Lens Artists Challenge #163: Keep walking

Amy wants us to walk. I don’t have a choice! I walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles each morning–unless the weather doesn’t permit. I do this to keep Gem, my dog, happy. He leads the way, has his various routes around the community, knows the other dogs and knows the humans who have the treats! We have a small lake and there’s always something going on with the geese and ducks. Too bad I don’t bring my camera with me. This is his joy and my exercise. Okay, I enjoy it too. It helped me feel less alone during lockdown.

My joy, is walking with my camera. My photo group goes out once a week, and sometimes to our favorite places where we can walk, talk and take photographs. One of my favorites is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s on the American River and supports a great deal of wildlife. Here’s a few photos taken during a 2019 walk.

We also like to walk the Sacramento Zoo. The animals sometimes put on a show for us. Here again is a 2019 visit.

And how about the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery! We go there about once a year. It’s so peaceful to walk about, there is so much history to be found. One year they were going to take away the flowers, saying they weren’t there when the cemetery was first started, and they wanted to keep the cemetery original. Everyone protested and we won.

I’ll close with an image from an outing to the Folsom Farmers’ Market that moved me–our flag in glory.

So, how do I feel about these photo outings? I enjoy them and look forward to them as much as Gem does his morning walks. It’s good exercise and a good time with dear friends.

Country Life: Clos Cavanis Farm, Woodland

I was worried that my younger grandkids, 12, Ryan, and 10, Olivia, would become bored during this farm visit Woodland and the Clos Cavanis Farm–a Yolo Art & Ag project. So I made sure they had their cell phones with them for picture taking. There would be no animals, orchards or farm machinery to look at but just the house and barn.

As per the flyer, “Preserving history is important to Van and Catherine Overhouse. That explains why they spent the last two decades bringing their 1868 Victorian Italianate home back to life. “We saved
the house” says Van who recently completed repainting the exterior- which took 2 years working
40 hours a week – the final stage in the restoration.”

So I thought we’d be just photographing the house and barn–a quick trip. Olivia had dabbled with painting, so we talked with the artists. We also took pictures. The kids settled on macro work with their phones. They both took excellent pictures, and Ryan caught on quickly. It also helped that Catherine had baked delicious scones for us to taste. We were there 1 1/2 hours, and Olivia asked to come to the next farm visit so she could bring her paints.

Here are some of my pictures of this beautiful restored home.

We then went to the Mezger Family Zinnia Patch which was close by. Each year the Mezger’s grow zinnias and encourage the public to come and pick the flowers. They also provide vases when available. People who pick the flowers are encouraged to share them with “shut in’s” who can’t get out to see their beauty otherwise. Olivia picked some flowers for her mom. Here are some of my photos.

If Olivia still wants to, she will come with me in August and paint. I’ll bring chairs, do my photography and relax. Not a bad morning!

Lens Artists Challenge #158: Along Back Country Roads

Just what are back country roads? Could they be roads that are new to you and fun to explore? Could they be taking a wrong turn and ending up on a road that’s barely suitable for driving? For Wandering Dogs, Beth and her husband, it’s getting your tires dirty and seeing the beautiful countryside. So this week she’s challenged us to take that road less traveled.

For me, it means adventure and new roads, paved or not. I’ve mentioned my photo outings with my friend Greg, who passed away, in other posts. He, Marlene and I would set out in the morning and return in time for dinner–maybe! We didn’t know where he was taking us and sometimes neither did he. He had a passion for turning down side roads, especially when it said “Dead End!” These are from some of those trips.

Sometimes it’s the need to get away for an hour or two. Early on during lockdown last year, I was getting antsy. When Richard noticed me scratching at the front door, screaming “Let me out!” (A slight exaggeration, but true feeling!), he said let’s go for a ride. We didn’t go far; just up Highway 80, looking for small towns. One of these towns was Dutch Flat, and it was small.

Another of our escapes had us looking for the Sugar Pine Reservoir. The was one of those times when taking the wrong turn could get you into trouble. The GPS showed us a way back, but it didn’t say how narrow and twisty a dirt road it was. It took us 4 hours to do what should have taken at most 1 hour!

Photo buddy Jean likes to get in the car and go with sort of an idea of where to head. For this outing we headed out to the Eastern Sierras in search of Fall colors, but Jean smelled water, and off we went. We found a stream and a lake and I don’t remember the name.

So these are some of my road less traveled excursions. Yes, there were more, but I’ll save them for another time.

The Russian Fort: Fort Ross, Jenner California

I’m still enjoying my short get-a-way to Windsor even though I’ve been home a while. In my last post Lens Artists Challenge: #140: An Change of Scenery, I showed you Windsor and the surrounding countryside. The following day, we drove toward the ocean and ended up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. What a photographers dream that was.

Before you got to the Fort, also called the Russian Fort because it’s a historic Russian-era fort compound that has been designated National Historic Landmark status, you walk through the grounds of beautiful scenery and beaches. Here is a sample:

And now for the Fort. I know I’m giving you a lot to look at, but I’m hoping you’ll think it’s worth your time.

