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.

Feeling the sun: di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

Oh, it’s wonderful: two days of sunshine, and one more to come! After, that showers begin again. I have managed to get out with my camera during the sunshine, and you’ll see those images later after they’re processed.

Today, I’m taking you to the second half of our journey into Napa that began with the Quixote Winery (in my last post) and ended with the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

We drove to the art gallery after lunch and stopped along the way for more picture taking. You know photographers, we just keep clicking when we see something pretty. On approach, the gallery is pretty, the grounds are beautiful, but I wasn’t feeling the art. But, as I’ve learned by having my images critiqued, art is totally subjective. (I did find out that my “Droplets” picture did make it to the table from which the winners were chosen!) While I may not like something, someone else will.

The grounds that the two galleries sit on are beautiful, complete with a lake. I did the best I could with the limited access we had to the grounds. The highlight of the trip was the stop at the Lake Berryessa, in Napa County, and its spillway or Glory Hole.

So, here are the images of the country side, art gallery and Glory Hole!

I didn’t do that well Tuesday night at the Sierra Camera Club, in Sacramento, competition, but then I expected I wouldn’t. Sometimes pictures look great on the monitor, but not so great when they are printed. That was my predicament.

When I looked at the prints, I was dismayed. I decided to enter them anyway. After all I’m there to learn, and I did. The scores range from 8 to 12. I got two 10s and two 11s. I’ll confess that the judge didn’t give a score under 10! Print is just one of several categories, and for me, the most difficult. I’m not the only one printing out 8 x 12 images, but we are in the minority. However, I don’t think I’m ready to invest the money in larger prints.

In the digital categories, I have been awarded 12s, but never made it to the golden “13.” But, I’m happy. I joined this group to learn, and I have. I’ve also learned how to look at images. It’s amazing what details the judges see that I haven’t trained my eye to look for.

Toastmasters has trained me not to take critiquing as an assualt on my abilities. So, I understand that judging is subjective. There have been a few times when I dissagreed with the judge; but, after a few weeks, I saw that the judge was so right! Sometimes we get attached to our product and what we see in it that we don’t view it with a critical eye.

I thank the fantastic members of the Club. They are most eager to help, and just seeing their work gives me something to shoot for. Most of all, I feel great when my images are competitive with theirs.

If you are a new photographer, I urge you to join this type of club. There’s always something new to learn. You’ll find some of my entries below.

 

 

An artistic festival: Wide Open Walls, Sacramento City

I’ve said it before–I’m not an artist. But, I’m in awe of anyone who can visualize and create art. Recently, in August 2017, the city of Sacramento held a festival, Wide Open Walls, that enabled artistic visions to become reality, as murals, on various walls in the city. I wasn’t able to shoot during the festival since we were away, but was eager to see the results.

Murals are not new to Sacramento’s Midtown. Greg Morris (RIP) took me there a few times to view them in the alleys. He would tell me that the best time to shoot the murals was on Sunday because there was less traffic. But this time, murals were more predominate on the walls of businesses and out of the alleys.

I did go to midtown with photo buddies Karen B and Ray on a recent Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. We did a great deal of walking, shooting and resting. It left me in awe of the various artists’ talent. And, Midtown is not the only location. They are all over the city. Next time, we might walk downtown to see these amazing works of art.

Here are some of the murals I took pictures of. In some instances, I’ll show you the entire wall and then a portion of it. They were too large to do justice in one shot. No captions necessary.

The heat is back! Alpha Fired Arts, Sacramento

This is de’ja vu. When these pictures were taken, we were trying to escape the heat by shooting inside. As I type this, it’s about 107 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s going to be a long hot summer.

Since our Tuesday group shoots each week, we try to find indoor places, go on a road trip to the bay area or get up very early to beat the heat. A few times, we’ve called a virtual trip, asking members to shoot something and post it. It’s amazing what photographers come up with. But this particular Tuesday we were inside.

Alpha Fired Arts, in Sacramento, is a creative outlet for hobbyists, professional artists and teachers who shop for supplies. They even have paint your own ceramics available where you purchase anything from pre-made mugs to more elaborate items, and paint them. They are then glazed/fired. This is a perfect place for kids’ parties.

