Lens-Artist Challenge #190: Close and Closer

I’m happiest when I have my macro lens on my camera. Yes, I love macro and close up photography. But Patti is correct in this week’s challenge of getting close and closer. Getting close to the subject changes the story slightly. My images are cropped sections of a larger area, but I believe the feeling is the same.

To begin, we visited the Manetti Shrem Museum, an art museum on the U. C. Davis campus. More than what’s inside, I love the exterior. All the lines and angles. They can also be found inside. The first image shows some of the exterior as seen from the hall in the museum. The second photo is cropped in to show more of the detail in the metal. The shadows also add design to the image.

The second set shows a winter scene at Donner Lake. Photographed from the roadside, the long, curved driveway invites the viewer toward the home. I drastically cropped in the image to show the window and its reflection which creates a design of its own. I’m glad we can crop in a photo and respect the owner’s property.

Next we have a path at Fort Ross on the California Coast. Uncropped it shows a winding path leading through a tree umbrella. Cropped, the focus is on the detail of the trees.

Last we have an old farm building. This was taken at one of the Yolo Art and Ag Project farm visits. In the landscape a photographer is taking a picture of the same building. In the close up, I focused on the window. Processing it in black and white added a more realistic quality to the age of the building. Do you think the photographer was doing the same thing?

Thank you Patti for showing us how getting closer can change the look, feel and story of an image. And thank you Tina for encouraging us to find our oddest ends last week. Next week, Ann-Christine will lead our challenge. Please remember to link to Patti’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find your post in the WordPress Reader.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #187: Water

Just think about the photographs you’ve reviewed lately. I bet a lot of them include either a foreground or background of water. Water enhances our photos, adding impact. Photographing it is also fun and sometimes a challenge.  My dear friend Jean, who passed away recently, loved to photograph anything water. In fact, many outings were diverted because she saw a sign saying there was a lake or other water nearby. This was taken on one of Jean’s detours.

The San Francisco Bay near Port Costa.

Water is featured in many landscapes.  This ocean picture was taken in Pacific Grove.

This Folsom Lake image was taken before the drought hit last year. The sailboat is the focus, and the water gives it location.

Bridges usually go over water and in Sacramento County we have many that help us get to the other side of the rivers. I took this one recently of the Rainbow Bridge, a Folsom landmark, and the American river. Reflections in the water add a certain dynamic.

Water can also be the focus of our pictures. Waterfalls, from the great Niagara Falls (the American and Bridal Veil falls), to the small falls at our local Dry Creek are focus points. At Dry Creek, I was handholding the camera and trying to show water as silky by slowing down the shutter speed. I’ve yet to master that because I don’t often carry my tripod! One day I will get up early, plant myself at the ocean, put on my neutral density filter and photograph beautiful waves as they hit the rocky shoreline.

Here’s another handheld close-up image of water coming out of a pipe. This just shows that water of any kind can be fun to shoot. Next is a macro image of a water drop on a leaf. I had a lot of fun taking that one. Finally, the last of this trio shows simple drops of water on lotus pads.

Oh, the last bit of water I’ve had fun with is the snow. Fortunately, here in Sacramento we don’t live with the snow, but we can visit it. Here’s an image of a home in Blue Canyon one hour up the interstate. The second image is of icicles (And their reflection in a window) on a cabin at Donner Lake which is 1 ½ hours away.

I’ll end my show and tell here, but what water fun have you had? Please show us your water fun and tell us about it. Go through your archives and retrieve some memories or find new liquid delights to photograph this week. We’re anxious to see your images. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and to link to this post.

Thank you for participating in Sophia’s challenge of “Low Light” last week. Next week we are pleased to have Karina of Murtagh’s Meadow as our guest host. I wonder what she has in store for us.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us:

https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

 

Lens Artist Challenge #173: Interesting Architecture

Architecture surrounds us whether it’s a historical building, a small store, a different sort of home or an iconic skyscraper. In this week’s challenge, Tina encourages us to share our images of interesting architecture, opening the field to what is fascinating to us.

While California is known for cities like Hollywood and San Francisco, it is primarily an agricultural state. In Sacramento we are so close to a countryside of farms, ranches and orchards. Here are two country houses, very different in architecture, that I’ve visited through the Yolo Arts & Ag Project.

