The Lotus Are Here: William Land Park

Each year we look forward to times when nature shows us beauty. In 2020, many venues were closed, but at William Land Park in Sacramento there was no stopping nature and the beautiful lotus flower. This year the lotus came back even stronger. I’ve never seen them on vines that were so tall. It was an amazing site. Here’s what I captured during a recent visit.

In the last picture, you can see how tall the lotus were. Wonderful isn’t it!

Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

“…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.” writes Priscilla of scillagrace in her challenge blog post! I gave this a good amount of thought. A lot of people, places and things all capture my attention, teach me and win my affection, but one thing has brought it all to me–photography.

I remember being at a turning point in my life as I was giving up my business. You know when to call it quits when technology forces you into something you don’t like. My unwanted tech challenge was social media marketing. I just didn’t want to play the new copywriting game. But what could I do to fill the void?

After a lot of thinking, I chose photography. I enjoyed it as a returning student in my 40s with my semester in Photo 1. All journalism students had to take it and all the photography students had to take Journalism 1. But picking it up again 30 years later, going from a manual film camera to a digital SLR was challenging, fun and wonderful.

My adventure introduced me to amazing people. Photographers are willing to help a newbie. And many of them have become my dear friends. I’ve joined the Sierra Camera Club where you enter photos into a monthly juried competition. I didn’t and still don’t care about the scoring, I wanted to learn. I felt that my ability had reached a plateau. Through this group, I’ve learned how to process whites, that pictures should tell a story and composition (cropping) tips.

By going out with my photo buddies, I’ve also learned to appreciate what is around me like the beautiful roses in my yard, animals in their natural habitat and the beauty of trees and their shadows.

I also entered the In Focus Competition, in Columbia State Park, along with my friend Sandy who lives in Sonora. Two of my entries made it “on the wall,” meaning they were accepted. The water droplet made it to the final table, but didn’t win. That was an experience. Both Sandy and I were elated just to be on “the wall.”

I see things differently when I carry my camera, I’m more aware of my surroundings and enjoy being with other photographers. So I guess you would agree that photography has captured my attention, won my affection and taught me a thing or two

A dedication to Carol Toth, RIP: Redwood Regional Park and the Cathedral of Christ the Light Church, Oakland

My dear friend Carol Toth passed away this afternoon. She was my hero because she fought death for more than 20 years and won. I remember being with her when she was diagnosed with a degenerative muscle disease. The doctor wanted to put her in a wheel chair saying she wouldn’t live very long. She refused. He offered her a walker. She refused. She did accept a cane.

After that, she developed two additional auto-immune diseases and suffered a major heart attack. Through the 20 some years, Carol never complained about her health or the constant pain she endured. As her battle waned, she accepted her fate and was grateful for the years she had lived past the initial diagnosis.

Still, sitting at my computer, the grief is difficult. I was supposed to go there to San Jose this morning, but I became sick. I wanted to say good-bye to her. I couldn’t and now I feel empty.

She filled my soul when I needed it, and encouraged me with my photography. Carol sent my blog on to her friends and I heard from them also. She built up my confidence and pushed me along as I advanced in my photographic abilities. I think she would appreciate the lady bugs and church in this post.

She is now soaring with the angels. I will miss you Carol, my dear friend.

 

 

Going backwards: In search of Sandhill Cranes

We’re back in 2016. November to be exact. Laura and I went in search of Sandhill Cranes. I’ve tried to capture their images a few times before, but was never successful. Even though they are large birds, they stand in the middle of the fields so my 300 mm lens has a difficult time. After a couple of years, I was beginning to think it was personal–they didn’t like me!

The Sandhill Cranes are migratory and are only in the area a few months of each year. They come in November and are usually gone by February.

We went to the Consumnes River Preserve and the Staten Island wildlife area. It was our last stop in the Sacramento Delta at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve Shelter where I saw them standing near the fence. I yelled for Laura to stop. She said there was no place to pull over. I said I didn’t care! So there we were blocking one side of the road. Fortunately, there was no traffic either way, and we were able to shoot the Sandhills.

Victory is so sweet! I’m so glad I went back through my photos and realized I hadn’t posted on the Sandhills because they are worth looking at. Let’s just say, “Give them a backwards glance!”

Finding cooler weather: Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, California

Yes, we ran away! At least 1 1/2 hours west where the temperatures were about 20 degrees cooler. And, we enjoyed it. Camera Totin’ Tuesdays went to Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley and visited the Botanical Gardens, Golf Course, steam train and carousel.

It was a wonderful day. The park is magnificent and large, and the weather was delightful. While we didn’t expect any flowers this late in summer, we managed to find small blooms in the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were large and separated into different areas. We managed to walk through the entire garden before we stopped for lunch at the Golf Course.

After lunch we rode the miniature steam train and went to shoot the carousel (merry-g0-round). But, we didn’t get to everything. Maybe we’ll go back. Right now it’s in the high 80’s and low 90’s in the Sacramento area so we stayed local yesterday and visited the Sacramento Zoo.

In this post I’ll show you some of the Botanical Gardens. In my next post, I’ll show the rest. I hope those of you who are enjoying summer, are cool!

After a rain, shoot, shoot, shoot; part 2

Right now in Northern California no one is shooting pictures. We’re experiencing a series of storms. I’m not complaining! My go-to-practice place, Dry Creek, has water past its shore line, and there are flood warnings in place for the rivers and other creeks.

Being stuck inside has its advantages, I’m catching up on a few things, completing this post and giving you exciting news.

For the exciting news: I’m being featured on, Australian photographer, Leanne Cole’s Blog, Introductions post this week. I’ve known Leanne since I started shooting and had the privilege of shooting with her when she visited the U.S. last September. She’s given me advice and watched my progress these 4 years. The post will appear in the States on Monday and Tuesday across the ocean. You can find the post at http://leannecolephotography.com/.

I’ve also submitted an article for the upcoming Dynamic Range digital photography magazine for women in the coming issue. This is a great magazine full of information and beautiful photography. And, you don’t have to be a woman to enjoy it. Check it out!

Now, back to this post’s continuation. Today I have pictures from Schweitzer Grove and McKinley Park. Schweitzer Grove is a 17-acre park tucked into suburbia, and McKinley park is known for its rose garden.  Fortunately, there are people and other flowers at the park. Take a look while I continue to catch up on things.

 

 

 

 

It’s not raining; let’s shoot! Stock Ranch Nature Preserve

That’s something I haven’t needed to do in the last 4 years–run out and shoot in between rain storms. But, Linda and I did. There are many places in Sacramento to spend an hour or two shooting and feel like you’ve seen the whole place. Stock Ranch Nature Preserve is one of those places. Located in Citrus Heights, this 47-acre preserve has 1.5 miles of nature trails running along Arcade and San Juan Creeks.

It’s very easy to wander through; but, I did find that without foliage, it was stark. Branches were strewn all over, and there was a small amount of water in the creek. It’s important to know that this little preserve is located in suburbia surrounded by large warehouse shopping, apartments and single family homes. However, when you’re walking the inside path, you have no indication of what surrounds it.

I’ll be back in the spring to see how foliage changes the scenery. In the meantime it’s great to have it so close. It’s important to have a place to run to when you’re needing to shoot quickly in between storms!