Confession, I’m not a birder; but my friend Laura is. While I’m looking for the big picture, Laura is looking for smaller things–birds! We celebrated her birthday recently by going to the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area or affectionately known locally as the Yolo Bypass.
There are two parts to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, both dedicated to watching and shooting–one with a camera and the other, with a gun. We stayed on the auto tour route and away from the hunters. With Linda in the back seat and Laura and I in the front (She was driving.) we made our way around the wetlands that had very little water, but enough to attract some birds.
Laura, of course, was our spotter. She’s amazing and the reason I bought my very own bird book. I’m learning slowly and can name some; but I sometimes fall back on saying, “There’s a white thing!” Okay, I fall back on it a lot.
Well, I did say I wasn’t a birder! Next post will feature the second half of our birthday photography outing.
We arrived a little late, but did get some of the golden hour.
Birds and a Great Egret are feeding.
In this view you can see a working farm.
A Great Egret is front and center, and a couple of ring-billed gulls are in the background.
I wasn’t able to ID the main bird in this picture.
The remaining pictures are of the Great Blue Heron.
Okay, that was a sneaky way to get you to read this blog, but it’s true. Recently Marlene and I went to Negro Bar another popular spot along the American River.
This bar was quite different from Sailor Bar. You couldn’t walk along the shore line, but it had a small beach and a boat launch. Most noticed were the absence of birds. We knew our sunset would be wimpy and there would be no birds to dress it up.
And, there was much more activity at Negro Bar. Kayaks, paddle boards and small fishing boats came and went while we were waiting for the sun to set. I’m still trying to capture distance with an 18 – 140 mm lens. I think now that I’m more sure footed, I might go back to carrying two cameras so I could put a longer lens on my D3100. Also different was my using my new monopod and wearing tennis shoes. Both worked out fine!
I’m also feeling a shift in my photography. I’m seeing the picture better before I shoot. This could also be stated as, I’m seeing the possibilities and taking the opportunity to finish it in Lightroom. My framing and composition is also getting better.
I still have a way to go in processing. Working only with Lightroom is limiting, and once I learn Photoshop and other programs, I’ll be able to see more opportunities. I’m looking forward to doing that next year.
In the meantime, take a look at the second bar I’ve visited…along the American River!
The golden hour adds a beautiful color to everything.
Even a goose.
Looking out from the beach area.
The stairs up to the parking lot.
A paddle board ready for its rider.
The rider paddles out into the river.
A guy in a kayak is nearby, having just launched.
The paddle board is like a surf board. I’m sure his feet are cold.
A bridge eye’s view. Two in one.
A couple is coming back into the dock.
This woman came in on the blue kayak. I’m not sure who owns the yellow one.
I liked the way the bark is just falling off this log. Some logs had already lost their bark.
We walked away from the shore and along the path.
Two fishermen talking.
Here’s the paddle boarder again.
The setting sun. This was as spectacular as it got.
Sometimes you just have to ask. Let me explain. Greg, Linda and I were at Sailor Bar, a popular boat launch area on the American River in Sacramento County. We arrived late afternoon to shoot and catch the sunset. Greg, who enjoys meeting and talking with people, was talking with a man who offered Greg a free monopod. Not liking monopods, Greg graciously declined.
I thought, “That’s what I get for not being outgoing and striking up conversations!” They talked some more and again the question about the monopod came up. I then decided to act upon my need for one.
I walked over and said to the gentleman, “Did I hear you offer a free monopod? I could use one.” The guy was happy to go back to his house and bring it back to me. All it needed was a ball head and it was a Manfrotto. Great, I have a Manfrotto ball head on my extra tripod. This monopod, without ball head, is worth $200. What a gift! The sunset wasn’t much, but getting that monopod was something, and all I had to do was ask!
The river scene from the boat ramp.
More from the boat ramp.
Walking along the rocky shoreline.
This goose was thirsty.
He didn’t mind being photographed.
Grasses along the shoreline.
The river as seen from the shore.
It slowly goes behind the horizon.
Not a big display of color, but interesting clouds.
This evening about 3 hours ago, I wore a pair of tennis shoes for the first time in 10 1/2 weeks! And, just in time for the rain!! I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to wear a shoe other than Birkenstocks again. Foot surgery has certainly been a bummer and has had an effect on my photography.
First, I found a difference in my energy level. Second, I had to choose places to shoot that were flat and not rocky. And, third, squatting down was difficult. Now I’m hopeful.
With my problems and Greg’s new physical difficulties, we decided to take the River Walk path in West Sacramento. This is located directly across the Sacramento River from Old Sacramento, and I have wanted to shoot from that side for a long time. While the trail goes for a long way, the River Walk is short and easy to walk, even on the grass areas.
Our bonus for the day was Tuesday’s farmer’s market. It’s so much fun to shoot produce! We were also on hand to capture lunch time as the workers came to enjoy food from the catering truck and some of the food booths.
Next Tuesday, I’ll be wearing my shoes, but I’ll bring along Birkenstocks just in case. Hopefully the shoe will keep fitting and keep my feet in comfort.
A view of the I Street Bridge.
This goose was willing to pose for me.
This is the paddle wheel on the Delta King boat.
I just liked the shape of this tree.
The middle of the Tower Bridge seen through
A restaurant and buildings in Sacramento.
The Tower Bridge.
This building belongs to CalSTRS (The teachers union). You can also see the vendors in the Farmer’s Market.
Close up of a chain.
A light pole.
Want to buy some dried fruit?
This weird looking thing is a citrus plant. Sorry, I can’t remember its name.
How about some lettuce? I liked the light shinning on it.
