Lens Artists Challenge #226: Textures

Guest host Jude of Cornwell in Colours picked the perfect challenge for me because I love textures. I don’t mean the nice blended textures you put behind your subject ( Which I can’t do yet!). I mean the texture of your subject. We are drawn to color and texture.

For instance I love the colors of rust and its gritty texture. You’ll notice as it ages, the colors change and the metal degrades, adding to its beauty.

I also find texture in old non-rusted metal. This old worn large propeller from a ship shows lines and textures when photographed close up. You can just feel how its been worn during its use.

Each year Sacramento hosts Chalk It Up where artists draw with chalk or liquid chalk on a sidewalk square. The grit of the sidewalk and chalk create a texture no other canvas can duplicate.

A lion’s mane has texture although you wouldn’t want to get close enough to feel it!

Wood is another favorite texture of mine. It can be tree bark or siding on a building. It draws you in with its variation of color and natural design.

Last, plants give us the feeling of texture in their form, color and shape.

There are many more examples of texture, but I’ll stop here. Texture is all around us. Take it in, feel and experience it. Thank you Jude for helping me realize how important texture is to photography. When you respond to this challenge, please remember to link to her post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Thank you all for responding for my challenge last week. I enjoyed learning about your amazing local wildlife. We saw birds, foxes, porcupines, bears, deer, squirrels and some small insects and bugs. It was great. Next week Tina will be leading the challenge so be sure to look for her post.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

Stop. Look. Listen. Doing those three things will help you discover the abundance of wildlife you have nearby. You have wildlife in your yard, nearby park, local pond or lake and just about anywhere around you. We often overlook opportunities to photograph these animals because we are so used to having them around us.

We live in a community with beautiful green belts, old oak trees, a creek and the wildlife that enjoys it. I walk my dog, Gem, every morning. He and I are used to seeing a variety of animals each morning. Sometimes we even catch the nocturnal skunks if we’re out early like at daybreak during the summer. I’ve picked him up three times when I’ve seen coyotes. Twice, I’ve seen deer looking around for something to munch on.

Beyond my complex, I’m fortunate to live near parks and nature centers where wildlife abounds.

Let’s start with the pond we have in the middle of our senior complex. It has fish for catch and release, turtles and the usual geese and ducks.

Oh, we must give special attention to our wild turkeys that seem to take over the place only to be daunted by the coyotes. I’ve only seen coyotes while walking my dog and I’m without a camera. You’ll note that the last group of turkeys is not that sharp. That’s because it was taken with my cell phone, which doesn’t have a great camera. I just wanted you to see how they congregate. These turkeys are protected so there’s no thinking of enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with them on the platter.

Moving a little beyond my community, about 15 minutes away (I gage in time not miles!), is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s right on the banks on the American River. It’s nature at its wildest. I’ve been there and seen deer carcasses that have been ravaged by vultures and other animals. On the brighter side, most of the time the deer know that humans are not their predators.

About the same distance, but in a different direction is the Gibson Ranch County Park. It has stables and a pond. On a recent visit, a family was feeding the squirrels. This one was a cutie. And I found a goose that was not a Canada goose.

Further down the interstate, about a total of 30 minutes away, is the Vic Fasio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. We find mostly birds when we go around the dirt route, and in this drought, they are even a rare sighting. Here are a great egret and blue heron I photographed during our last visit.

From squirrels to birds, wildlife is around us. What non-domestic animals live in your neighborhood or nearby? Do you have feeders to attract wild birds? Look through your archives or take a nature walk with your camera. Maybe some of those flowers have bees looking for nectar with which to make honey? Lizards, praying mantis or spiders may be lurking around the rocks. Oh, how about butterflies? Let us see your wildlife. Remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artist tag.

I had fun and learned some new things while responding to Sophia’s Exposure challenge. I hope you did too. Next week I’m pleased to tell you that our guest host is Jude of Cornwall in Colors. Look for her challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens-Artists Challenge #224: Exposure

Sophia, I had so much fun with this challenge. I seldom take the time to try different things with my images once I’ve processed them, so this was an enjoyable practice. I may do it more often.

I played with exposure in post processing, using images in my archives. Most of them have been posted before. First, the high key images. I used a great egret taking off. I wanted to see what happens when you do a white bird as an overexposed image. Then I had fun with some of my roses.

This was a dark pink rose, I lightened the color, added a misty filter and then a white vignette.

Now for the overexposures. I found these easier than the high-key images.

For my last bit of fun. I was trying to do a building in high-key and tried the infrared filter. I played around with it and I like it. I usually don’t like infrared images.

