Lens Artists Challenge #176: One Story

Can one picture really tell a story? It can, but it depends on the person whose memories it jiggles. This week Ann-Christine asks us to post one picture that tells one story. We can post more than one image along with its story. While going through my archives, I found I typically relate stories with people. Here are three from my past photographic adventures.

In this story, meet Greg Morris. We met when I began photography. We were both of advancing age and could easily keep up with each other. We began going on photo outings once a week. He would drive and I would buy lunch. I’d never knew where we would end up, but we took the day to get there and back. This was taken during a trip to the historical town of Locke in 2015. Always posting selfies (Set up in his home studio.) in our local camera group, it was logical that he would pose as the Mona Lisa for me.

Soon after that trip, Marlene joined us for the remainder of our adventures until Greg passed away from brain cancer.

This next story takes place in Palm Desert in 2016. We joined my cousins at their time share. They went there every year to relax, I went to be with them and take photos and Richard (husband) came for no other reason than to be with us. We were at the Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms near sunset. The desert can be beautiful. This image shows my cousins walking hand in hand. I could feel the love between them. It was so beautiful.

My last image is a shadowed shot of three amigos, me, Marlene and Laura, commemorating our photography vacation in Kauai. It’s Marlene’s practice to take a shadow picture when we go on a shoot. We had a great time taking our photos and eating shave ice. I learned it’s not necessary to carry every piece of camera equipment through the airports. Laura decided it was good to keep a Snicker bar handy just in case I got hungry. Marlene discovered it’s not good to fall and hurt your foot the first day out. I was also introduced to Fujifilm, Marlene’s new camera, and knew I had to have one.

Three trips down memory lane. Thank you Ann-Christine!

Lens Artists Challenge #175: Follow Your Bliss

Bliss is what we all chase. It’s that something that relaxes, yet drives us to accomplish. It’s what we enjoy as a participant or spectator. This week, Lindy Low LeCoq encourages us to “show us your sense of wonder and excitement. Whether it be one activity that is your passion, or many different interests you follow, this is a wide-open opportunity to showcase how you “follow your bliss.”

One thing that comes to mind for me is music. I can’t sing, follow the beat or play an instrument. But music sooths my soul. I listen to both words and melody. One place I used to totally enjoy was the Sacrament Music Festival. Richard and I would work it every year, and the music was fantastic. Our favorites were Tom Rigney and Flambeau, who would play anything from zydeco to rock and roll, and Dave Bennett, whose clarinet rivaled Benny Goodman’s and his piano playing was as close to Jerry Lee Lewis as you could get. I’m sad that they discontinued it.

Even as I was enjoying music, I was also following my bliss for photography. When the pandemic and lockdown hit, photography was my outlet. Richard and I went for rides for the first few months of lockdown, going in search of snow and the California Poppy.

Soon my photo buddies formed a photo pod and went out once a week. One outing was to the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park.

Another was to the California State World Peace Capitol Rose Garden in Sacramento.

And of course there are my friends who share in my love for photography. I’m dedicating this post to my friend Jean Armstrong who passed away this month after a short fight with brain cancer. She and I enjoyed going on day outings and, because she drove, we’d end up finding some sort of water. She loved the lakes and ocean. Here are two from our last outing together in January this year. We went to Port Costa (near the bay of course).

Thank you Lindy for reminding me to continue to follow my bliss. It’s so important especially now.

Lens Artists Challenge #174: Shapes and Designs

Just look around you. Wherever you are, open your mind and see the shapes and designs of the objects around you. In this week’s challenge, Patti encourages us to see the shapes and designs around us. Truthfully, I didn’t truly see the possibilities until I started photography. Now I see them everywhere!

For instance at an outing to Ironstone Vineyards a few years ago, we were down in their cellar that they call the Cavern. The round wine barrels stacked and angled down a cavern hallway offers many shapes and designs.

Water lends itself to shapes and designs too. The fountain at the Fountains shopping center offers many shapes and designs. A single burst of water takes its own shape while the entire fountain lets your imagination free. A crystal ball turns our design upside down.

Fairs and carnivals also offer us photographic opportunities for shapes and design. The Ferris wheel was photographed at the Nevada County Fair. Just sitting still we can recognize many shapes like triangles, rectangles and, of course, round. But at night during a carnival, light play turns it into a design bursting with color.

