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!

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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.

 

2018? Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

A crashed computer is not the way to begin the new year. Neither is having to cancel two Toastmaster Club meetings because of illness! The computer crashed last week after a Microsoft Windows update, slowing down my ability to post this blog. Fortunately, a friend came over and fixed it.

The computer wasn’t the only thing sick. I belong to two Toastmaster Clubs and we had to cancel a meeting in each because of illness! So, I’m wondering just where 2018 is taking us. We’re also below normal rain fall. But, it’s supposed to rain this weekend and next.

We need the rain and more water brings more waterfowl to the wildlife areas. Laura and I went up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area recently and spotted three bald eagles, lots of hawks and other birds. We had a great day. In this post I’ll show you most of SWR and continue in my next post with the remainder and some of Gray Lodge.

It’s only midway through January, so thinks could get better. The computer could continue working and it may rain a lot through January and February.

Toastmasters teaches in many ways: Jepsen Prairie Preserve, Solano County, CA

Toastmasters changed my life, and I now call it the 12-step program for shy people. Because of this, it has been a passion of mine since 1989. Here’s a summary of my story: I started a business with a friend, needed to promote it, couldn’t stand up and give a 30-second commercial, went to Toastmasters, and within six months my friend and I were giving seminars at the chamber of commerce!

When I retired and started photography, another passion developed. So, I decided to combine my passions and started a specialty club that focused on photography. We are All About Photography, and everything we do pertains to photography. Little did I know that our District would ask us to be the official District 39 photographers. I soon learned how to use my flash and shoot events!

This past weekend, we were at the District 39 Spring Conference in Anderson, California, and I was amazed at how much at ease I was shooting the event. What a big difference from the first event!

Yes, Toastmasters has helped me in many ways and continues to enrich my life.

Now for Jepsen Prairie Preserve. Do you remember me lamenting about coming here and sneezing my way through the prairie? Well, here are the images from that visit. Looking back on the May 16 visit, I’m pretty sure it was allergy. While it did put a damper on the visit, I did get some nice photos. On the way home, Laura took me to shoot the Burrowing Owls in Davis, CA.

Have a look at the images, and if you want information on Toastmasters, a worldwide organization, contact me.

Sometimes the animals don’t cooperate: The Sacramento Zoo

They are just like kids—when they don’t want to do something, they won’t. I’m talking about the zoo animals. Remember, I warned you that since I’m a zoo member now, I would be going there more often. The Tuesday group went there recently, and the animals were not cooperative.

I could see the lion looking out the door of its interior enclosure, but she didn’t come out. The red panda stayed behind the bushes since it was busy eating. The snow leopard was too close to the front of her cage so the lens couldn’t get passed the bars and the orangutans were nowhere to be seen. I could go on and on. But you do take your chances when you visit the zoo.

However the pelicans put on a show when they tried to get a duck out of their swim spot. The gorillas were grooming each other, and an unusual duck walked by.

Through this, I’m learning a valuable lesson—patience! To get great animal pictures you have to watch and wait. I hope to apply this to all my shoots. I’m at the point where I want to take my photography from good to great and the zoo is a wonderful place to practice. I’m also hoping the new, used lens I just ordered will help me have that patience and see it pay off!

 

 

It’s all happening at the: Sacramento Zoo!

Getting to know you–at least getting to know the animals at the Sacramento Zoo. I and others from the Camera Totin’ Tuesday group bought zoo memberships. That means I’ll be practicing more and having more zoo fun throughout the year. And, you’ll be coming along with me.

We got there when they opened during this trip and the large animals were active. The lions and their three cubs (teenagers now) were going in and out of their enclosure. I didn’t get to see the leopard, but got a shot of the jaguar.

The giraffes are always a favorite. I need to spend more time there during my next visit. We tend to go to shoot the big cats and spend more time in front of their enclosures. I also had fun watching the orangutans and gorillas.

The birds were tough to shoot in their enclosures because my 300 mm wasn’t enough to make the cages disappear. And, always, the flamingos are so beautiful.

Enough talk, here’s the first session of zoo animals from my year’s membership. I’ll be getting to know them better–by name!

 

There’s never enough of a good thing: UC Davis Arboretum

Its beauty changes with the season and its only about 1/2 hour away. After Laura, Linda and I left the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, we went on to the UC Davis Arboretum.

I’ve been there several times and have posted images. But, there’s always something new to be found whether it’s wildlife or plants. We go there to walk and shoot, but there’s more going on. From their website, here is what they have and offer to the general public:

The loop is 3.5 miles, and you’ll find people walking and riding bikes. Families enjoy the scenery, bring picnic lunches and you can find students studying during school. And, it changes with each season.

This trip, we caught the last of the Fall colors, a few birds and the crisp cool air. Take a look.

 

 

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