Lens Artists Challenge #153: It’s a wonderful world

With all that’s been happening in the world this past 1 1/2 years, it’s important to live in continuous gratitude and remember that there is still a lot of beauty in the world, mostly provided by nature. In her challenge, Amy reminds us that there is a lot around us locally to be grateful for. Photography brings me into that world. At least once a week I go out with friends to capture people, places, animals and things that bring joy into my life.

I’m happy to share some of them with you from this year alone. Please read the captions for information.

This scene in Port Costa presented a beautiful and natural frame around the bridge emerging from the fog in the distance.

Thank you Amy for helping us to remember that there is a wonderful world out there, and I’m especially thankful for my photo buddies who see it with me.

Lens Artists Challenge#151: From Large to Small

Being short, I’d like to think that size doesn’t matter, but Patti says it does! In this week’s challenge, she asks us to pick a color and “Start with a photo of a big subject in that color (for example, a wall) and move all the way down to a small subject in that same color (for example, an earring).”

I first went out to photograph pink (Not my favorite color, but I inherited them.) roses. I photographed a large one, a medium one and a small one. Then I decided to look through my archives and found something more suitable, and it’s in my favorite color RED. Here we go.

Large

Medium

Small

Thanks Patti. I guess size does matter!

Lens Artist Challenge #150: Get Wild

Get wild! That’s the challenge given this week by Dianne Milliard of Rambling Ranger. She gave us parameters: no ” groomed gardens or animals in the zoo. No people or signs of people.” So that left out some of the parties we have in our senior community!

I gave it some thought and focused on an event that was a one time opportunity for me. Something I had never done before. But something wild and caused by nature. The total solar eclipse in August 2017. The event was seen in many places, but we chose Weiser Idaho. We got there a couple of days early so we could get a good spot for our RV. Richard checked out his sun scope and I was trying to get my Nikon d3100 ready. I shot with the 3100 just in case something happened. I didn’t want to ruin my d7100.

I was so nervous and truly beyond my photographic level. I read tutorials, etc. I wanted a trial run, but nature doesn’t do that!

The filter Richard (My husband is an astronomer.) made for me wasn’t the best. So I walked around and talked to other photographers (with more knowledge) and one of them gave me one of his filters. I am always amazed at how generous photographers are!

Eclipse day arrived. I perched the 3100 on the tripod while Richard had his sun scope ready to go. The moon was about to cover the sun, but I couldn’t find it while the camera was on the tripod. I wasn’t going to miss this. Off came the camera and I shot the eclipse hand held.

Here are some of the pictures I got that day.

The beginning:

The last crescent, diamond ring and Totality

The reversal begins as the moon moves away from the sun.

So this was my wild adventure of mother nature at it’s wildest.

Another outcome from this was Richard meeting a former science teacher who talked to him about becoming a NASA Ambassador. Now he gives astronomy talks at libraries and via zoom.

Thanks Dianne. This was a fun and wild challenge.

Lens Artists Challenge #149: Cool Colors, Blue and Green

I am moved by color. I am absolutely drawn to warm colors naturally, but can appreciate the cool colors when nature gives us beautiful green grass and blue skies. This week Tina asks us to feature blues and greens in our posts. It worked out for me since I was in San Jose this weekend, and my dear friend Alyse and I drove down to Pacific Grove. She sketched while I photographed.

Pacific Grove is on the ocean near Monterey. It’s also the site of the well known Pebble Beach Golf Course and Tournament. So, I found a lot of blues and greens to photograph. I’ve got four images to show you today because that’s all I’ve been able to process.

Let’s start with our first stop. This area is known for its wind blown Monterey Cypress trees.

Alyse was sketching this sculpture and the surrounding area. I’m guessing that the exposure to harsh weather and salt helped make it look blue.

A little further down the road, a group of cormorants were sunbathing on a huge rock. Some more blues and a spot of green.

Finally, we have an array of color with flowers along this rocky coast.

I hope to process the rest of the pictures this week. They will be featured in a blog post soon. Thank you Tina for setting us off on a cool color search.

Lens Artists Challenge #148: Spots and Dots

Spots and dots? This challenge from Ann Christine put my lack of creativity to a test. Fortunately, I got some ideas from members who posted before me. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery!

Animals were shown in a few posts; at least those having spots. So off I went to my Sacramento Zoo archives.

I also found a dog with spots. Not a dog called spot. I spotted him in one of my tours of a small town. Sorry, I couldn’t resist having some word fun.

And you’ll never know what you’ll find at IKEA. With a Photoshop filter, I turned a dotted pillow into a swirl with a center dot.

Every year there are Christmas lights that you can shoot normally or zoom. But they all start out as brightly lit dots.

