Yolo Art & Ag: Harrison Farms, Woodland

It’s time again to wander, or should I say get lost, down those country roads in Yolo County. Each year Yolo Art & Ag sponsors monthly visits for artists and photographers to farms in the county. I have certainly benefited from these sojourns. I grew up in the city, and I’ve been able to see first hand how a farm operates.

Harrison Farms, featured a sunflower field and a some farm animals. When Marlene and I arrived, we stopped at the sunflowers first. Typically, bee keepers put hives near the fields and this was no exception! But the bees are so busy, they don’t bother someone who is allergic like me! As a field, this one wasn’t spectacular but individually the flowers were fun and pretty to photograph.

And then there was the farm itself. The pond was photographic.

There was also a small garden.

They also had a walnut tree grove.

It was an easy and fun visit. I wonder where we will go in July?

Practice makes perfect: McKinley Park and Green Acres Nursery

Flowers, flowers and more flowers! I’ve been shooting a lot of them lately, trying out a lens. I like being able to do close ups without a macro. You might be shooting a landscape, see a nice flower, want to shoot it, but didn’t bring your macro lens. So I’ve been practicing with a lens I might keep. It’s an 18 – 200mm Nikon lens.

Being a person who has difficulty making up her mind, I’ve practiced and practiced with it. I’ve pretty much made up my mind to keep it, but….

Here are the captures at the rose garden in McKinley park in Sacramento.

Some other pictures taken at McKinley park that night.

Moving ahead about a week, here are the images captured at Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento. They encourage photographers to visit and take pictures!

So should I keep it?

It’s that time of the year: Sunflowers and zinnias

Nothing can make you smile like a sunflower! When you see a whole field of yellow and orange looking at you, you just get a great feeling. This year I had the opportunity of visiting Woodland twice and photographed two sunflower fields and Metzger’s Zinnia Patch.

When we visit the sunflower fields, we are careful not to disturb the plants and shoot from around the patch. As photographers, we are happy we’re allowed to take pictures. Cooperation goes a long way!

Bee colonies are kept near the fields to help polinate. I can assure you they are busy bees! Here are some “sunnies.”

We also stopped at a safflower field.

Now for the zinnias. What is special about this patch of zinnias is that the Metzger family allows people to pick the flowers and encourages them to share with others who can’t get out. You’ll see moms and their kids having fun choosing their favorites.

Do you like sunnies as much as I do?

Ya gotta love them: Sunflowers, Yolo County

I got my sought after shot this year–a sunflower field so dense that when you shot over the top, all you can see is yellow. Thank you Karen A. for scoping the fields out. And thanks to a step ladder! Yes, I’m sort–too short to have gotten the image without a little help.

I remember in past years going crazy to find sunflower fields, only to be there too early or too late. This year things were different in Yolo County.

I’ll make this a short post so you can see them. Oh, what did I learn? Patience prevails and always have a step ladder in your car trunk!

Hope these make you smile!

 

Popping up again: Sunflowers and the California Automobile Museum

Yes, sunflowers were popping up again. But this time in a different field, in Davis, and different time of day. We, Marlene, Linda and I, found the field about 11 a.m., and the sun was getting high in the sky. A visit to the California Automobile Museum, in Sacramento, caused us to arrive a little later than we would have liked.

My goal was to shoot over the field and get a wide shot. However, we forgot to bring a small ladder. Okay, I’m short! I did my best, trying to stand as tall as possible. It was a different type of shoot than the last during sundown. There was no back lighting, just blaring sun. I’m finding that I now make do with the environment I shoot in, figuring what type of shot would work best.

For instance, at the Automobile Museum, the cars were so close together and the lighting poor so I decided to do mostly close ups. I went for the hood ornaments, the tires, the horns–whatever looked interesting and different. I’m now shooting with intent and not just doing snapshots. I’m actually able to pull out something good from what doesn’t look like a great photo opportunity.

I’m still learning, but I’m more confident in my abilities. There’s another sunflower shoot on July 5. Maybe I’ll join them, you never know what will pop up!

On the road again: Sedona, Arizona

Beautiful red rock is what will first catch your eye when you venture into Sedona, but for me, the attraction is the vortexes. What, you ask! A vortex is an energy field that affects you in various ways.

A masculine vortex will energize you and a feminine vortex will calm you down. And, it works. Today we spent the day in a calming vortex and I’m so relaxed even though we went for a short hike. Because of these vortexes, Sedona has become the center for all things spiritual. You’ll find all sorts of shops dedicated to the spiritual arts: readings, crystals, massage, and more.

In addition, sorry to say, Sedona has become some what of a tourist trap. We are staying in West Sedona away from the heart of the tourist frenzy. I will tell you more about this area in subsequent posts. We are here until June 6, so enjoy the red rock beauty with me.

A photo a day: still at it!

Okay, I’m a type A wanna be type B. I took on this 365 challenge and I’m still at it. What do you mean it’s only been a little over a month! It sounds longer at 36 days. And, I’m still shooting on manual.

This is helping me understand the exposure triangle relationship and how to make the image come out the way I want it to. Of course some are shot with my point and shoot, some are of the dog and more will probably be, some are of the grandkids and some are taken on walks.

This challenge has also helped me develop a more keen eye as I look for things to shoot everywhere. I always have my point and shoot with me. Here are some of the less mundane images I’ve captured so far. A few have been on meetups, but most are from everyday life.

What was, isn’t: Hallberg Gardens, part 2

Continuing on the theme of “What was, isn’t,” we’ve made a lot of changes ourselves personally. For us what was–a 31 foot 5th-wheel trailer–isn’t any more. After losing a wheel and axel on our way to a star gazing trip, we decided it was time to sell the aging home away from home. We just bought a new, used 24 foot travel trailer. At our age, this makes more sense. We will use our time share for distance travel.

The Hallberg Gardens faces the same dilemma, Louise Hallberg needs help to revive her dream. She too, is aging. I wish I lived closer so I could get in there and work. I confess, I have a black thumb; but I could help clean up. I’m hoping Hallberg Gardens will survive.

Meanwhile, here are the rest of the images from the Meetup.

 

 

What was, isn’t: Hallberg Butterfly Gardens

It’s sad when you know something that was once beautiful is in danger of going away. I’m talking about the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens in Sebastopol, California. Louise Hallberg’s garden officially became a non-profit organization in 1997. I say officially because she has lived in the same house on the property since a child in the 1920s.

Today, at 97, Louise still tends the gardens with help from a few friends. The grounds do need work and tender loving care. However, they are still a haven for butterflies and insects. The Meetup group that arranged this outing billed it as a chance to pull out the macro lens. I don’t have one, but I shot with my 55 – 300 lens some of the time and my 18 – 55 mm the rest of the time. We didn’t see too many butterflies, but there were birds and flowers to compensate. I do wish the butterflies would stay still for just a moment! We did have one that seemed to want to show off, and I was able to get some great shots of him (or her!).

I hope someone will come along and take over the property. It would make a great historical park. While we were there, I did meet Hallberg, who had a helper with her. She is frail and just got out of the hospital recovering from a fall. If you’d like to help, visit their website at http://www.hallbergbutterflygardens.org/. It would be great to keep Hallberg’s vision and this garden alive. This will be another 2-part post. There’s so much to show you!