It’s that time of the year: Sunflowers and zinnias

Nothing can make you smile like a sunflower! When you see a whole field of yellow and orange looking at you, you just get a great feeling. This year I had the opportunity of visiting Woodland twice and photographed two sunflower fields and Metzger’s Zinnia Patch.

When we visit the sunflower fields, we are careful not to disturb the plants and shoot from around the patch. As photographers, we are happy we’re allowed to take pictures. Cooperation goes a long way!

Bee colonies are kept near the fields to help polinate. I can assure you they are busy bees! Here are some “sunnies.”

We also stopped at a safflower field.

Now for the zinnias. What is special about this patch of zinnias is that the Metzger family allows people to pick the flowers and encourages them to share with others who can’t get out. You’ll see moms and their kids having fun choosing their favorites.

Do you like sunnies as much as I do?

Wine & Lavender: Great Bear Vineyards

It was another Art & Ag opportunity, but not to a farm. This time we visited Great Bear Vineyards in Davis. How wonderful to find a treasure like this so close to Sacramento and within Yolo County.

Upon arrival, I was surprised by the difference in the grape vines. I’ve usually seen squatty knarled vines, but these were tall and mostly smooth. I’m sure it has to do with the type of grape grown.

The winery was simply beautiful from the doors to the patio.

Seeing lavender grown was a first for me. I’m allergic to the lavender scent (like when a scented candle is lit), but I wasn’t having any problems this visit.

Of course the artists were also enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

And, the grounds added an amazing touch, sort of like a farm atmosphere.

It was a fun and wonderful morning and I’m happy to share it with you!

Here we go again: Maple Rock Gardens

Go there once, it’s amazing. Go there twice, it’s repetitive. I’m not complaining, because this private estate is still beautiful. Maple Rock Gardens is in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis California.

They are open for private events and to the public twice a year. Linda and I visited them last September and you can view that post here. She thought there would be more flower blooms in the spring, so expectations were high. It was definitely more crowded and the blooms were repetitive. Not much had changed. If you were there for the first time, it would not disappoint. It was still beautiful. Take a look.

Still in April! Table Mountain, Butte County

Wow, do I have to catch up with posting my photographic adventures! Here’s the last post for April and we’re ending May. I’ll try to post more frequently until I’m current.

In April we all go in search of wild flowers to photograph. I was sick from February through April with a cold that wouldn’t quit so I got out late to North Table Mountain and its beautiful wildflowers. Located in Butte County near Oroville, Table mountain consists of two flat mountain areas, North and South. The wild flowers grow on top of volcanic material which makes walking a challenge for some of us. There a numerous waterfalls, but our hike included some of the smaller ones.

After leaving Table Mountain, we stopped by the old Oregon City covered bridge. Photos are included in the gallery.

I accompanied Laura on this outing. I can’t say I was especially excited with what I saw and captured. This was my second trip to Table Mountain with about 3 years in between. Maybe my memory made things sweeter, maybe I wasn’t feeling totally well, or we got out there late in the wildflower life cycle. But, I got what I got and reviewing the images for this post, they aren’t that bad!

So here’s North Table Mountain.

Happy Mother’s Day: Negro Bar, Folsom & The Nesting Tree, Lincoln

I hope all of you mothers have had a wonderful special day. I received texts and calls from family members. We also had a delicious and filling brunch with Greg and Jess and the grandkids. So here I sit ready to talk and show you where my photography passion has taken me now.

I now know that even if the outing doesn’t give you great weather, clouds or scenery, there’s always a picture worth taking and processing. Negro Bar, a State park in Folsom was sort of a disappointment since it was crowded with people and there wasn’t a promise of a great sunset. But I walked around and in the short time we were there shot these images, including visitors, people kayaking and the historic Rainbow Bridge:

My next visit was a surprise one and stretched the limits of my walk around lens, 18 – 140 mm. Marlene and I were scrapbooking at Betty Carol’s home. During a breat she took us to a special tree in Lincoln. I call the tree the Nesting Tree because of all the nests and variety of birds in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I really couldn’t capture anything good with the lens I had with me, so I went back the following Wednesday. This time I was ready with my F/4 300 mm prime lens! It’s amazing what you can see with a little extra reach. I found Great Egrets and Blue Herons. A few weeks later, I brought Laura to the tree. She caught even more with her 600 mm lens, and saw more species. Here’s what I captured:

So, when Jess asked me what I’ve been doing lately, I talked about photo outings. Yes, photography has become a good part of my life! Again, Happy Mother’s Day!

Feeling the sun: di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

Oh, it’s wonderful: two days of sunshine, and one more to come! After, that showers begin again. I have managed to get out with my camera during the sunshine, and you’ll see those images later after they’re processed.

