Len-Artist Challenge #103: Surprise

Now this is a challenge. A surprised moment could be photographed in many ways. I was thinking about this and came up with the idea that sometimes people would be surprised they were photographed candidly. So here goes my interpretation of this week’s challenge by Ann-Christine.

Let’s begin with a most recent picture taken on my son’s boat during an outing to Folsom Lake. This was part of my birthday present. I love to shoot the backs of people. Totally unaware were my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson. Maybe I should have told Ryan to straighten up his head, but then it would ruin the candid moment. Separately, the kids were also surprised.

Now, we go back in time (2018) to a photo walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. In this shot we have a young couple helping their very senior dog into her stroller. This touched my heart.

These next two are of homeless guys. One is asleep and the other is trying to get his belongings into the restroom. More images to touch my soul.

Last, was opening day at Daffodil Hill. This was run by a family who plant these lovely flowers each year and open their property to the public. They closed permanently after the first weekend because of the crowds on the property and traffic mayhem on the road in/out. From left to right: The traffic on the road in, the line for the restrooms, the congestion along a path.

I may have been behind the camera for these images, but I’ve also been on the receiving end of a candid shot or two by my photo buddies! I love candid images.

Happy Mother’s Day: Negro Bar, Folsom & The Nesting Tree, Lincoln

I hope all of you mothers have had a wonderful special day. I received texts and calls from family members. We also had a delicious and filling brunch with Greg and Jess and the grandkids. So here I sit ready to talk and show you where my photography passion has taken me now.

I now know that even if the outing doesn’t give you great weather, clouds or scenery, there’s always a picture worth taking and processing. Negro Bar, a State park in Folsom was sort of a disappointment since it was crowded with people and there wasn’t a promise of a great sunset. But I walked around and in the short time we were there shot these images, including visitors, people kayaking and the historic Rainbow Bridge:

My next visit was a surprise one and stretched the limits of my walk around lens, 18 – 140 mm. Marlene and I were scrapbooking at Betty Carol’s home. During a breat she took us to a special tree in Lincoln. I call the tree the Nesting Tree because of all the nests and variety of birds in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I really couldn’t capture anything good with the lens I had with me, so I went back the following Wednesday. This time I was ready with my F/4 300 mm prime lens! It’s amazing what you can see with a little extra reach. I found Great Egrets and Blue Herons. A few weeks later, I brought Laura to the tree. She caught even more with her 600 mm lens, and saw more species. Here’s what I captured:

So, when Jess asked me what I’ve been doing lately, I talked about photo outings. Yes, photography has become a good part of my life! Again, Happy Mother’s Day!

My heart is full: Sacramento Zoo

Funerals are for the living, and without one, there is no closure. Tonight we had a memorial for Uncle Chuck and my dear friend Carol. We also invited Richard’s friend John whose sister Mary passed away this morning. We were Jews and Christians united in an effort for sending our loved ones on their way.

We did traditional Jewish prayers, John sang the 23rd Psalm and taps. We all told stories about our departed family members and ended it with dessert. What a wonderful evening. Uncle Chuck would have been pleased at the variety of religions and camaraderie in the room.

This is what caring and love is all about. He would have also loved the zoo animals and probably given them nicknames. He always gave people he loved nicknames. His girls were Rotten kid 1 and Rotten kid 2. My youngest was just Rotten Kid. My grandson (Chistopher) was JJ.

So as you smile at the Sacramento Zoo animals, send a smile up to Uncle Chuck and Carol; Arthur and Alina; and Mary.

 

RIP Uncle Chuck: Light painting

We were aunt and uncle longer than we were just brother and sister, and we called each other Uncle Chuck and Aunt Anne. Last March, I went to Georgia to say “goodbye.” Lewy Body dementia , a form of dementia and Parkinson’s like diseases, had already robbed him of his memory and abilities to speak, walk and recognize what was happening around him. The one response I saw from his body, was his foot taping to music that was being played. I hoped at some level, he knew I was there to see him.

Just like any brother and sister, we had our share of fights (he was 5 1/2 years older than me), he was protective of his baby sister and, as adults, we were always there for each other and our families.

He died this morning with family love surrounding him. It was a tense three days as family took turns to be with him, giving them their final goodbyes. It was difficult be out here in California. I remember with my mom, no matter how much you prepare and know it’s a blessing, it’s still hard when the journey is over.

Thank goodness, I had photography to pull my attention away. Monday and Tuesday were both evening shoots. I must have been working on pure Adrenalin because I didn’t get tired during the outings. I’m just so glad I have this outlet.

This morning, after I awoke to the news, I sat and edited last night’s shoot where we practiced light painting. Those who had them, brought light toys. Some of us just brought our cameras and tripods. I learned a great deal about light painting and exposing for it. I’m also ready to do it again. Here are a few images from the session.

Editing the images, let my emotional and physical being take in the news. He left my life in a burst of color. To me, the featured image looks like an angel gliding across a field of red carpet. My family will be having a memorial service for my brother soon here in Sacramento. Whether near or far, we all need closure. You will be remembered with love Uncle Chuck.

The end of my Georgia journey: World of Coca Cola, Atlanta Georgia

With my GPS to guide us, Brenda (my sister-in-law) and I set out to find the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first outing that brought us a good distance out of Peachtree City. After driving around town with me, Brenda was used to going around in circles, and this trip was no different! We did find the museum and a parking lot, and only went around the block once!

