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!

Lens-Artists Challenge #135 A Glimpse into Your World

Over the past year, I followed many photographers as they shared amazing images. I decided that for me to grow I would need to open myself up to this experience. So this week I accepted Sheetal’s challenge to, “Show us the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.”

Charlie has captured my heart. My Australian Labradoodle just celebrated his first birthday. My life has revolved around this boy, and the bond is strong. The day starts when he says it does. He quietly calls out to me that he is awake. With his collar on, we head to his round bed where we snuggle for a time. Then out for our short walk in our court. Six houses and I take in the changes from day to day. Occasionally, we greet a neighbor or see a jogger. Then home to have breakfast. With no plans for the day, we settle on the couch, catch up on emails and take a morning nap together. I am the person who trains and cares for Charlie’s needs. We take a walk and play fetch. We have one training session a day, one game of “Find It!”, and one grooming session after dinner. Some indoor fetch and he settles while my husband and I watch television. Charlie has found a place in my husband’s heart. When I am away, Charlie keeps him company. Charlie is a people magnet. I just hope that he soon becomes more relaxed being out and about with me and my camera.

Charlie has us wrapped around his paws. Discovering each other, training together, and becoming part of the family.

This litter of 10 adorable Australian Labradoodles is 1 year old (put together by Jo)

Camera in hand, looking out at the world makes me happy. What I capture in the frame just depends on what catches my eye at the time. Small objects, funny signs, colors or shapes, patterns, contradictory images, animal and people expressions, and the people busy doing things. I don’t see myself stuck on one subject. My only limits are what kind of lens I can carry, and I usually only carry two. My camera has an added value in my life by connecting me to wonderful photo friends.

Amusing signs

The pandemic has slowed down life, and I try and appreciate this new pace of life. One day, one goal. Thinking back over the decades I now wonder how I kept up that frenetic pace. I am home with my husband that I have known now for 54 years. We take turns arguing with the television over the news coverage. We share opinions on how to fix the world, if only they would listen. We read the newspaper and find books to read on our iPads. We play Scrabble, and figure out what we want to eat for dinner. It is a serene existence. We talk about what we want to do after “the pandemic”, and when will life return to normal. Actually, we also discuss what that normal will look like. Hopefully, eating out, traveling both near and far, and feeling less restricted to be around people. I look forward to new adventures with my husband and my Charlie.

I am taking the first step in sharing with the Lens-Artists. This is my new challenge, and I hope that I will be able to meet it!

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!

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020 – The world keeps spinning

My head has been so full of noise that I did not realize that I have been neglecting to write.

So what what has caused me to think that my brain is playing “Pong”. I think that my loss of focus has been due to my dog deprived life. I have changed my sleeping pattern to a staying up late (2 am). I have always been more of a night owl since I retired, but this is getting ridiculous. This week I am making a better effort to wake up before 8:00 am, get going, and not drift back to sleep.

So what else is going through my head. It bounces from one interest to another. From Genealogy to Photography to my newest interest in Quilting. Not that these interests can’t coincide in one person, but that each pulls me away from the other. My son called this “dabbling”. Maybe I just continue to find new and interesting things to learn.

Oh, probably the most disorienting part of my life is news and the media (ie Facebook). Need I say more?

This 2020 election is very important. Be sure you are registered to VOTE!

One moment I am all about connecting the dots on my Ancestry family tree. I just started writing down my own personal story as a child of two Holocaust survivors. My hope is that I will one day be able to articulate a coherant story to others. I am a participant of CVHEN (California Valley Holocaust Education Network) and Sacramento Second Generation Holocaust Survivor’s group (now renamed Holocaust Survivors and Descendants). Though I find that with all my reading on the subject I sometimes need to take a step back from this subject. It is at that moment I take up another interest.

Photography helps me get out. Sometimes I just need to force myself to get out of the house. And away from the television and the continued crazy news that surrounds me. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand, but I have some very serious questions as to where this country, and the world is headed. This very clearly harkens back to my family’s past “real” experiences. So with camera in hand, and a great group of friends we head out to explore local spots. So far the weather this fall/winter has been quite favorable to getting outside. In other words, Sacramento has not had very much rain.

Fountains in Roseville are mesmerizing.

The climate here in Sacramento has changed in the almost 40 years I have been here. I remember all the fog that enveloped Sacramento when we first moved here. Moving into my first house in 1980, there was so much fog that lasted throughout the day that I didn’t even know which window would receive sunshine for the first 3 months (December through February 1981). Then we had record rains. I remember driving from my house in Sacramento to Orangevale 10 miles away and not knowing if the visibility would allow me to make it to work on time. I never understood the mass pileups on the freeways when I was in New York. The fog just engulfs you from out of nowhere. It has been quite a while since I have seen that kind of fog. I just looked up Tule Fog, and discovered why scientists say there is less of this phenonomun. Cleaner air. Good for the driving public. Do you remember the Tule fog? Can you see that my focus drifts.

Back to photography. Since my camera group changed the format from Camera Toutin’ Tuesdays to Camera Toutin’ Days our busy schedules get in the way. Doctor and dentist appointments, haircuts and massages, grandkids, and life may get in the way, but a steady group of 6-8 shows up. I am lucky to have found a good group of friends to share my joy in photography. I know that I can always find peace with my photography.

Here are some of my images from the year 2019. Not my most productive year. I did have that spinal surgery that kept me out of the loop for a while.

Taken with my new Macro lens.
Long Beach at sunset.

Looking back through my images I found some inspiration.

Plan to pop the champagne cork tonight at midnight.
My first date with my husband occured on New Years Eve 1966. No drinking and driving.

The year 2020 starts tomorrow. Bigger and better plans for the coming year. Around February 8 a new grandchild is set to arrive. That makes #7. My daughter is having a boy to add to her 4 boys and 1 girl. Busy family.

Ginger and Ace are expecting puppies in February. I am hoping to to bring one of the pups to my house in March.

Here is Ginger and Ace!
This handsome Henry was shopping with his human. I so can’t wait to have a dog friend of my own. This is a mulligen Australian Labradoodle standard size. I await a smaller version.
Plan to watch out! Be aware of your surroundings!

Heading to New York “The Big Apple” in March before our puppy joins our household. Planning to play tourist. See a show, visit relatives, and gather genealogical info. Also NYC is great for street photography and of course eating.

I plan to continue to spend less time in malls unless they are outside like the Fountains. Well I will see how this works out.

And I hope that everyone around me can follow this saying. There is entirely too much animosity circulating now.

Happy New Year to all my friends and followers. Here’s hoping for a bright 2020!