Lens-Artists Challenge #216: Urban Environments

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a truly urban environment. Downtown Sacramento is as close as I’ve gotten, but I already posted many pictures of buildings and street art. So how do I put a twist on this challenge from Sofia? I thought immediately of San Francisco. In July, 2018, Marlene and I took the ferry from Tiburon to the Embarcado.

A couple of pictures taken from the ferry.

It was a full day of walking, taking pictures and people watching. The Embarcado attracts tourists of all ages, people who live in San Francisco and want to eat in well-known restaurants, and anyone who is looking for a speciality item. People watching was what I enjoyed the most.

I was immediately overcome with sadness and wonderment at watching a couple help their very senior dog. I’m now helping my senior dog, a schnoodle, although his stroller is much smaller.

Kids just love the environment on the Embarcadero. This red-head was a stand out and this girl was enjoying this unusual swing.

Street entertainers helped liven up the crowds.

Workers also need breaks.

Artists are also creating and selling their finished products.

And, I can’t close this post without crowd scenes!

Do you see Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop in the last picture. Of course I just had to get some Cherry Garcia! I want to go back and do this again. I love street photography. These were just some of the pictures from that trip. Maybe Marlene and I will do this again in the Fall.

Thank you Sofia for letting me go down memory lane with this twist to your challenge. When you post your reply to this challenge, be sure to link it to Sofia’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Last week John’s challenge brought us to many places in a variety of ways. It was fun reading your posts. Tina leads next week’s challenge so look for her post.

I will be taking 3-weeks off. Yes, I’m actually going on a vacation! I’ll be back soon.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info

Lens-Artists Challenge #208: Summer Vibes

Summer Vibes? For the last three years here in California we’ve been locked in because of Covid or the extreme heat! No yearly visits to the sunflower visits and long day trips to the ocean. So when Andre of Solander asked us to show him our summer vibes, I went back to 2016 when outings were plentiful and Covid was unknown. Remember those times?

Here are my 2016 summer vibes. Each year we would visit the sunflower fields and the Mezger Family Zinnia Patch and 2016 was no exception. I love how the sunflowers smile cheerfully and attract the bees. The zinnia garden is planted each year by the Mezger family who encourage visitors to cut the flowers, put them in vases that are provided and give this gift to someone who needs encouragement in their life. What a wonderful gesture.

2016 was also the year that my friend Linda and I spent three days in San Francisco. We stayed at the hostel at Ft. Mason near Fisherman’s Wharf. Have you ever stayed in a hostel? It is fun. We had a private bedroom and shared a kitchen and bathroom with a young family from England. Neither of us used the kitchen! I found it a wonderful experience, giving us the ability to meet many people. The Palace Of Fine Arts was a great place to visit at night. It is lit up and it’s reflection is beautiful in the water that surrounds it. Of course, everyone must take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I did mention road trips, and the following images are from one my photo buddies and I took. I truly don’t know where we ended up. This must be the trip where I feel asleep, woke up and asked where we were. Nobody knew! I do miss those trips, but with gas prices the way they are, they are somewhat impractical. What I like most about road trips is the variety of pictures you can take.

I’ve enjoyed reviewing my summer vibes of 2018. Thank you Andre! When you post your challenge please remember to link to his blog post and tag Lens-Artists. And thank you Jez for a great reflective challenge last week. We have more July guest hosts: Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, and Sarah of Travel with Me. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August with me hosting the challenge.

If you would like to invite a friend to join us in our weekly challenges, it’s easy just click here to find out how.

Take care everyone and stay safe!

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 #155: On the Water

Sacramento may be called the “City of Trees” but a truer name would be “River City!” Or maybe Rivers City for the two main rivers that run through Sacramento. In addition, there are many creeks. Cripple Creek runs through my community. If we travel an hour or two, we can visit water areas in the Bay Area.

So, John, it’s a pleasure to take your challenge on! I love living here so close to the rivers, creeks and ponds. But as my images will show, there are many aspects to water around here.

