Lens Artists Challenge #175: Follow Your Bliss

Bliss is what we all chase. It’s that something that relaxes, yet drives us to accomplish. It’s what we enjoy as a participant or spectator. This week, Lindy Low LeCoq encourages us to “show us your sense of wonder and excitement. Whether it be one activity that is your passion, or many different interests you follow, this is a wide-open opportunity to showcase how you “follow your bliss.”

One thing that comes to mind for me is music. I can’t sing, follow the beat or play an instrument. But music sooths my soul. I listen to both words and melody. One place I used to totally enjoy was the Sacrament Music Festival. Richard and I would work it every year, and the music was fantastic. Our favorites were Tom Rigney and Flambeau, who would play anything from zydeco to rock and roll, and Dave Bennett, whose clarinet rivaled Benny Goodman’s and his piano playing was as close to Jerry Lee Lewis as you could get. I’m sad that they discontinued it.

Even as I was enjoying music, I was also following my bliss for photography. When the pandemic and lockdown hit, photography was my outlet. Richard and I went for rides for the first few months of lockdown, going in search of snow and the California Poppy.

Soon my photo buddies formed a photo pod and went out once a week. One outing was to the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park.

Another was to the California State World Peace Capitol Rose Garden in Sacramento.

And of course there are my friends who share in my love for photography. I’m dedicating this post to my friend Jean Armstrong who passed away this month after a short fight with brain cancer. She and I enjoyed going on day outings and, because she drove, we’d end up finding some sort of water. She loved the lakes and ocean. Here are two from our last outing together in January this year. We went to Port Costa (near the bay of course).

Thank you Lindy for reminding me to continue to follow my bliss. It’s so important especially now.

The Lotus Are Here: William Land Park

Each year we look forward to times when nature shows us beauty. In 2020, many venues were closed, but at William Land Park in Sacramento there was no stopping nature and the beautiful lotus flower. This year the lotus came back even stronger. I’ve never seen them on vines that were so tall. It was an amazing site. Here’s what I captured during a recent visit.

In the last picture, you can see how tall the lotus were. Wonderful isn’t it!

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!

Lens Artists Challenge #124: Then and Now

We live in the now, and these days we think back to the then. This is Amy’s, “The World is a Book” challenge this week. What is the difference between then and now.

I think our spontaneity is gone. Are we in the purple, red, orange tier? How far would we be going? Would we need to car pool? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves before we deem it okay to do an activity. We used to be able to go out to dinner on the spur of the moment. Now we either take out or cook. Sometimes we can eat out if our location is in the right tier. Even then, we may have to eat outside!

So, Amy wants us to show the difference through our photography of our then and now. For me the big difference is that our photo outings have been with our photo pod and have been close to home. I decided to post images from November 2019 and November 2020.

In 2019 I managed to get to Apple Hill in Placerville, Napa Valley, Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael and William Land Park in Sacramento. Apple Hill and Napa were some distance from my home.

This year has been a little different with outings no more than 30 minutes from home. The longest drive was to Woodland. We also went to U.C. Davis Arboretum and Effie Yeaw. Tomorrow we will be going on another short trip to Lincoln to find some fall color.

Woodland Library

I’m looking forward to when we can just get up and go wherever we want. Maybe a 2-hour ride to the ocean! In the meantime:

Never enough: The Lotus are blooming, part 2

It’s like chocolate, there’s never enough. Okay, sometimes I’ve reached my full level of chocolate, but it’s always good. That’s the way a visit to a lotus pond is, always delightful. Sometimes I like watching the people more that shooting the flowers. Onlookers faces light up, and smiles are abundant. Nature does have a way to bring joy into a bleak year.

So, here’s the rest of my images from William Land Park in Sacramento. If you looked hard enough through the large leaves, you could see some floral reflections.

And then some lucky duck finds a rainbow.

And now on to the Vedanta Society of Sacramento and their small lotus pond. This was a quick visit, and I was dismayed to miss seeing the peacocks. Usually they roam around the area. And in the water lily pond, I saw only leaves, no flowers. But the lotus were not disappointing.

