Starting the new year off right: Bok Kai Temple; Sikh Temple

I should say this visit was the second start of the new year. The actual first outing was to capture the super moon on January 1. It didn’t go well. First my fixed F/4, 300 mm was way to long to capture anything but the moon, and I didn’t bring another lens! Then the moon came up between two trees. I got the moon sharp, but the tree branches were soft.

So, we’ll begin my year at the Bok Kai Temple in Marysville and the Sikh Temple in Yuba City. We started with the Bok Kai Temple. Our docent Ric Lim gave our group of about 6 photographers an amazing tour. The Chinese history in Marysville is rich and still continues today. The Temple is small, but we managed to take photos anyway. He also took us to the former school house which is now a museum.

Gold is what brought the Chinese to this area many generations ago and loyalty keeps some of the older Chinese in the community. Carrying on the legacy is important. Parades are still celebrated, the Temple is open for worship and occasionally the community is called upon to pray that Marysville does not flood.

After lunch, three of us wandered into Yuba City and found the Sikh Temple of Yuba City. I found a worker and asked if we could go in. “Sure,” he said. He helped us cover our heads after we took off our shoes. I also asked if we could shoot inside. “Sure, no problem,” he said. We did eventually get asked to leave. I think it was because we were getting too close to the alter. I’m sorry we didn’t arrange for a tour which would have given us a better understanding of what we were experiencing.

Be prepared–there’s a lot to look at! This may not have been my first outing of the new year, but it was great!

 

 

Still standing: Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, Folsom

Remember that cold I was complaining about? I still have it! But, at least I’m still standing when so many of my friends have succumbed to the flu. This isn’t a complaint, okay it is! When I’m sick, I can’t regain enough energy to not be tired. And, this affects my ability to do photography.

Before this cold/flu hit the Sacramento area, my Tuesday group was given a special tour of the Historic Folsom Powerhouse in Folsom. This small power source once lit up all of Sacramento. The following from Wikipedia illustrates the  significance of the powerhouse.

“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.”

The tour was great, especially since it was led by a photographer who has since joined our Tuesday group. While our guide explained the history and how the Powerhouse operated, I listened and continued shooting. Unfortunately, I should have been taking notes!

But since I didn’t, follow the link for more information on the Powerhouse.

We have since been on other outings, and you’ll see those in future posts. Maybe by then the cold will just be a memory and I’ll be out there clicking away.

 

 

 

 

Not just any museum: Coachella Valley History Museum

It’s okay to admit it. You may not be a museum lover. I shy away from some types of museums, but I do enjoy history museums. I’ve always been a fan of historical novels, movies and museums. But, don’t ask me details any more–I just can’t remember them! I just like to share their moments in history for a short while.

So I was happy we chose to visit the Coachella Valley History Museum in Indio. The museum campus includes the 1926 residence and medical practice office of Doctor and Mrs. Smiley, the historic 1909 schoolhouse, a Desert Submarine, pioneer farming equipment and a Date Museum. An old Cork Tree can also be found on the grounds. I touched it and the bark is like a cork!

The Desert Submarine is the small sleeping quarters for workers during the summer. They fashioned what I think is the first evaporative cooler for the men. The schoolhouse was moved onto the property as an addition to the complex. Most of the museum’s historical pieces are in the Smiley residence. And, the Date Museum is one of a kind, giving the history of date farming in the area with help from Arab countries.

The Museum was incorporated on September 3, 1965, by a dedicated group of valley residents, opened in 1984, and is run primarily by volunteers. Our docent was proud to give us the tour even though she had only been a volunteer for 2 weeks. Her excitement for the property certainly was apparent. Through her knowledge, I was able to go back in time and understand what desert life was like before all our modern conveniences.

 

Failure, fun, fantastic: Auburn

They say we learn from our mistakes and Marlene, Karen and I did. Following a suggestion, we went to Lake Clementine near Auburn, but didn’t get to the right place. By the time we found the area where we could practice with our ND filters, the sun was too high–A fact we learned later. That was the failure, but we did learn. When using ND filters, you need to be out early morning or in the evening!