How about the San Francisco Bay shore line where many water fowl are present. This one was photographed while walking the Marina Bay Trail which is a short 1.7 miles. If I still had my bird book (lost when I moved), I could probably ID it for you.

We also have water in fountains. This one was photographed in Tiburon while waiting for the ferry to Angel Island.

The city of San Francisco seen from Treasure Island also gives us a great bay view.

Putah Creek runs through the UC Davis Arboretum, attracting all sorts of water birds. Here we see a great egret.

And then there are ponds. We found this on on private property, and yes we asked if we could photograph it.

Rain water leaves puddles behind that capture wonderful reflections.

Water can also hide hidden treasure. My friend Ken is gold panning near a river.

Last we have the Spirit of Sacramento. She’s an old paddle boat that got stranded when the Sacramento River receded. Once after a lot of rain, I saw her in water. She hasn’t been moved in ages.

So there you have some of the water examples in and near Sacramento. Thank you John for this fun challenge. Next week I’ll be hosting a Black and White challenge. Take care and have a great week.

Len-Artist Challenge #103: Surprise

Now this is a challenge. A surprised moment could be photographed in many ways. I was thinking about this and came up with the idea that sometimes people would be surprised they were photographed candidly. So here goes my interpretation of this week’s challenge by Ann-Christine.

Let’s begin with a most recent picture taken on my son’s boat during an outing to Folsom Lake. This was part of my birthday present. I love to shoot the backs of people. Totally unaware were my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson. Maybe I should have told Ryan to straighten up his head, but then it would ruin the candid moment. Separately, the kids were also surprised.

Now, we go back in time (2018) to a photo walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. In this shot we have a young couple helping their very senior dog into her stroller. This touched my heart.

These next two are of homeless guys. One is asleep and the other is trying to get his belongings into the restroom. More images to touch my soul.

Last, was opening day at Daffodil Hill. This was run by a family who plant these lovely flowers each year and open their property to the public. They closed permanently after the first weekend because of the crowds on the property and traffic mayhem on the road in/out. From left to right: The traffic on the road in, the line for the restrooms, the congestion along a path.

I may have been behind the camera for these images, but I’ve also been on the receiving end of a candid shot or two by my photo buddies! I love candid images.

An annoying cold in the summer: Catching up

I thought I was over the 2-week cold, but I guess I wasn’t. I’m in my fourth week of it and not feeling really well. Can I continue to complain a bit? The worse part of it is the fog brain that keeps me from posting, etc. I didn’t even realize that I haven’t posted in a long while. Okay, that’s enough complaining.

I’ve been on a few shoots since my trip to San Francisco, and I’ll try to post about two of them here. My Tuesday group visited The Fountains Shopping Center again. It’s always a challenge to come up with something different at a place you’ve photographed many times. So here’s what I came up with:

Another visit was to downtown Sacramento and the third year of the Wide Open Walls Festival. This time we shot on the second and last days of the week’s artistry. On the second day, we found only one artist at work. On the last day, we were treated to two amazing murals: Johnny Cash and Monkeys (which was three-dimensional with metal parts and paint). Here’s some of what we saw:

While shooting our first set of murals, we stopped by William Land Park in Sacramento to photograph the lotus pond:

And, of course, I do enjoy shooting buildings:

That’s it for now. Have to rest. I do hope this cold is over before my next post!

Street Photography: San Francisco, part 2

When the going gets tough, the tough plow through it! Marlene and I walked between four and five miles the day we walked the length of the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Now that may be nothing to younger folks, but to seniors with feet and leg issues, it’s success!

Yes, we got some good images that day. In my previous post (part 1), I showed you some of people I photographed and told my interpretation of their stories in the captions. Some, I didn’t need to interpret like the old dog being helped into her stroller. I talked to her owners who were intent on making her last years as easy as possible.

However, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of buildings, structures and crowds. It’s amazing how many people can move along a street without problems. I also took some pictures from the ferry we picked up in Vallejo. So, to finish off our trip to San Francisco, I have some more to show you.

Walking and shooting: San Francisco

Many people have asked me what type of photography I enjoy doing. I always answer, “Everything but portriat!” Of course that leaves landscape, buildings, macro and more. One is street photography, and I don’t feel as comfortable with this as I do macro, etc.

Part of the problem is that I’m not fast enough to catch the moment. I also fail to see the opportunity. I think I can do better with some training and experience. So, I jumped on the chance to walk along the Embarcarado in San Francisco. This fun day was sponsored by the Exploring Photography Meetup group. We started at 8:30 a.m., taking the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. We were to walk and take photos along the way and meet back to catch the ferryferry at 4 p.m.

We were told to take small sized gear so we wouldn’t be conspicuous. So I took my D3100, my 50 mm lens and shot on aperture priority. But, how can you be conspicuous with a bunch of tourists snapping pictures! At least the D3100 was lighter than the D7100.

It was also good experience using the 50 mm prime lens. I stopped trying to twist the barrel after a while! It was a fun day as I looked for people their stories. I took so many pictures that this will be a two-part post.

So get your walking shoes on and follow along!

Processing with presets: San Francisco, part 2

Is it okay to use a preset, from a processing program, on your image and call it your own? I had never thought about this until I took a sunflower bud I shot and brought it into Smart Photo Editor, used their presets and found one I liked. I posted it on Facebook and it got a great deal of attention. One photographer said that it was a great edit. I quickly replied that it was a preset. And, that’s when I began to question whether I could post this as my own. Here is the image as posted.

DSC_8305_peThe composition is mine, the fact that it was a sharp image is my doing, but the ultimate look is not mine. The reality is that I, with my lack of artistic ability, could not complete it this way.

So, what do you think? Is it okay to use a preset and call it your photo?

Now, back to the pictures in this post. We are in San Francisco and are headed to the California Academy of Sciences when they open. I got up early and went down to Fisherman’s Wharf to see what I could shoot along the way. It was fun and got my energy flowing. I have some of those shots to show you. What was amazing were the swimmers out for their morning exercise in freezing cold water. There were also walkers, runners and bikers using the old pier as their exercise ground.

The Academy was amazing, but the parking wasn’t. The only place to park was in their very expensive structure–it cost us about $30 for the day. We had coupons for the Academy admission so that helped with the cost. We did opt for an additional tour, but it was worth it, especially since we were the only ones who went on it. We had a guided tour behind locked doors and were able to walk the roof.

A lot will be explained in captions. It was an all day experience. We left about 4 p.m., stopped to take pictures of house boats to take up the time before dinner. We were trying to avoid traffic. It all worked out, and our drive home was easy. Enjoy the academy through my camera lens! I apologize for the many images, but I didn’t want to make this a three part post.

24 hours: San Francisco

The California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, is more than a museum. It’s a planetarium, a rain forest, and aquarium and natural history museum. Yes, it is a museum, and Linda and I wanted to visit. But we knew it would take us all day to get through it, so we decided to stay overnight at the Ft. Mason Hostel (Once again in a private bedroom.).

Our plan for this adventure was to leave early in the morning, visit some sights, get to the Hostel in the evening and go to the Academy the next morning. That first day our road trip took us to Tiburon, where we had lunch and enjoyed the small town; Sausalito where we shot the Golden Gate Bridge; and to the Sutro Baths in San Francisco.

Given that itinerary, I think this will be a two part post. Remembering that we are seniors, me more than Linda, we packed a lot in. However, we were tired at night and didn’t venture out for night photography.

I had a great time. I was more at ease with my photography than I was during our previous trip. Again, we found fog in San Francisco. I’m still amazed at how fast it moves across the vistas. In less than 5 minutes, you can be shooting in fog, mild fog and no fog.

Let’s begin with Tiburon and end with the Sutro Baths. The next post will have images from the California Academy of Sciences.