A return trip: Locke

I’ve been to the town of Locke a few times, but never on the weekend. This time we went on a Sunday and some stores and museums were open. My challenge was to photograph something different or from a different angle.

Known as the Locke Historic District, CA (U.S. National Park Service), Locke was originally a town built for the Chinese immigrants who came to work the farms and orchards. For a full history, click on the link above. The town remains basically the same as you can see from the pictures. It hasn’t changed at all in all the years I’ve visited.

By going on a Sunday, we found many residents home and working in their yards or just relaxing. A couple of stores were open too. It’s a very small town and main street is a far cry from a typical small town thoroughfare. Two restaurants serve the town. It’s about a mile to Walnut Grove, also founded as a need to house Chinese workers, where you can find more restaurants, etc.

My neighbors joined us for this expedition and just weren’t prepared for how the town was kept as original as possible. Even the toilet bowl garden hasn’t changed or the old barn with all the wheelbarrows

I was lucky that the open store had cold drinks and a few items to photograph.

Doorways are fun to photograph in Locke.

The old buildings have remained the same. The one with the bulging front is still standing.

Someone has his/her own way of dealing with this pandemic.

I also liked these chairs sitting in a yard.

I’m sure we’ll go back to Locke again, maybe next year. Things will probably remain the same.

Competition and education: The Motherload Fair

For years I’ve been looking at my friends’ (Sandy and Ken) ribbons attached to their photographs. They participate in the Motherload Fair, Sonora, photo competition. It’s a small fair and I asked them to let me know when the next one was happening. That was about 2 years ago. A pandemic interfered. But this year they suddenly decided that with California opening up, the fair would happen.

So I entered seven pictures in various categories. The entry fee was $1 per picture. I did say it was a small fair!

Sandy and Ken print and mat their own images and I drove down for a lesson in printing and matting. I did learn a great deal. First, matting is no easy task. I did one mat and Sandy did the rest. I’ve decided that in the future, I would print out a standard size and buy a standard mat! I don’t have Sandy’s math abilities or patience! I also bought a printer just like hers. Richard has already printed out one of his astrophotography pictures. So that’s the education.

When Ken brought in our entries, he was amazed at the lack of pictures. The Fair staff said that there wasn’t a lot entered this year. Now for the competition. Of the seven, I had four first place images with one of them being best of division, one second place image and two honorable mentions. Sandy took best in show and others. Ken’s won many ribbons also.

Here are my first place images:

Since this was my first time to this fair, I brought my camera. Well, I always bring my camera! Here are some captures that are captioned.

Sandy and Ken are already talking about next year. Will I enter?

Finally, here’s Sandy’s Best in Show image. It’s hard to see because of all the ribbons!!

I’m sure I have more to learn. Maybe next year!

Lens Artists Challenge #149: Cool Colors, Blue and Green

I am moved by color. I am absolutely drawn to warm colors naturally, but can appreciate the cool colors when nature gives us beautiful green grass and blue skies. This week Tina asks us to feature blues and greens in our posts. It worked out for me since I was in San Jose this weekend, and my dear friend Alyse and I drove down to Pacific Grove. She sketched while I photographed.

Pacific Grove is on the ocean near Monterey. It’s also the site of the well known Pebble Beach Golf Course and Tournament. So, I found a lot of blues and greens to photograph. I’ve got four images to show you today because that’s all I’ve been able to process.

Let’s start with our first stop. This area is known for its wind blown Monterey Cypress trees.

Alyse was sketching this sculpture and the surrounding area. I’m guessing that the exposure to harsh weather and salt helped make it look blue.

A little further down the road, a group of cormorants were sunbathing on a huge rock. Some more blues and a spot of green.

Finally, we have an array of color with flowers along this rocky coast.

I hope to process the rest of the pictures this week. They will be featured in a blog post soon. Thank you Tina for setting us off on a cool color search.

