Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 Change of Scenery

I have accepted Beth’s (Wandering Dawgs)challenge to get out and look for a change of scenery. It is officially Spring, and that means the natural world around me is changing. This is especially true here in the Sacramento area.

Almond Trees blossom in the Capay Valley orchards.
Almond trees blossom anywhere from February to March
Camelia showing off its beautiful flower
We have some late ripening oranges ready to pick from our tree.

This year instead of planting tomatoes, squash, and peppers my husband is preparing to plant a lemon tree (very pretty), and a mandarin tangerine.

Mustard blossoms all around
My Subí Blue ready to search out a change in scenery!

Lens-Artists Challenge #136 : The Letter S

Patti says, “For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet.  This time, we’re going to focus on the letter S.  What images can you find that feature a subject that begins with the letter S?  Here are some ideas to get you started.”  

My friends and I visit sunflower fields in Yolo County.

Shadows on my Sunflower!

In Sacramento, there is the Museum of Medical History. An interesting place to visit when it reopens after CoVid. So my first letter S is for Skeleton with its funny sign.

Is this the result of too much touching?

So many things that shout out to me, “Pick me! I start with the letter S!”

Variety is the Spice of Life!
Sunset looking toward the Sutter Buttes

I hope I made you smile with my Letter S!

Taking my new Fuji xt4 out!

The story of my new purchase. It started about a year ago when my friend asked if I was interested in parting with my Nikon D7100. A perfectly good, solid camera I have been using for many years. Well along came my mirrorless Fuji x100f. Fun camera and great for grab n go, street photography. This led me to reconsider my Olympus mirrorless that I did not find any happiness with. So KEH (company buys used cameras) came along and purchased all my used Olympus stuff. I replaced it with my Fuji xt2 and some lenses. I found my system. Oh, so back to the Nikon. Well, I still used it, but not as much. I hate to have a camera sit unused. So I sold the camera to a friend of a friend. Now I had a lot of additional lenses I have collected over the years, and along came KEH again. This time buying all the rest of my Nikon gear. I now had credit at my favorite camera store, Action Camera in Roseville. And I let it sit since I did not really need anything. CoVid strikes, and I have too much credit at a small retail establishment. Fuji just put out the xt4 so I decided to use my credit and order this new camera.

Meanwhile, my friend Anne purchased a Fuji xt3, and she wanted to try out her new x100-400mm telephoto lens. To be a real birder you need a long lens, big muscles, money, and lots of patience. I lack big muscles so I shy away from a lens I am not willing to or have the ability to hold. But I can’t say my interest wasn’t piqued just a bit. Especially. if my friends were going to be out shooting birds, peacefully. My longest lens x55-200 wasn’t going to be long enough for birds,, but since we would primarily be in a car I also took my wide-angle lens and my macro lens. My Subi Blue needed a wash so I offered to drive.

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is located along the causeway on Interstate 80 between Sacramento and Davis. Nice and close to home. In natural settings, you never know what you will find. But anytime I get away with my camera in hand is a good day. There are some impressive upgrades to this camera, but I just set up the basics this time out.

President Clinton designated this floodplain in 1997 as a wetlands to be restored. It serves as a flyway and home for many birds.

3,700 of the 16.000 acres have been transformed into a wetlands.
The summertime dirt road is easy to navigate.
Restored wetlands demonstrates “leading lines”

I was interested in capturing landscapes, Anne had her long lens and her focus was birds.

Caught this Great Egret busy preening!

Quietly got out of the car and hunted flowers and insects.

Pay close attention to all signs!
These reeds caught my eye.
25 square miles just off Interstate 80. Peaceful!

My Fuji xt4 performed well in the field. The feel of this shutter is amazing. Hard to describe but it is different is a wonderful way! I was happy to capture these images to remind me that nature is not too far away!

P.S. My friend decided that she would return her long xf 100-400mm lens, and get the xf 80mm f2.8 Macro that I just love. So I will also save myself some money.

