Completing a life cycle: The Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Gold River

I’m still amazed by my recent visit to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Salmon work hard to complete their journey and spawn. The hatchery plays an important role in insuring the salmon life cycle.

Here’s what Wikipedia says: From November through March river water flows down the fish ladder to encourage fish to enter and climb the steps to the hatchery. The gate at the foot of the ladder is closed when the holding pool at the top is full in order to prevent overcrowding. Ripe (ready to spawn) fish are brought from this holding pool into the hatchery spawning deck, where workers collect eggs from the females and milt from the males. Fertilized eggs are placed in hatching jars, with river water upwelling from the bottom to simulate natural conditions. When the eggs are ready to hatch the jars are tipped into large tubs where the baby fish (alevin) will remain while they absorb their yolk sacs and become free-swimming. They are then moved outside to raceway pools where they are feed multiple times a day and grow rapidly. Once the fish are ready to begin their outmigration to the ocean, at 60 fish to the pound for salmon and 4 fish to the pound for steelhead trout, they are loaded into tanker trucks and transported to the river for release. From here they make their way downstream and eventually journey out to sea.[7]

The salmon work hard, jumping to get out of the holding tank. Taking their picture was also difficult. At first I tried to follow a possible jumper. That didn’t work. Then I tried zone focusing, which worked better. I was shooting at a shutter speed of 1/160, but still some of the fish were not in focus. My other problem was a slow reaction time. Sometimes I didn’t push the shutter down fast enough. They jump so fast, water splashing all over the place, and some jumping around the one I had in sight. I did get enough though.

My lesson for the day: patience. I just stood there, camera aimed and waited. I know, that’s not me, but I did it!

At certain intervals, the salmon are pushed into the building where their eggs are collected. I was about to shoot the last fish being gutted when a worker stepped in front of my camera. All I have is a shot of them cleaning the table.

We were fortunate enough to have a Ranger show us a female that still had some eggs in her.

So, take a look at my adventure.

Hey, you said this trail was flat! Auburn Quarry Trail, Auburn, California

He really didn’t lie; but when my dear photo buddy Richard promised us a flat trail with one or two hills, he under exaggerated.  You see, Richard is an experienced hiker. We are not! The hills were a huge mountain for us. Now, am I exaggerating?

I do like to complain and Richard gives it right back. We, in our little Camera Totin’ Tuesday group, have a lot of fun. Through all the griping (I wasn’t the only one!), we had fun. After all, it’s the interaction of the group that makes a photo outing great.

We followed the Auburn Quarry Trail, part of the California State Park system, along the American River, and when we reached the top (as far as we were going to go), we were fortunate to come upon a few mountain climbers practicing. The sun was powerful that day in Auburn, so I had to deal with exposure issues. I shot mostly handheld HDR, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So I basically edited one of the three shots in Lightroom. In the end, I was satisfied. Take a look. No captions needed.

So what have you been doing? Wrapping up October

My October was busy with routine stuff and photo outings. However, these outings didn’t produce a super amount of images, well any that I would post here! But practice is great and I’m still learning. So I’m just going to separate them into outings.

Folsom Lake, late afternoon shoot. This outing was with our local camera store, Action Camera. They are great and are always willing to help.

Davis Ranch: This was with my All About Photography Group. We went out to Davis Ranch, in Sloughhouse, where all sorts of produce is sold. They are known for their delicious corn. At this time of the year, they also have a corn maze, a pick your own strawberry patch and more. And, of course, pumpkins!

Jensen Botanical Gardens: Marlene and I visited this garden in Carmichael. It would be beautiful in the Spring, but during the Fall, not much was blooming. It was a great exercise in shooting what was there!