Fun, we did have. We drove on to Auburn where we had lunch, walked and took pictures. We went into the old courthouse and were allowed to take pictures anywhere we liked. It was fun.

Fantastic, happened when we started looking for a place to shoot the sunset. The place a restaurant owner directed us to, wasn’t suitable, and the sun was setting lower in the sky. Off we drove until we came to a private home with acreage, trees and a small pond. This would be perfect. With a lot of coaxing from me, (Okay, I strongly suggested that Karen get out of the car and ask the owners if we could park in their driveway and shoot the sunset at the property. I was driving.) Karen and Marlene bravely pressed the button on the gate code intercom. It paid off. We were allowed to park in the driveway and shoot the sunset.

So, on this great outing, failure led to fun, and more fantastic shooting opportunities. Next time we go to the area near Lake Clementine, we’ll do it earlier in the morning. It’s a small hike to the waterfall, and we’d all rather do it in cooler temperatures and when the sun isn’t so high.

 

Happy Birthday USA: My July 4th

The day before July 4, I was Toastmaster at Skillbuilders Toastmasters. My theme was July 4. Well, it had to be given it was July 3. I didn’t mean to become so emotional, but when I started talking about how I thought we were losing sight of what the holiday was really about and that to many it has become an opportunity for a three-day weekend, I did. I urged our membership to look back and remember the holiday for it’s early reasons, appreciate the country that we have the good fortune to be citizens of, and do what we could to make it better. The look on their faces told me that I was reaching them.

So, on July 4 my photo buddy Marlene and I caught the second half of the Roseville July 4 parade. It was great to see a small town celebrating. When we were in Bridgeport, California, the weekend before, (my next post) the streets of this tiny town were already decorated and waiting for the celebration. I can imagine they also had a parade.

Street photography was next after the parade. The water fountain was on (recycled so it’s okay during this drought) and the kids were having water fun.

Later in the evening we went to a block party in my son’s neighborhood. It was a great party and the beginning of a tradition. This was a chance for neighbor to meet neighbor. That’s sort of keeping with the spirit of the holiday. As if to complete the scene, the sun put on a show as it set. Then came nightfall and tons of fireworks. I discovered that these little fireworks are more difficult to shoot than the large aerial blasts. When I say a ton of fireworks I meant it. There must have been at least $1,500 to $2,000 on the table. This made me wonder about how that investment could have been put to better use.

For those of you who are U.S. citizens, i hope this blog spurs you on to think about our country, it’s founding and why we truly celebrate Independence day.

Dem bones: back to the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery

Is it wierd to keep going back to a cemetery just to shoot photos? This cemetery draws me back, and back. It’s large enough that your get shoot it all in one visit, and, for me, I seem to focus on different things all the time. This time it was the statues. They are beautiful, and are non-existent in today’s graveyards. They express the sadness of loss and hope for an afterlife.

This time I also found some masoleums worth shooting, some small grave stones and flowers. History is in this cemetery, so I guess I’ll keep going back until I’ve shot it all!

Graveyard photography: Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento, California

Walking through a graveyard may not be the ideal place to shoot photos, but the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is rich with history, unusual grave stones and beautiful flowers. My photo pal, Marlene, and I went there last week and spent some time walking, reading and taking pictures.

It’s not unusual to see photographers out there. I was disappointed that many of the flowers weren’t blooming, but it’s not that time of the year. This just gives me another reason to go back in the spring.

What impressed me was the way they inscribed the tombstones in the 1800s and the type of loss. One family lost two sons at the same age. Having lost a son myself, I could feel their grief more than 100 years later. I found large monuments and small, simple stones.

I’ll go back in the spring and walk the graveyard again. Maybe I’ll go on one of the cemetery tours that take us back into the history of Sacramento. Meanwhile here are my images from this outing.