Summer, Charlie and CoVid

When I think of summer, July 4th seemed to be a dividing point. Early summer, mid-summer, and late summer. Before July 4th the days were warming up. The country’s government was bowing to the idea that the economy needed to get back to a more normal status. This put some additional pressure on me to move away from self-quarantine and slowly, carefully join others outside.

July 4th came and went. Many firework displays were canceled. I was not too disappointed. The local groups sold “safe n sane” fireworks on every corner. Pride was taken in opening up more windows so fewer people would be waiting next to one another. I am not a fan of these pop-up fireworks stores or the fireworks they sell. Growing up in New York, all fireworks are prohibited. Large firework displays are planned, and I can still remember watching fireworks in the skies on Long Island. Salisbury Park (the name was changed), and over the Sears parking lot from the Gertz-side in Hicksville. One year we were in Boston and watched the display along the river with Tschaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Cannons included. One of the first fireworks display I saw in California was at the Hollywood Bowl. Unbelievable! Picnics with candelabras and more. Here in Sacramento, we took the kids to Cal Expo, and in Carmichael at the closed La Sierra High School campus. Once we went down to Old Sac to watch the display. Unfortunately, the crowds made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. A lot of alcohol.

Since CoVid 19 got in the way of large gatherings the following images are from a past Fourth of Julys

Folsom parade with costumes, a cattle drive down main street.

Carmichael parade with old cars decked out.

Photographically, I like parades.

For the past 9 years, I have had more concern for my dog. Libby, a calm black lab felt better at home in her crate. So fireworks were watched on tv along with the movie 1776. This year, with my new pup Charlie I was warned by my neighbors that it would be noisy in front of my house. They were right. There was noise also coming from the street behind us. And the smell of gunpowder hung in the air. But Charlie remained calm, and even went outside to do his business! Good boy!

The hot temperatures here in Fair Oaks does not disappoint. I went looking for a small wading pool for Charlie. Scored one on sale at Emigh’s. I just love this store. Service is top-notch. All of the employees know their products. In summer or winter time my photo friends and I have permission to photograph at the store. No money was exchanged for this endorsement. The parking lot is always full of satisfied customers.

The first time I filled up the 45″ pool Charlie thought it was a BIG water dish. I got in and pulled my puppy in. The next time he ignored the pool altogether. The third time, he got into it. Started digging, splashing, and jumping in and out.

Charlie’s first time in his pool!
Enjoying splashing around!

Getting out and socializing in the time of CoVid 19 is not easy. In July the Sactown Doodles Meetup Group planned an event in Rocklin. No need to RSVP, and I decided that Charlie could use the experience. It was outdoors and the description of the dog park made it very tempting. I messaged Gidget’s owner and arranged a reunion. We also saw Kona, Charlie’s great Aunt. An unexpected surprise. I met Jennifer and Kona last summer when I was looking for a breeder. Many people, not quite so many masks, and many doodles participated. At five months Charlie was one of the younger members there, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Visited with many dogs and dog owners. Glad I went. Charlie kept an eye on my whereabouts. I only brought my iPhone, and I didn’t even video this one-hour event. Just enjoying the moment with doodles and their owners.

Glad to have this photo of the two of us. Thanks Beth!

Unfortunately, CoVid 19 is not going away, and numbers are way up here in California. Just heard, a teacher I worked with is getting over this virus. He said it was “no flu”. Glad to hear he is on the mend. But with all the new cases, and no testing or contact tracing being done the scary factor is growing.

Just got three masks I ordered from Etsy. I wanted to support small businesses here in the U.S. A. This new accessory will be around for a while, and I wanted to be protected, comfortable, and stylish! This is the first time ordering on Etsy, and it was a positive experience. Orders went in easily, and arrived quickly. I will test drive these three styles, and then order a few more. So when I am out, I will be wearing a mask to help stop the spread of the Corona Virus. And you should too!!!