I hope you’re having fun with Sophia’s challenge too. When you post, be sure to link to her original post and use the Lens-Artists tag. We enjoyed reading about and seeing everyone’s Flight of Fancy last week. There were many variations of the theme. I’ll be leading next week’s challenge so look out for my post.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens-Artists Challenge #223: Flights of Fancy

Oh John, how many scenarios went through my mind when I read this amazing challenge! My mind was actually going through Flights of Fancy! I finally settled on one. Different Flights of Fancy of various people.

Some people like festivals that take their imagination to a certain time and places where they can leave their current world behind for a couple of days. They dress and act as if they were in that time and place. Take this Pirate Festival I attended a few years ago. It was fun even for the non-participants.

Closely related to festivals are the reenactments. Marlene and I visited the Civil War Reenactment at nearby Gibson Ranch a few years ago. The participants were so into recreating their Flight of Fancy that everything was in the time of the Civil War: dishes, tents, costumes, language, etc. When it came time for the battle, the South didn’t have enough soldiers so they drafted some of the audience. These shots are from the end of the battle with cannons firing and causalities on the ground. Of course, the North won. The South surrendered with a full ceremony. It was great.

Now for my Flight of Fancy. For years I’ve fancied traveling again. Finally the chance came and so did my passion to photograph different places and things. Within that passion is the fun of creating abstract images from colorful landscapes. Here are some ceiling shots I took aboard the ship.

I’m ending with my husband, Richard’s, Flight of Fancy. He looks to the skies and beyond. Actually, his telescope looks for him. He’s an astronomer who images. There’s a camera on his scope that takes pictures of deep space objects like galaxies and nebula. He normally has his shutter open for 24 minutes to take 4 color shots, and he takes 20 pictures. That’s dedication and a nap while it’s happening! Here are a few of his images

From left to right: M8, the Lagoon Nubula; M31, the Andromeda Galaxy; from left to right: NGC 4312 NGC 4321 Galaxies.

No matter what your Flights of Fancy are, I hope they come to realization. When you post your response, please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and link to John’s post. Last week we were taken to scenic mountains from all over the world. Thank you Amy! Next week Sophia leads the challenge on Exposure.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #222: The Mountains Are Calling

My east coast travels in the United States made me appreciate the varied topography we have in California. Amy wants us to show and talk about the mountains that call to us. In Northern California, we have mountains. I am fortunate to live close to the range called the Sierra Nevadas, a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. It’s highest point is Mt. Whitney at 14,505 ft. I’ve never been up there. (Visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at 12,000 ft. was enough for me!)

Locally, we have Table Mountain, near Oroville in Butte County. The North and South tables are flat mesas that were formed from basaltic eruptions. I’ve been there three times, but not recently. It’s very difficult to walk on the uneven surface. Here are some images. Notice the beautiful wildflowers. They and the small waterfalls draw photographers there each year.

Next the Sierra Nevadas host Donner Lake at 5,936 ft. I’ve shown you images of this beautiful spot before, but it’s been a while since I’ve shown you the tunnels where the trains passed through the mountains. Not used any more, it houses graffiti art.

Now for other finds with single images. First is Ananda Village in the Sierras (Nevada City). They host the Tulip Festival each year. Here you can get a good view of the Sierras.

Foresthill is a small mountain town that recently had a fire come through. Fortunately, this image was taken a year before. It just shows how life can change in an instant.

Last is Hope Valley which is famous for having Fall Colors each year. I’ve posted images from this area. But the valley also has a small lake.

I haven’t even mentioned the National and State Parks that add to the beauty of this State. I love the mountains so thank you Amy for letting me show off my nearby beauties. When you reply to her post be sure to link to her post and use the Lens-Artist tag. We enjoyed all your beautiful florals last week in response to Ann-Christine’s challenge. Next week Sophia will be leading the challenge so look for her post.

Lens Artists Challenge #121: Flower Favorites & Why

I’m not a fan of gardening. Somehow, digging in dirt is not appealing. But I do enjoy others’ efforts. I enjoy the beauty and joy flowers bring to our eyes and other senses. This week Ann-Christine asks us to pick our favorites! That’s difficult. I suppose I like roses and sunflowers. Oh, but, then there are tulips, orchids and lotus.

Roses. Here are two from my rose garden. This garden was here when we bought the house and I’ve managed to keep it going. I’m lucky to live next door to a wonderful gardner who showed me how to deadhead them. So I go out with a long-sleeved shirt and gloves, hoping they won’t get mad at me for trying to help them. Those thorns! From my garden.

We have several public rose gardens in the Sacramento area. One of them is the McKinley Rose Garden. Each year they host a photography contest. I’ve received an honorable mention and won first place. Here are two from that garden–not the winning images.

Each year Ananda Village in Nevada City hosts a tulip festival. I’ve gone each year except for the two Covid years. Here a two images from this April. You’ve probably seen them in this blog.