Close to Sacramento is Donner Lake, a busy place for summer and winter recreation. Some people live there full time and some have homes to enjoy as a get away. Here is a winter scene.

We also have buildings of historical value. One is the Gibson House, It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, in Woodland and another, bulging in the front for years, is located in Locke which is a historic district. I think it’s amazing that it is still standing.

And, of course there’s Folsom State Prison. Its architecture gives us a hint as to its age–141 years. Built in 1880, it’s a minimum to medium security prison and houses only men.

Next is Sacramento’s very own Tower Bridge. Spanning the Sacramento River, it connects Sacramento to West Sacramento, and is used as a branding image for many ad campaigns.

And finally, my favorite building, the CALSTRS building. In the picture above, it’s located just after another amazing architectural wonder, the Pyramid (The Ziggurat) Office Building. Here you can see it up close.

This ends my tour of interesting architecture in and around Sacramento. Thank you Tina for this fun challenge!

Winter white: Donner Lake

The snow beckons, but not in the middle of a storm or when it’s 6-feet deep. I’m a fair-weather-snow type of gal. I like the ambient temperature not freezing and to have ample snow on the ground. Had we made it up to Donner Lake a few days earlier it would have been perfect, but life did not permit. But it was still good when we did get there.

Donner Lake Village is a small town wrapping around the lake. It’s quaint and attracts tourists and residents year round. It is close to all major sky areas for winter sports, and in the summer is just stunning. When we went up, I didn’t even need to put my snow boots on. The weather was perfect.

The lake is about 1 1/2 hours from my home. Richard drove and Ray and Sally came along. Here are some of my images captured that day.

We were able to enter the Donner Memorial State Park Visitors’ Center, but the museum was closed. I had a different kind of fun in the gift shop.

Outside the gift shop was a photographer’s snowy opportunity.

After lunch, we went back into town for a last look.

We are expecting another storm soon. Maybe then I can go up again and need to wear my snow boots!

Lens-Artist Challenge #107: Winter

The wonderful thing about living in Sacramento is being able to visit Winter, enjoy for a few hours and come back to mild temperatures and no snow! Oh, I forgot to mention that if you time it right, you won’t need snow tires or chains to get to the snow and ski resorts. But timing is critical.

I remember taking two members of my Skillbuilders Toastmasters Club to Reno, Nevada for a District 39 conference. We didn’t see any snow on the 2-hour ride up to Reno. We were just about to find a place to eat dinner when my husband called and said to come home. There was a big storm ready to hit Reno and further west. We didn’t hesitate. By the time we got to the car, the snow was already falling. When we got to the California border, I couldn’t see in front of me; the snow was falling that heavy. I managed to get down the mountain by following truck tracks that sort of plowed the road. I didn’t have snow tires or chains. However, the scenery was simply beautiful. Freshly fallen snow on pine trees; a photographer’s dream. It’s too bad I was driving. I would have been taking pictures.

While the timing was wrong for that trip, it was right for our February 2016 trip to the small town of Donner Lake, near Truckee, in Nevada County. The weather was perfect, roads were plowed and plenty of snow available to photograph. Linda drove and Marlene and I went along. It was an amazing day, topped off by the best pizza. Yes, we are foodies of sort.

Thank you Ann-Christine, and this challenge, for taking me back to a wonderful day! Check the captions for image details.

I’ve been up the mountain to shoot snow since, but never experienced a day like this. Isn’t it wonderful that we have our images to help us remember. Keep beauty in your heart!

Sometimes new isn’t as good as old: Donner Snow Sheds

Our loyal group of senior photographers made a return visit to the Donner Snow Sheds located above Donner Lake in Nevada County. No longer used as a shelter for trains coming through the Sierra Nevada mountains, they are now hosts to art and graffiti from locals.

Since these works of art change as they are painted over, we decided it was time for another walk through the tunnels. I was there in July 2016 with Linda and Marlene. Neither of them were available for this visit.

Honestly, I was disappointed with the art. First, the initial tunnel was barren of art. I did find familiar scenery in between that and the second tunnel. The third tunnel had the most to photograph. Of course, there was beautiful Donner Lake!