Lotus, like chocolate, begs to be re-visited. Maybe soon, at different angles, different time of day? And did you know that lotus bring you good luck? After posting part 1 of my lotus images I was asked to join the Lens Artists group. I am honored!

The Lotus are blooming! William Land Park

Get your telephoto lens ready, it’s that time of the year. Lotus flowers bloom locally each year at William Land Park in Sacramento. They take up one end of the small lake, and they are beautiful.

This year, I couldn’t believe how big the leaves were. They were almost as spectacular as the blossoms.

I wasn’t alone on a recent Saturday. There were many others, most were wearing masks, including photographers visiting. Most of the other photographers had super long lenses balanced on tripods. I wish I could see what they were getting. I had a 200 mm reach and was doing fine hand-holding my camera.

Of course you know I love to do close ups. Some cropping in post processing were done to these images. Okay, maybe a lot!! Love my new camera!!

There are more lotus from this visit and to my short visit to the Vedanta Society of Sacramento’s small lotus pond. Next Post!!

Goodbye 2019! Land Park & Effie Yeaw

Yes, goodbye to 2019!! I can’t say that it’s been the worst year, but it hasn’t been the best for me personally. I feel like my photography journey is on a roundabout and is unsuccessful in getting off to continue down the road.

I think my health is under control now, but with the beta blocker I’m on, any shooting beyond 8 p.m. is not happening. I just get too tired, but my heart is beating better. I call it my new normal!

December has been a rainy, cold, overcast and damp month which adds to the photo blues. I’ve tried to make the most of partly cloudy and sunny days, but they are few. Here, in California, December, January and February are traditionally our rainy months. The rest of the year is pretty dry, so we are hoping for more rain, and, of course, more complaining. My photo buddies and I are trying to think of more indoor places to take our cameras to. You might see some familiar places in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, let’s finish up some of 2019 with visits to William Land Park in Sacramento and Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael.

Jeanne and I went to William Land Park to catch some Fall Color in mid November. There was barely any left, but we did shoot for about an hour.

Next is Effie Yeaw. Marlene and I went to capture the deer rutting. They weren’t rutting that morning, but there were many deer.

Oh, I did get my calendars, and they look good. But, they are not exactly the way I wanted them to be as far as lay out. There’s always 2020. If I don’t blog again before, Happy New Year!!

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!

Finally got it!: WPA Rock Garden, Sacramento

I am tenacious and never give up. I went back to the WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park, Sacramento with my macro lens for more practice. Finally, I now understand my lens and how to shoot macro.

This was my second time shooting there, and there were new flowers and small critters to find. The first time, I learned that I needed a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed to capture the close up detail. This time I learned that I also needed to narrow my aperture (use a higher F stop) to get less of a shallow depth of field.

Now I’m ready to go back just to enjoy the shoot. Tenacity is a great trait, but offers little relaxation.

I also experimented with what else I could shoot with my 105 Macro Lens. Enjoy the pictures! (Captions not necessary!)

Macro time: WPA Rock Garden, William Land Park, Sacramento

If it weren’t for a friend’s gentle push, I would have gone back to the car and swapped out my macro lens for my walk around lens. I’m so glad she persuaded me to use the macro. It’s a great lens: 105 mm, 2.8, Sigma; and I hardly use it because there’s always a slight breeze.

Karen taught me to increase my ISO so I could shoot at a faster shutter speed, and I got amazing results. I’ll be using that lens more because I do love macro photography. Although the WPA Rock Garden is a small area, we were shooting for about 2 hours!

This was my last time out shooting because we needed to prepare for our trip to Glacier National Park. Right now I’m exhausted. We packed the trailer today, except for refrigerated food in triple digits. I did try to do a lot during the morning. This is our first vacation since our 2013 cross country trip. We’re also going to be in Idaho for the solar eclipse, and in a great vantage spot. We’ll be attaching my D3100 to a small telescope, so wish me luck. I have a couple of days to practice. Richard will be using his sun scope to capture images.

After that, we’ll head into Oregon to visit my older granddaughter. I’m so looking forward to this trip. And, yes, I’m bringing my macro lens with me.

Images from the WPA Rock Garden.