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 #229: Perfect Patterns

As photographers, we are drawn to patterns probably without even realizing it. It’s an integral part of composition. This week Ann Christine helps make us aware of these patterns by challenging us to look for them in our photos.

I’ll start with patterns found in architecture.

Nature offers patterns of her own.

And, how about fabric!

Here are some more examples of patterns we find as we photograph.

Finally, we can make our own patterns in post as we have fun processing.

Thank you Ann Christine for challenging us with this fun topic. Please link to her post if you have yet to find and show us your own patterns and use the Lens Artists tag. Last week, we had fun seeing your creative diagonals. Tina will be challenging us next week. Be sure to look for her post. Stay safe this holiday season.

Lens Artists Challenge #228: Diagonals

This is a great morning here in the Sacramento California area. It’s raining and it’s a steady rain. And, I’m also excited about Patti’s challenge on diagonals this morning. She compared diagonals to leading lines that lead to the focal point of a photograph.

Here are some of my images showing leading lines.

I also enjoy photographing objects on a diagonal just for the fun of it, and was recently to the California Museum where I found great diagonals.

Sometimes shooting a picture on a diagonal adds interest. This clown’s face is more interesting on the diagonal rather than straight on.

And when we compose a picture, we may end up with a visual diagonal, leaving some negative space.

Here’s my last fun photograph on a diagonal.

Patti, I hope I didn’t take your great challenge too far from your original intent. This was fun and thank you for brightening up a wonderful rainy morning. Please remember to link your reply post to Patti’s and use the Lens Artists tag. It’s supposed to rain off and on through Monday. Yay!!

We enjoyed all your responses to last week’s challenge. I got to see many places I’ll never be able to get to. Next week is Ann-Christine’s turn to lead this challenge. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

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

Trip’s end: Portland & St. John’s New Brunswick

It has certainly taken me longer to blog about this trip then the trip itself! So here we are at the end. Two things are true: (1) The port cities look very much alike. (2) You can’t take good photographs from a moving bus with dirty windows.

Portland. We walked this city to the point of exhaustion. It was fun, but we should have stopped for a snack or lunch. I loved the old buildings and noticed that the electric wiring was still above ground. I thought this added to the charm of the city. There were a few parks within walking distance. Here are some photos and captions.

St. John’s New Brunswick. While the “Hop on and Hop Off Busses give a great overall tour, it’s difficult to take pictures. Most places didn’t warrant getting off.

So, this is the end of my trip. I had a great time. I loved the ship’s food and was careful not to eat too much. I would have liked to go further into the cities, but there’s not much you can do in one day and a limited amount of energy. Would I do it again? YES!!

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. 

We continue: Bar Harbor Maine

For those of you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving! Eat responsibly and enjoy!

Bar Harbor is a picturesque tourist town. I’ve been there twice and never did get beyond the tourist area except to visit Acadia National Park. This trip we walked the quaint shopping area and around the beautiful shoreline.

Here’s the shopping area. I seem to leave hats at home, but this time it was on the ship. Oh well, hat collections are good! Yes, I bought a hat.

These colorful kayaks were placed in a position that no photographer could pass up.

The shopping area.

Walking around the shore. The path led to a hotel and then back to the town. We passed a lot of bed and breakfast type accommodations.

Back in town.

These small towns gave us enough time to eat lunch aboard the ship and rest. It was great to just sit and enjoy reading a book.

Next stop is Portland Maine where we walked forever. I needed the rest in Bar Harbor.

Lens Artists Challenge #226: Textures

Guest host Jude of Cornwell in Colours picked the perfect challenge for me because I love textures. I don’t mean the nice blended textures you put behind your subject ( Which I can’t do yet!). I mean the texture of your subject. We are drawn to color and texture.

For instance I love the colors of rust and its gritty texture. You’ll notice as it ages, the colors change and the metal degrades, adding to its beauty.

I also find texture in old non-rusted metal. This old worn large propeller from a ship shows lines and textures when photographed close up. You can just feel how its been worn during its use.

Each year Sacramento hosts Chalk It Up where artists draw with chalk or liquid chalk on a sidewalk square. The grit of the sidewalk and chalk create a texture no other canvas can duplicate.

A lion’s mane has texture although you wouldn’t want to get close enough to feel it!

Wood is another favorite texture of mine. It can be tree bark or siding on a building. It draws you in with its variation of color and natural design.

Last, plants give us the feeling of texture in their form, color and shape.

There are many more examples of texture, but I’ll stop here. Texture is all around us. Take it in, feel and experience it. Thank you Jude for helping me realize how important texture is to photography. When you respond to this challenge, please remember to link to her post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you all for responding for my challenge last week. I enjoyed learning about your amazing local wildlife. We saw birds, foxes, porcupines, bears, deer, squirrels and some small insects and bugs. It was great. Next week Tina will be leading the challenge so be sure to look for her post.

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

The trip continues: Boston

It started here. The Boston Tea Party was the foundation for the Revolutionary War.

