Not today: Michigan Bar Road Adventure

Not packing or unpacking! Yes, today is a day off. Since we decided to move, I’ve gone on two photo outings, and, even then, I packed at night. Then, the next day, I unpacked at the other house. We are painting, putting in new floors and taking care of other things at our small home. The kitchen is almost set up. The rest of the move is easy.

Today, is a rest and blogging day. Last weekend I needed to take a break, drive somewhere and shoot. So, I rounded up photo buddies Laura and Linda and away I drove to Michigan Bar Road. This road is located in a rural area of Sacramento County. To get there, you drive on Highway 16 or Jackson Hwy through beautiful scenery, and in the summer, you can buy the best corn ever at the Davis Ranch produce stand. I’ve posted images from this road before, so I tried to get different angles, etc. Then we had the bright idea to go beyond the paved road and get home a different way. I do need to tell you it’s been raining here off and on for two weeks, and I was hoping that with a few dry days, the dirt roads would be more or less dry.

Not!! Going 7 – 10 mph can take about 45 minutes to go 4 miles! I made it through three shallow large puddles with the help of my valiant crew, but was stopped by this pool. We had to turn around.


On the way back to the paved road, I had to set down the law because my pals were still wanting to stop to take pictures. No more pictures, we needed to get home. This was a fun adventure, and it rained the next few days so my car got cleaned outside. (I looked for every puddle to go through to get the underside clean.)

Each of us had a reason to get out and experience a bit of photography, so we all enjoyed our adventure. The next day it was back to moving for me, but my break was great!


Blog neglect: Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, Davis California

It takes a lot of time and effort to get a house ready to sell. If you’ve ever sold a home you know what I mean. We had pictures taken today and have a few days before the listing goes live, giving me the time to write this blog and go on a photo outing tomorrow.

Today’s post is on the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area–we locals call it the Yolo Bypass. This close-to-home wildlife area that covers 25 square miles and is home to nearly 200 species of birds. I’ve never seen 200 birds, but it’s close to home and usually we can spot a few species. Unlike other wildlife areas, we are allowed to get out of our cars to photograph the wildlife.

However, the last couple of times I’ve been there, the wind was blowing so hard that even the birds were having trouble. This recent outing was a challenge for me to hold a heavy camera and lens while bracing myself in the wind.

Still, it was fun and I’m looking forward to the break in the house selling effort to attend my Tuesday group’s outing to the Historic Old Sacramento City Cemetery. Marlene is spicing it up with a scavenger hunt.

We’re not moving far, just downsizing. When you’re in your mid 70s, it’s best to think ahead and buy a home without stairs, etc.!

Getting some exercise: Midtown Murals

One of the things I love about photography is the exercise you get both physically and mentally. Last week’s outing in Midtown Sacramento offered a major amount of both.

This was my third time out to capture the murals, and I tried to get a different slant on the paintings I shot before. Most of these were painted as part of “Wide Open Walls,” a festival held all over Sacramento in the summer of 2017. Some of the paint is fading already, while some colors are bright.

I also tried to capture some other sights like lines, patterns and textures. It was a fun morning with the Sactown Photogs. And of course, a lot of exercise!


This and that: Two Mandarin ducks and lunar eclipse

It’s not that the duck and lunar eclipse have anything in common–except for me and my camera. Oh, it could be the fact that one was planned and didn’t turn out well and the other wasn’t planned and turned out successful.

First the Mandarin ducks at Elk Grove Regional Park in Elk Grove. This was a planned outing for 9 a.m. By the time we got there and I drove around to the other side of the lake, the ducks needed to nap. It seems they like swimming in the fog! Those of our group who got there about a little earlier and parked in the right lot, got beautiful shots of them swimming.  I still got some of them napping and standing. And, I did get some fog shots. We get the Tule fog in Sacramento. I love the moodiness of fog.

These are some of the ducks and moody fog images:

For the lunar eclipse, I decided to sleep in if I could; but if I woke up in time, I would just shoot the triple lunar event from my backyard. I woke up at 3:45 a.m. (Darn my internal clock) and tried to go back to sleep. At 4:15 a.m., I got out of bed, gathered my camera gear, set up and opened my back door. Now this is the way it should be done–in PJs, bathrobe, coat, drinking tea and set up right outside my back door! I didn’t get cold!! I did try several lenses before I ended up with my fixed 300mm. These were the best of all the shots:

So there you have it. Planned or unplanned, I had fun!


Freedom: Sacramento Zoo

Eureka! I can finally handhold my camera and F/4 300mm lens. This is great because putting it on a monopod was difficult to carry around the zoo, which I love to visit. I was using the monopod because the weight from the sling was too much for my shoulder. So the grandma came up with an idea. I would carry my camera like I would a baby and keep most of the weight off my shoulder!

It worked. At a recent visit to the Sacramento Zoo, I was able to support the camera and lens without hurting my shoulder. I was also able to focus and keep the camera/lens steady. The only problem is the difficulty shooting a giraffe with the 300mm! So, I brought along my tiny point and shoot camera.

I’m finally free of the monopod. Here are some of my captured results.


Things are looking up: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and Gray Lodge, part 2

Hooray, the computer is working! Thank you Kevin!! This technical age has made us so dependent on our computers, phones, tablets. I could say that I remember when, but I won’t bore you. I’ll just say that my typewriter never crashed. It may have needed a ribbon change, or a key might stick–but never crashed.

