They’re open! The Sacramento Zoo

When you can’t have something, you realize how much you enjoyed it. Like when you’re on a diet! That’s when you want to eat all the fattening foods. When they shut down the zoo because of COVID 19, no one anticipated it would be so long before they could reopen. Actually no one realized the severity of this pandemic.

Our zoo is open again, but with many restrictions in place. In order to get into the zoo, you must get your ticket online. As members, Marlene and I decided to take advantage of the 2-day member trial. They asked members to do a run through on getting tickets online and coming at the appointed time. Since Marlene and I have single memberships, we had to go online separately to secure our spot. I first got a 11:30 a.m. slot; then Marlene got a 1 p.m. slot, so I went back and got a 1:30 p.m. time slot. I gave up the 11:30 a.m. ticket. Only a certain number of people were allowed in during each time slot.

Marlene entered at 1 p.m. and I called her when I got in. It worked out okay. We wore our masks (as suggested by zoo protocol) and enjoyed the lack of crowds. I was amazed that animals usually at sleep in the morning were active in the afternoon. For instance, I’ve never been able to see the red panda awake.

And the zebras were doing more than just eating. This one had an itch that needed scratching!

It was a nice cool morning with a slight wind. The flamingos were arguing and feathers were flying in the breeze.

The two black crowned cranes were showing off. They are beautiful.

And the orangutans were out. This one was where we could photograph him. Was he picking his nose??

The emus were sitting down.

And new to the zoo are alligators!

We had a fun couple of hours. That’s why I love this zoo. It’s small and easy to get through. I’m thinking that they are going to continue admitting guests to the zoo online through the life of the pandemic. Maybe they’ll come up with a way of admitting groups of a certain amount at the same time. That would make it easier for my camera group to get in!

Our new normal: My camera took me for a walk!

You know you’re addicted when your right index finger wants to press the shutter button and your left hand wants to steady the lens barrel. It was more than a week since our adventurous ride and I needed to get out and take some pictures.

So…. I my camera took me for a short walk around the neighborhood. The long 2-mile walks are reserved for dog walking. First, there are many front yard gardens with beautiful flowers. I made sure I didn’t go on property and just shot what I could from the road’s edge.

We have a lot of wild turkeys here, and the males are telling us it’s the season to show off. These two actually started to move when I lifted my camera, but stood still when I yelled at them not to move!

Last, are our current Canada goose family. These are the only geese to have goslings so far at our small lake. There will be more. And when there are, the dads will guard their families with fierce hissing and may actually run after you if they think you’re coming close to the goslings.

That was yesterday’s walk. My camera is calling me again. I think there’s more neighborhood and more pictures to take!

It’s a small world! The Sacramento Zoo

A lot has changed since my last post. There’s nothing like a pandemic to show how small our world has become. Here in the Sacramento, California area things have changed rapidly. Many businesses have closed, events were cancelled and schools announced closures through March! Oh, yes, the stores are totally out of toilet paper!

Our Federal Government did little at first, with our president saying the Coronavirus wasn’t anything to worry about. Now the action is hot and heavy. So here I am sitting for my grandkids this past week (and enjoying it) while their parents were on vacation. They their way home now. The kids will be out of school for at least 3 weeks so I expect my photography time will be curtailed. That’s okay, time to finally get started on learning Photoshop!

A few of us did take off on Tuesday to visit the Sacramento Zoo. Again! Yes, again!! First, I enjoy it, and, second, they have added a training session with the Lions. This is from the zoo’s website:

Watch animal keepers perform daily training sessions with the African lions at the mesh of their exhibit. This positive-reinforcement training is to encourage natural behaviors that allow the zookeepers to perform voluntary health checks on the lions and build trust. Please note that this is a voluntary training for the lions, and they may decide not to participate on some days.

The zoo is now closed until March 31st or longer because of the Coronavirus. I’m so glad we got there before they did. Here are pictures from the Lion Training.

Stay well everyone!

A zoo morning: Sacramento Zoo

It wasn’t our first outing of 2020, but it was a great zoo morning. In my January 13 post, I told you that Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for our first outing of 2020, but I left my D7100 at my kid’s house. So we went on January 14 instead, and had a great time.

I left the F/4 300 mm lens at home and just carried my walk around 18 – 200 mm lens instead. It was lighter and much more manageable. To capture a group of flamingos, I didn’t have to stand a block away! Best, there were no school tours!

I’m still getting used to shooting through glass enclosures. It’s a challenges with reflections, but the animals come right up to you, hence no need for a prime 300 mm lens.

To add to my excitement, I was able to photograph one of the two jaguars. They are difficult to capture via the camera because when they are out, they are in constant motion, but this morning one stopped for a few seconds!

The lions were out enjoying their larger enclosure. The docents told us that once in the new estate, Kamu, the male lion, has been roaring more often. We heard him several times. Here are both our lions in their new habitat. Do you think Kamu is trying to tell me something?

Next are one of my favorites, the Wolfs Guenon. They are so cute.

And speaking of cute, we have the Meerkats!

Fairly new at the zoo are two males Okapi. These are normally solitary animals, but the zoo docents told us that these two have formed a friendship and visit over the fence.

And we also saw:

I’ll end this zoo visit with images of one of the snow leopards. I think this may be the male, Blizzard, but I’m not sure.

Where we go for a local nature fix: Effie Yeaw Sacramento Nature Center

It’s a quick trip to see deer, coyotes, turkeys, hawks, and the river, so we go there often. It’s Effie Yeaw Sacramento Nature Center located in Carmichael along the American River. Actually, I’ve seen all of the above in my community, but we just have a creek, not a river!

