She calls it her “Birthday Celebration.” Harriet Baum is 20-years sober and considers her sober anniversary her rebirth. I was fortunate to be invited to this Birthday celebration on Sunday, January 19, 2014.
Before she made the decision to enter the 12-Step Program she describes her life as one of depression and terror. She was doing things that were not good for her body and couldn’t share her feelings with anyone. She felt alone and friendless. “I had a birthday party for myself and nobody came–not even my family,” she says.
Now life is wonderful for Harriet. “People love me, want to spend time with me. I’m hanging out with people who are not drinking alcohol or taking drugs. I finally have the life I’ve always wanted,” she says.
But, maintaining this happy life is not easy. It’s still a daily struggle for Harriet who goes daily to an Alcohol Anonymous meeting and talks with her sponsor. And, she’s helping others by sponsoring someone. “I’m still working on staying sober. I’m very blessed,” she says. “I’m back in college, working towards being a doctor. I’m a work in progress, and I’m not backsliding!”
Happy Birthday Harriet.
One way to get a bird to pose is to catch them while eating. We were almost finished with the auto tour at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge when my friend Sandy saw an eagle. I immediately stopped, backed up a little and started shooting. After my excitement waned a little, I noticed what the Bald Eagle was doing. He was dining on his dinner, a Coot (a fellow meetup member told me). Talk about being a sitting duck!
I watched and shot. The eagle even looked at me, but didn’t move from his task. It was simply amazing. I’m posting some images from the more than 100 I took.
Why do I insist on learning the hard way? I haven’t had, or taken, the time to fully learn the D7100 before I used it at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge on Friday. So, that meant I lost a couple of potentially good shots because I was trying the camera on different settings without truly knowing how to set them or get out of the setting. I’m also having trouble with the auto focus–way too sensitive. There’s probably a setting that will help, but!! And worse, I left the camera’s field guide at home.
Now, I’m going to make sure I prioritize time for the camera and me! In spite of that frustration, my friend Sandy and I had a wicked good day. I finally used my sling with both cameras, and it made shooting easier because I didn’t have to switch lenses. Most of all, the sling made carrying the cameras comfortable. It was worth the cost.
We got to the refuge about 2 p.m. and stayed until sundown. This was a Meetup originally scheduled by Dennis Ariza, Wildlife and Landscape group. Even though I couldn’t go on Saturday, Dennis allowed me to post my shots on the website. If you are local to the Bay Area and surrounding California communities and do photography, check out this Meet Up group. Dennis always has interesting places for us to go to.
One good thing about going out during the week is the quiet as you walk around. It was peaceful. By the time we got onto the auto tour, the sun was starting to set, and the marsh took on an orange glow. We saw one “fly up” by the snow geese, but I wasn’t too thrilled with my images as compared with last year’s. I’m beginning to get more picky. We ended the drive with a nice sunset that lit up the waters.
That was Friday and today is Sunday. I still haven’t picked up my manual, book or field guide for the D7100. I’ve got to set that priority. Today I’ll show you some images, excluding the eagle. Tomorrow more about the eagle. Suspense!
I must be setting my expectations a little too high when it comes to the Sand Hill Crane. After not being able to photograph them very well at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, yesterday I went to the Consumes River Preserve hoping to capture some images of the gray creatures.
When I read that there was a Visitor’s Center at Consumes, I was excited. I go there and be guided as to where the best viewing spot was. The Visitor’s Center consisted of two small billboard type signs and a pit toilet! Fortunately, there were bird watchers who helped guide me to where I could see the cranes.
Also, when I left home, the sun had come out and all was calm. I expected to have a great morning, relaxing and capturing the cranes with my camera. By the time I drove 30 minutes to the Preserve, the wind had picked up and was wreaking havoc in the marshes. Small birds were having a difficult time feeding, and even the large hawks were having trouble flying. The wind was harsh and cold. No one was hanging around, sitting and watching the wildlife.
So much for my expectations! It was windy, cold and the wildlife and my camera were struggling. It was difficult to focus as the camera kept correcting for the constantly moving marshland. I was able to capture images of the birds in flight, and have some of those shots to show you.
As you could guess, I didn’t stay very long. But, I did get some images of the cranes in flight and experienced the wetlands in not so friendly conditions. The ducks were huddled against little islands in the water, geese were staying on top of the islands and only large turkey vultures, geese and Sandhills were taking to flight.
Did I set my expectations too high? I guess I’ve learned that you can’t assume what nature will deliver. I might try again before the Sandhill Cranes leave the area.