Today, I’m taking you to the second half of our journey into Napa that began with the Quixote Winery (in my last post) and ended with the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

We drove to the art gallery after lunch and stopped along the way for more picture taking. You know photographers, we just keep clicking when we see something pretty. On approach, the gallery is pretty, the grounds are beautiful, but I wasn’t feeling the art. But, as I’ve learned by having my images critiqued, art is totally subjective. (I did find out that my “Droplets” picture did make it to the table from which the winners were chosen!) While I may not like something, someone else will.

The grounds that the two galleries sit on are beautiful, complete with a lake. I did the best I could with the limited access we had to the grounds. The highlight of the trip was the stop at the Lake Berryessa, in Napa County, and its spillway or Glory Hole.

So, here are the images of the country side, art gallery and Glory Hole!

Weathering the storm: Quixote Winery

With only a few days of sunshine peaking through, we are still wet here in California. In fact, they’ve called the drought over everywhere in the State. Right now there’s a break and the sun is shining, but I don’t expect for too long.

That’s the weather update, now for my personal photo journey. I did get my framed images down to the In Focus Photography Competition; however, they didn’t place. And, when I last communicated with the contest official, she said they hadn’t sold yet. She did say that when a group of school children came through, one boy fell in love with the mantis picture. He even drew a picture of it. Too bad his parents weren’t along to buy it for him!

It was an experience that I value. Those prints will be seen again at the Sierra Camera Club print competition. And, we’re thinking of buying a printer so we can print out our own images. Richard, Bright Star Observatory, is taking some great deep space images now, and they should be seen. I’m still not sure whether I’ll start competing elsewhere. Ahead is the State Fair competition which should be fun and educational. Maybe I’ll check other County calendars too. Who knows!

Right now I’m still battling a cold that my doctor says lasts for 4 to six weeks. I’m doing much better, but still have to watch my exercise level. Too much activity and I’m tired the next day. I did get in one day of shooting in the Napa Valley to the Quixote Winery and the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. It was the first sunny day in a long time and I needed to get out with my camera. I did pay for my adventure for 2 days afterward!

Here are some images taken on the way to the winery and at the winery. We’ll talk about the museum in my next post. I think I have to find my copy of “Here Comes The Sun” by Richie Havens and play it continually! You think that would work?

A slow start to 2019: January

If I thought 2019 would start off with a BANG, I was wrong. I didn’t hold a camera in my hand for the first two weeks. After that there were five photo opportunities, but few great photos. A lot had to do with the rainy weather, which we’re still having, and also with my not feeling well.

So here we are in February and the rain is still coming down. I’m not complaining because California needs the rain. We have a great snow pack now that will hopefully see us through the dry summer. What does that mean for photography? If you can’t make it up to the snow, you’re shooting inside! I’m amazed at how many businesses welcome photographers. This year we’ve been to the Antique Trove in Roseville twice, most recently today. You’ll see those pictures in my next post.

So, here are some picks from January!

These were from an experiment with oil and water. It’s more difficult than the tutorial made it seem!

These are from an outing to Old Folsom Historic District. It’s a section of Folsom where you can walk, shop and eat. Best of all, the parking is free!

This next outing was to Old Sacramento. I’ve shown you images from there before. It’s always a challenge to find something new.

So, there you have some highlights from January!

Finishing up 2018: Effie Yeaw and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge

Since our world is shrinking, most of you know about the government shut down partially in the United States. Let’s put politics aside and think about the people who are being used as pawns in this game. It’s even affected us photographers with some of our National Parks partially closed.

Being a National refuge, all services were gone at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows. It was, however, open for those who wanted to take the driving tour. Laura and I did just that, and we then drove over to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gridley.

Before that, my Camera Totin’ Tuesday went to visit Effie Yeaw in Carmichael. I wanted to photograph deer, but I didn’t see any. I know you’re beginning to be doubtful about deer in the Nature Center! Effie Yeaw is always a great place for a walk since it’s along the American River.

So here are some images from both outings. I’m hopeful that the next time I post, I’ll be able to say our government is open!

Just a little rest: Kauai, Day 2

It’s not easy to fly to your destination any more. You need to change planes, pull your carry on luggage through the airport and spend time in between flights. By the time you get to your destination, you’ve had it. So our plan of photographing some of the sites the day we arrived in Kauai didn’t happen.

To make up for it, we went from one end of the island to the other the next day. You’ve seen the pictures in my previous post. So we needed an easy going day. Add to that my and Marlene’s injuries, we were ready to not rush the morning. So, my two terrific guides suggested we visit the East shore and photograph Opaeka’s Falls, go on the Jungle Hike (Which was so muddy that we could only go part way before we were slipping.) and view Wailua Falls.

Marlene and Laura brought guide books and studied them. I basically brought myself! Now you know why they were the guides, and they did an outstanding job. It was a nice short day!

Take a look.

I’m using the new WordPress editor and think I should have added captions before I inserted the pictures! The sequence goes: Opaeka’a Falls, river across from it, goat wondering why we were on the Jungle Hike, strange tree and path on the hike, various flowers, ocean, handsome rooster (plenty of them on Kauai) and Wailua Falls.