Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 171 Weird and Wonderful

This week Ann-Christine invites me to have the opportunity to share my weird and wonderful images in this challenge! By accepting this challenge I will showcase some of my images of natural weirdness, items I found strange to photograph, and images I created through photo techniques.

This mutant Sunflower captured my attention! Was it an overachiever?

Here in Sacramento we are starting to get a taste of autumn. On Sunday we experienced record setting rainfall. They called it a bomb cyclone. It was time to dust off those raincoats and galoshes. Since California has been in a drought many of us were caught off guard. My puppy Moxie has never experienced rain, and was not too impressed. She was glad to wear her raincoat for our many, but quick outings. After the rain I just discovered the weirdness of mushrooms popping up. One minute nothing, the next minute fully formed fungi. Don’t know the toxicity of these mushrooms, but I am taking no chances on Moxie discovering them.

The next couple of images are part of the life cycle of decay. There is a certain beauty in observing rot.

These post have changed over the 30 years in my landscape, yet there is life.
Tis the pumpkin season. I see the heart of the pumpkin!
Decaying squash
The salmon come up the American River to lay their eggs and die.
Each gull finds its own rock!
A certain weirdness to the play of fish and bubbles.
This image speaks to me. It says, “Halloween is just around the corner. Get those treats ready or you will be tricked!”

The following are strange images I came across.

There are probably drivers on the road who follow this sign. Not me! Beliefs are another story.
What do you see? Found around old farm machinery.
Does this meet with your definition of weird?

The following images were created by painting with light.

A bouquet of flowers
Think of a scary movie!

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 #143 Colorful April

Amy reminds us that “When winter melts away, spring brings a new beginning; colors begin to awaken under the warm sunlight, April showers, and gentle wind.” So our theme for this week is “Colorful April”.

Tulips abound at Crystal Hermitage Garden. It has been some time since I visited. This used to be an annual visit. Darn CoVid 19 gets in the way. Such a peaceful place set in “Gold Country”.

Colorful tulip path

Another place I used to visit was Daffodil Hill in Amador County. Its popularity caused this traditional Spring shoot to close. About six years ago I visited during a cloudy weekday. The daffodils provided a backdrop for the Seeing Eye puppy Labrador retrievers out for a day with their puppy raisers. The

These puppies have no problem posing!

2019 was the last year this family opened up this “gem” to the public. Hidden away the roads were not equiped to handle the traffic.

The last flower of the spring that I just love to photograph is the California poppy. Last weekend some friends headed up to search for a field of orange. Found these beauties in flower pots in Sutter Creek, and not in the wild as I had hoped.

California poppies showing off their bright orange color.

Spring has sprung here in Northern California. I would just love this mild enjoyable weather to stick around for a while!

Can you really ever plan something?

About two weeks ago I prepared myself to be a long-distance grandma. I began to investigate photo frames to get pictures all the time. It would be some time before David and I could travel to be together. Thoughts went through my mind, and I felt sad but hoped that by moving to another state her family would find peace and happiness.

Packed up and ready for their big adventure!

My daughter and family sold their house and packed up to move to Knoxville, Tennessee. This was a sudden decision pushed forward quickly by the CoVid 19 pandemic. School was starting soon and her thought was attending school was better than distant zoom learning. Well, after driving for 4 days in the van with her family of 4 boys and a small dog they arrived in Tennessee. Driving up a road named 13 curves proved to be Knoxville’s undoing. Got a call, and in less than 2 weeks, the family arrived back in Sacramento on September 8th. Costly lesson learned. Don’t buy a house sight unseen in a place you have never visited. Luckily, her husband was able to resume his job.

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Charlie enjoyed having visits with the boys. Eli is particularly good with him. and his pitching arm has landed a couple of balls in my neighbor’s yard. Lucas, the four-year-old, helped with the training by playing a game called, “Mother May I”. The baby has clean toes compliments of Charlie’s licking them. Wyatt, the two-year-old just thinks Charlie is funny.

So Eli started third grade on Zoom, the family made use of our water (showers and laundry), and my stressed-out daughter took care of reestablishing herself. Moving is always a stressful situation. Looking for a home with a contingency is not much fun. It is a seller’s market. Good for the house she is selling in Tennessee, not so good for finding a home she plans to live in.

All her stuff finally made it to Waldon, Tn. in a Pod. It took almost a week of negotiating a “Gypsy Moth” form to get her possessions to return to California. It was filled and refiled almost a dozen times. The date of arrival is in early October. The question remains, where will this family of 6 live???

Tension abounds here, and everywhere.

The strangest year – 2020 – note the cobwebs!

Inhaling the smoke from the fires that surround the area can be the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes according to the governor. Add to this a presidential election year. Sorry no pictures. I only went outside to take Charlie out for many, many days.

This is a very, very, very important presidential race. This county desperately needs some sanity in a leader.

Becoming “Ruth less” with the passing of the Notorious RBG. I think this was designed before her passing, and I hope that next year she will reign supreme!

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Add to this the large response to protest continued police killings of our black citizens and the tension is felt by all. Some of the businesses are boarded up to prevent loss of property. While many peacefully protest there are others who take advantage of the situation and break, trash, and steal.

Boarded up windows provide a place to share words of hope!
I found this painted on a parking lot space

And then there is CoVid 19.

Face Covers Required

As of this writing, more than 200,000 people have died here in the United States. It has been 7 months since the Corona Virus has taken a firm grasp in our state. I heard rumors of a virus in mid-February, but it was March before changes started to happen. Now in downtown Sacramento, there is evidence of this pandemic.

Reminders everywhere. Masks help reduce the spread of CoVid

To mask, or not to mask.

Sorry sight. I’m sure there was a trash can close by.

To go along as if there is nothing to be concerned about, or to ask the question, “Is it worth the risk?” For the most part, my husband and I have chosen to be cautious. David is a diabetic who smokes. I have a post nasal drip that will probably clear out anyplace I venture out to. Most of our shopping has been online. Many of my activities have been delegated to Zoom Meetings. Even Charlie is being trained on Zoom. When I do go out I am masked. Actually, since the arrival of my puppy, there has always been someone here with him. We go to no restaurants, travel no further than a couple of miles, and if I am out it is an outdoor photoshoot with few people around me. So all the family comings and goings started to play on our minds. This did not sit well with all. No one likes this intrusion into our way of life. But I want all to be safe rather than sorry.

This past weekend I ventured downtown to meet up with my CTD friends. Since 2017, Sacramento has invited artists to participate in “Wide Open Walls”. Murals are painted on the walls around the city. The event usually runs about 10 days, but with the smoke, heatwave, and CoVid 19, and political tensions have extended the event. This time I did not capture any artists hard at work.

There is much evidence that this country wants to unite for the good of all its citizens!
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For many years I taught 4th grade with the social studies curriculum being California. This mural reminded me of the first chapter where I taught the four regions – Coast, Desert, Valley and Mountain regions.

California diversity. Four distinct regions of the state.
PEACE – Amazing artwork.
Making the alleys soar!
Painting on such a large canvas. So peaceful looking.

Sometimes parts of murals interest me.

This mural fascinated me the most.

Along with the murals I enjoyed walking the streets of downtown Sacramento. This year I missed the “Chalk It Up” event. To create a safe environment this event was spread out . I came across this one, and wanted to show myself enjoying the artwork. Plenty of electric scooters just left on the sidewalk. Bumper sticker that says it all! Vintage retail sign l liked.

This mural prompted me to look up Betty Inada