Lens-Artists Challenge #140: A Change of Scenery

It was like this challenge from Beth of Wandering Dogs was just meant for me! I just returned from a scenery change. After a year of wandering around the Sacramento area with my photography pod, my friend Sandy, who lives in Tuolumne City, invited me to spend time with her and her sister Peg in Windsor in Sonoma County, California. I didn’t need to even think about it before I said YES!

Sandy picked me up on Monday and returned me on Thursday. We had two full days of seeing the sights and taking pictures. I haven’t been able to edit all the pictures yet, but I can show you the small town of Windsor.

Here are the small shops and buildings in the downtown area.

From the town we go into the countryside.

Day two had us go to the coast, ending up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. The next day we drove through Napa. Those pictures still need editing.

I totally needed and enjoyed my time away. A change of scenery is always a good idea, especially after a year of in and out of lockdown. And thank you Sandy for driving and Peg for your hospitality.

Internet??: Half day at the Grand Canyon

We’ve come to rely on the internet for so much, and we take it for granted–that is until you don’t have it!

I’m on the road again with my friend Alyse. This trip was set up 9 months ago; a long time before we decided to downsize and move. It was a week retrieval in a sense. I had lost a timeshare week with RCI because of Richard’s inability to travel for 3 years. I was able to recover all but this particular week. So, after paying extra to get it back and extend it, I invited Alyse to join me. There would be no saving the week again.

So that’s why I’m on the road so soon after moving. Yes, we did finally move! I left Richard with a huge mess. It’s hard to lose half a house. Oh, getting back to the internet, it’s very sporadic here at the Sedona Pines Resort in Sedona, Arizona. I’m hoping to get through this blog post.

We stopped at the Grand Canyon National Park for half a day during our trek to Sedona. I was there about 40 years ago with Richard and the kids. Of course, we saw more, but it was great to be there again. The memories of our family trip came flooding back. If you want to see more than just the rim drive, you need to hop on a bus. We didn’t have time for that, so we opted for the South Rim Drive. It was enough to give us a taste of how vast the Canyon is.

On our way, I stopped in Seligman, Arizona. Alyse had never seen this quaint little town with it’s Route 66 allure. I was saddened to see that some of the manikins were gone, but there was enough for her to enjoy.

My internet time may be getting slow so let’s get on with the pictures!

In search of Fall color: Hope Valley

The great migration has begun! Each year we photographers go to the Eastern Sierras to find those amazing rich yellows, greens, oranges and reds. This year we may have gone to Hope Valley too soon, but Marlene was ready for a day trip. With Linda along, we made the 2-hour trip to Hope Valley.

Linda had never been there and had never shot the famous cabin. I just went along, not expecting much color. As I’ve said before, an outing with friends is great!

By the time we reached the valley, hunger had set in. The only place to eat is Sorensen’s, a small resort featuring cabins and campsites. We love their cafe. The food is delicious. After filling our tummies, we set out to find the cabin. This old cabin has been photographed by all the photographers who come in search of Fall color.

After finding the cabin and shooting it from every vantage point, we went on a scouting trip to find anything else. We weren’t the only photographers out there. I stopped to talk to a guy who was a little disappointed in the colors. He thought it would be at the peak in a few days. I thought it would peak in about a week.

We did find a couple of other places that had nice color, and then started the trek home. It was a fun day of shooting with friends. Since we were up there, about two weeks ago, photographer’s pictures still don’t show the rich colors we saw last year. Maybe that’s the way it will be this year. Those who went further south, got better color.

This was our only trip to seek the amazing rich colors of Fall. Next year!

 

Ya gotta love them: Sunflowers, Yolo County

I got my sought after shot this year–a sunflower field so dense that when you shot over the top, all you can see is yellow. Thank you Karen A. for scoping the fields out. And thanks to a step ladder! Yes, I’m sort–too short to have gotten the image without a little help.

I remember in past years going crazy to find sunflower fields, only to be there too early or too late. This year things were different in Yolo County.

I’ll make this a short post so you can see them. Oh, what did I learn? Patience prevails and always have a step ladder in your car trunk!

Hope these make you smile!

 

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.

 

But I was just there: The Fountains and farmers’ market

I’ve come a long way with my photographic ability, but it has been difficult at times. Like, what do you do when you’re going back to shoot at a place you recently visited? When my Tuesday group went to The Fountains shopping center in Roseville shortly after I had been there, I brought along my crystal ball–not to see the future, but to see the present differently.

It was a great idea, but very difficult to work. I brought along an old tripod that would hold the base for the ball so I could shoot through it to capture flowers. No matter how high I had the tripod, it wasn’t working like I had visioned. Add the breeze, and you pack away the ball. I did manage to get one shot I truly like. I suppose that made it worth it.

Halloween decorations and steam coming from the fountain also made the trip slightly different. I had some fun with the scarecrow images. You’ll see those in the gallery.

What really made the trip, was the farmers’ market. I love to shoot vegetables. They have such great color and texture. One vendor had a decorative vulture that was motion sensored and a glowing red eye. Fun! Fun!

