Lens-Artists Challenge #169 – The Ordinary

I.J. Khanewala challenges me to see the ordinary into the most extraordinary thing that you have seen. I am up for this challenge. When I come to a well traveled place I have a pre conceived idea of the typical image. I usually take a couple of these, but then I look around. I want to look deeper and find “my” image.

A simple squash displays color, texture, and design.
The colors of Autumn found on this grape vine.
A Sunflower at season’s end.
Shadows form on the fluorescent green that floats on the pond
I freeze the motion for this water fountain.
I love looking for images created by reflections.

I remember a magazine that my son read as a boy that had a page of photographs. The idea was that you were supposed to figure out what the image was a part of. Always fascinated me. Do you have an idea of what these are parts of?

I hope you enjoy looking at how the ordinary can make an extraordinary image.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145 – Getting to know you

“The artist’s gaze, the photographer’s eye, when cast on a subject begins a relationship. That relationship can grow into a deep affection and a profound wisdom. It is that aspect of relating to your subject that I invite you to explore in this challenge.” Thank you Priscilla of scillagrace.

Photography has always helped me to see the world. It may be the quiet moment when I am out and can appreciate nature. It allows me to take a deep breath and slow down. You must be still as you press the shutter button.

Exploring my backyard with my macro lens I spot this dragonfly.
Posing for me

Sometimes I am occupied looking for the unusual. This may be a funny sign, or an object found out of place.

This bird is taking a stand!
Found this in Locke, California.
Old Folsom Bridge

Other times I see faces or animals in many of my images. This is pareidolia. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pareidolia as, “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” Hey, photography has even opened me up to learn new terms.

My photography has helped me get away from my introverted self. I like to people watch, and I use my camera as my lookout point. Some images are candid moments, some environmental portraits, and some tell a story

Photography has been with me since I was nine years old. It helps me connect with people, places, and things around me!

Undersocialized Charlie and my efforts to have a companion dog!

Among the many problems created by the pandemic is the under socialization of my puppy. My nine-month wait coincided with CoVid 19. Born on February 7th he arrived home just after society was shutting down. Governor Newsom declared a stay at home order in mid-March. We picked up Charlie at 7 weeks rather than chance not being about to make the 2-hour drive to Orland, Ca, and Serenity Springs Labradoodles.

So instead of allowing Charlie to have many social interactions during this critical puppy period, we were busy having our groceries picked up through e-cart, and sanitizing them before bringing them into the home. No one knew what we were up against. Social interactions consisted of listening to Amy teach us on Zoom. Charlie would sit next to my computer and together we learned. Amy’s voice and treats were our first classroom at Baxter & Bella online training. As more was known about CoVid 19 I reached out to my friend Carly and a few months ago we went to our first in-person training with other under-socialized puppies.

Nearing one year of age, Charlie now attends class with the “gifted” pups training to be CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) dogs. Sometimes this works, and sometimes not so much. Skateboarders, cyclists, and motorcycles are triggers (Puppy training language). He was so alert last week, that when I asked for a paw he followed the instruction with his eyes on the road. It was funny to watch but frustrating to teach. In this new 6 feet separation society when you take dogs in public you may not want to let anyone pet your dog. So to be polite, you can say, “Please don’t pet my dog, but if you want he can wave to you.” Giving a paw is the first step in teaching dogs to wave. Good adaptation for the pandemic. Right?

Being anxious is detrimental to learning. To desensitize Charlie I decided to park in front of a store and let him watch the world around him. He feels safe in the car. I give him treats when he is calm. I listened to an NPR interview with Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist. Her research specialty is dog cognition. I have since downloaded one of her audiobooks to take with us. A perfect soundtrack for people watching from the car. While we watch I capture some images with my Fuji x100f. I like this camera for street shooting.

Next time I will park right in front of entrance!
Looking in to the store.
Reading while walking.
Charlie, the ghost dog!

Last weekend my friends planned to walk the Johnny Cash Trail outside of Folsom Prison. Since my focus has been on Charlie I decided to take him with me. I brought my Fuji x100f to simplify the photo walk. This was a real test. I met the group in a shopping mall parking lot next to very busy, fast-moving street traffic. He was doing well considering the noise.

Right outside the razor-wired fence of Folsom Prison.

Group planning doesn’t always work out, so I decided to pass on the trail, and went in search of a nature trail. The Miner’s Ravine Nature Preserve parking lot was 1 1/2 miles down the road.

Came across this interesting tree. Such an expression What does it say to you?
Gave Charlie the command, “Wait!” He allowed me to take my photograph.
Raised manhole cover ahead. My friend Anne sees something else.
Charlie walks around the manhole cover.
I took this photo after our walk. I think the nature preserve was on the side that we did not visit. Or else Charlie did not pay attention to the sign. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Charlie relaxed, and when I asked him to wait, he allowed me to capture some images. This was a win-win situation.

He always recognizes our car, and is happy to jump in!

I plan to make a point to take Charlie out with me daily. After all, someday we all will not be homebound. I hope!

Take Time and Stop

There is something to taking time to stop and smell the roses!” So as I take time, I will share some of my recent photographs of nature.

In the spring my photo group takes a trip north of Nevada City to Crystal Hermitage Garden. I am lucky to have this beautiful space so close to home. I make this an annual visit in the Spring and have blogged about this peaceful place before.

Tip Toe through the Tulips
Springtime at Crystal Hermitage Garden
Purple Hyacinth
Mt. Fuji Cherry Tree
Lake Tah

Pareidolia is the science behind seeing faces in everyday objects. I am particularly drawn to this type of photography. What does this say about me?

Who is looking down on you?
Peeking!
Just a splash of color contrasts with the rough texture.

Hope you enjoyed this natural pause in the day.