Carnival Pictures: My Camera Totin’ Tuesdays group took the day off and did a night shoot at the Citrus Heights Sunrise Mall’s small carnival. This was a great way to practice slow shutter speed and zooming. I was amazed to see everyone’s pictures and what they concentrated on. Some didn’t zoom, some did street photography. But I enjoyed zooming. I also brought along my neighbor and friend, gave her my D3100 and showed her how to do slow shutter and zoom. She was amazing, especially since I didn’t give her too much direction! You’ll have to guess what some of these were because I don’t remember. But I did have fun!

 

 

Searching for fall colors: Markleeville

It seems that with each season Sacramento photographers rush to photograph the Milky Way, wildlife including the Sandhill Crane, snow and Fall colors. I’m no exception which is why my Camera Totin Tuesday group treked up to Markleeville, Alpine County, to capture delightful images.

There were five of us, and we squeezed into one car. Fortunately Marlene drove and her Suby Blue accomodated us easily. It’s a 2-hour ride up to the colorful aspens. Thank you Marlene for driving us. We stopped along the way to photograph the changing colors and had lunch in Markleeville. After lunch and taking pictures of the small town, population of 210 in the last census, we continued looking for color.

While editing the pictures of this outing, I tried to get out of my comfort zone with some creative help from Nik software. I’ve been liking the soft look lately and wanted to do some of my own. So, here’s the California colors of Fall.

 

An apple a day: Apple Hill, Placerville

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it keeps people coming to Apple Hill in Placerville, El Dorado County each year. Everything is “apple” in this area where member growers show and sell their pies, apple fritters, apple doughnuts, etc. The months of October and November are so busy that crafters and more also show their wares.

This was my 4th trip to Apple Hill, so I decided to photograph different things. If you follow this blog, then you know I enjoy shooting close ups, lines and patterns, people, flowers and rust. So, that’s what I’m showing you today.

First close ups and rust.

Now flowers:

Now lines and patterns:

Now people:

Some leftovers:

Go again next year? Water Lantern Festival, Folsom Lake

I saw the picture of the activity and thought, “I’d like to do that too.” The water lanterns glowed in the dark while their reflections glowed in the water. That’s what drew me into going to the Water Lantern Festival at Folsom Lake in Folsom.

Now, I do understand about expectations and how the environment can change our ability to get perfect shots. What I don’t understand is how an event of this size can be so mismanaged!

Arriving was easy. Photo buddy Ray and I got there about 5 p.m. (gates opened at 3 p.m.), parked in the second parking lot and immediately jumped onto a shuttle. This was easy. I was able to carry my camera bag, tripod, backpack, chair and dinner. We checked in and walked down to the beach, agreeing that getting right near the water was necessary for good photos. I took note, however, that the bathrooms were up at the top and the lake was down, leaving more beach to walk through.

We knew that getting that picture perfect photo wasn’t possible (didn’t keep me from trying) because of the wind blowing that day. So, we took pictures of our surroundings: families, kids playing in the water, anything that amused us. Of course, in the evening, I made the trek up to the bathrooms; I didn’t want to do that in the dark. We also got our lanterns ready for launching.

I think they started the kids games too late, because at dusk, they were still playing them and saying that the official launch would be soon. People being people started coming down to the beach to launch their lanterns before the official launch. Ray and I started shooting, hoping to get whatever we could. Slow shutter speed and a moving target just don’t do well together. It was difficult to get a single shot since the breeze had turned into a wind. Ray suggested I put the camera on “auto,” which I tried, but didn’t necessarily like. We did the best we could and decided to make the trek up the hill to where we could get the shuttle back to our parking lot.

Here’s where the worst began. We got there just as the shuttle left. It was about 45 minutes until it got back (Remember I was carrying my camer bag, backpack, tripod and chair.) with a load of people. I asked one woman where she came from. She said the parking lot. It took them 2 hours to get from the front entrance to the destination. We climbed aboard the bus which took us about 30 minutes to get to the very close parking lot because of cars leaving and taking up both lanes.

Once back to our car, another 30 minutes or more (I stopped looking at the time by then.) until we got to the entrance. So, would I go again? I don’t think so. One enjoyment from the evening are our photos!

