Spring is here: My first roses

I don’t like to garden. However, I did inherit a small rose garden when we bought this house. I do like roses and somehow through their growing season, I get out there and trim them.

This post is short and sweet. Here are pictures of the first roses in my garden this year.

I also inherited a small iris garden which bloomed the first year we moved and nothing since–until now 4 years later. I’ve got two plants blooming. I’m wondering if the rest bloom whether I will get different colors like I saw at Horton’s Iris Garden last week.

I’ll be posting the pictures from Horton’s next week. So get ready for more beauty!

Lens Artists Challenge #194: Bokeh

When I began photography, my first goal was to photograph something with a soft blurry background behind it. I had no idea that was called bokeh. Now Sofia is asking us to show our bokeh images, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing I learned how to do it!

Actually, I love photographing flowers with bokeh.

I don’t do usually portraits, but sometimes I can catch one with a bokeh background. This one, of a dog looking up at someone, happened to be taken at Sutter Creek.

Although this one wasn’t candid, it did end up with a slight bokeh. This was taken of my chiropractor, Heather Rosenberg, DC for her monthly newsletter. If you live near Roseville, CA, she’s the best!

Although I prefer to do close ups with a macro lens, whatever lens you have will work. Sometimes a background ends in bokeh even though you’re not intending it to.

Here I was just trying to capture the changing leaf colors with an 18-55mm lens and ended up with a nice background.

In this photo, I was trying to get underneath the mushroom to capture its folds and details with my 18-55mm. (I was too lazy to go back to the car for my macro lens.) Again, I ended up with a nice bokeh.

Sofia mentioned bokeh having a speckled look. I’ve found that water lends itself to that. I think I’ve shown this leaf before. I took the picture after the garden was watered and the drops gave the image a great speckled look.

Sometimes I carry a water bottle with me sprinkle the flowers before I photograph them to get a speckled effect. I didn’t have to do that with this image.

Thank you Sofia for a fun challenge that is dear to me. Again, I love closeup and macro photography. Thanks again to John for inviting us to celebrate his birthday with him last week. I will be leading next week’s challenge. Remember to link Sophia’s challenge to your reply post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

 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/

Working Dogs: Sheepdog trials

Photography always gives me an opportunity to learn. In March I went to see the sheepdog trials in Zamora at Slaven Ranch. First, I was impressed by a whole bunch of border collies and handlers/owners waiting their turn for a run up the hill.

Over the hill were four sheep waiting to be herded down the hill, through two obstacles on the course and finally into the ring set off by traffic cones. The handler stands on the flat land more or less between the obstacles and ring. I’m hoping you can get somewhat of a picture in your mind. My description is not very good.

As far as photography goes, it was difficult because you had to use a telephoto lens (we were quite a distance away) which made it difficult to get the dogs and sheep into one frame when they came close enough to photograph. I had my lens at 200mm and managed to get a few pictures when they came down the hill.

The handlers communicate with their dogs by using a special whistle that we couldn’t hear. And, all this had to be done in a certain time limit. Here are some pictures.

Coming down the hills.

Now for the dogs while herding.

One of the handlers working with a dog.

Now for a fun picture. I took a picture of a dog sitting next to me. When processing it, I cropped in close to the eye and found a reflection. Take a look!

It was an amazing few hours watching these border collies and handlers at work. I do appreciate the Yolo Arts and Ag Project and the opportunities it offers us.

Oh, I want to thank those of you who gave me input on my decision on whether to buy a Fujifilm macro lens or keep my current Nikon macro lens. I’ve decided to keep using my Nikon system. The reality is that I do long range wildlife photography just a few times a year. I enjoy it, but enjoy other types of photography more.

Lens Artists Challenge #193: They Say It’s Your Birthday

This week, John asks us to share anything special about our birthdays. I’ve always had to share my birthday. No, not with another sibling, but a National holiday–Father’s Day! Are there any other June 18 birthdays out there? I sympathize with anyone who shares their special day with a major holiday.

Here’s a photo I have of a shared holiday in 2010. Richard is opening his Father’s Day gift and I’m opening my birthday gift.

Today, I’m sharing celebrations of many sorts. My grandkids have brought me great joy as they’ve grown up. Let’s begin with the older set.

Christopher

Prom 2010

Madison

High School Graduation 2013

The younger set: Olivia and Ryan

They joined our family when Ryan was 3 and Olivia 10 months. They filled Greg and Jessica’s lives with joy and happiness. Ours too. Here are some fun first times with them.

I love this picture even though it is poor quality.
At Christmas. Olivia is wearing her pretty Christmas dress while riding on Christopher’s shoulders.
Ryan decorating his grandfather’s face!

Time moves on. All the grandkids have gotten older. I’m just happy that we’ve had the opportunity to watch our grandchildren progress through life. This is truly a cause for celebration!

Oh, I checked, and in 2023 my birthday will be exactly on Father’s Day!

We enjoyed your earth story posts from last week. They were varied and so interesting. Thank you. Please remember to tag John’s post so we can find it in the WordPress reader. Next week Sofia will host our challenge.

