Lens-Artist Challenge #119: My Hideaway

This challenge brought to us by Ann-Christine is a difficult one for me because I really don’t have a hideaway. I even checked the dictionary to see if I could put a twist on it, but the dictionary let me down. One thing I could possible spin off on is that a hideaway is a place to get away from people. So, let’s expand that to getting away from it all. When I want to get away from it all, I go on a photo road trip.

These day trips began when I met Greg Morris a fellow photographer who passed away in 2016. He would pick me up in the morning with some destination in mind. We might reach it or we might not. Either way, it was an adventure.

Soon Marlene joined us and our threesome would venture out every Tuesday. Since he was driving, we had no control of where we went. Well, we did, but we didn’t want to! When Greg became terminally ill with glioblastoma brain cancer, Marlene and I would take him out to places he had taken us. We would take turns walking with him.

This post is dedicated to Greg Morris who showed me the fun of getting in the car, with maybe a destination in mind, and enjoying the get-a-way day. Here are some pictures of our last outing with him to Discovery Park in Sacramento. This park is a the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers.

Thank you Ann-Christine for taking me down memory lane. I still enjoy road trips and went out with my friend Jean yesterday for one. Like driving with Greg, we never did reach our destination, but we did have fun!

On a hunting trip: Wide Open Walls

We weren’t hunting with guns; we were hunting with our cameras — for murals. Each year Sacramento hosts Wide Open Walls and invites artists to paint amazing images on the sides of buildings. These paintings are huge.

We never get to see them all, so we photograph what we can. Some are from years back, but they are new to us. I’ve shown you some before. This year we only saw a fraction of the new art. I guess we’ll have to go back.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm, so I didn’t have my ultra-wide 10 – 20 mm lens available. But I think the 18 to 55 mm did a good job. Sometimes I had to angle the image to get the entire mural in.

Here are some of these colorful masterpieces. Click on each image to see it in its entirety.

We heard there was a mural of Ruth Bader Ginsberg painted before her death. We hunted and found it in an alley behind a restaurant. Some great murals are in alleys, but I’m hoping they do another in a more prominent location.

While hunting for these murals, I found other things to photograph which I’ll show you in another post. Hopefully I’ll go hunting again for murals soon!

Smoke is finally away: Downtown Roseville

Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I think I hear my camera calling to me. It’s saying, “Take me out! Use me!” But because of all the wildfires in California, the air has been too smoky to go out. But I did get out with my camera at the end of August to shoot murals in downtown Roseville.

Downtown Roseville is mainly Vernon Street and the streets surrounding their City Hall and other government buildings. Historic Roseville is nearby. But we went downtown to take pictures of murals. Quite frankly, I didn’t think they compared to the Wide Open Walls creations in Sacramento.

We walked quite a bit that morning just enjoying being out, the sunshine and no smoke. Here are some murals.

I took this wide and then broke it up into two images. You’ll have to click on the images to view them full.

Another wide and close up view.

I thought this one was very creative. Here’s a wide view and close up of her face.

This one was on the wall of a public swimming pool. I loved the colors.

And just one more.

I hope you didn’t think we’d just take photos of murals! Here’s some of the downtown shops.

And now around City Hall. The Round About, a water play area with fountain and the Roseville welcome structure, showing which street goes which way.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour of Downtown Roseville and murals. This Sunday, if the smoke is still gone, we will be taking photos of the Sacramento murals.

Cross your fingers for me. The camera will be unhappy if it can’t get out!

Am I repeating myself? World Peace Garden, Sacramento

It just feels like I’m repeating pictures. When you post in different clubs (like Sactown Photogs), online challenges (like Lens-Artists), repetitive image are the result. So here we are at the World Peace Garden in Sacramento. Some images may seem familiar to you, but you haven’t seen the entire beauty of this small park just across from the State capitol.

On the morning Ray and I met there, I arrived at 9 a.m., and the park had few visitors. It was quiet and peaceful. I fell in love with the place instantly! As people came, it remained quiet and peaceful. I actually came to take pictures in the rose garden, but there was so much more.