 

Finishing up: Maple Rock Gardens, part 2

Finishing up is not exactly correct since there is so much to see at Maple Rock Gardens in Newcastle. But, I’ll focus this post on the small touches and sculptures. If you missed the first post on this fantastic place, here’s a summary.

The garden is a private residence associated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. When you visit, you’ll walk from one themed garden into another. It also has acreage that supplies flowers to the nursery. It’s only open to the public twice a year and is available as an event venue for special occasion parties, like weddings, the rest of the time.

Look back at my last post to view the grounds, and now for the rest!

Only twice a year: Maple Rock Gardens, Newcastle

It’s some place you’d like to visit often, but this home and popular event venue is only open to the public twice a year. Other times, you need to be at a wedding or some other event to see the beautiful gardens. I’ll admit that at the end of summer, the flowers aren’t blooming and the lavender fields are hiding, but the property is beautiful just the same.

Maple Rock Gardens is a private estate, in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. Its 30-acres is host to one of the largest garden railroads in Northern California. There are themed gardens, like a Japanese Tea Garden, and a 4-acre farm that supplies flowers to the High Hand Nursery. We spent almost 2 hours walking from one garden into another.

Each garden was decorated with sculptures, plants, small water falls and more. The easiest way to describe it is to show you. I did take a lot of pictures, so this will be a two-part post. Oh, you’ll also notice that I am now using a logo rather than a copyright symbol. Since I’ve made a little money with my photography, doing some real estate shoots, I decided to be more professional.

So, come along with me and visit Maple Rock Gardens.

Wild but gentle: Searching for wild horses

You know, one person photographs something, then everyone is after the same thing. And, of course, I’m no different. A few photographers recently went on a tour to photograph wild horses in Nevada. Their photos were great and spurred Me, Laura and Marlene on to find a herd.

We did, just outside Reno, Nevada. The other photographers found their group near Minden, Nevada. Laura knew of a herd near Reno and had their approximate position. When we got there, civilization had encroached on their territory, but they were still there. We drove through a housing complex, found the gate, drove beyond the gate and there they were! That easy!!

I couldn’t believe how used to people these Mustangs were. One came up to me straight on. I had to tell him I didn’t have anything for them. I did see someone feed them some carrots before he left the area.

It was amazing. These horses live just outside a residential area with a small stream as their water supply. They were grazing on whatever they could find on the ground. At one point, I saw a bunch galloping down the hillside. I yelled galloping and ran to the spot. Laura turned around and got some excellent shots. Mine are not so good, just a little soft, but I’ll show you one anyway. I was having a difficult time handholding the heavy F/4 300mm lens. Next time I’ll bring a monopod like Marlene did!

I want to find more wild herds. And, maybe my post will spur other photographers on to find herds to photograph.

Never forget: 9/11 Flag Tribute, West Sacramento

Growing up, I heard those words, “Never Forget,” but they were talking about the Holocaust where 8 million Jews were slaughtered. We are still remembering today as most of our survivors are dying.

Now in the United States, we have another reason to “Never Forget.” On September 11, 2001 we were attacked by terrorists using commercial airplanes as weapons. I remember listening to my radio as I drove to a networking meeting that morning; It was unreal. During the meeting, we were all stunned. Later, millions watched videos on TV as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down. Another plane would crash into the western side of the Pentagon. Then came the word about the brave souls of Flight 93, crashing their plane in a Pennyslvania field before it could hit another building.

On September 11, 2018, my photo buddies and I, went to the West Sacramento Memorial Flag Tribute. This is put up each year to pay tribute to the lives lost through the attacks and the first-responders who tried to find survivors. We went specifically to capture the scene during the golden hour, and it didn’t disappoint. The sun lighting up the flags made the memorial more significant. The tribute was set up beautifully.

I remember that day in 2001, and the days after, when the world mourned with the U.S. and patriotism rose. We came together as a nation. No, we will Never Forget.