Lens-Artists Challenge #140: A Change of Scenery

It was like this challenge from Beth of Wandering Dogs was just meant for me! I just returned from a scenery change. After a year of wandering around the Sacramento area with my photography pod, my friend Sandy, who lives in Tuolumne City, invited me to spend time with her and her sister Peg in Windsor in Sonoma County, California. I didn’t need to even think about it before I said YES!

Sandy picked me up on Monday and returned me on Thursday. We had two full days of seeing the sights and taking pictures. I haven’t been able to edit all the pictures yet, but I can show you the small town of Windsor.

Here are the small shops and buildings in the downtown area.

From the town we go into the countryside.

Day two had us go to the coast, ending up at Fort Ross State Historic Park. The next day we drove through Napa. Those pictures still need editing.

I totally needed and enjoyed my time away. A change of scenery is always a good idea, especially after a year of in and out of lockdown. And thank you Sandy for driving and Peg for your hospitality.

Winter white: Donner Lake

The snow beckons, but not in the middle of a storm or when it’s 6-feet deep. I’m a fair-weather-snow type of gal. I like the ambient temperature not freezing and to have ample snow on the ground. Had we made it up to Donner Lake a few days earlier it would have been perfect, but life did not permit. But it was still good when we did get there.

Donner Lake Village is a small town wrapping around the lake. It’s quaint and attracts tourists and residents year round. It is close to all major sky areas for winter sports, and in the summer is just stunning. When we went up, I didn’t even need to put my snow boots on. The weather was perfect.

The lake is about 1 1/2 hours from my home. Richard drove and Ray and Sally came along. Here are some of my images captured that day.

We were able to enter the Donner Memorial State Park Visitors’ Center, but the museum was closed. I had a different kind of fun in the gift shop.

Outside the gift shop was a photographer’s snowy opportunity.

After lunch, we went back into town for a last look.

We are expecting another storm soon. Maybe then I can go up again and need to wear my snow boots!

Just a little cabin fever: Road trip along I-80

Let’s go back to early September when the West Coast was under fire. Smoke was everywhere. I was getting a bit of cabin fever. Before the fires ignited, I would go out with my photo buddies maybe once a week and we’d drive separately, mask up and enjoy a couple hours of photography. That was enough to keep me smiling while at home.

But since the fires, and the resulting smoke, it wasn’t healthy to be outdoors or let alone shoot. I was trapped. I was walking around our small house complaining and complaining. It must have been bad because Richard said, “Let’s get in the car and go for a ride.”

I said, “Why, there’s smoke everywhere.”

He said, “Maybe it’s not so bad up towards Reno.”

So I grabbed my camera, never leave home without it, and off we went. Our goal was to stop off and find some of the small towns advertised at freeway off Ramps. Our first stop was Alta, a very small town. This is what we found in Alta.

Now there must be more support businesses and housing, but we didn’t find it close to the freeway. Next stop Dutch Flat.

Remember, we just drove along the main streets in these small towns. Next came Gold Run.

We were on our way home when we stopped to see what this was.

I’m thinking it might have been a flume used to float logs down the mountain. Any other guesses?

So that was our short trip up the I-80. We never did get anywhere near Reno! Maybe next time.

But I’m still posting 2019! Victorian Christmas in Nevada City

It’s the third day of 2020, and my first shoot of the year was a real estate shoot. I am anxious to get out with my camera for something else! I guess that will happen sometime next week.

In the meantime, I do have a couple of outings still not posted like the Victorian Christmas in Nevada City. This is a yearly happening in this small touristy town in Nevada County. The streets are decorated, all vehicle traffic is closed off on the main street, vendors take up the streets and people walk around in period costumes.

I once went to this at night, 2013, when the temperature was down to 25 degrees F! It was great that vendors were selling hot drinks! I had just started this photography hobby and now that I look back, the pictures were not that good. They were the best I could do at the time. It’s amazing for me to see the difference!

So back to the present and my images from this outing!

I didn’t take a lot of pictures since it was crowded and cold. One last story: We were having a difficult time finding a parking spot. As we were going up and down residential streets, I saw a woman and her driveway was empty. Since I was driving, I asked Marlene and Ray to see if we could park in her driveway. I was willing to pay for the privilege. She not only agreed, but with Ray’s help moved some fencing to make room for us. She said she didn’t want any payment. How nice was that! We did buy her a small gift.

I’m probably not going back to Nevada City for the Victorian Christmas. However, I might visit another small town next year!

Searching for fall colors: Markleeville

It seems that with each season Sacramento photographers rush to photograph the Milky Way, wildlife including the Sandhill Crane, snow and Fall colors. I’m no exception which is why my Camera Totin Tuesday group treked up to Markleeville, Alpine County, to capture delightful images.

There were five of us, and we squeezed into one car. Fortunately Marlene drove and her Suby Blue accomodated us easily. It’s a 2-hour ride up to the colorful aspens. Thank you Marlene for driving us. We stopped along the way to photograph the changing colors and had lunch in Markleeville. After lunch and taking pictures of the small town, population of 210 in the last census, we continued looking for color.

While editing the pictures of this outing, I tried to get out of my comfort zone with some creative help from Nik software. I’ve been liking the soft look lately and wanted to do some of my own. So, here’s the California colors of Fall.

