Lens Artists Challenge #193: They Say It’s Your Birthday

This week, John asks us to share anything special about our birthdays. I’ve always had to share my birthday. No, not with another sibling, but a National holiday–Father’s Day! Are there any other June 18 birthdays out there? I sympathize with anyone who shares their special day with a major holiday.

Here’s a photo I have of a shared holiday in 2010. Richard is opening his Father’s Day gift and I’m opening my birthday gift.

Today, I’m sharing celebrations of many sorts. My grandkids have brought me great joy as they’ve grown up. Let’s begin with the older set.

Christopher

Prom 2010

Madison

High School Graduation 2013

The younger set: Olivia and Ryan

They joined our family when Ryan was 3 and Olivia 10 months. They filled Greg and Jessica’s lives with joy and happiness. Ours too. Here are some fun first times with them.

I love this picture even though it is poor quality.
At Christmas. Olivia is wearing her pretty Christmas dress while riding on Christopher’s shoulders.
Ryan decorating his grandfather’s face!

Time moves on. All the grandkids have gotten older. I’m just happy that we’ve had the opportunity to watch our grandchildren progress through life. This is truly a cause for celebration!

Oh, I checked, and in 2023 my birthday will be exactly on Father’s Day!

We enjoyed your earth story posts from last week. They were varied and so interesting. Thank you. Please remember to tag John’s post so we can find it in the WordPress reader. Next week Sofia will host our challenge.

 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 #176: One Story

Can one picture really tell a story? It can, but it depends on the person whose memories it jiggles. This week Ann-Christine asks us to post one picture that tells one story. We can post more than one image along with its story. While going through my archives, I found I typically relate stories with people. Here are three from my past photographic adventures.

In this story, meet Greg Morris. We met when I began photography. We were both of advancing age and could easily keep up with each other. We began going on photo outings once a week. He would drive and I would buy lunch. I’d never knew where we would end up, but we took the day to get there and back. This was taken during a trip to the historical town of Locke in 2015. Always posting selfies (Set up in his home studio.) in our local camera group, it was logical that he would pose as the Mona Lisa for me.

Soon after that trip, Marlene joined us for the remainder of our adventures until Greg passed away from brain cancer.

This next story takes place in Palm Desert in 2016. We joined my cousins at their time share. They went there every year to relax, I went to be with them and take photos and Richard (husband) came for no other reason than to be with us. We were at the Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms near sunset. The desert can be beautiful. This image shows my cousins walking hand in hand. I could feel the love between them. It was so beautiful.

My last image is a shadowed shot of three amigos, me, Marlene and Laura, commemorating our photography vacation in Kauai. It’s Marlene’s practice to take a shadow picture when we go on a shoot. We had a great time taking our photos and eating shave ice. I learned it’s not necessary to carry every piece of camera equipment through the airports. Laura decided it was good to keep a Snicker bar handy just in case I got hungry. Marlene discovered it’s not good to fall and hurt your foot the first day out. I was also introduced to Fujifilm, Marlene’s new camera, and knew I had to have one.

Three trips down memory lane. Thank you Ann-Christine!

Lens Artists Challenge #146: Focusing on the Details

Given this week’s challenge by Patti to focus on details, my mind went back to a Toastmaster Photo Club I tried to start and a speech given by a professional photographer in the group. He talked and demonstrated about a different way to focus on details: finding the picture within the picture.

He showed us how to focus on the details of an image to find more images by cropping sections. His example was of a construction site. First he showed us the entire landscape of the site. Then he focused in on a worker, continued with more sections and ended with a pair of shoes. It was an amazing lesson.

Today I’m going to try the same with a landscape taken yesterday at Scotts Flat Reservoir in Nevada City. I was hiking with my daughter-in-law Jess and granddaughter Olivia. Here’s my picture within a picture.

First the landscape.

Next I isolated Jess, Olivia and their dog Hana.

My final capture from this landscape is of a log on the beach.

Although the official Toastmaster group disbanded, a few of us kept meeting until 14 months ago when the pandemic shut us down. We continued to share information, but I will never forget this lesson on details and finding the picture within the picture.

Lens Artist Challenge #127: Precious Moments

Precious moments are those times that get us through the difficult times. Remembering them fills our beings, making the dark more bright. Amy’s choice of Precious Moments couldn’t have come at a better time. We all need to come out of the dark and into the light.

My precious moments revolve around my children and grandchildren. In this post, I’m sharing images of my wonderful grandchildren. I have two sets and they are far apart in age. I was at the same elementary school for 16 years! After adopting two boys, we had a natural child, a boy of course.

My oldest John, who passed away, left us with two wonderful grandkids. Madison and Christopher. Here are their prom and graduation photos.

Christopher agreed to have his picture taken before he left for his prom. With him right after graduation are his mom, Teresa, and sister.

Madison’s prom and graduation came 2 years later.

Madison and Christopher are now grown with homes and loved ones.

The younger set belong to my son Greg and daughter-in-law Jessica. We were so excited to welcome Ryan and Olivia to our family in 2011. We had a family party in celebration of Olivia’s first birthday. Ryan was three.

Two special moments I was able to capture was at the Sacramento Zoo in 2013.

Although older now, 11 and 9 years, they still are close siblings. Here they walk the zoo hand in hand.

We were across from the flamingos when Olivia noticed the plastic birds. Just from the look on her face, I think Olivia thought they were real.

My last precious moment occurred on Valentine’s Day 2015. The kids were spending the night with us while their parents went out. We prepared a small celebration with some gifts. Ryan used all his stickers on his grandfather. I thought that it was a generous share!

These children are my precious every things. They feed my heart and soul. It’s true, you have children so you can have grandchildren!

Lens-Artists Challenge #120: What a treat!

This week’s challenge from Tina at Travels and Trifles can send us off in many directions. Treats can be a hot fudge sundae, grandkids, wonderful memories and more. Just let your imagination run free. I was having a difficult time deciding until I read John’s post on flight which reminded me of a special treat my great nephew Daylen gave me when he took me up in his family’s small plane.

I was visiting family in Peachtree City, Georgia, in March 2017, when this amazing opportunity happened. Daylen had just gotten his pilots license (His Dad is a pilot.) and offered me a ride. Wow! It was a small plane. I’m not sure how more than two people could fit in it even though it had two back seats. When I climbed on the wing and looked down into the passenger seat, I remember saying to Daylen, “I can get in, but don’t laugh when I get out!”

It was a wonderful experience. When I asked if we could go higher, he said he wasn’t licensed to fly above the clouds! Here’s my flight.

Thanks Tina for bringing back a wonderful memory and treat!

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!