Smoke is finally away: Downtown Roseville

Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I think I hear my camera calling to me. It’s saying, “Take me out! Use me!” But because of all the wildfires in California, the air has been too smoky to go out. But I did get out with my camera at the end of August to shoot murals in downtown Roseville.

Downtown Roseville is mainly Vernon Street and the streets surrounding their City Hall and other government buildings. Historic Roseville is nearby. But we went downtown to take pictures of murals. Quite frankly, I didn’t think they compared to the Wide Open Walls creations in Sacramento.

We walked quite a bit that morning just enjoying being out, the sunshine and no smoke. Here are some murals.

I took this wide and then broke it up into two images. You’ll have to click on the images to view them full.

Another wide and close up view.

I thought this one was very creative. Here’s a wide view and close up of her face.

This one was on the wall of a public swimming pool. I loved the colors.

And just one more.

I hope you didn’t think we’d just take photos of murals! Here’s some of the downtown shops.

And now around City Hall. The Round About, a water play area with fountain and the Roseville welcome structure, showing which street goes which way.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour of Downtown Roseville and murals. This Sunday, if the smoke is still gone, we will be taking photos of the Sacramento murals.

Cross your fingers for me. The camera will be unhappy if it can’t get out!

Smile: Getting through the pandemic blues!

Smile!” That’s what I told a dear friend who has the pandemic blues. That’s what I’m telling myself today! Thank you Olivia for creating this wonderful reminder.

Olivia is my 9 year old (almost 10) granddaughter. I saw she was working and concentrating on something at her desk after she finished her school work. She came over to me and showed me this awesome and colorful picture. I smiled and asked if I could have it. She thought a few seconds and shook her head yes. It now has its place on my fridge. Actually I’m thinking of framing it. What do you think?

So many of us have reached the depression stage in this pandemic. In addition, here in California, we have fire. Our entire state is blazing. Those of us who have forced inside because of smoke and ash really shouldn’t complain. We have our homes. But it’s still depressing.

I’ve gone in my kitchen a lot lately just to be reminded to SMILE! You have my permission to print and copy this wonderful smiley face when you feel depressed and trapped inside. I’m sure Olivia won’t mind!

Oh, WordPress wouldn’t let me use Olivia’s picture as the featured image, so I’m using the Mickey Mouse puzzle my grandson Christopher made for me. Mickey helps me smile too!

Paradise lost: The Camp Fire Aftermath

The photos in this post are not pretty or inviting, but they are realistic. My neighbor, a Camp Fire survivor, invited me and a few of my photo buddies up to the small town of Paradise to document where he used to live. Just imagine not being able to look at photo albums containing images of past generations, your children when they were young, past celebrations. Camp Fire survivors don’t have that privilege. They are lucky to be alive.

Called the deadliest and most destructive fire in California, this fire ignited before 6:30 a.m., November 8, 2018 near Camp Creek Road and Pulga Road in Paradise, Butte County. After extensive investigation, the cause was found to be a faulty transmission wire maintained by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The two roads out of Paradise into Chico were jammed with residents trying to escape. A typically short ride down the mountain took 4 hours. My neighbor said the car was hot and it looked like they were surrounded by walls of orange. Eighty five people didn’t make it.

We visited June 30, 2020. By this time all the debris was cleared, the murals painted on wall remnants were gone, but desolation remained. Here’s what we saw. Pictures are captioned.

This was a difficult shoot. I’m posting this because my neighbor said he was so happy we wanted to come up to photograph the place he used to call home.

Getting out on a dismal day: Old Town Fair Oaks

It was a dark stormy night–not really, but it was a cloudy, almost raining day when a small group of us decided we needed to get out and take some photos. So, we followed the chickens to the small old town of Fair Oaks in Sacramento County. Yes, chickens are plentiful there. The roosters are bold and noisy, but have great color. They are the attraction, and don’t have to wear masks or stay 6 feet apart!

