Happy Mother’s Day: Negro Bar, Folsom & The Nesting Tree, Lincoln

I hope all of you mothers have had a wonderful special day. I received texts and calls from family members. We also had a delicious and filling brunch with Greg and Jess and the grandkids. So here I sit ready to talk and show you where my photography passion has taken me now.

I now know that even if the outing doesn’t give you great weather, clouds or scenery, there’s always a picture worth taking and processing. Negro Bar, a State park in Folsom was sort of a disappointment since it was crowded with people and there wasn’t a promise of a great sunset. But I walked around and in the short time we were there shot these images, including visitors, people kayaking and the historic Rainbow Bridge:

My next visit was a surprise one and stretched the limits of my walk around lens, 18 – 140 mm. Marlene and I were scrapbooking at Betty Carol’s home. During a breat she took us to a special tree in Lincoln. I call the tree the Nesting Tree because of all the nests and variety of birds in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I really couldn’t capture anything good with the lens I had with me, so I went back the following Wednesday. This time I was ready with my F/4 300 mm prime lens! It’s amazing what you can see with a little extra reach. I found Great Egrets and Blue Herons. A few weeks later, I brought Laura to the tree. She caught even more with her 600 mm lens, and saw more species. Here’s what I captured:

So, when Jess asked me what I’ve been doing lately, I talked about photo outings. Yes, photography has become a good part of my life! Again, Happy Mother’s Day!

Finishing up 2018: Effie Yeaw and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge

Since our world is shrinking, most of you know about the government shut down partially in the United States. Let’s put politics aside and think about the people who are being used as pawns in this game. It’s even affected us photographers with some of our National Parks partially closed.

Being a National refuge, all services were gone at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows. It was, however, open for those who wanted to take the driving tour. Laura and I did just that, and we then drove over to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gridley.

Before that, my Camera Totin’ Tuesday went to visit Effie Yeaw in Carmichael. I wanted to photograph deer, but I didn’t see any. I know you’re beginning to be doubtful about deer in the Nature Center! Effie Yeaw is always a great place for a walk since it’s along the American River.

So here are some images from both outings. I’m hopeful that the next time I post, I’ll be able to say our government is open!

Just a little rest: Kauai, Day 2

It’s not easy to fly to your destination any more. You need to change planes, pull your carry on luggage through the airport and spend time in between flights. By the time you get to your destination, you’ve had it. So our plan of photographing some of the sites the day we arrived in Kauai didn’t happen.

To make up for it, we went from one end of the island to the other the next day. You’ve seen the pictures in my previous post. So we needed an easy going day. Add to that my and Marlene’s injuries, we were ready to not rush the morning. So, my two terrific guides suggested we visit the East shore and photograph Opaeka’s Falls, go on the Jungle Hike (Which was so muddy that we could only go part way before we were slipping.) and view Wailua Falls.

Marlene and Laura brought guide books and studied them. I basically brought myself! Now you know why they were the guides, and they did an outstanding job. It was a nice short day!

Take a look.

I’m using the new WordPress editor and think I should have added captions before I inserted the pictures! The sequence goes: Opaeka’a Falls, river across from it, goat wondering why we were on the Jungle Hike, strange tree and path on the hike, various flowers, ocean, handsome rooster (plenty of them on Kauai) and Wailua Falls. 


This and that: Sacramento Zoo, sunset and roses

December is almost gone and I haven’t posted! But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shooting. On Dec 1st., Laura, Marlene and I went to Kauai, Hawaii for a week. This was my first dedicated photography vacation. I’ll tell you all about it when I finish editing the images.

I had a cold before I left and have been busy since I’ve been back. So, this post is a catch up on an outing to the zoo, a West Sacramento sunset and my very own rose garden.

I wanted to visit the Sacramento Zoo to see Coconut the new snow leopard cub and the new meerkats. I was fortunate to see Coconut out with his mom, Misha. Dad, Blizzard was out on his own for a while. Coconut is a bit mischevious as are all kids, and mom takes it in stride.

The meerkats are much smaller than I expected. After all, I had only seen them in the Lion King! Also, they were behind glass which made it more difficult to photograph them.

I also went by the Red Panda enclosure, hoping to catch one of them awake and moving around. Well, one had an eye open!

From daytime to an evening sunset at the Deep Water Channel in West Sacramento. We were lucky enough to catch a decent sunset without going too far. The roses?? I have a small rose garden in my yard, and they were beautiful one morning.

Have a look!

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.

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.

Zoo at 140 mm: The Sacramento Zoo

For the past year, or more, I’ve used my F4/300 lens when going to the Sacramento Zoo. While it’s great for getting through cages and shooting the big cats, etc. up close, I’d have to stand a block away to get a whole giraffe in the shot. So, when Marlene, Linda and I went to the zoo recently, I decided to use my 18 – 140 mm lens. No close ups for me that day!

It was a great experience. I concentrated on the ducks, ducklings, and othe small animals that were not caged (just behind enclosures). It was a totally different zoo experience. My gear was lighter to carry, and I didn’t get as tired.

I’m not giving up on that great heavy F4/300 lens. It does a wonderful job at getting through the cages and showing the detail on the animals. Maybe when I get back to the gym, I’ll have the upper body strength to carry two cameras.

I hope you enjoy this zoo experience!

DSC_2040
Somehow I got this Jaguar. I’ve had a difficult time getting him with the long lens! Opportunity and timing!

The unfinished story: The Clydesdale parade, Fairfield

Right now my life is like an unfinished story. I jump from one activity to another without finishing the first. And so it is with the second part of my visit to the Anheuser-Busch facility in Fairfield, California to see the famous Clydesdale horse team in action. So many things got in the way of my posting this blog, including a two-day Toastmaster conference.

But here I am at the computer ready to show you images of these beautiful horses. I received conflicting information of the horses’ ages. I can tell you that when they can no longer participate in parades, they live on a ranch and enjoy the rest of their natural life.

Another fact that amazed me was the time it took to dress the horses (in their fancy harnesses) and hitch up the team. Once the eight horses were hitched, they did one horse at a time, April (the dalmatian) and the drivers got on board for the ride around the parking lot.

I came home with over 500 shots to go through because I finally decided to use continuous shutter speed. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wade through them, just a few select ones.

Comfort food needed: Sacramento Zoo & WPA Rock Garden

I’m still not moved. I’m still frustrated. I need comfort food. I went to the Sacramento Zoo. I love that place and haven’t been there since January. You never know what the animals will be doing.

One of the snow leopards was pacing in the enclosure, the mighty lions were asleep on top of their new platforms, the wood ducks were hiding, the new flamingo babies were finally placed with the grown ups, the orangutans were hiding, the wolf guenon exhibit and tiger exhibits were closed, the red river hog babies are almost full grown and the wallabies were finally letting me take good pictures. A gal can miss a lot in a few months!

Yes, the animals put me in a better mood, so did one young lady destined for stardom. I took her picture with her mom’s permission.

After the zoo, we went to shoot at the WPA Rock Garden for a few minutes. It was great to get out with my camera and away from the move.

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.