May was…: M3 Ranch, Woodland

What can I say. May was sometimes good and sometimes disappointing–for photography. I’ve taken you on many Yolo Art & Ag farm tours and this one of the M3 Ranches in Woodland promised such varied crops like olives, garlic, almond trees, agave plants and more. How exciting! Well, maybe not.

The first clue was there was no greeter to take our names. The roads were open and we drove around them. I’m thinking maybe we missed something???

We did find the almond trees. At least we think they are almonds.

Then we found a pond that they call their oasis.

And now the agave plants.

The grape vines already had fruit.

I think these are the olive trees. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

I’ll end with some of the vistas I photographed.

Working with the images for this post, I’m thinking it wasn’t such a disappointment after all.

Lens-Artists Challenge #197: The Rule of Thirds

Not only haven’t I taken a photography class, I tend not to follow rules when it comes to photography. I just go with what looks good to me. I think it helps that I spent 20 years in business with a graphic artist (I was the writer.) and learned the basics of doing a flyer layout: have an odd number of graphics, avoid having text run down the center of the page (tunnel vision), and spread your text around the page.

This week Tina introduces us to the Rule of Thirds. The reason for this rule is basic–it helps us compose pictures that are pleasing to the eye, avoiding symmetry. But sometimes it’s better to have an image that is almost symmetrical or totally symmetrical.

Let’s see what I did in 1918.

Here are some floral examples. One is definitely centered. Although the second flower is centered, the water drop is not and it is the focal point. The last one is not centered, taking up 2/3 of the frame.

Next let’s look at some wildlife. The Canada goose in the left side of the image, giving it room to fly away. The small burrowing owl is centered but looking toward the left side of the frame. They are so small that a good crop was needed to show detail.

Landscapes are the most fun. In the first image, a white boat starts out in the lower left of the picture. You know where it is going! The second image starts out in the lower right corner with the road that takes you through the mid section and back to the right. The third is symmetrical taking us right up to and through the gate.

Sunsets can also be asymmetrical.

Portraits can also be off center. I did ask her parents permission to photograph her. I think by the way she posed, she’s had her picture taken before! Notice there’s a little room to her left.

So, yes, I break rules, but I sometimes follow them. It all comes down to what looks good to me!

Thank you Tina for giving us the nudge to look at how we compose and whether we can do anything different. When you post your reply to this challenge be sure to link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Patti will lead us next week with a Light and Shadow challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

A lingering cold: Horton Iris Farm, part 2

I’ve been down and out with a week long cold. I guess you realize that I’m not happy, especially having to miss a photo outing. Even Gem is upset because he’s getting a very short walk each morning.

Fortunately, I do have the second part of last week’s post to show you. Last week you saw the beautiful iris blossoms at Horton Iris Farm in Loomis. Now I’ll show you the rest of the farm.

When you come into the farm, there’s this cute bird feeder.

Then there are methods of transportation.

More flowers and farm art (old machines).

It’s a large farm, so there’s plenty of space for landscape images including a pond.

So that’s Horton’s Iris Farm. Now back to nursing this s****d cold!

Lens-Artist Challenge #195: Colorful Expressions

Color! It motivates, depresses, and makes us happy. Marketing companies know the effect color can have on our emotions. Just look how it’s used in print and television ads. Bright colors are usually used to get us to buy—now. More subdued colors are used to relax us and encourage us to come in for that spa treatment. How do you react to these subliminal motivators?

Better yet, how does color affect your photography? How we photograph is reflective of how color motivates us. I like bright bold colors, red being my favorite. In fact, as I write this post, I’m wearing a red blouse. I shy away from pastels, and you’ll never see me wear a soft pink! But, back to photography. My personal preferences are carried forth in what I choose to photograph.

If I see red, I’m going to photograph it. These umbrellas are an example. The umbrellas take up most of the image with a large splash of color. It draws attention and, for me, is exciting.

The canopy below is a much smaller representation of red, but it still caught my eye. It is small and in the background. Even though it’s small, it’s bright enough to pull you into the frame.

A photographed color can be soft and light, creating a sense of calm. Or, it can be bright, demanding our attention. These two flowers are an example of this. The soft pick versus the bright yellow and red. Which suits your mood? I know I said I’m not drawn to pink, but flowers are the exception.

Color can also fill the frame, be solid, or lead us through the frame. The orange pumpkin dominates, leaving me feel excited and wanting to bake pumpkin bread. While the soft yellow on the ground and trees accents the branches and glides us along the pathway, having me feel at peace.

Mother nature often paints her landscapes in duotone so the subject can stand out as does this cypress tree against the blue ocean. I could sit a long time watching the waves crash onto the shore, creating a calmness within me.

Or She paints a beautiful expansive vision of color as these poppies drape the hillside. This wild poppy field left me in awe of nature’s work.

I’m also drawn to rust which has a texture of its own, creating its own colorful patina. I can just feel the age of this wheel and admire its beautiful colors.

Before I close this challenge, I had a bit of color fun by processing selective color. This is the first time I’ve done this. Remember this photo, all that’s left in color are the red umbrellas. If you haven’t processed selective color, give it a try. It is fun!

And then there’s the rare “what is that!”  Sometimes color surprises us. Wouldn’t you stop to take a picture of an old pink barn. Yes, even I did!

