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!

Art, art everywhere: Wide Open Walls, part 3

One more time we ventured down to Sacramento to find more murals. We began at Sac State (California State University, Sacramento) because we heard they had mural on and around the campus. We found none! So we headed back to the city. Photographing murals requires a lot of driving and patience. Sometimes we find other gems too.

Here’s what we found this recent Sunday morning. I didn’t photograph murals I had found in previous years except for the Johnny Cash mural. It’s so impressive. So was the reflection of the mural on a building across the street.

Another building had its walls dedicated to the women of the suffragette movement.

This wall was colorful and full of dragonflies.

And what a great “Reserved Parking” sign.

Here’s some of the other things that caught my eye.

I hope you enjoyed this series.

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!

Sacramento is getting more interesting: Wide Open Walls, part 1

I love it when it’s Wide Open Walls week. This is when Sacramento City invites artists to paint murals on sides, backs and sometimes fronts of buildings. Over the years we’ve seen beautiful art pieces decorate the city. It’s no exception this year. We went out three times to find the new murals. We found some of them, some of the old ones and structures, etc.

So, here’s part one of our adventure!

Lens Artist Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

It’s sort of early here in Sacramento for Fall color which is Amy’s challenge this week. In fact, we don’t get much of our own but have to drive about 2 hours to see the lovely yellows and oranges. So let’s look back on previous years and day trips.

Let’s look at what 2018 brought us when Marlene and I visited Markleevile.

In 2019, Jean and I went on a Fall Color search near the town of Murphys and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Not much color to see!

The following year, 2020, wasn’t a banner year for colorful leaves. Jean and I went hunting in the Eastern Sierras.

Maybe we will get lucky this year. Laura and I are planning a hunting trip in a few weeks. Wish us luck. Thank you Amy!

Sidewalk Fun: Chalk it up 2021

Remember when you were a kid playing with sidewalk chalk? Each year Sacramento takes it a step further with their Chalk It Up contest held Labor Day weekend. Artists are invited from all over to paint with chalk at Fremont Park. Some squares are sponsored by a business or organization.

Last year, because of the pandemic the 2020 festival was shown all over Sacramento, typically in front of the artists’ homes. In 2021 the show returned to Fremont Park and other venues around Sacramento — a big change for us visitors.

We went to the park early, before the start time, in the morning before the crowds came. Fortunately, some of the artists started early; unfortunately some had their work covered by plastic sheeting.

But there were enough to make the trip worthwhile. Here are some I liked and then I’ll show you my favorites.

Now my favorites.

I’m always amazed with what these artists create with sidewalk chalk and liquid chalk. I can’t wait for next year.

Lens Artists Challenge #165: Going Wide

Sofia had us looking up and down. Now, Patti has us looking all around. She is challenging us to go wide, opening up our vistas.

Being lazy and not liking to change lenses in the field, I shoot my wide angles with 18 mm + lens. I do have a 10 to 20 mm lens for my Nikon, but seldom used it. When I bought my Fujifilm, I didn’t purchase an ultra wide lens. For today’s challenge, I’m going back to 2018 for some different kind of wide angle shots. These were mostly shot with my Nikon D7100 and 18 – 200 mm lens.

Let’s start with a 9/11 Flag Tribute which is more than appropriate today. This is arranged in West Sacramento on a vacant lot each year. I’m going back today to experience this once again.

The Grand Canyon (South Rim) screams for a wide angle shot. But not all wide angle shots are taken outdoors. Here I have the beautiful canyon and also the amazing Desert View Watch Tower (Which would have been perfect for the looking up/down challenge!). All were taken at 18 mm.

Each year Sacramento hosts the Wide Open Walls festival where artists from all over the world are invited to paint murals on buildings. The Johnny Cash mural was shot at 27 mm, and the monkey was shot at 18 mm (both) in a vertical format.

I’ll close with landscapes of Downieville a small resort town north of Sacramento. When we arrived, the weather turned on us and looked like rain. We’d sure welcome it now! I do love clouds and sometimes feature them in the landscape image. These were taken at 17 mm so I must have used my 17-70 mm 2.8 lens.

Today, when I go visit the 911 Flag Tribute, I’ll be using my 18-55 mm lens and get more wide angle images! Thanks for this challenge Patti!

Twice is nice: Crocker Art Museum

With Sacramento County opening up, we took the opportunity to visit the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento–not once, but twice! We wanted to see and photograph the Tiffany Glass exhibition from the Driehaus Collection.

Even though they are open, you have to reserve your spot. We were lucky. Our small camera group got tickets for the once a month free museum day in Sacramento! But our luck ran out because the Tiffany Glass exhibition wasn’t due until the following week. But the Museum is interesting in itself. It has two distinct parts: original and old and new and modern.

Here are pictures of the original and the new buildings. They are cleverly joined together so patrons can walk from one to the other without going outside.

Now I’ll show you some of the architecture inside the buildings. First let’s look at the old side. Rich wood and ornate moldings bring you into a page of history.

Now for the new more modern addition.

But what about the Tiffany exhibition? We did go back the following week. Paid to get in and were told after we took a few shots, that we were not allowed to take pictures! At least the guard let us get some pictures before he shut us down.

I’m going to end this post with a painting I thought was amazing. I don’t think my photo can convey the emotion it evokes and its artistry.

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!

Off to see the animals: Sacramento Zoo

For me, going to the Sacramento Zoo is like seeing old friends. You get to know some animals by name, you learn their behavior and watch their babies grow. My camera group decided since the zoo was open again, we needed to visit. Right now you just can’t go to the zoo on a whim. You need to go online and buy your ticket for a specific time slot. Even though I’m a member, I still have to reserve a time slot. They can only let in a certain number of people at a time for each specified slot.

So, we were at the zoo at 10:30 a.m. Fortunately, the large cats were still awake, having eaten their bones. It was a Thursday–bone day!

The lions and snow leopard.

This is the second time I’ve caught the Red Pandas awake. They were busy finding and eating food.

All the Orangutans were out and having a lot of fun and eating.

The River Otters were putting on a show too. I processed this one in black and white.

One of the alligators came out from the water so we could get a good look at him. Does he look hungry?

Baby giraffe, Glory, has grown since my last visit. She’s eating food put at her height.

The Masai Giraffe was playing with a large plastic bucket. Do you think he’d be good at soccer?

One of the Okapi decided to show me his best side! They do have a beautifully marked rear.

Some of my favorites weren’t out. I guess another visit should be put on the calendar.