Lens-Artists Challenge #216: Urban Environments

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a truly urban environment. Downtown Sacramento is as close as I’ve gotten, but I already posted many pictures of buildings and street art. So how do I put a twist on this challenge from Sofia? I thought immediately of San Francisco. In July, 2018, Marlene and I took the ferry from Tiburon to the Embarcado.

A couple of pictures taken from the ferry.

It was a full day of walking, taking pictures and people watching. The Embarcado attracts tourists of all ages, people who live in San Francisco and want to eat in well-known restaurants, and anyone who is looking for a speciality item. People watching was what I enjoyed the most.

I was immediately overcome with sadness and wonderment at watching a couple help their very senior dog. I’m now helping my senior dog, a schnoodle, although his stroller is much smaller.

Kids just love the environment on the Embarcadero. This red-head was a stand out and this girl was enjoying this unusual swing.

Street entertainers helped liven up the crowds.

Workers also need breaks.

Artists are also creating and selling their finished products.

And, I can’t close this post without crowd scenes!

Do you see Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop in the last picture. Of course I just had to get some Cherry Garcia! I want to go back and do this again. I love street photography. These were just some of the pictures from that trip. Maybe Marlene and I will do this again in the Fall.

Thank you Sofia for letting me go down memory lane with this twist to your challenge. When you post your reply to this challenge, be sure to link it to Sofia’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Last week John’s challenge brought us to many places in a variety of ways. It was fun reading your posts. Tina leads next week’s challenge so look for her post.

I will be taking 3-weeks off. Yes, I’m actually going on a vacation! I’ll be back soon.

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

Beyond kids: Chalk It Up

Each year Fremont Park in Sacramento hosts Chalk It Up where artists claim a sidewalk square and create art with chalk. Some use liquid chalk and some use regular chalk. We went on the last day of the festival. I was surprised at how many artists were still at work. It was to be another triple digit day. So when we arrived at 7:30 a.m.. there were many others trying to beat the heat.

There were many wonderful squares, but you know art, it’s what you like! I narrowed down my many likes and came up with these to show you. First look at some artists at work.

These artists are willing to stop talk and explain their art. Next there were some pictures that were 3D.

Now, the best of the rest!

It was difficult to choose which pictures to show you. Maybe next year you’ll have to do down to see them for yourself. Or, find a festival like this in or near your home town.

Sacramento’s buildings

Sometimes architecture calls, especially for photo buddy Richard. I don’t object, because I like it also, especially when there are great reflections. Here are the results of a recent downtown Sacramento outing. Some images have descriptive captions. There are more than my usual picks, so have fun!

You can see there are a lot of new buildings in Sacramento. One of our outings must be focused on the old structures in Sacramento.

Grab a brush: Wide Open Walls

The annual Wide Open Walls Festival is adding more beauty to Sacramento’s buildings. To beat the heat, we left at 7:30 a.m. and headed to downtown. I had a list of about 30 murals and addresses. Diane was our navigator and I drove the one-way streets which sometimes turned into two-way streets. And when you’re not familiar with the streets, mistakes are easy to make. Need I say more.

I’m not going to show you all that I photographed, just some special art pieces. Let’s begin with this one. The artist did separate panels on the building’s walls. I loved the colors and surrealism.

Next is a mural and a close up of the woman’s face. We found on a SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) building. Tea anyone?

This next set is full of symmetrical and asymmetrical designs.

Here are some odds and ends that I thought were great.

I’ll end with art that isn’t a painted mural and I don’t think is part of Wide Open Walls. They are mosaic art images and in some places raised. They are beautiful.

We will return for more mural photography and I hope to have more fantastic pieces to show you.

A promised post: Manetti Shrem Museum

I didn’t mean to tease, but various challenges had me show pictures from the architecture of the Manetti Shrem Museum on the campus of U.C. Davis in Davis. I promised more images in a forthcoming post. Well, here it is!

The building is amazing with its curves, lines, angles and shapes. So lets look at the outside. Notice how the shadows created by the building are art in themselves.

Next post, we’ll take a look inside!

Exploring Roseville at night

A modern day boom town, Roseville was stretching its borders when we first moved here in 2001. What was once a small railroad town is now a hub for corporations (At least before the pandemic hit.) and new housing. When I was doing business in Roseville there were four main areas: Downtown Roseville, the Historic District, East Roseville (corporate) and West Roseville (housing). A couple of weeks ago, we ventured into Roseville for sunset and night photography.

We began at the Roseville Sculpture Park. This large red metal sculpture can be seen from the Interstate 80 freeway. The sculpture is named “Cosmos” and was dedicated to the people of Roseville in 1990 by a local developer.

We did find a couple of mushrooms along the path to the sculpture. I didn’t have my macro lens, so I photographed these at 55 mm. Actually the car was in the parking lot and I was too lazy to go get the lens. I think if there had been more than two mushrooms, I would have changed lenses!

