I don’t enjoy getting colds. In fact, I resent how they keep me from doing what I want. But, the reality is I did get one and it’s kept me home for a few days. But, I did get out for a quick shoot at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery which you’ll see in another post. You just can’t keep a photographer down!
In this post, you’ll see the second half of our all-day outing to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. It was a fun day with Laura, ending with a yummy Italian dinner with fellow photographers. One thing about photographers, we like to eat. Maybe it’s all that fresh air!
A disclaimer before I show you the Gray Lodge images: I may have put some of the birds in the last post on SWR. Things sort of get blended, birds are birds, and my last excuse is that I’m very senior in age. You know–the memory thing!
Enjoy some of the wildlife and scenery from Gray Lodge.
A synchronized take off.
The beautiful marsh lands.
The golden hour.
Fortunately, this little guy was very still.
Pintails again. I wonder if the one on the right is a juvenile since the body coloring is a bit different.
Another pretty area.
My frustration has nothing to do with my outing to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Willows, California. It has everything to do with creating a calendar of my photos that I give as holiday gifts each year. It’s usually a joy to create this and would only take a couple of hours, resizing images and placing them in the calendar. This year it took about 5 hours and two calls to the Costco Photo website.
Apparently, they have a new website, and things don’t work the way they used to. My problem was that it kept warning me that my photos weren’t sized right. The two representatives gave me two different sizes. The last, the largest pixel count, only worked on the smaller images. So, my calendar is full of images three to six on a page.
I could go on, but it won’t help. Let’s concentrate on the wildlife refuge. I went with Laura for a full day of shooting. We started out at SWR and ended at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area for a sunset that did not disappoint.
I had my F/4, 300 mm lens attached to my D7100. It was a great day. We saw a deer that almost came up to the car, a juvenile bald eagle enjoying a meal, and the usual feathered wildlife.
SWR is a driving tour, and you can’t get out of the car. So quite a few times, this senior climbed up to the sunroof so I could shoot the birds on the driver’s side! Did you get that I’m a senior!
Anyway, take a look at what we found. And, next year I may not do a photo calendar. I don’t like frustration! I’m glad I have photography to calm me down.
I couldn’t find this beautiful duck in my bird book. Can anyone help?
Same with this one.
This might be a northern harrier.
They are so cute when they play.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron up close
A 3-point buck.
Crossing the pond and watching us.
He made it to land!
This looks like a Harrier. I usually can’t get them in flight.
The juvenile Bald Eagle
Going to get more to eat.
A Harrier Hawk.
And of course the Great Egret.
The turkey is ready so I’m taking a break. I’m getting wise in my old age: I’m doing the turkey and hosting; everyone else is bringing the rest of our Thanksgiving dinner. The everyone else is half our family. Today is the day that we pay attention to what we are thankful for in our lives. I’m thankful for my husband of 54 years, wonderful son, two daughters-in-law and my four amazing grandkids.
This year, I’m also thankful that I have a hobby that gives me brain exercise, physical exercise and wonderful friendships. Today’s images are from a day road trip to Napa Valley with Karen B. Don’t expect me to know the names of all the wineries we visited. The vines were yellowed and some were bare already. But, they were still beautiful.
We also visited the Veterans’ Home of California in Yountville. It’s nice that some of our aging veterans get to live in a place as beautiful as this campus, supported by the country they fought for–another thing to be thankful for.
It was a full day of shooting, driving, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Yes, I’m grateful for including photography in my life. For my followers who live outside the U.S., think about your gratitude list. After all we should live in gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving!
A beautiful building on the grounds of the Veteran’s Home.
There’s also a cemetery.
This monument says it all.
It was foggy.
There’s also a golf course.
Out to the wineries.
It was mostly cloudy. But, the colors look more rich.
Most of the wineries had beautiful stores for wine tasting.
An unusual building that I couldn’t resist taking a shot of.
There’s still some yellow left in this vineyard.
I love the twisted texture of the vines.
This winery had a castle facade.
Here’s Karen concentrating on a shot.
An egret came out from under a small shelter.
Here it is walking the grounds.
Another look at the castle.
This peacock was showing off.
Color, color everywhere.
Here I sit contemplating the 1 1/2 shoots I still have to edit. I’m thinking I enjoy shooting more than editing. I don’t even edit a whole lot, but I’m behind. Maybe it’s because the last two outings have been all-day road trips. You know how those camera clicks can add up!
Plus, I’ve started printing. My son wanted two of my images printed on canvas, size 32 x 48 inches. Now that’s a big number for me. I also learned that for the aspect ratio of my camera I should be printing out 8 x 12 prints instead of 8 x 10. And, then I learned how to export from Lightroom to support the pixel count necessary to print large prints.
To complicate my life, I’ve put my D7100 on back focus. After a slight learning curve, I think I like it. Now I have to get my D3100 on back focus also. It was fun on yesterday’s outing with one camera on back focus and the other not.
I thank my son and the Sierra Camera Club for pushing me to print out my images. The Club’s print competition has me gaining more knowledge in that area. I’m so glad I joined that group. I’m more charged up about photography, and more confident in my abilities.
So, maybe I’m behind because I’m learning so much–okay it’s a lame excuse! Enjoy a few shots from the small Mather Lake. I didn’t know what to expect, and brought a wide angle lens rather than a long telephoto. But I got beautiful landscapes and a few of the bird wildlife.
Fortunately I could get close enough to this blue heron so I could capture it with my 17 – 70 mm lens.
A close up.
He finally tired of being my model and flew away.
A swan with wings up.
A wide angle of the lake.
When we got there, there were no clouds.
I wasn’t the only one who thought this thistle was pretty. A bee was hovering too.
The reflections were great.
When we were leaving, the clouds were beautiful.
If this old table could talk, what stories it would tell!
A couple fishing.
The other half of the couple.
Yes, hens sometimes crow like roosters. My neighbor had one. So, I’m crowing because I’ve noticed vast improvement in my photographic skill level.
I happened to be looking back at the photos I took during our cross country trip in 2013, and I was amazed at how poor some of the images were. Some challenges had to do with composition, but most with processing. I knew little about each! But that’s how I learn–by doing.
In fact, that’s why I started this blog–to track my progress. My followers are great in motivating me and cheering me on. Thank you everyone. Looking back, the most significant tool for me was doing the 365. Having to shoot a photo a day for one entire year taught me many lessons.
While I’m bragging, Richard is looking into his wallet because I told him he had to take me on another cross country trip to retake some pictures. Well, he’s really not looking for cash; he just gave me a stare and said NO!
Now I’m printing some images and gaining more valuable information. Once I understand that, maybe I’ll tackle Photoshop. Digital photography is not easy to grasp if you don’t have a technical mind, which I don’t. I’ll continue to learn and share those experiences here.
One of my favorite places to practice is the UC Davis Arboretum, It’s not far, in Davis, and is great for macro, landscape and telephoto shots. Just choose what you want to concentrate on and bring that lens. This results in a great learning curve. This trip I shot with my 18 – 140 mm lens.
Here are some samples from that visit. I didn’t see any crows though, just a horse in their horse barn, but I’m still crowing.