I’m not saying I’m lazy, but…I do like to keep things close, especially when I’m driving. When we were leaving McKinley Park, Marlene suggested we go to the William B. Pond Recreation Area which was close to where we were going to eat lunch.
This park is named after the first Regional Parks Director, William B. Pond and is a man-made lake. We first went down the stairs to the viewing area. From there we saw the lake, ducks, and geese. The highlight for me was the standoff between two Mallards and their mates. We then walked along the river, shooting puddles and sights.
Before we left, we walked over the bridge for another vantage point and saw to cyclists each on what would be a low profile tricycle. You’ll see the image.
I still can’t believe that I had never been to these two beautiful areas that were so close. Sacramento has a lot to offer in recreation in addition to the American and Sacramento Rivers. It was a day of fun and we didn’t have to drive a distance to get there. Again, I’m not lazy; just practical!
Sacramento does have Fall Foliage.
On the bridge looking down on a fisherman.
Another beautiful capture. The clouds were awesome.
River view from the bridge.
Looking at the lake from the viewing area.
Look how calm the lake is to show a mirror reflection.
While we were walking along a path.
Here’s Marlene, her shadow and reflection.
The one on the left turned to leave. This took a few minutes. Ducks are stubborn. I’m wondering what it was all about!
I’ve heard of McKinley Park, but it took 14 years of living in the Sacramento area to visit it. Now I’m wondering why I waited so long. And, it’s funny what brought Marlene and I to visit it–I still can’t wear anything except Birkenstock sandals! Enclosed shoes still hurt the surgery area on my right foot. The park was an easy access walk. However, it had rained the day before and my feet still got wet from the grass.
There are two areas to visit in McKinley park: the rose garden and the pond. I loved the rose garden. Without a macro lens, I did close up shots of the colorful cast in the rose play. The pond offered beautiful scenery and a lot of ducks.
Best of all, McKinley park is relaxing and peaceful. See for yourself. It won’t take another 14 years for me to return.
We were so fortunate to be invited to tour the Woodland Opera House recently. In fact, the tour was given by the Board President and fellow photographer Karen Alexander. With me, Marlene and Rita in attendance, she began our tour with a history lesson.
Built in 1885, the opera house was the first of its kind to serve the Sacramento Valley. However in 1892 a fire destroyed the building which was rebuilt in 1895/1896, using materials from the original structure. The Opera House flourished until 1913 when, with declining ticket sales, the theater closed. It remained unused for almost 60 years. In 1971 it was purchased by the Yolo County Historical Society, declared a state historic park in 1976 and was deeded to the State of California in 1980. Restoration work continued, and the Opera House reopened in 1989.
Today it is a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. And, it is active, holding productions from September to June, running a summer youth theater camp and a Young People’s Theater Program that runs throughout the year. They also provide school day low cost ticket prices for students for current productions.
As we continued our tour, Karen explained how they tried to use original furniture and seating during the restoration. This resulted in a beautiful, small theater where there are no bad seats. Our backstage tour brought us down to the green room where actors gather when not on stage. Dressing rooms were located on either side of the large room. Karen also explained how the lighting and staging was done.
It was an amazing few hours. And, it was amazing how this opera house rose from the ashes twice–literately and figuratively. Take a look!
Yes, its been raining here in parched Northern California. And, we do want it to stay. Gem (my dog) and I got caught in it while we were out for our morning walk. He got slightly confused when I wouldn’t let him stop, sniff and pee. He doesn’t mind getting wet, but I do!
This post is dedicated to my friend and outing chauffeur Greg who was hospitalized last week. He’s so cagey that he hasn’t let the doctors diagnose his symptoms yet. However, he is feeling better and is back to his old sarcastic self. In fact, our Knights Landing trip was the last one he was able to attend. I’m glad he’s feeling and doing better. Either Marlene or I will be driving for a while, but we will still have him guide us in back road adventures.
In my last post, I promised to show you images of Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk and Marina. While the name sounds fancy, the place is not. This is a place to have good old fashioned fun. Mostly operating during the summer months, folks come here to eat, listen to music, camp and enjoy the company of good people. It’s also a photographers dream. Marlene and I shot handheld, but Greg shot his usual HDR on the tripod. I’m looking forward to seeing his pictures when he’s up to it.
Why is this place a photographers dream? It’s full of surprises: a small boat in a tree, a bus sawed in half with each painted, a grandstand decorated with outboard motors, and lots of small collectibles. Even though it was mid day and the stage was empty, I had fun, and the owner/manager was gracious and easy to talk with. And let it rain!
Yes, someone did mention that small town near the Sacramento River, and, of course, we had to go. We had no preconception regarding Knight’s Landing. Greg did say that there was really nothing there, but he took us anyway. He was almost correct–there was an old trestle foundation left from the old railroad days, and a quirky bar and grill.
Knight’s Landing is another census-designated place in Yolo County. Founded in 1843 by William Knight a doctor from Baltimore Maryland. it’s located on the Sacramento River in the northeastern portion of the county. In its early days it was a steamboat landing and point of communication between people east and west of the river.
Knights Landing was founded in 1843, by Dr. William Knight, a practicing physician from Baltimore, Maryland. On March 25, 1890, the Knight’s Landing branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed and ready for business, and later the completion of the bridge across the river added immensely to the prosperity of the town. Today empty tracks and the remnants of the railroad trestle on the river are the only reminders of this town’s glory days.
Leaving the beauty of the river behind, we went to Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk Marina. Well, it sounds fancy doesn’t it? It wasn’t, but it was fun. I understand that the joint jumps on the weekend with music and party goers. You’ll see what I mean when you look at the images.
We did stop in Woodland on our way home, but I’ll show you those in another post about the Woodland Opera House. Meanwhile visit Knights Landing through my camera lens. In my next post you can experience Stingrayz.