Just a short post: McKinley Rose Garden

A rose will always be a rose! And I do love them. They are the only plants I personally take care of. I have a small but beautiful rose garden. But today I’m writing about my adventure at the McKinley Park Rose Garden in Sacramento.

Every year they have a photo contest to see which photographer will win the coveted first place prize. Last year, I was lucky enough to win first place. This is the winning photo.

This year I also went down to the garden to take photos. That day, the wind was blowing and the roses were either on their way out or budding. But with my macro lens on my Fuji, I did my best. I used a high shutter speed and hoped for a slight breeze. Of course it was the last week of the contest–no going back another day! You know I procrastinate.

Here are the best of lot. We are allowed five entries. In 2020 I received an honorable mention.

We’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know–even if I don’t place.

Lens-Artists #203: Local Vistas

There are challenges and there are challenges! This post is late because we need to drive up to Reno last night to help my son who is sick. At 12 pm EST today we were in emergency with him. He will be okay. So let’s get on with my original post and see some local vistas. Thank you for your patience.

Sometimes you need a nudge to realize what’s going on around you. For me that nudge was photography. Before I found this passion, I really wasn’t paying much attention to what the greater Sacramento area had to offer. I was busy caregiving to my mom, being daytime guardian for my older grandkids, running a part-time business and helping in the family business when needed.

But wonderful grandkids grow up, my mom passed away and eventually, I shut down my business. I had a void to fill, and I chose to fill it with photography. And how lucky I am to live in the Sacramento area. There is so much to see, so much to enjoy and so much to photograph.

Here are some of our local Sacramento Vistas

You know how much I enjoy the Sacramento Zoo. It’s going to be moving a little further away, but still in Sacramento County. The cheetah is enjoying his bone and the Wolf’s Gueron is snacking away too.

We have two rivers for our enjoyment. Old Sacramento sits on the Sacramento River. It’s a great place for tourists, families and is home to the Sacramento Railroad Museum. First is a view of the waterfront from the iconic Tower Bridge and then a sunset image of the Tower Bridge.

Not far from Old Sacramento is the Capitol Mall. I think we have a most beautiful capitol building and its grounds include the World Peace Garden. Here is a picture of the Capitol dome on a full moon night.

Moving into Sacramento City, each year we host Wide Open Walls. Artists come from all over to paint bright and beautiful murals on our buildings’ walls. This is a yearly festival, and most building owners keep the murals up. Some are fading already. This one touched my heart last year. It will always be a reminder of the pandemic and its heroes.

Discovery Park is close by and is part of the American River Parkway (A trail that is 32 miles along the American River.) The trail is for bicyclists and runners. It has picnic facilities. The golden hour adds to its beauty.

Let’s move further down the trail to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center which is part of a “100-acre nature preserve with riparian and oak woodlands, shrub lands, meadows, and aquatic habitats.” There we find deer, turkeys, coyotes, raptors, snakes, etc. Here is one of the inhabitants we come upon most of the time.

I can’t end this post without showing you our sister county, Yolo. We leave our suburbs and in just a few minutes we’re in Yolo County or should I say “country!” Here is where we go to photograph our rural scenes and sunflowers.

And we just have to go over the Tower bridge to the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to find wildlife.

Now you can see why I love living here. But I bet you love your area too. What are your local vistas? Where do you photograph when you don’t have a lot of time or are not on vacation? What about your hometown excites you? Is it the countryside, city, gardens, amusement venues? This week, tell us about and show us your local vistas.

Remember to link to this post as you share your local vistas and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we all had fun with Sofia’s Minimalism/Maximalism challenge. So many interpretations and creativity came from all of you. Next week our guest host Sylvia Bacon will present a great challenge so stay tuned!

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge #186: Low Light

I like standard time during the winter months because it means the sun sets early making photographing in the dark more feasible, getting me home early in the evening. Thank you Sofia for offering this challenge that fits perfectly with a recent visit to Old Sacramento.

My small group of senior photographers visited the waterfront last month to capture the new Ferris Wheel installed as an attraction to draw more visitors.

When we arrived, we came upon a guy break dancing. He kept on performing as darkness fell and his jar filled with dollar bills.

We then walked out on the Tower Bridge (A Sacramento landmark) to capture the Ferris Wheel and waterfront. I’ll be honest, we did not use tripods (which is suggested in low-light photography). As the cars went over the bridge, the resulting rumble would have made the tripods useless.

We then walked back to the waterfront to get a better view of the Ferris wheel.

While we were photographing the wheel, the sun had almost set. I ran to a vantage point and fortunately got a decent sunset and reflections.

Now, back to the bridge for the Ferris wheel in action after nightfall.

As we were walking up to the street, I was lucky to see this image: A restaurant with the Ferris wheel reflected in the window. I couldn’t resist photographing it.

I had so much fun this evening which included a cup of hot chocolate. Low-light photography presents challenges but the rewards are great. I’ve also enjoyed light painting and indoor photography.

Thank you Sofia for this fun challenge that fit perfectly with my photo activities. Please be sure to link your post to Sofia’s, and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week I’ll be presenting the challenge.

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!