 

Country life: Yolo Art and Ag

I’m not a country gal, but I do enjoy the opportunity to experience it. And, fortunately, I do get the chance. During the summer months, Yolo Arts brings together artists, photographers and farm owners in an effort to  raise awareness about the importance of preserving farmlands. This is accomplished through the Arts and Ag Project in Yolo County.

It’s amazing how close urban and suburban Sacramento is to farms and orchards. Drive one hour and you’re in a different world. A world I often get lost in! This month we visited Meeks and Sons, Inc. farm. A large farm that grows crops. This was a much different experience than in the past when we visited small farms–maybe two or three at a time. Karen B. and I got lost driving up and down the dirt roads. We did manage to find almond pods on the trees and some old and new farm equipment to take picture of.

Afterwards, Karen B. and I drove about 30 miles north to scout out a venue for our Tuesday group–a resting place for old busses and trucks in Williams. This is a photographers dream shoot, but not in the summer. It’s way too hot with more triple digits days than ever before. We ate lunch in the town and took some pictures.

Take a peek at what this city gal found on the farm.

 

Normal? Indian Festival and Fair Oaks

e’re pretty much settled in, and hanging pictures. How many pictures can one small house hold? There’s still more stuff to find places for, and the sunroom to fix up, but that will just have to take time. It’s good to be back to normal–my going on photo outings and Richard running up to the observatory. Each day, we take time to hang two pictures or curtains, etc.

And, summer has arrived, so we try to plan our outings for early morning, local venue or inside. I have two outings to show you today. Linda and I went to the Indian Festival, hoping to get pictures of traditional dress and dance of our Native Americans. However when the dances were to begin, we were told we couldn’t take pictures, and the few dances that we were allowed to take pictures of, we couldn’t post anywhere. Oh, what a letdown for a couple of photographers. So, I’ll show you some shots I took of the festival and vendors before the dance started. This was held outside the State Indian Museum.

Now we move on to the small town of Fair Oaks and its chickens. Yes,

it’s known for being inhabited by wild chickens. They are protected, so no roasted chicken for us!

Now, which pictures should I pick to hang today?

 

 

Found and seek: Sutter Creek,California

Very early into our visit to Sutter Creek, I found a wallet on a bench. My first instinct was to just leave it, but I thought maybe the owners ID would be in it. So, I looked inside. I found a driver’s license with a PO box for an address, no other identification and a wad of $20s. With that much cash, I couldn’t leave it. So, began the adventure to find her or the Police Station!

And, yes, it was an adventure. Our photographing stopped, we asked in several stores to see if they knew this person and to ask where the Police Station was. After walking past the end of town, we finally were told that the Police were located in a small white house! Sutter Creek is a small town in Amador County. But it wasn’t open. We had to press a button and wait for the dispatcher to come and take the call. Then we waited for the officer to come and take the wallet.

I don’t know which was more fun, shooting or finding the Police Station! Having been to Sutter Creek before, I concentrated on shooting doors. Of course there were other things that I couldn’t pass up.

We bumped into the wallet’s owner coming out of a coffee shop–literally bumped into. She was rushing over to the bench to retrieve her wallet. We calmed her down and told her we found it and it was at the Police Station. Being grateful, she told us to go into her sister’s coffee shop and order what we wanted and she would pay for it. The coffee shop, Choc-O-Latte, ended up being a photographer’s wonderland. See, do good deeds and you’ll be rewarded. If you find a wallet or purse, try to find the owner. You’ll have fun!

 

 

Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

Bittersweet visit: Historic Senoia, Georgia

Today I visited Chuck, my older brother, by myself. My visit to Peachtree City, Georgia is almost coming to a close and it has been bittersweet. Chuck, is fighting Louie Body Dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. I knew he wouldn’t know who I was, because he stopped recognizing me on the phone a while ago. But today was a special visit. I was able to help feed him, and he ate a little bit food I knew he wasn’t fond of. It gave me time to gain some emotional closure over his ordeal. He’s fought cancer and won; had heart surgery and bounced back, but this illness has no turn around. I was soon joined by his son-in-law Greg and we were able to joke, not with him, but between ourselves. It made things less real.

Dementia is difficult for the caregiver and other family members, but this form is even more so since it involves Parkinsons also. I care gave to my mom, who had dementia, for 9 years, but she had a strong body. Chuck is suffering on all accounts. Through it all, the family here continues to take amazing care of him.

During my week’s visit, I told my sister-in-law, Brenda, that I wanted to take her places, getting her away from the house to relax. Brenda doesn’t drive, so we go to visit Chuck and then take off. Taking off sounds like we go a distance, we don’t. Everything is close here.

Through it all, photography has brought me out of the sorrow and into a different time and space. Our first get away was to Senoia, a small town with a Main Street shopping area. It was an easy walk through and fun. Since then, we visited Starrs Mill and Serenbe. My niece Roberta took us to Serenbe yesterday, and it was a lovely afternoon drive. And, last night, we joined the rest of the family for a birthday dinner celebration–the first without Chuck present.

Today’s images are of Senoia. I probably won’t have time to post from here again before I return home. And I’ll be taking sweet memories back with me.