Finally, you know how much I love photographing flowers. Whether it’s a macro, showing the stamens or a field dotted with golden poppies, I totally enjoy it.

This was a fun exercise. Thank you Ann Christine for the challenge!

Lens Artists Challenge #147: Gardens

I hate to work them, but I love to look at and photograph them. The “them” are gardens. And when I do photograph them, I tend to do macro or close up work. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a formal garden. So, for Amy’s challenge of gardens, I looked back about 3 years and this is what I found.

Maple Rock Gardens is a private residence that is open to the public for special events. Linda and I visited during one of those events.

Each year in June I love taking pictures of sunflowers in and around Woodland. Usually on the way out we, my photo buddies, go to Mezger Zinnia Patch. They ask people to come and pick the flowers for their own use and to give away to others who can’t get out. The zinnias always attract butterflies.

Soon we’ll be looking to photograph the lotus at William Land Park in Sacramento.

And finally are roses from the McKinley Rose Garden in Sacramento.

I now realize I do have to photograph more landscape images of the beautiful gardens near me. While I do enjoy macro work, sometimes I need to look at the big picture!

Lens Artists Challenge #146: Focusing on the Details

Given this week’s challenge by Patti to focus on details, my mind went back to a Toastmaster Photo Club I tried to start and a speech given by a professional photographer in the group. He talked and demonstrated about a different way to focus on details: finding the picture within the picture.

He showed us how to focus on the details of an image to find more images by cropping sections. His example was of a construction site. First he showed us the entire landscape of the site. Then he focused in on a worker, continued with more sections and ended with a pair of shoes. It was an amazing lesson.

Today I’m going to try the same with a landscape taken yesterday at Scotts Flat Reservoir in Nevada City. I was hiking with my daughter-in-law Jess and granddaughter Olivia. Here’s my picture within a picture.

First the landscape.

Next I isolated Jess, Olivia and their dog Hana.

My final capture from this landscape is of a log on the beach.

Although the official Toastmaster group disbanded, a few of us kept meeting until 14 months ago when the pandemic shut us down. We continued to share information, but I will never forget this lesson on details and finding the picture within the picture.

Lens-Artists Challenge #143: Colorful April

This challenge is having me feel melancholy. It’s been two Aprils since we were able to visit Ananda Village and photograph their beautiful tulips planted on the terrace. But Amy’s challenge of Colorful April didn’t say which year so I’m going deep into my archives for this one.

The year 2019 was the last visit we made to Ananda Village’s Crystal Hermitage Garden and their April display of tulips. The garden is currently closed because of the pandemic. I miss seeing the beautiful flowers in a calming and spiritual setting. Here are images from my 2019 visit.

It’s nice to have these visual memories. Hopefully we will be back to Ananda Village in 2022.

Lens Artists Challenge #142: You pick it, The 365 challenge

Our Lens Artists Challenges challenges can take us many places. This week, Ann Christine’s challenge took me back to 2015 which was the year I did the 365 challenge. If you haven’t taken that on, consider it. It wasn’t that I looked to take exceptional photos each day, I just took whatever was handy. It taught me discipline and improved my ability.

Not every photo was wonderful. Like the few weeks I just shot my foot that had the boot on after minor surgery. Gem, now runs out of the room when he sees the camera. The grandkids make stupid, funny faces when they see me pick up a camera. You get it, a whole year of taking the d7100 wherever I went. Taking a fast entry because I forgot. But also learning.

I briefly went through that year, 2015, and first hit the first, tenth, twentieth, etc. months and then went back to find some more. Here they are. Explanations are in the captions.

I was ready for this challenge to end and proud that I had shot a picture each day of the year. Then I was amazed at the difference in my photographic ability. If you don’t think you can do 365 days, try the 52 week challenge no matter what level you’re at. I’m glad I did!

Lens-Artists Challenge #141: Geometry

I cringed when I saw the word geometry in Patti’s challenge post. All I could think of was math; my worst subject in school. But, shapes I understand. We look for them as we do our photography. They help make our images interesting. Many give our pictures depth and help them look three dimensional.

Here’s what I found while looking through my archives.

One of my favorite buildings, the CALSTRS building in West Sacramento has many angles, lines and shapes.

And here are a couple from Fort Point in San Francisco: stairs and a shape within a shape within a shape (actually a hallway).

There are lots of triangles and other shapes at the top of the transformers at the Folsom Historic Powerhouse and in the stairs at the Great Bear Vineyard.

And the flowing structural lines at the Manetti Shrem Museum at UC Davis and The Barn in West Sacramento.

Last, a simple store entrance gives us rectangles, squares, triangles and circles. Taken in Sutter Creek.