Sunflowers, Art, and Agriculture in Yolo County

Yolo County opens its farms up to local artists monthly. The last time I took advantage of this event was in July of 2019. Part of the fun of photography is seeing new places, and part is sharing the experience. I finally felt like I could share the experience with one friend, and so we headed out. This was the last part of June, and I was feeling like pushing aside CoVid 19 just a bit.

Sunflowers are showing up all over Yolo county, and there was a field on the Harrison Farm. Not the tallest flowers, not so spectacular, but I was traveling with my Fuji xt2 and my 80mm 2.8 macro lens. The weather was just perfect. With macro photography, even the slightest movement can look like a big magnified blur. Usually, I have experienced a gale-force wind creeps up just as I take out my macro lens. Not this time!

Lots of bees around sunflowers.
Such a flirty face
One amongst many

This Thursday in the last part of June I didn’t expect a large turnout. But I guess others felt the same, and there I was social distancing from a nice group of artists.

Traffic duty. Each car was carefully check in and she explained the guidelines.

Many uses for this pond. The ripples reminds me of an impressionist’s painting inspiration. The rope swings looks like fun. And the kayak and fishing poles is someone’s idea of a relaxing afternoon.

We each tried to capture our selfie wearing our protective CoVid masks.

On this day I carried my Fuji xt2 with three lenses. I heard there were sheep here, and I wanted to grab some animal photographs. Well, the sheep were resting in the corner shaded area. I wanted and finally one ventured out to eat.

Using my xf 55-200 lens I caught this little cutie.
Back in the shady side of the barn
Plein Air artist starting on his canvas
I appreciate the two red barns using my camera
I like the way this gate frames the image.

I wandered around the flower garden for these next photos.

These next images represent still life on the farm.

Backlit lighting on the walnut tree.
Someday I may be found in some baklava. That would be yummy!
Walnut trees. Careful. Drip irrigation leads to muddy sandals.
Pulling away from the walnut orchard was this fire engine kicking up a lot of dirt.

So ends this months Yolo Art & Ag event to the Harrison Farm. Looking forward to my next outing.

Does having more time means accomplishing more?

CoVid19 means that I am homebound. There is nowhere to go and stay safe for everyone. So I stay home. At first, I tackled each day with a purpose. Using recipes that call for more time. Adding some baking to my repertoire. Reorganizing my rooms. Catching up with all those piles of stuff. I took this time at home as a challenge to work on my hobbies of quilting, photography, and genealogy. But then Charlie came into my life.

My latest involvement has been puppy training. After being in the home for two weeks, he and I are developing a rhythm. The past two nights he has slept through to breakfast. Ok. It is his breakfast time, 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. But I’ll take it. So the day starts earlier than I am used to. My goal of getting to bed at around midnight is working, but I still can’t seem to want to eat that early.

Charlie takes three longer naps during the day. If it was up to him they would all take place hugging my foot ensconced slipper. Sometimes I slip out and leave the slipper. This doesn’t fool Charlie much. Nothing more pathetic than a puppy crying for me, and I am just down the hall. Got to shake this soon.

Crate training has taken longer with Charlie than with my Libby. After two weeks he readily goes into his “Room” around mealtime. A food-filled Kong can keep him occupied for the moment. But when food is gone Charlie wants out. It starts with a small whine, then some digging, and yapping. I give Charlie the “shush” signal, and when he quiets I let him out. I am making slow progress. I plan to talk to some friends who have had more experience raising different pups.

So I am trained to have eagle eyes and watch for all house training signals. In and out we go to the potty, and back out again. Most of the time he gets with the program. Sometimes we miss the signal, a subtle look. I just added a string of bells, and I am teaching Charlie to ring the bells. Sometimes when Charlie is busy my macro lens finds other things to focus on.

We picked the last of our oranges. Here is the start of next year’s crop.

Each area of the house is a new adventure for Charlie. His approach is very cautious. Outside Charlie is calmly able to explore.

Today, he even watched me go inside, and chose to continue chomping on a twig. He deals with the front of the house differently. The Corona Virus has hindered his socialization. I have taken him out front and from a distance my neighbors have met him. I am holding Charlie, he watches, but there are no tail wags for strangers.

Charlie’s finds plenty of distractions outdoors

The past two days the new experience has been riding in the car. Our 2-hour ride home from Serenity Springs Labradoodles ended with Charlie’s breakfast all over me. So for these two short trips I decided to feed him when we returned. Yesterday we drove to my daughter’s house and showed my grandsons the new pup. Charlie was stressed out, and after lunch took a long nap. Today we picked up our online nursery shopping at Green Acres Nursery. The order went in a couple of days ago, and I got the call to pick up our vegetables this afternoon. This time I brought some water for Charlie, and I think he felt comfortable enough to sleep. Not too interested in looking out the window yet.

