Catching up, part 2: Christmas Lights

Yes, I’m still back in December 2021. On the 27th to be exact! Donna and I went out locally to photograph some Christmas lights. The conditions that night were perfect: not too cold and clear.

Last year I had some trouble with my Fujifilm camera. It was the first time using it for this function and I couldn’t get the lighting right. This year I knew it was okay to pump up the ISO. What a difference! This camera handles a high ISO so much better than my Nikon 7100 did.

Here are some of the results. Now pay attention to some of the snow men!

Did you see the great robbery in progress? And the robber’s weapon? If not, look again! As you can see, I also had fun with some slow shutter speed and zooming the lens. Thanks for visiting!

Lens Artists Challenge #180: Favorite Images of 2021

Happy New Year everyone! Tina is asking us to post our favorites from 2021. It’s nice to have that in the past! Hopefully this year, we will move on to a more normal situation. What has gotten me through the last 2 years is photography. I’ve enjoyed going on photo outings with my friends, who have remained healthy and COVID free. Our small photo pod goes out once a week. I’m thinking lunch after our shoot is probably what we look forward to also.

And each week I would anxiously wait for our challenge each Saturday. Not only is posting here fun, I’ve learned so much from comments and seeing all your posts. This year, I’m honored and delighted to become part of the Lens-Artists team along with Sofia Alves of Photographias, and John Steiner of Journeys with Johnbo. We are joining Tina, Amy, Patti and Ann-Christine who have brought us fun challenges in past years. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

So, back to my favorites. The first two are lotus. Each year the William Land Park in Sacramento brings forth these beauties. I decided to take the chance and do a black & white of one of them. The other is in color.

I entered the McKinley Park Rose Garden contest last year. The roses were turning brown, and I just didn’t think my images would win against other images taken a week before. This rose won first prize.

While at the Mother Lode Fair in Sonora, this clown stuck his face right at my lens. Of course I didn’t send him away. This will be entered in this year’s photo contest at the fair.

Each year Sacramento hosts “Chalk It Up.” This is my favorite from that morning. It seems like the child is actually in the water. The artist is still working on it. The second photo is a slow shutter shot at a small fair in a Citrus Heights Mall parking lot.

Next we have the back view of the Bourn Cottage in the Empire Mine State Historic Park in Nevada City. And also the ceiling in a restaurant that burned down a few weeks after my photo pod and I ate lunch there! I can’t go back for another shot!

Coming into the Holiday season last year, Donna and I, at the last minute, because it wasn’t raining, to photograph Christmas light displays. I do like to have fun zooming. The photos are handheld.

Last are photos from my trip to the Sacramento Zoo on December 30. I’m still in the processing stage, but I thought these were worth posting now. The flamingo is sleeping, but opens its eye. Maybe it felt the camera’s presence?

Thank you Tina for prompting me to look through last year’s outings.

Again it’s a pleasure to be a part of the LAPC team along with Tina, Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and new members Sofia and John. I’m looking forward to seeing all your favorites. Next week Tina will be presenting the challenge. Be sure to tag Lens Artists when you post.

Exploring Roseville at night

A modern day boom town, Roseville was stretching its borders when we first moved here in 2001. What was once a small railroad town is now a hub for corporations (At least before the pandemic hit.) and new housing. When I was doing business in Roseville there were four main areas: Downtown Roseville, the Historic District, East Roseville (corporate) and West Roseville (housing). A couple of weeks ago, we ventured into Roseville for sunset and night photography.

We began at the Roseville Sculpture Park. This large red metal sculpture can be seen from the Interstate 80 freeway. The sculpture is named “Cosmos” and was dedicated to the people of Roseville in 1990 by a local developer.

We did find a couple of mushrooms along the path to the sculpture. I didn’t have my macro lens, so I photographed these at 55 mm. Actually the car was in the parking lot and I was too lazy to go get the lens. I think if there had been more than two mushrooms, I would have changed lenses!

Next we went to Downtown Roseville and its main street: Vernon Street. There are two theaters, restaurants and shops around Roseville’s City Hall. Here are some of this area approaching sundown.

After we enjoyed dinner, we returned to Downtown to catch some of the town’s lights. The Christmas tree was up in the Town Square and a decorative display of a house caught peoples attention. These were taken without a tripod because you know, I’m lazy!

We ended our evening cold but happy.

Lens Artists Challenge #148: Spots and Dots

Spots and dots? This challenge from Ann Christine put my lack of creativity to a test. Fortunately, I got some ideas from members who posted before me. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery!

Animals were shown in a few posts; at least those having spots. So off I went to my Sacramento Zoo archives.

I also found a dog with spots. Not a dog called spot. I spotted him in one of my tours of a small town. Sorry, I couldn’t resist having some word fun.

And you’ll never know what you’ll find at IKEA. With a Photoshop filter, I turned a dotted pillow into a swirl with a center dot.

Every year there are Christmas lights that you can shoot normally or zoom. But they all start out as brightly lit dots.

Finally, you know how much I love photographing flowers. Whether it’s a macro, showing the stamens or a field dotted with golden poppies, I totally enjoy it.

This was a fun exercise. Thank you Ann Christine for the challenge!

Merry Christmas: Lights

We’re getting closer to the second miracle of this season. First was Chanukah and now it’s Christmas. I love to take images of the decorated lights on houses and in yards. So Jean and I went out for my second round of taking photos of lights.

I thought this house sent the religious message of Christmas along with some fun snow men, plus a snowman zoom.