Sunflowers give us various shapes too.

I’ll end with trees. They are beautiful in design with their branches gracefully stretching out. Add some fog and you have a more dramatic scene.

Thank you Patti for helping us find adventure in our archives!

Lens Artist Challenge #173: Interesting Architecture

Architecture surrounds us whether it’s a historical building, a small store, a different sort of home or an iconic skyscraper. In this week’s challenge, Tina encourages us to share our images of interesting architecture, opening the field to what is fascinating to us.

While California is known for cities like Hollywood and San Francisco, it is primarily an agricultural state. In Sacramento we are so close to a countryside of farms, ranches and orchards. Here are two country houses, very different in architecture, that I’ve visited through the Yolo Arts & Ag Project.

Close to Sacramento is Donner Lake, a busy place for summer and winter recreation. Some people live there full time and some have homes to enjoy as a get away. Here is a winter scene.

We also have buildings of historical value. One is the Gibson House, It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, in Woodland and another, bulging in the front for years, is located in Locke which is a historic district. I think it’s amazing that it is still standing.

And, of course there’s Folsom State Prison. Its architecture gives us a hint as to its age–141 years. Built in 1880, it’s a minimum to medium security prison and houses only men.

Next is Sacramento’s very own Tower Bridge. Spanning the Sacramento River, it connects Sacramento to West Sacramento, and is used as a branding image for many ad campaigns.

And finally, my favorite building, the CALSTRS building. In the picture above, it’s located just after another amazing architectural wonder, the Pyramid (The Ziggurat) Office Building. Here you can see it up close.

This ends my tour of interesting architecture in and around Sacramento. Thank you Tina for this fun challenge!

Lens Artists Challenge #172: A Day of My Week

Busy, is the way I describe most of my weeks. They may start out with a blank calendar, but end up full. When I sometimes have a few days blank, I enjoy relaxing and catching up with stuff at home. But the one constant is my weekly photo outing with friends.

Amy is asking us to post about one day of our week. Here’s mine.

Early this month, Marlene, Laura and I went in search of Fall color in an area called Hope Valley. It’s a day outing since the drive is about 2 hours long. This day did not disappoint us. Colors of orange, yellow and rust were waiting for us on the aspen and other trees.

Here are some of the images gathered that October day.

October 9 was a fun day outing during our week. Thank you Amy!

Lens Artists Challenge #171: Weird and Wonderful

If you think about it, life itself is weird and wonderful. Ann-Christine asks us, in this week’s challenge, to find images in our archives or take our cameras out to find things that fit the weird and wonderful description. I’ve chosen to delve into my archives.

Buildings. I’ve found a few that are both weird and wonderful. There’s Drake’s Barn that serves food and drinks and hosts events. I took this photo shortly after it was built and the grounds were not ready for events. The The Ziggurat (the Pyramid Building) is an office building.

The the Manetti Shrem Museum in Davis is a beautiful and different building. I think the architecture is a work of art. Inside art exhibits are ongoing and outside are sculptures.

Hatcheries The Nimbus Fish Hatchery was a new experience for me. Yearly the Chinook salmon and steelhead swim upstream in the American River to lay eggs. The salmon that make it then die. Not that many make it. The hatchery catches and kills the salmon, removing their eggs and hatches them for release back into the river. This way more salmon are reproduced.

Fungi. I’ll close with mushrooms. They take many shapes and have many colors. These wild fungi are definitely weird and wonderful to photograph.

I’m not sure these images fit Ann-Christine’s challenge, but it was fun, weird and wonderful!

Lens Artist Challenge #170: Street Art; and Wide Open Walls, part 2

No, I’m not being lazy. Patti, through her Street Art, challenge has given me the opportunity to continue my series on Wide Open Walls and also post on her request.

As I wrote in Part 1, Wide Open Walls is a yearly activity in Sacramento sponsored by stores, companies, etc. Artists come from all over to exhibit their art on brick, stucco and other finishes all over Sacramento. This year we went out three times in search of the new murals and whatever else we could find. We go on Sundays so we don’t have to pay for parking.

I like this type of art for its bright colors, imagination and in many cases messages. I try to dodge cars and other objects. And I sometimes break the murals up in three pieces to get the entire piece in closer than what a wide angle could do. Here is what I captured on a recent outing.