Let’s take a tour!

First the roses. This garden is not as big as others in Sacramento, but the roses are just as beautiful.

In the middle of the garden were two memorials. One was for the fire fighters, who in additions to normal duties during the year, fight our large fires during the summer. This year an unusual dry thunder and lightning storm sparked several fires across California. They have called these “Complex fires” because they are fires next to each other in certain areas of the State.

The second memorial is dedicated to the veterans who fought in the Vietnam War. This was particular moving for me because it was so well done and my husband fought in that war.

And the grounds were just beautiful.

Remember I said the park was across from our capitol building. Here’s the awesome view!

I’ve shown you a lot of images, but I just had to show you this beautiful garden as I totally saw it. Take care everyone!

Lens-Artists challenge #110: Creativity in the Time of Covid

Creativity: the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. I’m concentrating on the words imagination and original. Does creativity have to be imaginative and original. I think so. That’s why I say I’m not really creative, but I do see opportunities and make something from them.

Oh Tina, you are leading me into a soul-searching moment with your topic of “Creativity in the time of Covid.”  During this pandemic, depression creeps in and divisiveness pushes us apart. We need something to bring the sunshine back into our lives. For me that is photography. I’ve been trying to get out at least once a week with my camera. Now the weather is creating a barrier. Temperatures have been in triple digits and will continue for about another week. Today it hit between 110 and 112 in Sacramento. Typically, we shoot indoors during times like this, but many stores and museums are closed.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a studio or light box set up in my home for indoor photography. Additionally, I lack the creative ability to set up a still life. It’s just not my thing.

I don’t mean to depress anyone, but this is the way it is during the summer of Covid! Prior to this heat wave, I got out so let’s take a look at some images I have been able to capture during this pandemic.

Recently photo buddy Ray and I went to the California State Capitol World Peace Garden. I’ve lived here for 19 years and had never visited. It was beautiful. The Vietnam War Memorial was particularly moving.

And the flowers in the garden were just meant for a macro lens.

The small town of Fair Oaks is known for its chicken population.

More recently, I took a trip into the countryside to visit the CR25 Ranch in Esparto.

These and other outings brought joy and my type of creativity into my life. And when we get back into double digits, I’ll be taking my camera out again.

A little non-macro practice: Gibson Ranch

I knew Gibson Ranch Park in Elverta wasn’t the best place for macro shots, but you can use a macro lens for more than just close up photography. Yes? Well, I gave it a try when Marlene, Linda and I went to to the park. I hadn’t been there for a while, and I wanted to practice with my new macro lens for the Fuji camera. It performed well.

There were the usual amount of ducks at the pond.

And there were geese!

And a squirrel enjoying a peanut tossed by a young boy.

And Gibson Ranch has other animals too.

There are also stables where horses are boarded. In one area, trail rides are offered.

Oh, yes, I did manage to get a couple of close up/macro images too.

Now I have to find some flowers and bugs to practice on!

Lens-Artist Challenge #107: Winter

The wonderful thing about living in Sacramento is being able to visit Winter, enjoy for a few hours and come back to mild temperatures and no snow! Oh, I forgot to mention that if you time it right, you won’t need snow tires or chains to get to the snow and ski resorts. But timing is critical.

I remember taking two members of my Skillbuilders Toastmasters Club to Reno, Nevada for a District 39 conference. We didn’t see any snow on the 2-hour ride up to Reno. We were just about to find a place to eat dinner when my husband called and said to come home. There was a big storm ready to hit Reno and further west. We didn’t hesitate. By the time we got to the car, the snow was already falling. When we got to the California border, I couldn’t see in front of me; the snow was falling that heavy. I managed to get down the mountain by following truck tracks that sort of plowed the road. I didn’t have snow tires or chains. However, the scenery was simply beautiful. Freshly fallen snow on pine trees; a photographer’s dream. It’s too bad I was driving. I would have been taking pictures.

