history from our favorite online encyclopedia–Wikipedia. It says it better than I can.

Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park is a historical site preserving an 1895 alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power station—one of the first in the United States.

Before the Folsom powerhouse was built nearly all electric power houses were using direct current (DC) generators powered by steam engines located within a very few miles of where the power was needed. The use of rushing water to generate hydroelectric power and then transmitting it long distances to where it could be used was not initially economically feasible as long as the electricity generated was low-voltage direct current. Once it was invented, AC power made it feasible to convert the electrical power to high voltage by using the newly invented transformers and to then economically transmit the power long distances to where it was needed. Lower voltage electrical power, which is much easier and safer to use, could be easily gotten by using transformers to convert the high voltage power to lower voltages near where it was being used. DC power cannot use a transformer to change its voltage. The Folsom Powerhouse, using part of the American River‘s rushing water to power its turbines connected to newly invented AC generators, generated three phase 60 cycle AC electricity (the same that’s used today in the United States) that was boosted by newly invented transformers from 800 volts as generated to 11,000 volts and transmitted to Sacramento over a 22 mi (35 km)-long distribution line, one of the longest electrical distribution lines in the United States at the time.”

Leave it to me to photograph close ups of wheels and gears once inside. This is just part of my fun.

Now for the rest of the inside. I wish I understood more about the use of all the equipment. If you want, you can read more about it here.

Let’s go back outside for the final photograph. Here you can see the transformers that sent electricity all the way to Sacramento.

Thank you John for giving us such an interesting topic. I’ve already read some of the replies and have been captivated. When you post your reply, remember to link to John’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Next week, it’s Amy’s turn to host our challenge, so be sure to visit her site. If you’d like to join in our weekly challenges just click here.

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/

Lens-Artists Challenge #196: Humor

“Why did the camera stop dreaming about a career in photography? He couldn’t remain focused.

What did the woman think about her friend who was a photographer? She wished someone would shutter up.

Why did a man always rave about how great his digital camera was? He couldn’t think of any negatives.”

From the Kidadl Team

This week, guest host John of John’s Space has challenged us to post images of humor. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor–I do but it’s mostly sarcastic. So do I usually take humorous photos? No, but I do find some situations funny, especially at the Sacramento Zoo. If you go to a zoo enough, you’ll find the animals either look funny or are in funny situations. The following are examples.

Are these flamingos fighting, kissing, or what?

And, what message is this snow leopard sending? Is he smiling?

I’ve never had a lion stick his tongue at me before!

Watch out this orangutan is getting ready to kiss someone!

The okapi have beautiful markings on their rear ends, but maybe this one didn’t like my taking a picture of it!

This zebra is just taking care of an itch, maybe!

I’ll end with the giraffes. They have such expressive faces.

Thank you John for helping us find some smiles in today’s tense world. As you answer this challenge, remember to link to his post and tag Lens-Artists. And thank you everyone for joining in on last week’s colorful challenge. I enjoyed seeing and reading all your responses. Next week Tina will lead our challenge. Be sure to 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/

Growing more than just flowers: Horton’s Iris Farm, part 1

I walk Gem every day. He has two routes: one is 1 1/2 miles and the other 2 miles. This gives us the opportunity to see the neighbors’ gardens grow. These walks make me think of personal growth. When do you stop? I don’t think we ever do.

Which brings me to my photography journey and the reason I started this blog many, many years ago. This was to be my journal showing the progress of my photographic ability–which when I began was practically non-existent. I decided not to take classes because I didn’t want homework and still shy away from challenges that want you to take new photos. So, by asking questions, making mistakes, camera clubs with juried competitions, and field experience I’ve come along and progressed. And, I’m still learning!

I now find myself giving advice to new photographers and can hold my own with other seasoned photo hobbyists. I may have picked the long route to get here, but I arrived anyway.

Have you taken on something new and followed your own path to success? I’d like to hear about it.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures taken at a recent visit to Horton’s Iris Farm in Loomis. We may have been a bit to early to catch more of their beautiful irises. Horton’s is a farm where they grow and sell plants. You can buy plants at their farm or online. You can also cut your own bouquets. They also grow zinnias and sunflowers, and have a pumpkin patch in October. Enjoy!

