Catching up, part 2: Christmas Lights

Yes, I’m still back in December 2021. On the 27th to be exact! Donna and I went out locally to photograph some Christmas lights. The conditions that night were perfect: not too cold and clear.

Last year I had some trouble with my Fujifilm camera. It was the first time using it for this function and I couldn’t get the lighting right. This year I knew it was okay to pump up the ISO. What a difference! This camera handles a high ISO so much better than my Nikon 7100 did.

Here are some of the results. Now pay attention to some of the snow men!

Did you see the great robbery in progress? And the robber’s weapon? If not, look again! As you can see, I also had fun with some slow shutter speed and zooming the lens. Thanks for visiting!

Lens Artists Challenge #178: You Choose

In this weeks challenge, Tina asks us to choose our own topic. For most people that might be easy, but for me, it’s a bigger challenge. You see, I just can’t make up my mind. After thinking and thinking, I decided to focus on the 365 Challenge.

After 2 years, I knew I needed something to help me along with my photography hobby. I’d heard about the 365 where you shoot a photograph each day for the year. It was the best decision for my taking control of my camera and photo habits.

Here are 2 photos from week one of 2015.

If I were to take the same images now, I would process the sunset shadows better and not put the rose in the middle of the frame. Moving on to week 15, family and pets were a favorite subject. My dog now leaves the room when he sees a camera!

Week 22, getting better with floral composition and macro.

Week 42, I visited Dry Creek near my house often and I finally got a decent one of Gem. Now I know how to lighten up his face a bit.

Week 52, I think this is how I developed my love for macro. On the last day, I had an image in mind. Through the year, I learned how to time things for the optimum light and was on my way to photograph a fence with the sun casting a deep shadow. However, I got a flat tire on the way, and here’s my closing shot for the year–not planned, but well executed!

Doing the 365 helped my photographic abilities and my focus on the hobby. Now I need to go out at least once a week with my camera. If you haven’t tried the practice, take the plunge. You can also do the 52 challenge where you obligate yourself to one picture a week. Most of all, have fun doing it.

Macro and more: Bushnell Gardens

Just let me put my macro lens on my camera and I’m happy. Add to that a nice windless morning and newly watered plants and I’m euphoric. That’s what we found one morning at Bushnell Gardens, Granite Bay, one morning.

I began slowly, being a bit dismayed when all I saw were trees, but then I found the plants. This nursery is simply beautiful in its landscaping. It’s a relaxing place to photograph. Here are some macros I shot that morning.

In addition to plants and trees, they have many other beautiful things that you could fall in love with, or photograph!

Inside the store, Christmas had already arrived.

Our morning continued on Douglas Blvd. in Roseville with a building that caught our attention, but you’ll have to wait for my next regular post to see it!

Decorated for Halloween: The Gibson House, Woodland

October 28! We had to get to the Gibson House in Woodland before Halloween. Why? We raced against time because the historic home was decorated for the holiday and on November 1, the decorations would be taken down.

I had never heard of the Gibson House and wanted to see it decorated. So, Marlene, Diane and I went off to photograph it. The house is on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a Yolo County Park and is operated by the Yolo County Historical Museum. The house and grounds were restored by the county and is now a hub for regional art displays, programs and more.

The outside of the house.

The inside was furnished to represent what it might have looked like when the Gibson family owned it. Of course there were a few visitors on display too. We were not allowed to go upstairs.

The blacksmith shop was closed, but the barn had been turned into an art gallery. The museum reaches out to area students for participation. They painted this mural.

We also found a beautiful old, rusty tractor.

This ended our trip to the Gibson House which is a treasure in Woodland. Maybe they will decorate it again for Halloween!

Lens Artists Challenge #174: Shapes and Designs

Just look around you. Wherever you are, open your mind and see the shapes and designs of the objects around you. In this week’s challenge, Patti encourages us to see the shapes and designs around us. Truthfully, I didn’t truly see the possibilities until I started photography. Now I see them everywhere!

For instance at an outing to Ironstone Vineyards a few years ago, we were down in their cellar that they call the Cavern. The round wine barrels stacked and angled down a cavern hallway offers many shapes and designs.

Water lends itself to shapes and designs too. The fountain at the Fountains shopping center offers many shapes and designs. A single burst of water takes its own shape while the entire fountain lets your imagination free. A crystal ball turns our design upside down.

Fairs and carnivals also offer us photographic opportunities for shapes and design. The Ferris wheel was photographed at the Nevada County Fair. Just sitting still we can recognize many shapes like triangles, rectangles and, of course, round. But at night during a carnival, light play turns it into a design bursting with color.