The last post on my New England trip left us at the USS Constitution. We took an Uber to get there from the cruise ship. Getting back to the center of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, we took a shuttle boat. That was a great ride. On the way to the dock, we saw sculptures of faces. I left in the informational sign regarding these art works. I think they are amazing.

Once on the shuttle boat, we saw:

Off the boat, we walked into town so we could fill our hungry tummies. I remembered Faneuil Hall Marketplace from my previous visit. In colonial times it was a place to gather and eat. Nothing’s changed except for the crowds. We bought lunch and fortunately found a place to sit. With our stomachs full, we went out to see the rest of the area. I basically photographed buildings and things I liked. Here are some of the photos with captions.

There was so much more to see, but we were so tired. We Ubered our way back to the ship to put our feet up and rest. Our next town to visit was Bar Harbor Maine. I’ll try to get to that town sooner!

Lens Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

Stop. Look. Listen. Doing those three things will help you discover the abundance of wildlife you have nearby. You have wildlife in your yard, nearby park, local pond or lake and just about anywhere around you. We often overlook opportunities to photograph these animals because we are so used to having them around us.

We live in a community with beautiful green belts, old oak trees, a creek and the wildlife that enjoys it. I walk my dog, Gem, every morning. He and I are used to seeing a variety of animals each morning. Sometimes we even catch the nocturnal skunks if we’re out early like at daybreak during the summer. I’ve picked him up three times when I’ve seen coyotes. Twice, I’ve seen deer looking around for something to munch on.

Beyond my complex, I’m fortunate to live near parks and nature centers where wildlife abounds.

Let’s start with the pond we have in the middle of our senior complex. It has fish for catch and release, turtles and the usual geese and ducks.

Oh, we must give special attention to our wild turkeys that seem to take over the place only to be daunted by the coyotes. I’ve only seen coyotes while walking my dog and I’m without a camera. You’ll note that the last group of turkeys is not that sharp. That’s because it was taken with my cell phone, which doesn’t have a great camera. I just wanted you to see how they congregate. These turkeys are protected so there’s no thinking of enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with them on the platter.

Moving a little beyond my community, about 15 minutes away (I gage in time not miles!), is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s right on the banks on the American River. It’s nature at its wildest. I’ve been there and seen deer carcasses that have been ravaged by vultures and other animals. On the brighter side, most of the time the deer know that humans are not their predators.

About the same distance, but in a different direction is the Gibson Ranch County Park. It has stables and a pond. On a recent visit, a family was feeding the squirrels. This one was a cutie. And I found a goose that was not a Canada goose.

Further down the interstate, about a total of 30 minutes away, is the Vic Fasio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. We find mostly birds when we go around the dirt route, and in this drought, they are even a rare sighting. Here are a great egret and blue heron I photographed during our last visit.

From squirrels to birds, wildlife is around us. What non-domestic animals live in your neighborhood or nearby? Do you have feeders to attract wild birds? Look through your archives or take a nature walk with your camera. Maybe some of those flowers have bees looking for nectar with which to make honey? Lizards, praying mantis or spiders may be lurking around the rocks. Oh, how about butterflies? Let us see your wildlife. Remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artist tag.

I had fun and learned some new things while responding to Sophia’s Exposure challenge. I hope you did too. Next week I’m pleased to tell you that our guest host is Jude of Cornwall in Colors. Look for her challenge.

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

What a museum: California Museum

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and relax because there a more than my normal pictures in this post. I was surprised and amazed at the amount of information and presentation at the California Museum. Two hours wasn’t really enough to absorb everything especially when you are photographing the exhibits.

Here’s the introduction to the place in the gift shop.

The visiting exhibit, Celebrate Women, was geared to women and young girls, helping them understand that they can aspire to be like many of the famous role models. Each exhibit had a view screen with more information. You can see how inviting the exhibits were. Because I was busy taking photos, I didn’t look at the exhibit screens and probably missed a lot. What we do for cool images! Writing this blog, I know I have to go back, without my camera.

The stairs offered us photographic opportunities too!

We will get back to the inside exhibits, but we did go outside to the back courtyard. I should say the beautiful back courtyard. One wall was artistically done with encouraging statements, and architecturally all the buildings surrounding it blended.

Various nationalities have left their impact in California. We know the Chinese and Mexicans certainly left their imprint in California. A lot of space was given to these nationalities showing and explaining their contributions to what California is today.

We’ve learned that the Chinese helped build the railroads and more. But, how about the food we enjoy today.

Mexicans brought their culture and holidays like Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. Below are three-sided cards made by school children to honor the holiday. The painting struck me as amazingly detailed.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the Filipino influence on California history. It is described in this exhibit.

Of course, the entertainment industry had and has a big impact on California. Here are three showcases honoring the entertainers and the industry.

One hallway, honoring our Native American cultures, which I think was a permanent exhibit. Artifacts were behind glass and the hallway was dark. Meaning, difficult to photograph. I did get some pictures from the ceiling. The beautiful paintings ran the entire hallway.

We can’t forget about health. A considerable amount of space was dedicated to healthy eating.

Before we left, the last exhibit I saw honored the nurses who helped us through the darkest days of the Covid pandemic.

I’ll say it again, The California Museum was amazing. I will go back!