While the timing was wrong for that trip, it was right for our February 2016 trip to the small town of Donner Lake, near Truckee, in Nevada County. The weather was perfect, roads were plowed and plenty of snow available to photograph. Linda drove and Marlene and I went along. It was an amazing day, topped off by the best pizza. Yes, we are foodies of sort.

Thank you Ann-Christine, and this challenge, for taking me back to a wonderful day! Check the captions for image details.

I’ve been up the mountain to shoot snow since, but never experienced a day like this. Isn’t it wonderful that we have our images to help us remember. Keep beauty in your heart!

Lens Artists Challenge 106: Autumn

Deep in the summer heat, it’s great to begin to think of Autumn. Thank you Patti!

Autumn in Sacramento has all photographers looking for fall colors. One popular spot, about 2 hours away, is Hope Valley. That’s where the famed cabin is. You haven’t shot in Hope Valley until you’ve captured the cabin.

So in October, 2016 Marlene and I ventured out to find the famed cabin. Everyone said it was too late for finding color, but we found color and snow. We drove past the cabin twice before we recognized it!

We went back in 2017 and captured it again. Here’s a closer look.

Fall colors in 2018 were found in Markleeville.

Our almost annual trek to Apple Hill (Where you can buy everything apple!) in 2019 brought us some opportunity to shoot fall colors.

I don’t know what 2020 will bring us this Autumn. We can only hope for more color in our lives!

Wearing suspenders and a belt: WPA Rock Garden

I love macro photography! I love the WPA Rock Garden in Land Park, Sacramento! But, do I love making mistakes? Not really, but I love learning from them.

The Rock Garden is an excellent place for macro photography so I brought my D7100 and macro lens. I also wanted to see how well the Fujifilm XT3 and its 55 – 200 mm lens would do close ups. My Nikon and 18 – 200 lens does close up photography beautifully.

First, I found out that my Fuji, like my Nikon, puts itself in various modes without telling me. It put itself in a different focus mode, making it difficult to focus. One mistake solved and learned from. Watch those fingers!

I saw macro opportunities and started shooting with my D7100 and macro lens. Best to do it while the breeze is down. Here’s the result:

Still wanting to use the Fuji, I wandered over to the small Land Park lake and saw lotus buds and leaves in the water. Yes! we would soon have flowers to capture in our cameras. Here’s where the second mistake occurred. I was having a difficult time shooting on manual with the Fuji and didn’t realize until I got home, loaded my pictures into the computer, and saw them on my monitor, that the images were super noisy. Looking at the data, I saw that some of them were shot at 12,000 ISO in sunlight! Did I mistake the ISO ring for the shutter ring? What did I do wrong? This was to be solved during my next Fuji outing! Here are some images shot with the Fuji:

Yesterday, I took pictures of a couple, Carol and Paul, I wrote about in for our community newsletter. I photographed them with the Fuji and the 18 -55 mm lens. They were beautiful. The shots and the couple!

So, lessons were learned. And, practice makes perfect as you’ll see in my next post.

The end and the beginning: The Fountains & About Town

The beginning:

I’m sure you all know that things don’t always turn out as scheduled. For instance, Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for the first photo outing of 2020; however, I left my camera case (full of gear) at my kid’s house. I didn’t think my Nikon D3100 and an 18 – 55 mm lens would do well at the zoo. So where to go?

Marlene said that she had three things to take pictures of, but never got to it. This seemed perfect! A short but sweet shoot and all in Sacramento. We just wanted to get out with our cameras. The first on her list was a horse statue, but it had galloped away. Where, we didn’t know. So, on to the next, a bigger than life sized lumber jack statue outside a Lumberjacks restaurant He hadn’t stomped away!

Next was the bigger than life size chicken. I tried to get various angles, but it was fenced in. But, it was unusual!

The end:

For the last shoot of 2019, Marlene and I decided to tempt the possibility and do some street photography at The Fountains, in Roseville, an outdoor mall featured in this blog many times. I thought on December 26 there would be a lot of bargain shoppers, but I was wrong. One store owner allowed us to take photos of his beautiful inventory, and a lot of it was on sale. Here’s what we found.

There you have it. The beginning and the end. A little backwards, but then………