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!

A macro lens: Thompson Building Materials and Nursery & Green Acres Nursery

A good photographic practice is to go out on an outing with only one lens. That’s what I did recently with a couple of photo buddies. Since I recently did a post for Lens-Artists on Macro, I thought I should take some macro photos.

That’s how we ended up at Thompson Building Materials and Nursery in Sacramento. This is mainly a commercial business. They had a large amount of outdoor statues and other ornamental items. With my 80 mm prime lens was slightly restricted, I had to move back (get a wider angle with my feet) or get a partial of the item. A macro lens can be used for other types of photography!

Now for the flowers. Some of these may be from Green Acres Nursery also in Sacramento. Being more of a residential nursery they had more flowers. So the following is a mixture from both businesses.

I do love macro/close up photography. Take care everyone!

Lens-Artists Challenge #123: Found in the Neighborhood

Oh my, this one is easy since I walk my neighborhood every day. Actually, I don’t have a choice, Gem will follow me until I take him out for our daily mostly 2-mile jaunt. It’s his walk and his choice where he goes. And where he goes, I follow. So Ann Christine, thank you for this topic!

Flowers are abundant in my community. From roses to tulips, they are beautiful.

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of goslings even though I’m not too fond of their parents. We have an abundance of wild turkeys too. I keep reminding them that Thanksgiving is near, but they don’t pay attention because they know they are protected.

And finally we have mushrooms. Ana of Anvica’s Gallery reminded me of them in her current post, “Time for Mushrooms.” Here are two varieties taken at different times. If you live in a senior community, take a sign saying “I’m okay!” with you as you lie face-down in the grass!

I don’t bring my camera on my walks with Gem. He wants all of my attention. When we first went on lockdown, I was grateful for living where I do. All us dog walkers, would stop and talk. I didn’t feel alone. Take care everyone!

Am I repeating myself? World Peace Garden, Sacramento

It just feels like I’m repeating pictures. When you post in different clubs (like Sactown Photogs), online challenges (like Lens-Artists), repetitive image are the result. So here we are at the World Peace Garden in Sacramento. Some images may seem familiar to you, but you haven’t seen the entire beauty of this small park just across from the State capitol.

On the morning Ray and I met there, I arrived at 9 a.m., and the park had few visitors. It was quiet and peaceful. I fell in love with the place instantly! As people came, it remained quiet and peaceful. I actually came to take pictures in the rose garden, but there was so much more.

Let’s take a tour!

First the roses. This garden is not as big as others in Sacramento, but the roses are just as beautiful.

In the middle of the garden were two memorials. One was for the fire fighters, who in additions to normal duties during the year, fight our large fires during the summer. This year an unusual dry thunder and lightning storm sparked several fires across California. They have called these “Complex fires” because they are fires next to each other in certain areas of the State.

The second memorial is dedicated to the veterans who fought in the Vietnam War. This was particular moving for me because it was so well done and my husband fought in that war.

And the grounds were just beautiful.

Remember I said the park was across from our capitol building. Here’s the awesome view!

I’ve shown you a lot of images, but I just had to show you this beautiful garden as I totally saw it. Take care everyone!

Triple digits will get to you: William B. Pond, Carmichael

Get up early, walk the dog (2 miles), do outside chores (if you have energy left), have breakfast, shower and then prepare for a day inside. That’s my typical day in this triple digit heat wave we’re having in the Sacramento area. It’s been a week and my camera is calling to me. I need to ignore it. I don’t want to ignore it. I would give anything to take it out and shoot with it.

Yes I’m complaining, and that’s okay! But I did get out locally to William B. Pond Recreational Area in Carmichael before this heat wave. It is located along the American River and is easily accessible for handicapped individuals. Marlene met me there and then we took off on foot.

I had never been to this part of the park before, and I saw beautiful trees.

The paved roads in the park were not open to autos, but only biking and walking. And, there were a lot of bikers (the peddle kind). As they were coming up behind you, they would let you know which side they were going to pass you on. They also let you know if you were walking on the wrong side of the road!

There were fishermen in their favorite spots and families enjoying the beach.

I did manage to find a few other things to photograph. You know I can’t get away without shooting some sort of flower. The phone pole caught my eye. And the last couple of shots of the River from the bridge.

I also noticed that hardly anyone was wearing a mask! I don’t want to get into the to wear or not debate, but if there is the slightest chance that it can protect you and others, why not put one on!

I’m hoping for better weather next week so my camera and I can be out and about. When you’re in triple digits, the 90s sound cool!

Lens-Artist Challenge #105: Spring

Photos are our memories, and I’m glad to have images from Ananda Village‘s Crystal Hermitage Garden. Each year, volunteers plant tulips on the terraced hillside, creating such beauty worthy of a yearly visit. However, this year they didn’t open to the public because of the Pandemic.

Ananda Village is just north of Nevada City in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The village is run by a spiritual association that provides a range of tools to strengthen spiritual lives of individuals of all ages. It follows the teaching of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, to meet the needs of spiritual seekers. They also have retreats and rent cabins to individuals who just want to get away and meditate.

A group of us go up each year to take pictures. These are from last year.

Thank you Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles for this Spring Lens-Artist Challenge!

Yolo Art & Ag: Harrison Farms, Woodland

It’s time again to wander, or should I say get lost, down those country roads in Yolo County. Each year Yolo Art & Ag sponsors monthly visits for artists and photographers to farms in the county. I have certainly benefited from these sojourns. I grew up in the city, and I’ve been able to see first hand how a farm operates.

Harrison Farms, featured a sunflower field and a some farm animals. When Marlene and I arrived, we stopped at the sunflowers first. Typically, bee keepers put hives near the fields and this was no exception! But the bees are so busy, they don’t bother someone who is allergic like me! As a field, this one wasn’t spectacular but individually the flowers were fun and pretty to photograph.

And then there was the farm itself. The pond was photographic.

There was also a small garden.

They also had a walnut tree grove.

It was an easy and fun visit. I wonder where we will go in July?

Wearing suspenders and a belt: WPA Rock Garden

I love macro photography! I love the WPA Rock Garden in Land Park, Sacramento! But, do I love making mistakes? Not really, but I love learning from them.

The Rock Garden is an excellent place for macro photography so I brought my D7100 and macro lens. I also wanted to see how well the Fujifilm XT3 and its 55 – 200 mm lens would do close ups. My Nikon and 18 – 200 lens does close up photography beautifully.

First, I found out that my Fuji, like my Nikon, puts itself in various modes without telling me. It put itself in a different focus mode, making it difficult to focus. One mistake solved and learned from. Watch those fingers!

I saw macro opportunities and started shooting with my D7100 and macro lens. Best to do it while the breeze is down. Here’s the result:

Still wanting to use the Fuji, I wandered over to the small Land Park lake and saw lotus buds and leaves in the water. Yes! we would soon have flowers to capture in our cameras. Here’s where the second mistake occurred. I was having a difficult time shooting on manual with the Fuji and didn’t realize until I got home, loaded my pictures into the computer, and saw them on my monitor, that the images were super noisy. Looking at the data, I saw that some of them were shot at 12,000 ISO in sunlight! Did I mistake the ISO ring for the shutter ring? What did I do wrong? This was to be solved during my next Fuji outing! Here are some images shot with the Fuji:

Yesterday, I took pictures of a couple, Carol and Paul, I wrote about in for our community newsletter. I photographed them with the Fuji and the 18 -55 mm lens. They were beautiful. The shots and the couple!

So, lessons were learned. And, practice makes perfect as you’ll see in my next post.