So, at the end of the outing, I said to David. This wasn’t much of a shoot, but the company was great. I truly had a great time, and learned there is always someting different to shoot in a familiar place especially with great friends.

Shopping and shooting: The Romanian Festival and more

I love farmers’ markets mainly because the vegetables are so much fun to shoot. But this one was closing and was in our way of gettting to the Romanian Festival. As we walked around, I did my best to catch whatever vegetables left. I didn’t do well. However, they had the water spouts on for the children to run through. I got a couple of good pictures there.

We stopped at a very special bench, and I tried to get a group photo. I didn’t have a tripod so it was without me. The shot I’m posting was the best. Jim, I think you have a habit of closing your eyes!

We finally made our way to the Festival. It was very small but people were enjoying the vendors, entertainers and food. Ron and I did some shooting while the others walked around.

I enjoy capturing people candidly; however, sometimes they just aren’t in the right position or their expression is not good. Then I will ask if I can take their picture. I’ve never had anyone say “No!”

This group of images is the last I shot before Richard’s back surgery. So it may be a while until my next post. Maybe I’ll do some fantastic, improved editing of already posted images and show them to you.

We’ve got to be creative and have fun!

Shopping and shooting: The Fountains, Roseville

Senario: one week before husband, Richard’s, back surgery; dear friends come to visit from Los Angeles for a couple of days; Richard can’t walk much and is in pain; we stay home first day; second day, just to get out for a while, we, minus Richard, go to The Fountains shopping center and the Romanian Festival, both in Roseville.

Now that you know what’s going on, let me tell you about our friends of at least 40 years. We’ve seen our children grow and marry, our grandchildren reach the age of Bar Mitzvah, and stayed in touch after Richard and I moved from Los Angeles. Life cycle events would bring us down to L.A. more often than bringing these two couples up our way. So, it was a treat to have them stay with us, and it provided a diversion for Richard.

We went to The Fountains because Lois wanted to see the Vera Bradley shop, and Ron’s shutter finger was getting antsy. Shelley and Jim just enjoy walking. So, while Ron and I took pictures, Lois enjoyed signing up for Vera Bradley’s discounts, and Jim and Shellie walked.

Next, I tried to get them to the Romanian Festival, but our way was blockaded by a farmer’s market. We did make it to the Festival, which provided Ron and me another photo opportunity. You’ll see those images in my next post.

For now, come join us at The Fountains. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen flowers from this unique shopping center before. I also took on the challenge of shooting more than just flowers.

Oh, the end of this senario: Richard’s back surgery went well with just one complication. Now he thinks he can do anything one week after surgery.

Road trip: To we don’t know where, part 2

To say photography has enriched my life would be an understatement. I have been to and experienced places I would normally not have gone to. I have learned to see things differently and be more aware of my surroundings. Most of all, I have met wonderful people who have become dear friends.

I was out with three friends during this road trip to we don’t know where. Three women of various ages, but with one goal–to have fun! Yes, photography is just an enjoyable means of having fun. We are serious about our photography, but not that serious that it is all consumable.

And, when women drive and shoot together there’s a major amount of talking and laughter. This road trip was no different.

In my previous post, we covered Winters, St. Helena and whatever we could find in between. In this post we visited Calistoga, Geyserville, Clearlake, Rumsey, Guinda and Cash Creek Casino. To be honest, I’m not sure I have images from each of these places, but we did drive through and sometimes stop at each of these towns or along the road side.

In the end, we were tired and weary, but joyful. We were grateful for an amusing day with dear friends. When I got home and uploaded my pictures, I was able to relive the day.

Yes, photography has enriched my life. It is now my passion.

Friendship

Friendships are sometimes found in unlikely places. This post is about my Sister-in-law, Brenda, and how she gained friendships through exercise at her local Curves gym.

To understand why these friends are so special, you need to know a little about Brenda. Developmentally disabled, Brenda couldn’t read or write when she married my brother. Through the years, she learned how to read, write, drive and count back change when buying something. She was the star pupil, earning her an article in the local Simi Valley newspaper. She is my hero, proving that when you try and continue trying, you can accomplish.

And, the learning hasn’t stopped. Now that his physical health is diminishing, my brother is still teaching Brenda, 71, to take on more responsibilities. She is now figuring out the final tab at a restaurant, driving more and taking more responsibilities at home.

Brenda also volunteers at a local elementary school as a teachers assistant. She’s a favorite with the school staff as well as the children. Everyone calls her Grandma Brenda. They have given her awards, and her proudest moment came when she was allowed to read to the children.

Now back to her friends. The gals gather at 6 a.m. in the morning for their physical and chatter workout. Today, I went to take photographs. What I saw were lots of smiles, talking, and some exercising. These women have formed a friendship group that gets together for coffee after exercise and monthly for a potluck dinner. What is more important, they encourage, support and help Brenda.

This morning was the power workout. What I saw was more of an exercise of friendship. After their calisthenics, jackets were donned and off they went to have coffee and celebrate a birthday. I’m posting some images of the experience. More to come after their monthly party and another birthday celebration.