The small area was desolate. There were a few people roaming around. The stores were closed except for a cafe where people were eating and enjoying coffee outside. It felt strange, experiencing Fair Oaks during lock down.

We did stop for coffee at the cafe and sat outside before heading our separate ways. (We don’t carpool anymore. We drive separately.) On the way home, I stopped at Marlene‘s to meet her new puppy Charlie, an Australian Labradoodle. We met outside and observed the correct social distancing. The reality was that Charlie didn’t want to come to me! He finally got to the point of coming close, but that was about it.

During our stay, the sun peaked out at times but quickly hid behind the clouds. It was a fun time though with the chickens and photo buddies!

Our new normal: I can’t get motivated today!

I don’t think it’s the fact that we are under lock-down, I think I can’t get motivated because it’s raining or just damp outside. Yesterday we endured a large, wind blowing and rainy storm complete with lightening and thunder. California needed that storm, but I didn’t need the ceiling tiles in my sun-room ruined and having it rain in the room!

But that didn’t get me down. Neither did my experience with ordering groceries through a local market’s E-Cart service which ended up a disaster. Okay, I’ll tell you about it since you insist. I put my order in online and waited three days to pick it up. On the right day and time, we go to the store and call them to let them know we (Richard and I) were out in the parking lot. They tell me they’ll be right out with my order. Two cars drive up and get their order. I call them again and was told they’d be right out. You can see where this is going! It seems they gave my order to the wrong person. With all the apologies they could muster, they finally brought out my order which wasn’t complete! I’m now waiting for my refund to show up. So we ended up going inside another market to get the rest of the list. We wore our masks and gloves, and practiced social distancing.

Well, I was upset, but that didn’t get me down. Neither did the fact that I had to get a urine sample from my male dog Gem. Have you ever tried that? After several failed attempts with unique ideas, Richard followed the vets advice. He attached the cup to the end of a cane! My neighbor promised to help so off we went on the dog walk of a lifetime. I held the leash and she operated the cane. We were successful. Fortunately, we only had one witness!

We laughed a lot at the absurdity of the task, and it didn’t get me down either! Actually, we laughed a lot and that felt good. Laughter is the best medicine.

I truly believe the weather is my downer. And, I can’t do anything about that, can I! I think I’ll have some fun looking through past photos to post here. After all, this is a photo blog. Maybe it will motivate me to take some images of things around the house for some of the local camera club challenges.

Here are some photos from a night outing in 2014. We were shooting a full moon with silos as a background. This was early on in my photography adventure, and I learned a lot about night photography.

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!

Slow September: The Foothills and River Bend Park

Confession: I haven’t been shooting much this month, except for real estate. I’ll admit that my abilities have grown in that niche, and I enjoy the challenge. Otherwise, I think I need something different to shoot. Tomorrow may just give me that chance. We’re going down to the Ironstone Vineyards, in Murphys to take pictures of their annual Concours d’Elegance, featuring old vehicles and their owners in period costumes. I’m hoping that will perk me up.

On a good note, I’ve taken the time to prioritize watching Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom course that I purchased a couple of years ago. I do like his teaching style. But, Matt, I need help on re-organizing my folders! I didn’t know what I was doing when I started Lightroom, and now I’m paying for it. The years are all mixed up and it’s difficult to find stuff. Marlene helped me, and we got it into months and then years. However, the new additions are not following any sequence! It’s just frustrating. I’d like to start over, but that would be worse. But I’m glad that I spent the time on the course. Next is Photoshop!

The small amount of time I’ve spent shooting hasn’t yielded any amazing photography, just some interesting pieces that I’m showing you in this post.

In this first set, Jean and I just wandered around the Sierra Foothills for interesting things. We didn’t find too much. Here are some:

The next pictures were taken at River Bend Park. I was amazed at how glassy the American River was.

Tomorrow should be more exciting if it doesn’t rain. Yes, they are predicting rain for the morning. Light rain, but…..

Have a great weekend everyone!