Next we went to Downtown Roseville and its main street: Vernon Street. There are two theaters, restaurants and shops around Roseville’s City Hall. Here are some of this area approaching sundown.

After we enjoyed dinner, we returned to Downtown to catch some of the town’s lights. The Christmas tree was up in the Town Square and a decorative display of a house caught peoples attention. These were taken without a tripod because you know, I’m lazy!

We ended our evening cold but happy.

Lens Artist Challenge #173: Interesting Architecture

Architecture surrounds us whether it’s a historical building, a small store, a different sort of home or an iconic skyscraper. In this week’s challenge, Tina encourages us to share our images of interesting architecture, opening the field to what is fascinating to us.

While California is known for cities like Hollywood and San Francisco, it is primarily an agricultural state. In Sacramento we are so close to a countryside of farms, ranches and orchards. Here are two country houses, very different in architecture, that I’ve visited through the Yolo Arts & Ag Project.

Close to Sacramento is Donner Lake, a busy place for summer and winter recreation. Some people live there full time and some have homes to enjoy as a get away. Here is a winter scene.

We also have buildings of historical value. One is the Gibson House, It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, in Woodland and another, bulging in the front for years, is located in Locke which is a historic district. I think it’s amazing that it is still standing.

And, of course there’s Folsom State Prison. Its architecture gives us a hint as to its age–141 years. Built in 1880, it’s a minimum to medium security prison and houses only men.

Next is Sacramento’s very own Tower Bridge. Spanning the Sacramento River, it connects Sacramento to West Sacramento, and is used as a branding image for many ad campaigns.

And finally, my favorite building, the CALSTRS building. In the picture above, it’s located just after another amazing architectural wonder, the Pyramid (The Ziggurat) Office Building. Here you can see it up close.

This ends my tour of interesting architecture in and around Sacramento. Thank you Tina for this fun challenge!

Lens Artists Challenge #171: Weird and Wonderful

If you think about it, life itself is weird and wonderful. Ann-Christine asks us, in this week’s challenge, to find images in our archives or take our cameras out to find things that fit the weird and wonderful description. I’ve chosen to delve into my archives.

Buildings. I’ve found a few that are both weird and wonderful. There’s Drake’s Barn that serves food and drinks and hosts events. I took this photo shortly after it was built and the grounds were not ready for events. The The Ziggurat (the Pyramid Building) is an office building.

The the Manetti Shrem Museum in Davis is a beautiful and different building. I think the architecture is a work of art. Inside art exhibits are ongoing and outside are sculptures.

Hatcheries The Nimbus Fish Hatchery was a new experience for me. Yearly the Chinook salmon and steelhead swim upstream in the American River to lay eggs. The salmon that make it then die. Not that many make it. The hatchery catches and kills the salmon, removing their eggs and hatches them for release back into the river. This way more salmon are reproduced.

Fungi. I’ll close with mushrooms. They take many shapes and have many colors. These wild fungi are definitely weird and wonderful to photograph.

I’m not sure these images fit Ann-Christine’s challenge, but it was fun, weird and wonderful!

Lens-Artists 138: Natural Light

Awareness of natural light is essential in photography. Some photographers only go out when the light is optimum. I go out whenever I can and make the best of it! I’ve become good at reducing shadows and highlights in post. This week Amy wants us to show images taken at various times of the day.

Since I rarely get out for a sunrise, mid morning is the time you’ll find me out shooting. Here’s a picture of a painter doing a mural during Sacramento’s Wide Open Wall festival. The sun was in position to show his shadow on the ground and on the wall as he’s painting.

We’re getting slightly later in the morning. This blue heron is facing the sun which lights up his face and beak.

This building along the Sacramento River Walk is in bright sunlight and shadow.

The sunlight streaming through the foliage at Effie Yeaw Nature Center gives this tree expression and beauty. Moss grows where sunlight rarely hits.

And then there’s no sunlight. Folsom Prison looks especially formidable on a foggy day.

We are now approaching sunset time. This is when the light begins what will be a beautiful sunset.

And let’s not forget the darkness. We may not be capturing natural light, but manmade light can be fun and a challenge like this long exposure at Sunrise Mall’s small carnival.

Thank you Amy for this archival trip. It was fun.

Doing it while there’s time! Mare Island Museum & more.

The next two days look busy, but that’s nothing new for a retired lifestyle. Ask any retiree! They’ll probably say they are busier now than before. That’s because active people need to fill their time. I’m no different. So, what better use of my free time right now than to show you the pictures from the Mare Island Museum in Vallejo as promised in yesterday’s post.

Even though I’d been to Mare Island a few times before, I never visited the museum. I guess I was too busy taking photos. But since I’ve gained experience taking photos indoors without flash and tripod, this seemed like a good time to investigate what was in this large building.

What a surprise! Not only does the museum house Mare Island’s history, it also serves as a meeting place and banquet hall. Here are some images:

Additional photos from Mare Island.

That’s it for now! Time to relax!