One of my favorite places to wander and take photographs is along the Deep Water Channel across from the Port of Sacramento. The shipping channel was built in 1949 and is 30 feet deep and 43 miles long, running from Suisun Bay to an inland harbor in West Sacramento. The port was opened to deep sea traffic in 1963. Too shallow for container ships, the channel accommodates ships that carry bulk products like corn, rice, barley, almonds, and wheat as well as cement, lumber, clay, and metals.
Every time I visit I see something new. Whether it be another ship in port, a crew rowing a sculling boat, a fisherman paddling a kayak, or a calm reflection on the water, I am drawn to pull out my camera and capture the moment.
Tag Archives: landscapes
Tower Bridge, Sacramento, CA. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved.
It has been awhile since my last post due to an incredibly busy life. I have a lot of catching up to do since I have been doing a lot of shooting and little posting :). So until I have more time to sit down and write some thorough posts, here are a few recent night shots I took with my iPhone for you to peruse. I also wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy Holidays!
The approach to the Tower Bridge along Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved.
The “Money Building” and CalSters reflecting in the Sacramento River, Sacramento, CA. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved.
Downtown Sacramento and lighted Palm Trees. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved.
I have been a tree lover since I was a child. During summer vacations we spent hours building tree forts in the field behind our housing tract with scavanged boards and nails from a construction site. The trees were a combination of old gnarly Oaks and towering Cottonwoods that offered much needed shade to a herd of cattle and a few horses that grazed in the field.
The tree fort was my favorite place to sit and daydream. It also served as my escape from a not so pretty home life. I remember the feeling of freedom it gave me to sit up high, lost in the cover of this massive tree. I felt safe and protected by its branches. If I sat still long enough I could hear what sounded like a chorus of ancient voices drifting through the leaves as they rustled in the wind.
Trees are truly amazing gifts of nature. I have often pondered the thought of their longevity and wished they could tell us the stories of all they have seen over time. Some have been silent witnesses to centuries of history. Others, like the Ancient Bristlecones, have been on this earth for more than 5,000 years. Oh the tales they could tell.
Trees provide shelter and shade for birds and mammals. They help to cool the earth, remove particulates, and provide oxygen for us to breathe. Studies show that hospital patients who are in rooms with a view of trees heal faster than patients who don’t. Also, communities that lack trees have a higher crime rate than those that have them.
I proudly consider myself a “tree hugger” yet I do have a balanced understanding of the need for a percentage of trees to be cut and utilized for human needs. But I become saddened at the thought of our rainforests being decimated with abandon and cringe when I hear about large trees being removed for a development in my city.
If only the trees could impart on us the wisdom they have absorbed over time. Maybe we would understand the need to treat nature and other human beings with more kindness.
** Click to purchase Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature on Amazon. **
Last week I was “kidnapped” by my lovely partner and held hostage in a Yurt for three days right outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park. It was a much-needed respite in nature as my surgery dates approach.
I grew up near Yosemite on the Eastern side of the Sierras so I have been there many times. I never get tired of the beauty and majesty that this park bestows. I am always in awe and am often brought to tears by its magnificence.
Our days were spent hiking and taking photos. I felt completely energized and renewed while there and wanted to continue hiking and climbing even when I was at my most depleted state due to the higher elevation and lack of oxygen.
It was a wonderful escape from reality as well as an opportunity to reflect on the beauty in life.
This morning I am feeling tense again so I decided to look through my photos in order to go back to my “happy place” and ground myself a bit. That is a big part of photography for me. The ability to relive those moments captured in perpetuity. When I view them I can feel the wind on my face, the smell of the pines, the warmth of the sun (protected by SPF 50 of course), and am embraced once again by a feeling of reverence and an overwhelming silence.
Tomorrow it all begins with my back surgery followed 10 days later with the Mohs surgery on my face. I expect tomorrow to be pretty straight forward with an excision and stitches followed by the waiting game for the pathology report. The Mohs surgery on the 8th is a different story. Too many unknowns for my taste. But I will try to stay focused on the beauty of nature and look forward to more trips to Yosemite in the future.
I am honored to have my iPhone photograph “In Praise of Blue” chosen by The App Whisperer as one of the “Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013.” The honored images were culled from 5,500 favorites of an original 71,000 submissions and feature some of the very best mobile photographers from around the globe.
You can view the slideshow of the amazing collection of honored images here:
Happy New Year!
I love spending time in nature. It always grounds me and helps me to remember the important things in life. During the last two months of the year I was able to refuel my soul with a visit to some beautiful places. Of course I am never without a camera, so here are a few of my favorite landscapes that came out of those journeys. All four of these photos were shot and edited on an iPhone 5.
As a New Year’s gift to all my followers, here is a 40% discount code that you can use through April 30th to purchase my work. Just enter AUARGP in the “Discount Code” area at checkout. Here is the link to my store: http://tracy-thomas.artistwebsites.com/. These are direct ship prints so if you would prefer a signed and/or limited edition print, instead of purchasing through my store you can email me through the contact form on my website and we can work out the details. (http://www.tjthomas-iphoneart.com/#!contact/c175r)
Here’s to a beautiful new year!
I began my career in photography as a nature and wildlife photographer. Over the years my work has morphed and touched just about every genre imaginable in the craft. Lately I have found myself drawn back into nature, focused primarily on landscape photos. In the past I shot most of my landscapes with my DSLR, creating moody High Dynamic Range images. This time around I have been shooting exclusively with my iPhone and feel drawn to a combination of apps that create a more painterly effect on the final image.
