Flower therapy: Jensen Botanical Gardens & Green Acres Nursery

It’s hard to remember the cold, rainy weather when the sun is shining and the temperature is in the low ’90 degrees (fahrenheit), but that’s where we were just last month. Given a nice day, Ray and I went to find the small tulip patch at Jensen Botanical Gardens. We didn’t realize just how small would be! But, the tulips were beautiful just the same.

After that, we went to my favorite floral place, Green Acres Nursery.

Flowers and macro are my therapy. I hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I had photographing them. As for the weather, we went from the high ’60s to low ’90s in one day. Fortunately our furnace broke a couple of days ago and the air conditioner still works. Stop to enjoy the flowers everyone!

Lens-Artists Challenge #241 – Spring

I have two favorite seasons: Spring and Autumn. Choosing between them, although difficult, Spring would win. Both are photographic wonders, but I don’t have to travel so far to experience Spring’s beauty. Sacramento is a wonderland of blossoms and regeneration of wildlife. This week, Sofia of Photographias encourages us to share our thoughts and images of Spring.

Every Spring Ananda Village, in Nevada City, volunteers plant amazing tulips for visitors. It is getting so popular that we now have to make reservations.

North Table Mountain was formed by volcanic activity and has an array of beautiful wildflowers each Spring.

Speaking of wildflowers, there is nothing more beautiful than a mountain of wild California Poppies.

There are also beautiful rose gardens in the Sacramento area. These were taken at the McKinley Park Rose Garden.

Each Spring the owners of Maple Leaf Gardens used to host an open house for the public.

Wild mushrooms also make an appearance in Spring.

Spring is also the time for birds to nest.

Each Spring, geese families strut around the pond in my neighborhood. You’ve got to watch out for the dads though, they are very protective of their goslings.

Spring is definitely a time for renewal, hope and beauty. We will be ready for it after the Winter most of us have been experiencing.

Thank you Sofia for this challenge that brought beauty to our computers. When you respond, please remember to link to Sofia’s post and tag Lens-Artists. I will be challenging you next week, so look for my post.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #237: Bringing Softness

I’ve had a lot of fun this morning playing with Lightroom. I’ve not done anything else, but I’ve had fun thanks to Bren of Brashley Photography’s challenge: Bringing Softness.

First I started with flowers. I did a select subject in LR and then inverted the selection, used the radial filter so some of the flower would be soft and then finished with moving the clarity slider over to the left. I also added a vignette.

Then I wanted to see how the technique would work on animals. I picked the Capybara (world’s largest rodent) and orangutan at the Sacramento Zoo. This wasn’t as easy as flowers but I did pretty much the same technique. I wanted their faces to remain sharp.

I also tried buildings in Boston. I’m not sure the technique worked as well. The radial filter became my friend. I wanted some of the building to remain in focus. In the corner building on the right, the doorway should be in focus.

I’ll finish with my landscape experiment. The first one on the left is from the Tulip Festival at Ananda Village. I think the clarity technique added a dreamy softness. The middle image is from a trip to Port Costa and taken on the way. The dreamy look is more slight. The last, on the right, is from the Port Costa trip also. I liked the way the background was made slightly soft while the railroad tracks in the front remained sharp.

Thank you Bren! I love learning new techniques, especially when I can use software I already have. Remember to link your response post to hers and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we saw and read about many differences with Amy’s challenge of East meets West. I enjoyed all you responses. Next week, Ann-Christine will present the challenge.

I will be on vacation through March 17th and not posting. I’ll see you all when I get back.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

When the rains ended: Morningsun Herb Farm

Three weeks of constant rain had just ended. The greater Sacramento area had experienced downed trees and flooding. It was the first day of sunshine. We wanted to get out with our cameras, but where? We chose to visit the Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville. It promised not to be too muddy.

It was a short, fun outing. This description is from their website: Our family-owned nursery and display gardens have been in operation since 1995. We grow over 500 species of herbs, vegetables, unusual and drought-tolerant perennials and pollinator plants. We specialize in a huge selection of lavenders, propagating over 45 varieties in our greenhouses. Our display gardens, located in our family walnut orchard, are wonderful teaching tools for gardeners, chefs, herbalists, and crafters. The gardens are also used by amateur photographers and artists for inspiration. Bring a picnic lunch to relax in the gardens, and some extra treats to share with our donkeys (although we may post special diets due to doctor’s orders).