To make matters worse, I experienced some altitude illness. At an elevation of 7,057 feet above sea level, I shouldn’t have had that trouble! I’ve been over Donner Pass and at Donner Lake a few times without trouble.

But all things come to pass! It was an enjoyable outing with great friends. Maybe I’ll do it again in a couple of years as the graffiti is painted over.

One off Linda’s bucket list: Donner Lake Tunnels

I’m sorry to say that I really don’t have a bucket list. But, happily, photo buddy Linda does!

Her bucket list brought her, Marlene and I back to Donner Lake for the third time this year. I’ve lived in the Sacramento area for 15 years and had never been there. Thank goodness for photography. This hobby has taken me to more places I could imagine. And, back to those places.

During this Donner Lake trip, we specifically went to see the Donner Lake Railroad Tunnels that were on Linda’s bucket list. Fortunately, she knew of a way we could get there without hiking up the rocky mountain. Driving there and parking the car was easier, especially for three seniors.

These three tunnels totaling 1,659 feet were the first railroad line to traverse the Sierra Nevada Range. Built largely by Chinese workers, the tunnels were completed in August 1867 and the first train passed through it on June 18th, 1868. The last train passed through in 1993 when the route was changed to a new location.

We passed through it on July 2, 2016. Well, we made it through the first two short tunnels and half way through the long third one. The train rails are gone, and the walls are decorated with graffiti. It’s an experience to do at least once, and the doors in the third tunnel exit to an excellent view of Donner Lake.

After the tunnels, we drove back down and rode around the Lake. It was very different in the summer. In the winter it was serene and beautiful; however, in the summer, it was crowded. I’ll show you both images.

I enjoyed this trip, but I wonder what else is on Linda’s photo bucket list? We’ll see.

 

 

 

From February to May: Donner Lake

I was surprised that there was still snow on the ground when we made our trip to Donner Lake.  The area around the lake wasn’t as pretty though. The gray snow that still surrounded some houses was negligible. We did stop at the same overlook and, wow, what a difference 3 months can make. Snow still capped the mountains, and the scene was beautiful.

The overlook was the only place that we visited before. This time we went into Donner Lake Memorial State Park. It was here that I had an opportunity to play with a crystal orb. Now that was fun. It took some getting used to, but I was happy with the results. A crystal orb is now on my list.

What did I learn? I believe I’m shooting with more confidence. I’m also getting a great deal of positive feed back on my images, and waiting for the five black and white prints I ordered. I do hope there are no surprises when I open the box. Meaning, I  want them to look as they do on my computer!

Here’s a glimpse of Donner Lake and the State Park.

 

Fun day, snow day: Donner Lake, CA

Let’s see: boots, check; flannel lined leggings, check; three layers on top, check; knitted head scarf, check. I’m all ready for a fun day of shooting in the snow at Donner Lake.

Marlene, Linda and I went off early one Saturday morning to get ahead of the weekend crowds. However, to our surprise, there weren’t a bunch of people on the Donner Lake roads. It was beautiful with temperatures in the high 50’s (Fahrenheit) and sunny. What fun.

The reality is that we drove around the lake, drove to the mountain top and drove into the nearby town of Truckee. Yes, we did get out, walk around and shoot. But, we didn’t hike. Still, the thrill of stepping into a foot of snow was there. At one time, I did fall, butt down, into the fresh icy snow. When I fall, so do my two cameras hanging from a sling. I got up and wiped them down with a towel I brought along. They didn’t suffer. Neither did I.

Since this was my first time shooting in the snow, I read tutorials. Of course they contradicted each other! That’s the frustrating about learning photography, there are many ways to achieve the same end. So, I decided to bracket my shots. At least one of the three would be good, right? When I uploaded them to my computer, I decided that the original exposure shot was the correct one. They did need some processing in Lightroom to tone down the white and, sometimes, blue of the snow.

And, we met a few nice people who were more than willing to chat. I get it now Greg! What did I learn from this experience? I discovered that whatever your physical capabilities you can have fun in the snow. Just make sure you’re covered for whatever weather Mother Nature brings–boots, hat, enough clothing layers and good friends.