Here are some of the recent landscapes I have shot during the Fall color change in the Sierra’s.
Below is a photo I shot last year that was recently part of “Creatives Rising” and was projected onto the 42-story Linc LIC building in New York City as well as part of the See Me exhibition on Long Island.
This past weekend I took Amtrak up to Arcata, California to spend time with friends and to run the Avenue of the Giants 10K under the giant redwood trees just outside of Weott. It was great to escape to cooler weather away from the heat of the Valley and to spend time on the laid back North coast. On my way home I took a lot of photos of the landscape from the train window and several photos at the train station. The photos in this post are further experimentation with the use of color and texture which during the editing phase. All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and were edited in Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Pic Grunger.
This past Sunday we drove up to a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains to get away from the abnormally sweltering Spring weather we have been having in the Valley. I parked my chair in the shade and immediately felt the stress of past weeks subside. I sat and walked and took photos all day long while breathing in the beauty of my surroundings. Here are a few of the photos I created with a focus on playing around with color and texture in the editing process.
**All photos were shot with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and edited using the Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Blender apps.
Yesterday was another nature day. It has been warm and wonderful here this past week, actually climbing into the 60’s by midday. Warmer days means snow melt in the Sierras, that in turn opens up access to some of the recreational areas normally covered in the cold white stuff this time of year.
I spent the day wandering around Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines, a short 45 minute drive up Highway 50. The lake was created in 1955 when a dam was built to harness Sly Park Creek, a tributary in the Cosumnes River watershed. The dam formed a 650-acre reservoir called Jenkinson Lake. It was constructed primarily to provide irrigation water to a portion of El Dorado County.
I’ve spent a lot of time around this little lake, hiking on the trails and kayaking in its pristine waters. I always see something new when I go there that I didn’t see before.
Yesterday’s photowalk was all about capturing the familiar vistas as well as the smaller intricacies of nature that we often fail to notice while becoming smitten by her grandeur.
[All photos were shot and edited on my iPhone4.]
**Back to iPinion Syndicate**
I am beyond thrilled and honored that my iPhone piece “Rubber Band Man” has been chosen for an Honorable Mention in the Visual FX category for the Mobile Photography Awards! These awards feature the best of the best in the world of mobile photography. All those chosen in all categories will be on display at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City from February 22-28.
You can check out all the amazing works here: http://mobilephotographyblog.com/visual-fx/
After finishing up the class I have been writing for the University and finally recovering from a bout with the flu, I was able to get out on a photowalk this morning. I decided to photograph Old Sacramento with my iPhone and used my Hipstamatic App with the Tinto 1884 lens and D-Type plate. This combination seemed very appropriate for a place steeped in history.
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And the color phase continues. Every time I finish one of these pieces it makes me smile. They bring me right up out of the fog (both literally and figuratively). I am reminded of summer and warmth and the sand that sifts between my toes. I can smell the barbeques and feel the waves lapping rhythmically against my feet. I taste the salty air on my lips and curl up beneath the shade of a beach umbrella, completely content with life.
To view the rest of this series visit my recent post Playing With Colors.
Return to iPinion Syndicate.
so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.
It is in nature where I cleanse myself from the constant drone of the city and absorb the quiet beauty all around me. A deep breath of fresh air and my lungs open to capacity, free from the exhaust and toxins spewed out hourly by the bane of a “civilized” society. My feet do a happy dance as they touch the raw earth beneath them. It is much more forgiving than the asphalt and concrete of everyday life. I feel connected to the core.
Surrounded by an infinite wisdom that transcends the exterior casing that houses my soul, I walk. I listen. I see. I discover. A swarm of white gnats gathers next to my cheek. I am amazed by an almost silent, collective “whoosh” created by their tiny wings. They move in unity with barely a space in between. Somehow they know to move left or right or up or down as one, without impeding the flight of another.
I continue my walk and contemplate. Hours go by and I feel refreshed, renewed, ready to move forward through life. The fall air lays its final kiss across my skin and once again the evening comes to slowly bid adieu…
More Soliloquy here.
so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.
Nature has always been my savior. No matter how dark, cloudy or confusing my life circumstances become, I can always turn to the outdoors to calm my nerves and regain perspective.
Nature helps me to breathe a little more deeply and to strike up an internal conversation with self. That internal monologue can be dramatic and filled with expression in order to release frustration and solve all of life’s dilemmas or it can be quiet, centered and reassuring.
I will forever embrace it as the grounding mechanism for my soul. My safe place. My source of replenishment. My healing balm. The inspiration for self-dialogue. My soliloquy…
Photo: Lots of open space in Arches National Park, Moab, UT.
There are times when I simply ache inside for open spaces. The quiet, peaceful, desolate, expansive, breathtaking places void of human inhabitants. No cars, no smog, no noise pollution. Just the earth, the sky, the sun, the stars and of course my thoughts. Not empty…not lonely…A place where the healing warmth of a sun exposed boulder works its way deep inside your tired bones as you stretch across it to watch the sky. Where that same sky appears endless and as blue as the deepest ocean could ever be. Where the only sounds are those of wild bird songs and your rhythmic breathing as it begins to move you into a mild, meditative state. Arches National Park just outside of Moab, Utah is one of those places. Filled with amazing sandstone formations spread out over 119 miles of open space, I felt as if I had stepped onto another planet. Pure raw beauty that appealed to the deepest part of my soul. As I stood silently below these massive rocks, I could make out the faint whispers of the ancients as the wind blew across the sandstone. It is a place that reminded me of the beauty that exists on our planet. It is a place that brought me back home to what matters most about life.
You can purchase this photo here.