 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/

Decision: The Nesting Tree

To buy or not to buy! To use or not to use! That’s my dilemma!! I’ll start at the beginning. For wildlife photography, I’ve been using an old, used prime F/4 300 mm lens on my Nikon D7100. It’s a bit heavy, hard for me to hold steady and the Nikon is not that good in low light. I finally decided to buy a used Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens for, of course, my Fuji XT3. It worked great and was easy for me to hold steady, but the barrel was tight when I zoomed. It’s in the return process. Question: should I get another one? Or just keep using the Nikon set up?

Here are some images from the Fuji set up taken at what I call the nesting tree in nearby Lincoln.

Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons nest each year in these trees. It’s a treat to sit and watch the activity. They fly off and bring back food and nesting materials to the nest. These next pictures were taken with the Nikon set up. Since I photographed mostly egrets on my previous visit, I was trying to photograph more of the herons. The trees are not close and I had to do a lot of cropping with these pictures for both set ups.

Do you see much difference? Both sets were processed in Lightroom and Topaz Sharpener AI. There is the handling ease, but that comes with about a $1,500. cost for a good used lens. I don’t think I need a new one because I don’t do that much wildlife photography.

So that’s my decision and dilemma! What do you think I should do?

Oh, if you want to see amazing Great Blue Heron Photography visit Babsje’s blog for wonderful stories and images. She is totally dedicated to the herons.

Lens-Artists Challenge#192: Earth Story

In her challenge this week, Amy wants us to think about our earth. It impacts our daily lives: the water we drink, the oceans that provide us enjoyment, the soil that brings us food, the trees the help us breathe. We rely so much on our earth.

I was raised mostly in the Bronx, New York, in a mostly concrete jungle. Yes, there were trees and parks, but I was never taught to appreciate nature. It wasn’t until I had kids that I began that appreciation. Our vacations were camping get-a-ways. We took the boys to every National Park and many State Parks–from the ocean to the mountains and even the desert. Unfortunately the pictures I took then were with a point and shoot camera, and mostly of the boys. I do have them in albums for my own joy.

Photography gave me the opportunity to not only enjoy our earth, but also record it. Let’s begin with my local Sacramento County area. We are lucky to have many creeks around the valley like our neighborhood Dry Creek.

Mather Lake is a nearby treasure for photographers and fishermen (and women). I go there to photograph swans, but on this day I found a pelican and cormorants.

We are a couple of hours away from the coast, giving us a wonderful day trip. Heading west, the Marin Headlands is a great spot for water sports, fun and photography.

North of us is Table Mountain which was formed from ancient lava (basalt) flows. It is very rocky and in Spring, it is loaded with wildflowers. It’s called Table (mountain) because of it’s mostly flat surface.

We go east every Fall to find the beautiful orange and gold color of Autumn.

I’ll end this post with nature’s way of painting her earth with golden light–a sunset. This one, taken in nearby Yolo County, is setting on a field of earth giving sunflowers.

Thank you Amy for having us remember to cherish our earth and take care of it. Would we survive without it? Please remember to link to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We totally enjoyed your all your curvy responses to Patti’s challenge. Next week, get ready to celebrate because John will host LAPC #194. For his challenge, be thinking about what is special to you regarding birthdays or anniversaries.

 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/

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!

Lens-Artists Challenge #191: Curves

While I don’t enjoy driving on curvy roads, I do like photographing these roads that meander and bring our vision into a photograph. This week Ann-Christine is asking us to post images of curves. I look for curves in most of my compositions.

I’ve chosen to sort through my 2020 archives. I love trees and the way the trunk bends, branches bend and leaves hang.

Effie Yeaw

At Mare Island I saw all types of curves.

Next we have three different types of curves: A different kind of cucumber, a sculpture wheel and a hillside of poppies that curves on the horizon.

Near Jackson, California

And a beautiful curvy road near Sugar Pine Reservoir.

My exception from 2020 images is this one taken recently at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. This museum’s architecture is amazing with curves and lines. You’ll be seeing more in coming posts.

There are curves, man made and nature made, all around us. Thank you Ann-Christine for helping us become aware of the softness around us. When you post your curves please link to Ann-Christine’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find you in the reader. Amy will be presenting next week’s challenge.

 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/

Oh no, birds again: Yolo Bypass Wildlife area

Let’s hope you see more birds once I get my new Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens. To do most wildlife photography, I’ve been using my Nikon D7100 and an old metal F/4 300 mm prime lens. It was almost impossible for me to hold until Ray made me a short monopod that helps hold the camera and lens steady. The other problem is the Nikon itself. It’s not very good in low light. So photographing in cloudy and overcast days was difficult.

So, I finally decided to try the Fuji lens which I hope is lighter. It’s coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, Laura and I recently went to our local wildlife area in Yolo County, just across from Old Sacramento. The Yolo Bypass is a favorite for local photographers.

I was lucky to get a series of a great egret hunting for what ended up being a cricket, beetle or some other bug.

There were also some other birds.

And then two cormorants.

Get ready and fly.

I’m not sure what bird this is but….

And here are some landscapes taken with my Fuji.

Now, I’m anxious to test out my new lens, but we will have to wait!

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/