With triple digits outside, we were delighted to be invited inside by Ray’s wife, Sally, who is a pottery artist. When you enter, you’re inside the store, the painting room is to the left and small gallery to the right. Beyond the double doors in the back the creative work area lies. And, beyond that, are the kilns. We could not escape the heat in there!

I’ll show you pictures of it all. While the pottery was beautiful, it was a challenging shoot. I wanted to shoot from different angles and remain true to the artistic intent. All images were handheld and without flash.

I’m hoping it’s not a hot summer, thinking maybe some cooler temperatures will prevail–SOON!

 

 

Cooling off: Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento

It’s not easy to find places to shoot when it’s triple digits outside. We’ve taken our Tuesday group to the ocean, stores, and, now to a museum–the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. The fact that I’d always wanted to go there was a bonus. Yes, we could bring our cameras in, but no flash or tripod. This, of course, added another challenge, but we were up to it.

Just a little background: The original historic building was the home of Edwin B. Crocker who built on a home addition to display his art collection. Eventually the home and gallery became the Crocker Art Museum. In 2010 an addition was built to expand the museum. For me, the new, modern addition is a stark contrast to the existing historic home/gallery. You can feel the difference as you pass from one to the other. I liked the use of ambient light in the new building, but totally enjoyed the architecture and richness of the old.

I didn’t have much trouble shooting in the new Teel Family Pavilion since light was abundant, and I knew what to do to shoot in the old section. And, to our delight, the cafe food was delicious. Our outings are always about food too!

Here’s a sample of what we found while escaping the heat.

 

 

 

Photography, art, both:Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville, CA

I follow many terrific photographers and learn from their blog posts. Reality hit when I read a tutorial by Leanne Cole, Australia. I met Leanne in person last year when she was in the States and visiting in Saratoga. I thoroughly enjoyed the day of shooting with her. Back to her blog post on inserting a sketch into a picture. I’m not going into the details of how she did it, but what emotional reality it stirred up for me.

I followed along with the tutorial until she came to the point of putting a shadow under a thumb. I would never had thought to put a shadow under the thumb. She explained it was necessary because of the lighting of the over all picture. Lighting? I would have never thought of that.

A former member of my All About Photography Toastmasters Club said that the way to become a better photographer is to study the famous painting masters. At the time I thought that he was just into art more than me. Now, I understand.

Photography as I do it, is just photography. I choose to shoot a scene I like, compose it, shoot it and do minimal editing. I edit until I like the picture, having no prior knowledge of art. I work on highlights, shadows, etc. However, a photographer who is an artist understands and can do a great deal more.

As a recent example, I posted a picture I shot at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville asking which was better the color or black and white.

Although most of the votes were for color, I was drawn to the black and white.

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Three respondents in favor of the black and white, suggested I lighten the bridge to draw the eye into the image. What? A great photo buddy, Karen, changed it for me and I could see what they meant. So I re-edited the image and lightened the bridge.

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Are you more drawn into the image? I learned that a dark foreground stops the eye and a lighter foreground draws you in.

Art is not natural for me. I’m sure I can learn some things, but I’ll never be an artist. And, I’m okay with that. I love the photography I do. I’ll just keep learning from the terrific photographers I follow. It’s just another turn in my photographic journey.

I’ll post the rest of the images from Lagoon Valley Park in my next post.

Arts and Ag Project: August 2016 farm visit

I’m not that familiar with farming, but I do enjoy taking pictures of them. That’s why I jumped at the chance to participate in the August Arts and Ag Project sponsored by the Yolo Arts. Every month there is a farm open to artists and photographers. The artists paint, draw or create in whatever their medium is and we photographers shoot. The owners give us access to most of the farm and we have the morning to enjoy their life style.

I can’t say that I enjoyed the mosquitoes at the Voelz farm in Yolo County. They had just put down manure and it seemed to be attractive to the little buggers! We were also invited to shoot at a neighbor’s  property which has two barns and an old abandoned farm house. It’s this property, that most of us ended up at and the artists were sketching and painting.

I totally enjoyed speaking with the artists who came with chairs, tablets, paints, etc. One even set up in the back of his pick up. We all had one thing in common–the same perspective on what we were capturing. Though, as photographers, we can capture the scene in many different ways, each with a different focal point.

The more agriculture I shoot, the more I learn about farming. In my captions, I’ll let you know which farm is pictured. I’m looking forward to the September outing which is Thursday. I hope they don’t put manure down before we come!