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!

It’s been a long time! The Haggin Museum, Stockton California

I’m still here! I just haven’t been shooting for fun lately. It’s been so hot and I’ve been lacking the incentive to go outside to take photos except for real estate shoots. I’m enjoying those, and I do a good job now. Practice makes perfect!

It seems we went from rain right into the summer heat waves. No Spring! Hopefully Autumn will be better. Last week we ended August at the Haggin Museum in Stockton California.

The outside was simple and pretty:

It was a lovely museum. The exhibits were well placed and accessible. The interior was sleek and very photographic.

We went there to see a black and white photography exhibit, Masters of American Photography, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. The exhibit was outstanding! The collection featured images from Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others spanning from the 1880s to 1980s.

Since shipbuilding is Stockton’s oldest industry a Stephens Bros. Boat Builders exhibit was locate in one of the galleries.

On loan from the Smithsonian Institute, an exhibit explored Dolores Huerta’s public life as an activist and showed the multi-ethnic aspects of the labor movement.

There was also an exhibit of J. C. Leyendecker’s work for magazine covers and advertisements. This gallery was cleverly placed in the hall spanning the entire circle upstairs.

The museum has three levels. The bottom level showed store fronts as they looked in Stockton’s early days.

They also had small galleries featuring rifles, etc. and American Indian items.

They also had vehicles, agricultural machinery, old fire engine and European Art. One of my favorites was the globe clock.

I also tried to shoot through glass windows without a tripod or polarizing filter!

And, a museum featuring famous photographers would miss a great marketing opportunity if they didn’t cater to photographers in their store!

I hope you enjoyed this visit!

RIP Sharon Brooks Janis: Sacramento River Walk

I guess it’s easy to say, “We’re at that age when our friends leave us.” But, it still hurts when they do. My dear friend Sharon died Tuesday morning. I won’t go into her illnesses, but she died peacefully in her sleep. For that I’m thankful.

She lived in Chatsworth California, more than 300 miles from me. While we didn’t talk on a daily basis, we did keep in touch via phone calls and infrequent in- person visits. Sharon was a “doer,” taking on various roles at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Granada Hills. She was Sisterhood president, catering chairperson and helped in many other areas. Some how she found time for everyone and everything. As I sit here, I’m at a loss not being able to go down to Southern California for her funeral.

During her last visit here in Sacramento, we went down to Old Sacramento. I remember sitting with her just watching the activity on the Sacramento River. She was diabetic and had neuropathy in her feet. Walking any distance was not possible. So, I’m not going to post the second part of my Napa trip (that will be my next post), but post my recent visit to the Sacramento River Walk. Included in the gallery are some iconic shots, some new scenes and some street photography. I hope this will honor her, especially since I couldn’t say good-bye in person.

Sharon, may your memory be a blessing for all of us who knew and loved you. Shalom.

To the market we go: Folsom Farmers Market

Summer, it’s the season when local farmer’s markets abound, and I do enjoy taking pictures of the produce and people. But, you never know what you’ll find when you get there. The Folsom farmers market, in Folsom, was more representative of large growers than local. I asked several vendors where their farm was located, and they answered they were representing a large farm based elsewhere. Here are some produce images.

I was probably also not “in the mood!” I find that my attitude and health affect what and how I shoot. Whatever it was, I enjoyed taking photos of the dogs than the produce.

There were a couple of food trucks that I thought were interesting.

But, I truly enjoyed how the light fell on this flag.

So, maybe, it was a good morning shoot after all!

Still in April! Table Mountain, Butte County

Wow, do I have to catch up with posting my photographic adventures! Here’s the last post for April and we’re ending May. I’ll try to post more frequently until I’m current.

In April we all go in search of wild flowers to photograph. I was sick from February through April with a cold that wouldn’t quit so I got out late to North Table Mountain and its beautiful wildflowers. Located in Butte County near Oroville, Table mountain consists of two flat mountain areas, North and South. The wild flowers grow on top of volcanic material which makes walking a challenge for some of us. There a numerous waterfalls, but our hike included some of the smaller ones.

After leaving Table Mountain, we stopped by the old Oregon City covered bridge. Photos are included in the gallery.

I accompanied Laura on this outing. I can’t say I was especially excited with what I saw and captured. This was my second trip to Table Mountain with about 3 years in between. Maybe my memory made things sweeter, maybe I wasn’t feeling totally well, or we got out there late in the wildflower life cycle. But, I got what I got and reviewing the images for this post, they aren’t that bad!

So here’s North Table Mountain.

Open and Shut: Daffodil Hill, Volcano, California

We photographers never know when or if Daffodil Hill will open for the public. It all depends on the weather, and you know how fickle Mother Nature can be. Last year it didn’t open at all because of the rains. In years past, the owners had to close early because of rain.

This family attraction is located in the tiny town of Volcano, Amador County. It’s family owned and operated. People can visit without charge, but there are donation boxes and a small gift shop at the front. It’s great for families who picnic in the parking lot, walk the paths that wind through the And, if all goes well, 300,000 flowers fill the hillside when in full bloom.

These are personally planted by the family and volunteers help direct traffic into and out of the parking lot. I had been there before and posted about it in a blog. But that visit was during the week, not too crowded and peacocks were showing off in numbers. This time, being the first day and on a Saturday, it was crowded, no peacocks. There seemed to be less flowers too.

So why did I go on opening day? I didn’t think it would be open very long with rain being predicted. Laura had never been there, and I thought it would be fun to take photos of the crowds. With Marlene riding shotgun and navigating, we began our adventure a little late, sat in traffic while waiting to park, and finally entered after a half hour.

And, I was right!! Daffodil Hill closed for the season. three days after it opened! This venue is truly a labor of love and dedication for the family and volunteers. No captions for the flowers–you know what they are!

Enough is enough: Valley Oak Wool Mill & Frate Sole Olive Oil

My body says enough with the rain. Truly it cannot handle this much dampness. The house is 70 degrees F, and I’m sitting at the computer wearing a turtle neck top, sweater, jeans and a bathrobe. I’m still cold! I’d go to the pool area and sit in the hot tub, but it’s raining! Do I sound fed up? I am!

Okay, now that I’ve complained about Mother Nature, let’s move on to more fun activities–meaning taking the camera out for an outing. Last week we went to the monthly Yolo Art & Ag activity at Valley Oak Wool Mill and Frate Sole Olive Oil.

Both are in Woodland, and are right beside each other. They were easy to find. I say that because navigating the country roads can get tough when you’re not familiar with the area. This visit was inbetween rain storms and the road was puddled, but in good condition.

When we arrived we first went to Frate Sole, not realizing that a talk was being given at Valley Oak. The talk was almost over by the time we walked over there, but we were able to get the gist of it. Owner and operator Marcail McWilliams spins wool for her customers who supply the wool. Once spun into yarn, she returns the finished product to the client. I was amazed at the size of the machinery she works on. Her yarns are simply beautiful.

With these many images, I’ll save Frate Oil for the next post. As you can see, it was still overcast and wet. Let’s have some sun!