My husband planted 5 types of tomatoes, 1 pepper, 1 two-toned squash, and 1 eggplant.

My Citronella Plant is in bloom
Queen’s Tears from the Bromeliad family

Charlie’s nature is to remain cautious with new experiences. Staying home works with my nature as well. I like a peaceful environment, sunny days outdoors in my backyard, and a relaxing agenda. I like to focus on one thing at a time. And with a new puppy that is about all that I can accomplish. So I will set my site on that and call it a day fulfilled. The garage can wait, the quilting can wait, and the piles of stuff will remain in neat piles. And that is all for now.

Well, not exactly. The answer to my question is not really! Hey, but that is life. What is your take on the subject?

Art & Ag in Yolo County

Subi Blue, my 2017 Subaru Outback, headed to Woodland on Thursday to a working farm for a morning of photography with friends. Headed out early to hopefully get better light and beat the summer heat.

Camera gear stowed, directions printed, and Jeanne and Laura safely fastened we headed to Fong Farm. Upon arrival Nancy greeted us with a map of this farm. I was told that the Farm gave us unlimited access, but be sure to park on the side of the road. The barn and metal shop provided many photo opportunities.

Time stops for no one!
Shapes and textures abound.
Parts from days gone by
Bolts of some kind
All eyes are on you!

Driving down dusty roads past a tomato field my Subi Blue gathered a fine coating of silty dust.

Barn surrounded by field of tomatoes 🍅.

At some Art & Ag events some information is shared about the workings of the farm. Here our map was our only guide. I wondered how these tomato field was harvested.

Three dogs greeted my car as we rounded the bend. I will give the a treat, and a “Good dogs” for doing the job of watch dog. Came right up I front of the car and tried very hard from discouraging me from driving down the dusty road. Sorry no phot opportunity here. No dogs were hurt, and eventually they trotted home.

Next we passed a field of yellow and orange thistles. Being a city girl I couldn’t imagine why a farmer would plant so many thistles. They are interesting flowers to photograph, but a bouquet of thistles?

Then we checked the map, and discovered we were looking at a field of safflowers. Ok, armed with no knowledge, I am guessing safflower oil?

Safflower field as far as the eye can see

Plein Air artists also enjoy the Yolo County Art & Ag events.

Painting a willow tree along the canal
My artist perspective. Safflower field in the background. Sutter Buttes in the distance.

That ended the tour of the Fong Farm. We went in search for a field of Sunflowers. I had already visited a field earlier in the month, but now I had my new Fujifilm xf 80 macro lens with me.

My best bee capture
One resilient sunflower standing up to time
Shadows captured in the backlit flower
Not ready for prime time
My best side please
Take time to see another point of view
Think about the BEES! Where would we be?
Bowing down. Countdown till the sunflower season ends.

Denny’s for lunch and then home.

One last stop for my Subi Brown. Bob’s Car Wash. Needed to get a full wash including undercarriage. After such a day I am glad that I put off going to the farm with a clean car. Wow!

Getting Closer

Macro photography done well, takes patience. I usually think of myself as a patient person. To get a good image it should be clear. That means I need to stop motion. A small breeze on a summer’s day appears like a gale force wind when seen close up. I stepped away from using past macro lenses because each time I placed the lens on the camera the winds would start up.

I recently converted a concrete birdbath into a succulent garden. Last year I cleaned, filled, and refilled the birdbath. I bought a water stirrer gadget to encourage birds to visit, and keep mosquitoes away. With all my effort I only saw an occasional bird stop by. Word did not get around my neighborhood. So this year after holes were drilled in the concrete I filled it with many different succulents. The up-side is that these plants are not subject to the wind. 

So armed with my new macro lens I ventured out to my backyard. My first attempt to use the Fujifilm xf 80mm lens with my Fuji xt2 camera.

Captured this Red Pagoda Succulent
This dragonfly appeared at just the right time.
Watched me and let me get closer!

Camera Totin’ Days outing to Green Acres Nursery fit right into my macro practice.

Cornflower
I think this is a Chrysanthemum, but I could be wrong.

I like the way this lens handles the sharp and soft parts of the image. This is called depth of field.

Using the focal length of 80mm I think this lens did a great job of capturing this portrait.

A customer at Green Acres captured
With a bit of imagination you can see the kid jumping for joy!
I spied a carpenter bee hovering around.

This lens passed the test! I have a new focus! Yes!