But there’s something special about Effie Yeaw. I remember taking my younger grandkids there and while walking through the meadow, we passed a herd of deer, most of them bucks. Of course I was without camera! I find that my camera keeps me from enjoying the experience with the kids.

Recently I was there in October and November (this week). I usually see at least one deer, and if they are talented, they hide among the trees! Let’s look at my last two visits!

I love reflections!

The trees at Effie Yeaw are so expressive. And, in November we found some Fall color.

I did mention deer and coyote.

The pond is covered in some sort of algae right now. But, there are still ducks way back in the water.

Last, is the river. Last Saturday morning, it was beautiful with fog, and the sun periodically peaking through the moisture laden clouds.

I’m hoping that we have a wet winter so we’ll have green meadows and more deer coming out. I read in the newspaper that most of California is in a “low moisture” state. I’m hoping to show you a greener Effie Yeaw!

Speaking of time: Millertown Sheep Farm & Martha’s Gardens

It’s that time here in the US to change our clocks back to standard time from daylight savings time. That means we gain an hour tomorrow. Wow, that almost seems like a gift, but we did lose an hour to go on daylight savings time! Some people can adjust immediately, but it takes a few days for my body to deal with the time change. I’d rather stay on standard time all year round. California did vote to stay on daylight savings time all year, but we have to get Federal approval. But that doesn’t seem likely! I just adjusted all the clocks and will try to stay up an extra hour so I don’t wake up so early.

Speaking of time, learning Photoshop has become an almost necessity. The realtor I work with needed help with removing a sign from a photo she took and asked me for help. She assumed I could take it out of the photo. I had to tell her that I didn’t know how! I’m sure it’s easy, but I have to learn how to do it! Procrastination isn’t working any more! I will start my PS course tomorrow! I will start my PS course tomorrow! I will start my PS course tomorrow!

After all, I’ll be gaining an hour!

In this post you’ll visit two farms taking part in the Placer Grown Farm and Barn Tour. We chose to visit two farms. The first was Millertown Sheep Farm in Auburn. I was a little disappointed when upon arrival they had some goats in one pen and donkeys in another. I was expecting an actual tour of their facility. They also had a couple of food vendors. Oh, they had some sheep too.

If we were disappointed at Millertown, we were totally surprised by Martha’s Gardens in Newcastle.

After touring the gardens, we were back to the entrance.

In the end, we had a great time!

To the market we go: Folsom Farmers Market

Summer, it’s the season when local farmer’s markets abound, and I do enjoy taking pictures of the produce and people. But, you never know what you’ll find when you get there. The Folsom farmers market, in Folsom, was more representative of large growers than local. I asked several vendors where their farm was located, and they answered they were representing a large farm based elsewhere. Here are some produce images.

I was probably also not “in the mood!” I find that my attitude and health affect what and how I shoot. Whatever it was, I enjoyed taking photos of the dogs than the produce.

There were a couple of food trucks that I thought were interesting.

But, I truly enjoyed how the light fell on this flag.

So, maybe, it was a good morning shoot after all!

In one day: Lotus, a peacock, and a dog fashion show!

It was time for the beautiful Lotus flowers to make their appearance, but there were few and just a few lily buds in the nearby pond. We are wondering why! Maybe all the rain? Maybe the lack of a true spring season? But I’m thankful there were some to photograph at the Vedante Society of Sacramento’s lotus pond in Carmichael. It would be a shame to have missed them altogether.

But, there was an added attraction: a peacock strutting about to impress a peahen! This guy made sure his feathers were fanned out and ready to impress.

After the garden Marlene and I went to a doggy fashion show at Citrus Town Center, in Citrus Heights, sponsored by Ben’s Barketplace.

So there you have it. Which is your favorite?

A farm tour: Dr. Heather’s Goat Farm

It’s amazing how history repeats itself. Just a year ago, in June, my Chiropractor, Dr. Heather Rosenberg, Roseville Disc and Pain Center in Roseville, hosted an open house at her farm. I brought my young grandkids, Ryan and Olivia, and friend Linda. It was a fun morning visiting the animals, other guests and Dr. Heather’s family. We totally enjoyed the morning that was complete with samples of goat cheese and goat milk ice cream. You can re-visit that post here.

Now, back to the present, photo buddy and patient of Dr. Heather, Lucille suggested we take the photo group to visit the farm. Dr. Heather liked the idea and up to Auburn we went early one Saturday morning in May.

This was a different sort of visit. When we got there, Dr. Heather had just finished milking the goats and was cleaning out the machinery. We began by taking pictures of the goats in the barn. Trying to simplify her life, she sold her egg laying chickens. We were told to roam around and soon she would take us on a tour.

The tour consisted of a walk around the small lake, after which, we were free to roam with our cameras again. For me, this visit was totally different and more focused on photography. Are the pictures different? I think so. Take a look and let me know!

Wildlife? Mather Lake

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expected like our May outing to Mather Lake in Sacramento County. We expected the typical wildlife that we’re used to finding there, but we only found swans and fishermen! But, we’ve learned to make the best with what we get.

I was there with my Tuesday group, and we walked as far as we could around the lake. I was carrying my Nikon D7100 and my F/4, 300 mm lens. I do need to go back to using two cameras. I also need to get to the gym so I can do it! This left me sort of handicapped for landscape or wide focus shots. I made my Fitbit happy by taking some extra steps backing up to get a good compostion. While I like the results from my 300 prime lens, it is limiting,

Sometimes, when you’re not busy shooting, you experience the most outstanding interaction between birds. A swan was protecting his mate and his cygnets from a goose. The interchange was hilarous. Too bad I couldn’t catch it. My lens was too long and my reflexes too slow!

Take a look at what I saw that morning!