Next week I’ll show you more about this farm. It’s more than just irises!

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/

Lens-Artist Challenge #190: Close and Closer

I’m happiest when I have my macro lens on my camera. Yes, I love macro and close up photography. But Patti is correct in this week’s challenge of getting close and closer. Getting close to the subject changes the story slightly. My images are cropped sections of a larger area, but I believe the feeling is the same.

To begin, we visited the Manetti Shrem Museum, an art museum on the U. C. Davis campus. More than what’s inside, I love the exterior. All the lines and angles. They can also be found inside. The first image shows some of the exterior as seen from the hall in the museum. The second photo is cropped in to show more of the detail in the metal. The shadows also add design to the image.

The second set shows a winter scene at Donner Lake. Photographed from the roadside, the long, curved driveway invites the viewer toward the home. I drastically cropped in the image to show the window and its reflection which creates a design of its own. I’m glad we can crop in a photo and respect the owner’s property.

Next we have a path at Fort Ross on the California Coast. Uncropped it shows a winding path leading through a tree umbrella. Cropped, the focus is on the detail of the trees.

Last we have an old farm building. This was taken at one of the Yolo Art and Ag Project farm visits. In the landscape a photographer is taking a picture of the same building. In the close up, I focused on the window. Processing it in black and white added a more realistic quality to the age of the building. Do you think the photographer was doing the same thing?

Thank you Patti for showing us how getting closer can change the look, feel and story of an image. And thank you Tina for encouraging us to find our oddest ends last week. Next week, Ann-Christine will lead our challenge. Please remember to link to Patti’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find your post in the WordPress Reader.

 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 #187: Water

Just think about the photographs you’ve reviewed lately. I bet a lot of them include either a foreground or background of water. Water enhances our photos, adding impact. Photographing it is also fun and sometimes a challenge.  My dear friend Jean, who passed away recently, loved to photograph anything water. In fact, many outings were diverted because she saw a sign saying there was a lake or other water nearby. This was taken on one of Jean’s detours.

The San Francisco Bay near Port Costa.

Water is featured in many landscapes.  This ocean picture was taken in Pacific Grove.

This Folsom Lake image was taken before the drought hit last year. The sailboat is the focus, and the water gives it location.

Bridges usually go over water and in Sacramento County we have many that help us get to the other side of the rivers. I took this one recently of the Rainbow Bridge, a Folsom landmark, and the American river. Reflections in the water add a certain dynamic.

Water can also be the focus of our pictures. Waterfalls, from the great Niagara Falls (the American and Bridal Veil falls), to the small falls at our local Dry Creek are focus points. At Dry Creek, I was handholding the camera and trying to show water as silky by slowing down the shutter speed. I’ve yet to master that because I don’t often carry my tripod! One day I will get up early, plant myself at the ocean, put on my neutral density filter and photograph beautiful waves as they hit the rocky shoreline.

Here’s another handheld close-up image of water coming out of a pipe. This just shows that water of any kind can be fun to shoot. Next is a macro image of a water drop on a leaf. I had a lot of fun taking that one. Finally, the last of this trio shows simple drops of water on lotus pads.

Oh, the last bit of water I’ve had fun with is the snow. Fortunately, here in Sacramento we don’t live with the snow, but we can visit it. Here’s an image of a home in Blue Canyon one hour up the interstate. The second image is of icicles (And their reflection in a window) on a cabin at Donner Lake which is 1 ½ hours away.

I’ll end my show and tell here, but what water fun have you had? Please show us your water fun and tell us about it. Go through your archives and retrieve some memories or find new liquid delights to photograph this week. We’re anxious to see your images. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and to link to this post.

Thank you for participating in Sophia’s challenge of “Low Light” last week. Next week we are pleased to have Karina of Murtagh’s Meadow as our guest host. I wonder what she has in store for us.

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/