They did welcome us, allowing us to freely roam the area. Here are some of the buildings.

I found two sculptures of interest. The first shown are two images of the same sculpture. I thought the cactus looked happy.

I did find the farm animals. This goat had an itch before it went to the fence to get acquainted with me.

And, of course, they had a store.

Lastly, I liked this weathered bench with a shirt thrown on it.

We were glad to get out and happy to be welcomed at this small herbal nursery.

Macro Therapy: Green Acres Nursery

There are days when you just need some therapy–Macro Therapy. I’m fortunate there’s a Green Acres nursery, in Citrus Heights, about 10 minutes from my home. Recently in July was one of those mornings. I was feeling a little blah so I grabbed my macro lens and camera, and off I went.

Green Acres is great because they don’t mind us coming in with our cameras, taking our time and taking home picture memories of their products. Here are half of mine from that morning.

I still need to process the rest, so be on the lookout for more gorgeous flowers. Oh, macro therapy does help!

Lens-Artists Challenge #200: Every Little Thing

I like photographing little things with my macro lens. Sometimes I don’t even use a macro lens to get close. Amy us challenges this week to post “every little thing that makes you smile.” So, here are some close ups that are still making me smile.

How about small flying things like a butterfly, praying mantis and bee.

Every year we get baby geese around our pond. While they are so cute, the dads won’t let you get close. This little one was walking with its family and I had a long lens!

Or getting down low to photograph small mushrooms in the grass, capturing their caps and folds.

And, of course, getting close to capture the small details of flowers like a rose and a backlit daffodil.

These are some of the small things that make me smile. I believe we need to keep looking for things small and large that bring us happiness and make us smile. Thank you Amy for the reminder.

I’ve enjoyed seeing all your responses to John’s Mechanical and Industrial challenge last week. Remember to link your response to this challenge to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week Ann Christine will be hosting LAPC. Be sure to look for her post.

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

A lingering cold: Horton Iris Farm, part 2

I’ve been down and out with a week long cold. I guess you realize that I’m not happy, especially having to miss a photo outing. Even Gem is upset because he’s getting a very short walk each morning.

Fortunately, I do have the second part of last week’s post to show you. Last week you saw the beautiful iris blossoms at Horton Iris Farm in Loomis. Now I’ll show you the rest of the farm.

When you come into the farm, there’s this cute bird feeder.

Then there are methods of transportation.

More flowers and farm art (old machines).

It’s a large farm, so there’s plenty of space for landscape images including a pond.

So that’s Horton’s Iris Farm. Now back to nursing this s****d cold!

Lens Artists Challenge #153: It’s a wonderful world

With all that’s been happening in the world this past 1 1/2 years, it’s important to live in continuous gratitude and remember that there is still a lot of beauty in the world, mostly provided by nature. In her challenge, Amy reminds us that there is a lot around us locally to be grateful for. Photography brings me into that world. At least once a week I go out with friends to capture people, places, animals and things that bring joy into my life.

I’m happy to share some of them with you from this year alone. Please read the captions for information.

This scene in Port Costa presented a beautiful and natural frame around the bridge emerging from the fog in the distance.

Thank you Amy for helping us to remember that there is a wonderful world out there, and I’m especially thankful for my photo buddies who see it with me.

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!

In search of poppies: Sutter Creek

You never know where you’ll end up when on a photo outing with your photo pod. You start out with a destination in mind and a fork in the road can lead you somewhere else! That’s what happened when we started out to find a field of the California Poppy, our State flower. Our destination was Jackson, but I’m not sure where we ended up. Not Jackson and no poppy fields.

So we decided to capture the flowers and poppies in Sutter Creek. It’s always fun to visit that small town anyway, and it was getting to be hungry time. We found potted poppies and other things in the town.

On our way back to the town we spotted a mine from the road, but it was too early to enter it, if we could due to the COVID pandemic. So we took our pictures from the road and went into town.

Now in Sutter Creek. Stores and restaurants were just beginning to open.

With full tummies and a nice walk around town, we headed home. We stopped along the way to photograph this barn and vineyard.

We weren’t done yet! We spotted a model airplane airport and Ray instinctively drove in to see what was happening. Once in, I remembered I stopped there with Richard, but there was a new type of plane that I’d never seen before. The wings were like cellophane and it buzzed around the sky fast.

I still want that poppy field and hope to get to it before it’s gone. But, we did have a fun journey!