This next display starts in the front yard with a patriotic theme and ends with a “Frozen” theme on the side yard and around the corner. It was well done. Of course, I’m thinking of power and how much it costs to run the lights. But, this was an enjoyable exhibit.

Last, I’m showing you the first display we saw. It was simple and beautiful. And, yes, I had to zoom!

Have a great Christmas. Let’s hope next year let’s hope for another miracle and we’ll be back with families and friends! Stay safe everyone.

Lens Artist Challenge #128: And Here Comes The Holiday Season

Ann Christine’s challenge propelled me back in time and brought me back to the now. As a kid, I didn’t look forward to this time of the year. Most of my friends celebrated Christmas, and my Jewish friends celebrated Chanukah. Each received wonderful gifts. My family didn’t have money for gifts, but we had a family menorah (or Chanukkiah). I remember we’d light the candles each night, but going to school and hearing the other kids talk about presents was tough.

This is why I started collecting menorahs, and gave each of my children, their spouses and grandchildren their own Chanukkiah. At our Chanukah celebrations, we’d light them all and turn off the lights. I delighted in watching the candles burn. When I see these lights, I’m reminded neither Christmas or Chanukah originated with gifts, but with love and hope.

Now we have a blended family and I get to participate in both Chanukah and Christmas. I love to go and photograph decorated homes.

Most of all, I like to zoom the lights and rotate my camera while the shutter is open.

Although we didn’t get down there this year, my favorite place is California’s Capitol building and tree. The building is beautiful in its own right, and the tree adds a wonderful holiday feeling.

My wish for you is to have a safe and wonderful holiday season! We need patience and resilience in 2021.

A promise is a promise: Happy New Year

I always try to keep my promises. The operative word there is “try!” In my last post, I said that I would be going out to shoot Christmas lights when my friend Jean got her new camera, and I kept that promise. I was really dragging that night, and I’m so glad that my promise got me up and out. We had a lot of fun in the short time we were taking photos.

Our adventure took us to the Fab 40 area of Sacramento–an area of old beautiful homes. This neighborhood’s holiday effort didn’t compare to the residents of Dove Court in Orangevale; but with my fatigue and Jean’s knee, it was perfect. We walked the two blocks, shooting and talking with some residents. I saw two displays I liked and had fun zooming my lens.

Oh, Jean’s new camera is a tiny Panasonic mirrorless that does a lot. It made my Nikon D7100 look huge and feel heavy! I hope she finds a great deal of joy in using it.

Happy 2018 everyone. My wish if for you to have good health, prosperity and fun!

 

Merry Christmas: Sacramento Capitol Building

Somehow I’m procrastinating and haven’t gone out to shoot Christmas Lights. It’s been cold here and that’s why I haven’t propelled my body out of the house. But, we did got to the California State Capitol building to shoot the Christmas tree, and since it was during Chanukah, the Menorah on the Capitol steps by Chabad. I was a bit disappointed that the Menorah wasn’t lit that night.

We got there early enough to go inside the Capitol and take indoor photos. I’ll show you some. The rotunda is beautiful. Next we went outside to set up. Here’s where I learned another lesson! Don’t go on an outing with a preconceived idea of what you’re going to shoot, and just shoot that. Look around, there may be something behind you!

When I finally looked around, I was able to grab a shot of Capitol Ave leading to the Tower Bridge with light trails. Most of my group walked a ways down that street.

My friend Jean will be getting her new camera a couple of days after Christmas, and the houses will still be colorful. No more procrastinating! Merry Christmas everyone.

 

An ending and beginning: Christmas lights

Happy New Year. We ended 2015 shooting Christmas Lights, after the holiday but better late than not getting there at all. Going during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we thought there would be less crowds. Wrong! It was crowded on Dovewood Court. I guess everyone had the same idea. This court is one where all the houses are lit up beautifully. We went there last year also, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures. I tried to shoot differently for variety. And, this year, I felt more comfortable with my ability to shoot correctly.

Also ending is the 365 photography challenge. This being January 1, 2016, I didn’t have to shoot a picture, I could walk the dog without bringing a camera and both husband and dog are breathing easier now that they don’t have to be models. I’ll talk more about the 365 soon. It was an amazing experience.

Beginning is my attempt to learn more photography software. I’m going to do the 52, meaning I’ll post a photo once a week. My twist on it: I’m going to post a before and after image, showing a new editing skill I’ve learned. And, I don’t think I want to be tied to assigned themes. I just want to learn.

This year, I’m even more enthusiastic about shooting and learning new editing techniques to bring my photography to the next level.  Does that sound like a resolution? Maybe I’m just looking forward to a new beginning.

Here are some of the Christmas lights. (No captions necessary.)

 

 

Twas a few nights after Christmas: Orangevale, California

Okay, so it took me a while before I got out to shoot Christmas lights. But, when I did, it was great. My photo buddy, Laura Munro, braved the cold and walked a cul-de-sac in Orangevale known for its beautiful and, in some cases, decorative homes. I don’t know what their electric bills are, but I’m glad I’m not paying them!

Now, when I say cold I’m talking about high 30s and low 40s (faharenheit) in the evening. For Sacramento, California, that’s cold! I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a fair-weather photographer. But once I’m out there and start shooting, I forget about the temperature until we head back to the car. That’s when I realized I couldn’t feel my finger tips and my feet were cold!

Enough about the weather. Here are some of my Christmas light images.