The next day we went to Napa. I’ll save that for another post.

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.

Winter white: Donner Lake

The snow beckons, but not in the middle of a storm or when it’s 6-feet deep. I’m a fair-weather-snow type of gal. I like the ambient temperature not freezing and to have ample snow on the ground. Had we made it up to Donner Lake a few days earlier it would have been perfect, but life did not permit. But it was still good when we did get there.

Donner Lake Village is a small town wrapping around the lake. It’s quaint and attracts tourists and residents year round. It is close to all major sky areas for winter sports, and in the summer is just stunning. When we went up, I didn’t even need to put my snow boots on. The weather was perfect.

The lake is about 1 1/2 hours from my home. Richard drove and Ray and Sally came along. Here are some of my images captured that day.

We were able to enter the Donner Memorial State Park Visitors’ Center, but the museum was closed. I had a different kind of fun in the gift shop.

Outside the gift shop was a photographer’s snowy opportunity.

After lunch, we went back into town for a last look.

We are expecting another storm soon. Maybe then I can go up again and need to wear my snow boots!

All’s well that ends well! Miners Ravine Trail

Sometimes when a planned outing goes awry, it can work out well anyway. That’s what happened when my photo group decided to walk along the American River starting at Folsom Dam.

Our organizer gave us an address to meet at. Easy? Not when you don’t follow GPS directions. My bad! But when we got there we (Donna and I) arrived at the Miners Ravine Trail parking lot. This was not the shopping center meet point. We had the wrong address. Even with the right address, we got lost. Finally we met our group who was past the patience point. Marlene had brought her dog (almost a year old) who was doing okay with the loud traffic, but would he do well walking across a busy street and along the dam? One member (Jean) was still lost and hadn’t arrived yet.

I told the others to go ahead; I would wait for Jean and maybe follow them. I told Marlene about the Miners Ravine Trail head we found, and she agreed it would be more suitable for her dog. I ran to take a picture of the dam. Jean gave up and went home!

Are you frustrated yet? I was! Marlene and I did one end of the trail before she headed home. I was soon joined by the rest of the group who had walked the American River Trail. We walked the other side of the trail.

In the end, I had a good time and don’t think I missed anything along the river trail. Here are some images from that walk.

It’s good that I love trees. Without leaves to disguise their structure, they are so expressive. So, all’s well that ends well!

Fog, trees and pond! Boulder Ridge and Coyote Pond parks

I’m not too fond of fog when I’m driving, but when I have my camera in my hand, I love it. On one foggy morning we (Marlene, Linda, Ray and I) ventured out to two local parks hoping to get foggy images.

The fog was lifting when we arrived at Boulder Ridge park in Rocklin, but still thick enough to block the visual of most of the park. This time of the year, the trees are bare and stand tall against the fog.

This large park is popular with locals. But it was damp and cold while we were there, and the hillsides weren’t visible. When we couldn’t see the rest of the park, we left and followed in our cars to Coyote Pond in Lincoln. The fog had lifted there and the beauty of this small neighborhood park was waiting for us.

It’s great that we have such beauty easily accessible in these COVID days.

Lens Artist Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge–Subjects That Begin with the Letter A

I love the letter “A” not only because it is the first letter of my name, but it’s also for Apple Hill in Placerville. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I read Patti’s post that gave us this challenge.

Of course in Apple Hill they grow apples. Imagine that! Each year the Apple Hill Growers Association organizes this event. Growers in the area open their orchards/farms, a certain amount, to the public. They sell pies, cupcakes, jelly or caramel apples, anything apple. I don’t care for pie, but the cupcakes and donuts are delicious. I do bring home a large slice of apple pie for Richard.

We spend the day driving from place to place, exploring the grounds and buying fruit from the fruit stands. It’s a wonderful photo day. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t go this year. However, I do have images to show you from previous years.

People of all ages come to enjoy the grounds, pony rides and food.

The grounds at some of the orchards are simply beautiful.

There are also a few old trucks, museum sets, and flowers.

I’m hoping that the pandemic will be over next year. I did miss visiting Apple Hill this year, but didn’t want to risk the crowds. Take care and stay safe everyone!

Lens-Artists #114: Negative Space

I’ve noticed that some people like negative space and create a minimalist lifestyle, and others like their surroundings busy (I won’t say cluttered.). I’m somewhere in the middle. My surroundings may be full, but it is neat and tidy. However, I’ve never thought about how the concept applied to how I take my photos.

Thank you Amy (The World Is A Book) for this weeks’ challenge. It helped me realize that I truly do not consider negative space when I shoot. Yes, I have skies that take up 2/3 of an image, birds in large pools of water, etc. But, these shots were never planned for negative space and its impact. I usually crop in close in camera. Even my landscapes are cropped in camera. Planning for negative space is something I should work on!

So, here are some of my inadvertent negative space images.

Thank you Amy!