This year, I went to the Horton Iris Farm. They mainly grow to sell. A few of us were taking pictures. When photographing flowers, I do mostly macro. I guess I like the challenge.

Speaking of macro, whenever I need an emotional lift, I go to my local Green Acres Nursery. On this visit, a cactus lifted my spirits and the orchid had me smiling with its beauty.

Oh my, I almost forgot the sunflowers! They bring me such joy. Each year we would go out looking for great sunflower fields and then head over to Metzger’s Zinnia patch. For the last 2 years, I missed this opportunity because of the drought, gas prices and Covid. But, photography lets us enjoy the past.

Wildflowers are nature’s gift to us. Here are two wildflower images of poppies near Jackson and purple flowers (I don’t know their name) at Pacific Grove.

Last is the lotus. Each year the pond at Land Park, Sacramento fills with lotus blossoms. Here is my attempt at a black and white conversion.

Thank you Ann-Christine for helping me remember the joy flowers bring to me. When you respond to this challenge, remember to tag Ann-Christine’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we learned a valuable lesson with Patti’s One Subject Three Ways. I enjoyed seeing all your responsesAmy will be challenging us next week, so look for her post.

Lens Artists Challenge #220: One Subject Three Ways

I find that I’m getting lazy when I photograph. I used to do as Patti suggests in this week’s challenge: bend down, sit down, walk around and even lay down to get the shot. Now I find that I stop myself after I take one shot and begin to walk away. I think it’s more physical aging than being lazy.

Sometimes I don’t have to bend down to get a different perspective. Sometimes I just walk around and aim the camera up. This red sculpture is found in Roseville’s Sculpture Park. While it’s a well known landmark, Roseville has cleverly hidden it behind a shopping center. But it can be seen from the freeway. Maybe the sculpture came first and the shopping center second.

My next example is of stepping back and changing position to get a different scene from the same area. This was taken at Fort Ross Historical Park in Jenner. I’ve never seen wild Calla Lilies, but they are here. We start out with a larger view of the coast and then come in to find the wildflowers (you can barely see them).

Sometimes it’s patience that gives us a new perspective on a picture. This Orangutan at the Sacramento Zoo required patience as I waited and followed his moves.

Finally, it’s taking a shot of many and bringing it down to just one for a different perspective. These poppies were found in Sutter Creek, Amador County.

Thank you Patti for reminding me to position myself to get the “one subject three ways!” When you post on this challenge please remember to link to Patti’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. We all enjoyed finding our special treasures as prompted by Tina last week. Ann-Christine is hosting next week’s challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #219: Treasure Hunt

I enjoy a good treasure hunt, especially when it involves photography. I’ve participated in a couple of outings that involved finding treasured objects, and had fun. This week Tina encourages us to participate in her treasure hunt. So here goes!

I found all but the moon. But that was for extra credit since I do have a sun image. Each image is captioned.

Thanks Tina, this was fun. It’s good to be back with LAPC after being gone on an enjoyable vacation. I’m sorry to have missed some challenges, but without internet, it was not possible to participate. If you haven’t posted your response yet, be sure to link to Tina’s original post when you do. Next week, Patti will host the LAPC challenge. Be sure to look for her post.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens-Artists Challenge #216: Urban Environments

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a truly urban environment. Downtown Sacramento is as close as I’ve gotten, but I already posted many pictures of buildings and street art. So how do I put a twist on this challenge from Sofia? I thought immediately of San Francisco. In July, 2018, Marlene and I took the ferry from Tiburon to the Embarcado.

A couple of pictures taken from the ferry.

It was a full day of walking, taking pictures and people watching. The Embarcado attracts tourists of all ages, people who live in San Francisco and want to eat in well-known restaurants, and anyone who is looking for a speciality item. People watching was what I enjoyed the most.

I was immediately overcome with sadness and wonderment at watching a couple help their very senior dog. I’m now helping my senior dog, a schnoodle, although his stroller is much smaller.

Kids just love the environment on the Embarcadero. This red-head was a stand out and this girl was enjoying this unusual swing.

Street entertainers helped liven up the crowds.

Workers also need breaks.

Artists are also creating and selling their finished products.

And, I can’t close this post without crowd scenes!

Do you see Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop in the last picture. Of course I just had to get some Cherry Garcia! I want to go back and do this again. I love street photography. These were just some of the pictures from that trip. Maybe Marlene and I will do this again in the Fall.

Thank you Sofia for letting me go down memory lane with this twist to your challenge. When you post your reply to this challenge, be sure to link it to Sofia’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Last week John’s challenge brought us to many places in a variety of ways. It was fun reading your posts. Tina leads next week’s challenge so look for her post.

I will be taking 3-weeks off. Yes, I’m actually going on a vacation! I’ll be back soon.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info