Lens Artists Challenge #199: Mechanical/Industrial

When I first read this week’s challenge from John, Journeys with Johnbo, I immediately thought of the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park in Folsom. It wasn’t our destination, but we came upon it while visiting the Old Town of Folsom. And just our luck, the docent was on his way down to open the facility.

The Powerhouse is located on the American River. Here’s how it looks on the outside.

Before I take you inside, please read this brief summary of the Powerhouse history from our favorite online encyclopedia–Wikipedia. It says it better than I can.

Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park is a historical site preserving an 1895 alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power station—one of the first in the United States.

Before the Folsom powerhouse was built nearly all electric power houses were using direct current (DC) generators powered by steam engines located within a very few miles of where the power was needed. The use of rushing water to generate hydroelectric power and then transmitting it long distances to where it could be used was not initially economically feasible as long as the electricity generated was low-voltage direct current. Once it was invented, AC power made it feasible to convert the electrical power to high voltage by using the newly invented transformers and to then economically transmit the power long distances to where it was needed. Lower voltage electrical power, which is much easier and safer to use, could be easily gotten by using transformers to convert the high voltage power to lower voltages near where it was being used. DC power cannot use a transformer to change its voltage. The Folsom Powerhouse, using part of the American River‘s rushing water to power its turbines connected to newly invented AC generators, generated three phase 60 cycle AC electricity (the same that’s used today in the United States) that was boosted by newly invented transformers from 800 volts as generated to 11,000 volts and transmitted to Sacramento over a 22 mi (35 km)-long distribution line, one of the longest electrical distribution lines in the United States at the time.”

Leave it to me to photograph close ups of wheels and gears once inside. This is just part of my fun.

Now for the rest of the inside. I wish I understood more about the use of all the equipment. If you want, you can read more about it here.

Let’s go back outside for the final photograph. Here you can see the transformers that sent electricity all the way to Sacramento.

Thank you John for giving us such an interesting topic. I’ve already read some of the replies and have been captivated. When you post your reply, remember to link to John’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Next week, it’s Amy’s turn to host our challenge, so be sure to visit her site. If you’d like to join in our weekly challenges just click here.

Lens-Artists Challenge #141: Geometry

I cringed when I saw the word geometry in Patti’s challenge post. All I could think of was math; my worst subject in school. But, shapes I understand. We look for them as we do our photography. They help make our images interesting. Many give our pictures depth and help them look three dimensional.

Here’s what I found while looking through my archives.

One of my favorite buildings, the CALSTRS building in West Sacramento has many angles, lines and shapes.

And here are a couple from Fort Point in San Francisco: stairs and a shape within a shape within a shape (actually a hallway).

There are lots of triangles and other shapes at the top of the transformers at the Folsom Historic Powerhouse and in the stairs at the Great Bear Vineyard.

And the flowing structural lines at the Manetti Shrem Museum at UC Davis and The Barn in West Sacramento.

Last, a simple store entrance gives us rectangles, squares, triangles and circles. Taken in Sutter Creek.

Lakes and Rivers: Negro Bar, Folsom Lake

This is why I love the Sacramento area–our lake, rivers and creeks. And, from where I live in Antelope, Dry Creek is about 7 minutes away, Folsom lake is about 30 minutes away, and so are the Sacramento and American Rivers. On this particular evening, our Tuesday group went to Negro Bar, which is in Orangevale and is part of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. 

We wanted to catch the sunset on the river, eat dinner in Historic Folsom and do some night shooting. The shoot was a lot of fun. We didn’t catch a spectacular sunset, but it was pretty. I had not been on this side of Negro Bar before (between two bridges), and I loved the rocky shore line. The food was great. Since we were there on a Tuesday night, Historic Folsom wasn’t bustling like I had hoped.

In the end, it was a fun evening of shooting and friendship. Yes, this is why I love the Sacramento area.

 

Discovering history: Old Folsom

There are many old towns with history in California, but this one is close to home. Old Folsom or the Historic Folsom District as they it’s correctly called is a typical shopping and dining area like you’d find elsewhere. However the difference is their free parking garage and Historic Powerhouse. This hydroelectric plant, which is now a State Park, began delivering electric power to Sacramento in September, 1895 and continued to do so until it was shut down in 1952.

Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside because it was closed, but we did shoot the outside. But, fortunately, Tom was able to give us a complete history because of his association with the local newspaper and having lived in Folsom. One of these days, we’ll go back when we know it’s open. By the time we walked around Old Folsom, we were tired. Remember, this was the second half of a Tuesday outing. I’m sure Tom will have more interesting and historic stories to tell us.