I do love one digital necessity (at least to me) that has not crashed–my DSLR. I’m still learning, and with each outing I get better. Let’s finish up my trip with Laura to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. Laura is the best bird spotter. Without her I wouldn’t see the small birds.

After seeing three bald eagles and many hawks at SWR, we ventured to Gray Lodge. Tired from climbing up and down to and from Laura’s sun roof, I resolved to just shoot what I could get from the open window. Fortunately, there are more opportunities for landscapes at Gray Lodge. Again, there were many hawks, but the sun was going down and it was difficult to shoot them as they hid in the trees. Take a look!


2018? Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

A crashed computer is not the way to begin the new year. Neither is having to cancel two Toastmaster Club meetings because of illness! The computer crashed last week after a Microsoft Windows update, slowing down my ability to post this blog. Fortunately, a friend came over and fixed it.

The computer wasn’t the only thing sick. I belong to two Toastmaster Clubs and we had to cancel a meeting in each because of illness! So, I’m wondering just where 2018 is taking us. We’re also below normal rain fall. But, it’s supposed to rain this weekend and next.

We need the rain and more water brings more waterfowl to the wildlife areas. Laura and I went up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area recently and spotted three bald eagles, lots of hawks and other birds. We had a great day. In this post I’ll show you most of SWR and continue in my next post with the remainder and some of Gray Lodge.

It’s only midway through January, so thinks could get better. The computer could continue working and it may rain a lot through January and February.

Starting the new year off right: Bok Kai Temple; Sikh Temple

I should say this visit was the second start of the new year. The actual first outing was to capture the super moon on January 1. It didn’t go well. First my fixed F/4, 300 mm was way to long to capture anything but the moon, and I didn’t bring another lens! Then the moon came up between two trees. I got the moon sharp, but the tree branches were soft.

So, we’ll begin my year at the Bok Kai Temple in Marysville and the Sikh Temple in Yuba City. We started with the Bok Kai Temple. Our docent Ric Lim gave our group of about 6 photographers an amazing tour. The Chinese history in Marysville is rich and still continues today. The Temple is small, but we managed to take photos anyway. He also took us to the former school house which is now a museum.

Gold is what brought the Chinese to this area many generations ago and loyalty keeps some of the older Chinese in the community. Carrying on the legacy is important. Parades are still celebrated, the Temple is open for worship and occasionally the community is called upon to pray that Marysville does not flood.

After lunch, three of us wandered into Yuba City and found the Sikh Temple of Yuba City. I found a worker and asked if we could go in. “Sure,” he said. He helped us cover our heads after we took off our shoes. I also asked if we could shoot inside. “Sure, no problem,” he said. We did eventually get asked to leave. I think it was because we were getting too close to the alter. I’m sorry we didn’t arrange for a tour which would have given us a better understanding of what we were experiencing.

Be prepared–there’s a lot to look at! This may not have been my first outing of the new year, but it was great!



Leftovers: A look back at December 2017

Do you like leftovers? I do, but not when they tell that I haven’t been posting in this blog for a while. Or, maybe it’s that I’ve been out shooting and haven’t had the time to post. I think it’s a bit of the two.

In this blog post, I’ll show you some of my last visit to Mather Lake Regional Park in Sacramento County and Sly Park Recreation Area in Pollock Pines. Both tell a story of to expect the unexpected!

At Mather I did bring my 55 – 300 lens so I could capture the wildlife. During my last trip I brought my 18 – 140 lens thinking I’d be doing more landscape, but I found beautiful wildlife that I struggled with capturing. This time the sky turned dark and I still struggled but not as much. Next time, should I bring my F4/300 on a monopod?

The outing to Sly Park was to be a kayaking outing. While others kayaked, Karen B and I were going to walk the trails around the lake. We would then get together for a lunch of homemade clam chowder (Cup Of Noodles for me.) The unexpected was that the only person to bring a kayak was the organizer. So there were three of us. In the end, Karen and I shot around the dock and didn’t walk the trails. By lunch time, more people had joined us.

Will 2018 see us taking photo trips without the unexpected happening? I don’t think so. We should always be ready to be flexible on our photo outings. Sometimes the unexpected is fun and great photo opportunities. On to 2018. I’ve got some leftovers already!

A promise is a promise: Happy New Year

I always try to keep my promises. The operative word there is “try!” In my last post, I said that I would be going out to shoot Christmas lights when my friend Jean got her new camera, and I kept that promise. I was really dragging that night, and I’m so glad that my promise got me up and out. We had a lot of fun in the short time we were taking photos.

Our adventure took us to the Fab 40 area of Sacramento–an area of old beautiful homes. This neighborhood’s holiday effort didn’t compare to the residents of Dove Court in Orangevale; but with my fatigue and Jean’s knee, it was perfect. We walked the two blocks, shooting and talking with some residents. I saw two displays I liked and had fun zooming my lens.

Oh, Jean’s new camera is a tiny Panasonic mirrorless that does a lot. It made my Nikon D7100 look huge and feel heavy! I hope she finds a great deal of joy in using it.

Happy 2018 everyone. My wish if for you to have good health, prosperity and fun!