Do you have a place where you live that you’ve been meaning to get to but never do? I’ve lived in the Sacramento, California area for 13 years now; I pass this big red sculpture on the I80 freeway all the time, but have never taken the time to see it up close. Yesterday I finally visited the Olympus Point Sculpture Park.
This sculpture by Aristides Demetrios is called “Cosmos,” and was dedicated to the Roseville, California community in 1990. I was between activities and brought my camera along with the intent to find the park and take images of the large red sculpture. I was disappointed and delighted. Disappointed because the area around the sculpture was not kept very, well and in some areas the sculpture needed re-painting. Delighted because it was fun to photograph from all angles. I started out with my 18 – 55 mm lens and then went back to the car to switch to my 10 – 20 mm lens.
There is a nature trail near the sculpture. I saw people coming and going, but I didn’t have time to investigate. Now when I pass the big, red sculpture while driving, I can have the satisfaction of having been there.
Some of us learn our lessons in a difficult way. I’m one of those people which is why I named this blog Slow Shutter Speed!
Yesterday, my friend Jean and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum. Fortunately we went at the golden hour before sunset because in winter the arboretum is stripped of its colorful beauty. However, the position of the sun and the still water, gave us beautiful shadows and reflections.
I brought along my two cameras and new sling. However, at the last minute, I decided not to hook on the D3100 and a telephoto lens. The last time I was at a photo shoot here, there were no birds–nothing really to shoot with a long lens. Mistake! Of course there were three birds and a hang glider!!
By the way, the sling was so comfortable; there was no need to switch it to the other shoulder. I’m also slow at learning the D7100. Things keep coming up, but the David Bush book I ordered should be coming today. He is so much easier to understand than the manual. I am becoming comfortable with the camera and the extra 1/2 pound weight doesn’t seem to bother me.
Now, back to the Arboretum which borders a creek. It’s an easy walk, and plants are along side the road. Even in winter, it’s a pleasant place to visit. In fact, we passed bicyclists, runners, dog walkers, drummers, and folks just conversing. I plan on visiting again in the spring, maybe in the early hours to catch the sunrise glow. Oh, yes, I’ll be carrying both cameras. By then I hope I’m a pro with the D7100.
Some of my images are in the gallery.
Did you ever have those days where what you did was governed by outside forces? Today, I wanted to go photograph the Sandhill Cranes–the very same cranes that have been eluding me. Well, they still are!
Here’s how the day went. With gift cards in hand, I went to Action Camera in Roseville on Friday. Now that I have two cameras, I needed a way to carry them on all-day photo meetups. I’m so glad I was using gift cards because the Yeti Slim that I bought was expensive, but durable and would hold my cameras safely. It was figuring out how the Yeti Slim worked and setting it up that closed the slim window of my being able to go to Galt and photograph the cranes.
But all wasn’t lost. I did go to nearby Dry Creek for practice with the D7100. By the time I left for my practice session it was 3:30 p.m., and a great time to shoot photos. I practiced using different exposures and close ups. The D7100 makes it easy to change the exposure, and now that I understand what the sub-command dial does, shooting on aperture priority is easy. I’m putting some of these in the gallery.
More important than the practice was my granddaughter Madison’s 19th birthday dinner. We celebrated late, her birthday was in December, because I was in Simi Valley at the time. She’s an amazing young lady and is beautiful inside and out. I don’t have too many images from the dinner to show you, but you’ll get to see all the grandkids.
Tomorrow, we are going to the U.C. Davis Arboretum. I went there with a group last year, and it is a beautiful experience. I just hope the day goes as planned!
I had big plans for our grandchildren–A New Year’s Eve party. Here’s what I was going to do: have a festive pizza dinner, bake the chocolate chip cookies, get out the hats and noise makers, watch last year’s festivities on the TV via the internet, blow the noise makers, have ice cream and cookies and, finally, put the little kids to bed at 7 p.m..
Here’s what happened: Madison couldn’t come because she was working, Christopher came (wicked wonderful), the little ones were staying for an overnight, we had our pizza, Richard and Christopher unsuccessfully tried to get the New Year’s Eve festivities on the large screen, Ryan finally learned how to blow the noise maker, Olivia couldn’t blow the noise maker and I was disappointed! Ryan and Olivia didn’t seem to mind though. I told Olivia that next year she’ll be able to blow enough air into the noise maker to make noise. She seemed okay with that. The little ones were in bed at 7 a.m.
I had a difficult time with the indoor lighting when I was taking the photographs. That’s something I’ll have to work on this year. Maybe if I had changed the white balance!!
That was the way 2013 ended, and we are ready to see what 2014 will bring. Hopefully 2014 will bring joy, health and prosperity. Happy New Year everyone.