Sunflowers give us various shapes too.

I’ll end with trees. They are beautiful in design with their branches gracefully stretching out. Add some fog and you have a more dramatic scene.

Thank you Patti for helping us find adventure in our archives!

Lens Artists Challenge #172: A Day of My Week

Busy, is the way I describe most of my weeks. They may start out with a blank calendar, but end up full. When I sometimes have a few days blank, I enjoy relaxing and catching up with stuff at home. But the one constant is my weekly photo outing with friends.

Amy is asking us to post about one day of our week. Here’s mine.

Early this month, Marlene, Laura and I went in search of Fall color in an area called Hope Valley. It’s a day outing since the drive is about 2 hours long. This day did not disappoint us. Colors of orange, yellow and rust were waiting for us on the aspen and other trees.

Here are some of the images gathered that October day.

October 9 was a fun day outing during our week. Thank you Amy!

Lens Artist Challenge #170: Street Art; and Wide Open Walls, part 2

No, I’m not being lazy. Patti, through her Street Art, challenge has given me the opportunity to continue my series on Wide Open Walls and also post on her request.

As I wrote in Part 1, Wide Open Walls is a yearly activity in Sacramento sponsored by stores, companies, etc. Artists come from all over to exhibit their art on brick, stucco and other finishes all over Sacramento. This year we went out three times in search of the new murals and whatever else we could find. We go on Sundays so we don’t have to pay for parking.

I like this type of art for its bright colors, imagination and in many cases messages. I try to dodge cars and other objects. And I sometimes break the murals up in three pieces to get the entire piece in closer than what a wide angle could do. Here is what I captured on a recent outing.

Part three is coming right after I edit them! Stay tuned!! Thank you Patti for letting me do two in one!

Sacramento is getting more interesting: Wide Open Walls, part 1

I love it when it’s Wide Open Walls week. This is when Sacramento City invites artists to paint murals on sides, backs and sometimes fronts of buildings. Over the years we’ve seen beautiful art pieces decorate the city. It’s no exception this year. We went out three times to find the new murals. We found some of them, some of the old ones and structures, etc.

So, here’s part one of our adventure!

A return trip: Locke

I’ve been to the town of Locke a few times, but never on the weekend. This time we went on a Sunday and some stores and museums were open. My challenge was to photograph something different or from a different angle.

Known as the Locke Historic District, CA (U.S. National Park Service), Locke was originally a town built for the Chinese immigrants who came to work the farms and orchards. For a full history, click on the link above. The town remains basically the same as you can see from the pictures. It hasn’t changed at all in all the years I’ve visited.

By going on a Sunday, we found many residents home and working in their yards or just relaxing. A couple of stores were open too. It’s a very small town and main street is a far cry from a typical small town thoroughfare. Two restaurants serve the town. It’s about a mile to Walnut Grove, also founded as a need to house Chinese workers, where you can find more restaurants, etc.

My neighbors joined us for this expedition and just weren’t prepared for how the town was kept as original as possible. Even the toilet bowl garden hasn’t changed or the old barn with all the wheelbarrows

I was lucky that the open store had cold drinks and a few items to photograph.

Doorways are fun to photograph in Locke.

The old buildings have remained the same. The one with the bulging front is still standing.

Someone has his/her own way of dealing with this pandemic.

I also liked these chairs sitting in a yard.

I’m sure we’ll go back to Locke again, maybe next year. Things will probably remain the same.

When the heat turns up: IKEA

I’m just going to be blunt–It’s been a lousy summer here in Sacramento California. Our triple digit days outnumber our double digit days. And, then there are the fires that are raging in our forests. Our homes in the Sacramento Valley are not in danger, so I won’t complain about the smoke that blows in from the fires. All this means we take our cameras inside. One of our favorite places is IKEA.

We visited the IKEA store in West Sacramento on a recent Sunday and had a great time. Yes there were more shoppers than during the week but the place had a different vibe. I was looking to photograph something different than I had in the past. Fortunately displays had changed.

All the pictures below were shot with my macro lens which was the only one I brought in with me. I like the challenge of photographing with just one lens. This lens is an 80 mm so I got up close to take pictures of just a part of my subject.

Here are some of the images. Can you tell what they were?

After taking photos, we dined in the IKEA café. The food is great and the prices reasonable. My choice was a smoked salmon, potato salad and green salad plate. Yum! I guess I should have taken a picture of it!