Part three is coming right after I edit them! Stay tuned!! Thank you Patti for letting me do two in one!

Lens Artists Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Before I started photography, I took nature for granted. While I liked pretty flowers, I never noticed their delicate intricacies. However, becoming a photographer changed all that. I now I look at the light shinning through the petals and the stamens holding pollen for the bees.

Guest host I. J. Khanewala‘s challenge is for us to discover the ordinary around us and cherish it. I do cherish nature.

It might be an eagle, hawk or deer.

Or maybe a landscape in the country, an ocean scene or a well known tourist spot.

But what happens when nature itself provides challenges like the wind storm we had last winter. It blew most of the almond blossoms off the trees in the orchards, devastating the almond crop. Ordinarily these trees would be full of blossoms.

But sometimes humankind provides the igniting spark that destroys what nature has taken so long to create.

In one fire season we went from a scene like this.

To a scene like this, taken yesterday. The results from the Caldor fire.

Let’s not take our extraordinary nature for granted any longer. Be careful to leave areas you visit just as you found it–beautiful!

Lens Artists Challenge #168: Seen Better Days

It’s tough getting old. In fact, this week, it’s been painful to walk the dog because of problems in my right foot–arthritis. I know I’ve seen better days. In fact Richard and I always talk about it. “Remember when we…….?”

But I don’t think that’s what Tina had in mind when she challenged us to post pictures of items that have seen better days. Over the years, I’ve taken many, a lot, an enormous amount, zillions of pictures of things that have seen better days. It was difficult to find them in the archives, so I picked two from each year. I love texture, rust and anything old. Here is what I found.

When I first started photography and going on outings we frequently passed this house that became more dilapidated each time. The boat “The Point Reyes” was another draw for photographers. However one group decided to do steel wool photography on the stern and caught most of it on fire. Imagine lighting steel wool on an old wood boat! This was particularly sad because the boat had rested there a long time. She’s still there, minus much of her back.

Apple Hill is a Fall favorite of ours, and one of the farms has old trucks and equipment. A small town off the I-80 has an old hearse and the garage that housed it.

On one of our farm trips, the buildings, except for the family home, were left to do their natural thing. Here are steps of the interior of a building and the window of another. Also the “Spirit of Sacramento” has been left to die a natural death. She’s usually on the dry ground, but at this point it was a rainy winter and she’s in a large puddle.

The small town of Rough and Ready may have been rough, but they weren’t ready for Marlene and I to visit. We couldn’t find a parking place and residents weren’t friendly. We did find some old stuff to photograph. These may not be that old, but they’ve seen better days.

And, last, on a more recent outing we came across this old house on our way home.

As we remember the days behind us, let’s make the most of the ones ahead! Thanks Tina for this fun challenge.

Lens Artists Challenge #166: Artificial Light

In Sacramento California, the weather forces us indoors during a triple digit heat wave or lots of rain (We could sure use some of that now!). When we can’t take photos outside, my photo group wanders inside. Most commercial retailers don’t mind if we come in with our cameras just as long as we don’t use tripods and a flash. These activities are perfect for Ann-Christine’s challenge this week.

One rainy season had us float into Ameigh’s Hardware Store. They were great about hosting us. I found a few treasures in their garden section to focus close up on. They were fun to photograph, and helped me create some abstracts too. The ambient lighting in this store was ample.

The Antique Trove is another of our favorites. I tend to shoot close up at these venues. I get distracted by all the enticing things around me and can’t separate them from each other. There have been a few times when I’ve moved something, but I put it back the way I found it. Price tags also get in the way and the lighting is not super bright–up goes the ISO!

We also go to museums which have recently opened up again. One favorite is the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker has an old wing (building) that was cleverly attached to a new section (building). I love the architecture and warmth in the old wing. This wing houses the ballroom and lovely staircases and ceilings. The lighting is not as bright here as it is in the new wing.

And, we always have IKEA. I can’t create a still-life, but when I see the opportunity, I use it. The ambient lighting is brighter here.

Last we sometimes shoot in the dark, especially at our State Capitol building during the Holidays. I love the way the rotunda is bright with the tree showing its lights. And, of course, I have to zoom a bit!

I mostly choose to photograph in ambient light rather than use a flash and enjoy the challenge of doing this indoors. Thank you Ann-Christine for this fun challenge.