When you first go in, there’s a reception area where visitors are given a soda. You wait and then the tour begins. The kid giving me a soda was doing his welcome bit and asked where I was from. When he heard California, he said, “I want to visit there someday. I hear you have some nice hills.” Well, I just had to tell him that those hills were called mountains and were more than 7,000 feet high! I do love living in California.

The tour was fun and took most of the day with time out for a lunch break. When we got back, we went to see my brother for my last time. For me this was, barring a miracle, good-bye. That night, I sat feeling so empty inside.

After a few days home, we did have a miracle of sorts. My nephew sent me a picture of my brother with his head up. He couldn’t lift it up for more than a week. At least he can see people and eat if he wants.

I’m just hoping his angels and internal GPS guide him on his journey. Love you Chuck!

 

So close and so far: Starr’s Mill, Fayette County, Georgia and first flight

You can live in a neighborhood and not know what beauty is close by unless you get out and explore. During my visit to Peachtree City, Georgia, I wanted to take my sister-in-law out beyond the boundaries her golf cart would take her. She’s been busy caregiving to my brother and doesn’t drive. I found Starr’s Mill on the internet and was astounded that it was so close to her home. The original mill was constructed in 1825. The current mill was the third built on the stone foundation and is over 100 years old. Currently it is used as a day use park, photographic spot and fishing hole.

I found it to be a beautiful and calming spot. This trip also helped me realize that photography grounds me, taking my mind off what’s going on around me. When I’m shooting, I’m concentrating on my surroundings and what I need to do to get the image I want. The rest of the world goes away.

I brought my camera along, not to create photo outings, but to give me a different purpose during my visit.

One such outing was my first ride in a small plane. My great nephew, Daylen, offered me a ride. The first day we couldn’t go because of the weather. Fortunately, he was able to take me up the next day. What fun! I’ve become good at shooting out of open car windows while on the road, but this was entirely different. I had a great time. Daylen explained what I was looking at. At one point, I stopped shooting and just looked out the window. Fantastic! Thank you Daylen!!

 

If this post has to have a moral, it’s to stop and look at your surroundings (even in the sky). Good possibilities can be so close.

Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

Bittersweet visit: Historic Senoia, Georgia

Today I visited Chuck, my older brother, by myself. My visit to Peachtree City, Georgia is almost coming to a close and it has been bittersweet. Chuck, is fighting Louie Body Dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. I knew he wouldn’t know who I was, because he stopped recognizing me on the phone a while ago. But today was a special visit. I was able to help feed him, and he ate a little bit food I knew he wasn’t fond of. It gave me time to gain some emotional closure over his ordeal. He’s fought cancer and won; had heart surgery and bounced back, but this illness has no turn around. I was soon joined by his son-in-law Greg and we were able to joke, not with him, but between ourselves. It made things less real.

Dementia is difficult for the caregiver and other family members, but this form is even more so since it involves Parkinsons also. I care gave to my mom, who had dementia, for 9 years, but she had a strong body. Chuck is suffering on all accounts. Through it all, the family here continues to take amazing care of him.

During my week’s visit, I told my sister-in-law, Brenda, that I wanted to take her places, getting her away from the house to relax. Brenda doesn’t drive, so we go to visit Chuck and then take off. Taking off sounds like we go a distance, we don’t. Everything is close here.

Through it all, photography has brought me out of the sorrow and into a different time and space. Our first get away was to Senoia, a small town with a Main Street shopping area. It was an easy walk through and fun. Since then, we visited Starrs Mill and Serenbe. My niece Roberta took us to Serenbe yesterday, and it was a lovely afternoon drive. And, last night, we joined the rest of the family for a birthday dinner celebration–the first without Chuck present.

Today’s images are of Senoia. I probably won’t have time to post from here again before I return home. And I’ll be taking sweet memories back with me.

Grandma’s turn: Coyote Pond Park, Lincoln, California

While the kids are away, grandma stays–with the grandkids. This weekend has been fun with the younger set of grandkids. I started early Friday morning and will go home tonight, Sunday. They are great kids and growing up fast. At 6 and 8 years, they are very self sufficient.

Yesterday, I told them that I’ve been a very good grandma and deserved a treat, which was to take my camera and shoot some pictures. So we went to Coyote Pond Park near their home. Actually, this is sort of a regular of theirs. Tucked in suburbia, the park has a small play area, a nice size pond where neighborhood kids can fish, and a nice paved walkway around the pond. I was surprised what a difference more water made for the park. We saw humming birds, an egret and a blue heron. Families were picnicking and kids were playing on the playground.

Because the walk was short, the kids enjoyed it, especially when they knew they would be able to play once it was over! My grandson spotted the hummer, and we watched as the blue heron was curious about what the egret was catching.

Take a look at this hidden treasure in Lincoln. Well, it was a treasure for grandma!

 

On the road again: family reunion in Las Vegas

We went in search of neon last night. Actually we went to the Linq an outdoor shopping center. Jim suggested I go there to get a good shot of the High Roller (a 550-foot observation wheel) and a fountain. The High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in the world and takes one hour to ride. I heard it costs $35 per person. It’s easy to shoot since it doesn’t move fast!

The shopping center was fun to walk through, not too crowded and had a variety of shops and restaurants. I hope you enjoy what I managed to capture.

Today we are going to visit with Anita and Jim again. I’m looking forward to this post-reunion visit. We go home tomorrow, hoping to drive straight through. Do we sound anxious to get home–yes!

Tomorrow were going to hit the highway in search of home!