This week, show us how color affects your photography. What emotions does it bring to the surface? Which ones are you particularly drawn to? When you create your colorful expression, remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you, Sofia, for last week’s challenge that explained what bokeh is and how we use it as we photograph. We enjoyed seeing all your beautiful responses. Our guest host John RH, of John’s Space, will be presenting next week’s challenge. Be sure to visit his site.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Oh no, birds again: Yolo Bypass Wildlife area

Let’s hope you see more birds once I get my new Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens. To do most wildlife photography, I’ve been using my Nikon D7100 and an old metal F/4 300 mm prime lens. It was almost impossible for me to hold until Ray made me a short monopod that helps hold the camera and lens steady. The other problem is the Nikon itself. It’s not very good in low light. So photographing in cloudy and overcast days was difficult.

So, I finally decided to try the Fuji lens which I hope is lighter. It’s coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, Laura and I recently went to our local wildlife area in Yolo County, just across from Old Sacramento. The Yolo Bypass is a favorite for local photographers.

I was lucky to get a series of a great egret hunting for what ended up being a cricket, beetle or some other bug.

There were also some other birds.

And then two cormorants.

Get ready and fly.

I’m not sure what bird this is but….

And here are some landscapes taken with my Fuji.

Now, I’m anxious to test out my new lens, but we will have to wait!

Almond blossoms and rust: Winters California

Mother nature is fickle. Wind, rain and all sorts of weather can ruin crops and cause financial distress for the growers. It can also cause disappointment for photographers. Last year a BIG wind storm blew almond blossoms off trees, rendering them bare. It was a tough year for the growers. This year, I got sick the week we were to take advantage of a Yolo Art and Ag visit to an almond orchard. We went the next week knowing we couldn’t get on the property, but thought we could photograph from the road. However the blossoms were almost gone. What a difference a week can make!

I tried photographing through the fence. This is what I saw.

But we did see a field of old, rusted equipment. Now, I do love rust and its texture, photographing close up.

Not rusted, but if you like lines and angles, power line towers rule.

Always looking for something to photograph, we found these on the way to Winters for lunch.

After lunch, we walked about the town.

Will 2023 be the year we photograph almond blossoms? I hope so. If not rust will never disappoint!

In search of red buds: U.C. Davis Arboretum

Sometimes the spirit is more willing than Mother Nature wants to give us. Recently Laura and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum, in Davis, to photograph the red buds and the wildlife it attracts. Yes, our spirits were willing to take the images, but there were hardly any red buds and birds. We did find some.

I’m guessing there might be more now. But we did find some nice scenery. I had my 55 – 200 mm lens on my Fujifilm XT3 so I did a lot of stepping back for some of these landscape shots.

We did come across a group of cormorants sitting on the shore of the creek. I focused on this one.

And, I couldn’t resist photographing flowers and more in close up.

When I needed to rest, Laura went further while I sat on a bench and people (and dog) watched.

So, our red bud search gave us a beautiful walk and a lot of photo opportunities even if we didn’t see many red buds on the trees.

Lens Artists Challenge #181: Double Dipping

This week Tina encourages us to share photos from other challenges in which we participate or places in which we post. I’m typically not one for taking part in challenges except of course for LAPC. For the last year and a half, I have waited, with joy and anticipation, until 9 a.m. PST for the latest LAPC challenge to be posted. Then I would formulate my response and go through my archives. This was an enjoyable experience as I revisited former outings, bringing back fond memories.

And there I stay. You can call me one-challenge-Anne! But I do post in a few other places. First is the juried competition club Sierra Camera Club. I have gain so much knowledge by having my photos judged and critiqued. I’ve also found critiques of fellow members’ photos invaluable. Here are some of my past entries. With each entry, I choose a picture that will give me feedback in different areas.

The Sierra Camera Club is a member of the Photographic Society of America which I also joined. I quickly joined one of their Projected Image Division groups (PID). Each month we upload two images to be critiqued by the group members. I used the knowledge gained in the Sierra Camera Club to good use while looking at and critiquing the other group members’ photos. It’s all a wonderful learning experience. Here are some of my entries.

And finally, my own group of seniors, Camera Totin’ Days. We go out once a week, take it easy, enjoy shooting our photographs and then eat lunch. Here are some images from our outings.

Now that John, Sophia and I are joining the Lens-Artists team, I’m looking forward to some new experiences.  Patti will be leading our next challenge so be sure to visit her Pilotfish blog or to watch for her post in the Lens-Artists Reader section.

Yolo Arts and Ag: Capay Canyon Ranch

Sometimes you just feel like a winner! That’s the way I felt when we (Marlene, Ray, Richard and I) went to the monthly Yolo Arts and Ag Project in Esparto. The flyer said that at Capay Canyon Ranch we would be able to see the almond orchard and processing of the almonds. Usually we go when the trees are blossoming and that’s all we get to see. And you feel more like a winner when you find a wonderful photo opportunity on the way there and back. Here’s what our morning was like.

On our way to Capay Canyon Ranch.

At Capay Canyon Ranch.

I managed to get some of the warehouse and machinery before I was asked to leave for safety reasons. I truly thought we had the ability to photograph anywhere we wanted.

I walked around and found some almond trees and grapes being dried for raisins.

Then I found where the almonds were getting ready for shipping. There were large mounds of almonds everywhere with bags to mark where each were to be delivered. It was a treat to catch the large machine as it dumped almonds on the mound.

Then on our way home, we came upon this old house. Now who can resist photographing something old and falling down?

A great big thank you to Capay Canyon Ranch for giving us access to an amazing photography and learning opportunity! I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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.