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.
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.
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.
He really didn’t lie; but when my dear photo buddy Richard promised us a flat trail with one or two hills, he under exaggerated. You see, Richard is an experienced hiker. We are not! The hills were a huge mountain for us. Now, am I exaggerating?
I do like to complain and Richard gives it right back. We, in our little Camera Totin’ Tuesday group, have a lot of fun. Through all the griping (I wasn’t the only one!), we had fun. After all, it’s the interaction of the group that makes a photo outing great.
We followed the Auburn Quarry Trail, part of the California State Park system, along the American River, and when we reached the top (as far as we were going to go), we were fortunate to come upon a few mountain climbers practicing. The sun was powerful that day in Auburn, so I had to deal with exposure issues. I shot mostly handheld HDR, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So I basically edited one of the three shots in Lightroom. In the end, I was satisfied. Take a look. No captions needed.
My October was busy with routine stuff and photo outings. However, these outings didn’t produce a super amount of images, well any that I would post here! But practice is great and I’m still learning. So I’m just going to separate them into outings.
Folsom Lake, late afternoon shoot. This outing was with our local camera store, Action Camera. They are great and are always willing to help.
The shoreline was rocky and expressive.
The clouds were beautiful.
Tire and bird tracks in the sand.
Davis Ranch: This was with my All About Photography Group. We went out to Davis Ranch, in Sloughhouse, where all sorts of produce is sold. They are known for their delicious corn. At this time of the year, they also have a corn maze, a pick your own strawberry patch and more. And, of course, pumpkins!
I think this is a corn stalk.
I liked this pumpkin!
Small gourds. Imagine this as a puzzle!
Jensen Botanical Gardens: Marlene and I visited this garden in Carmichael. It would be beautiful in the Spring, but during the Fall, not much was blooming. It was a great exercise in shooting what was there!
This butterfly posed.
I didn’t have my macro lens with me.
But my walk around did well.
I love shooting flowers.
Carnival Pictures: My Camera Totin’ Tuesdays group took the day off and did a night shoot at the Citrus HeightsSunrise Mall’s small carnival. This was a great way to practice slow shutter speed and zooming. I was amazed to see everyone’s pictures and what they concentrated on. Some didn’t zoom, some did street photography. But I enjoyed zooming. I also brought along my neighbor and friend, gave her my D3100 and showed her how to do slow shutter and zoom. She was amazing, especially since I didn’t give her too much direction! You’ll have to guess what some of these were because I don’t remember. But I did have fun!
Finishing up is not exactly correct since there is so much to see at Maple Rock Gardens in Newcastle. But, I’ll focus this post on the small touches and sculptures. If you missed the first post on this fantastic place, here’s a summary.
The garden is a private residence associated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. When you visit, you’ll walk from one themed garden into another. It also has acreage that supplies flowers to the nursery. It’s only open to the public twice a year and is available as an event venue for special occasion parties, like weddings, the rest of the time.
Look back at my last post to view the grounds, and now for the rest!
There were quite a few of these metal sculptures.
Taking a siesta in the garden.
An artist at work.
Another metal sculpture looks like a dinosaur egg hatching!
It’s some place you’d like to visit often, but this home and popular event venue is only open to the public twice a year. Other times, you need to be at a wedding or some other event to see the beautiful gardens. I’ll admit that at the end of summer, the flowers aren’t blooming and the lavender fields are hiding, but the property is beautiful just the same.
Maple Rock Gardens is a private estate, in Newcastle, and is affiliated with High Hand Nursery in Loomis. Its 30-acres is host to one of the largest garden railroads in Northern California. There are themed gardens, like a Japanese Tea Garden, and a 4-acre farm that supplies flowers to the High Hand Nursery. We spent almost 2 hours walking from one garden into another.
Each garden was decorated with sculptures, plants, small water falls and more. The easiest way to describe it is to show you. I did take a lot of pictures, so this will be a two-part post. Oh, you’ll also notice that I am now using a logo rather than a copyright symbol. Since I’ve made a little money with my photography, doing some real estate shoots, I decided to be more professional.
So, come along with me and visit Maple Rock Gardens.
They were selling sunflowers.
Fixing a train.
One of the trains.
Carrying special cargo.
The land is on a hillside with meandering paths.
One of the water falls. There is so much stuff at each area, it was sometimes difficult to shoot one area. I had to crop in close for this.
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.
I mostly used my 18 -140 mm lens since we were able to get so close.
Growing up, I heard those words, “Never Forget,” but they were talking about the Holocaust where 8 million Jews were slaughtered. We are still remembering today as most of our survivors are dying.
Now in the United States, we have another reason to “Never Forget.” On September 11, 2001 we were attacked by terrorists using commercial airplanes as weapons. I remember listening to my radio as I drove to a networking meeting that morning; It was unreal. During the meeting, we were all stunned. Later, millions watched videos on TV as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down. Another plane would crash into the western side of the Pentagon. Then came the word about the brave souls of Flight 93, crashing their plane in a Pennyslvania field before it could hit another building.
On September 11, 2018, my photo buddies and I, went to the West Sacramento Memorial Flag Tribute. This is put up each year to pay tribute to the lives lost through the attacks and the first-responders who tried to find survivors. We went specifically to capture the scene during the golden hour, and it didn’t disappoint. The sun lighting up the flags made the memorial more significant. The tribute was set up beautifully.
I remember that day in 2001, and the days after, when the world mourned with the U.S. and patriotism rose. We came together as a nation. No, we will Never Forget.
The Tribute is set up in a vacant lot.
Flags, large and small, are carefully placed.
This figure is to honor the first-responders who gave their lives.
Fortunately there was wind that evening!
The sun going down behind the flag.
I liked the way the flags fluttered in the wind.
This guy played the harmonica while we were there.
This flag listed all the first-responders who died.
This flag listed all who lost their lives in the Towers.
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!
I think this is one of the young flamingos. His feathers aren’t so orange.
I’ve never been able to get this type of shot.
Okay, this is typical. I just couldn’t resist it.
This Comb Duck is resting.
Up and at it.
I think this is a young Wood Duck or a female.
This duckling is so cute!
I call this one Blue Eyes. I’ve never been able to get through his enclosure without showing the fence.
I thought I was over the 2-week cold, but I guess I wasn’t. I’m in my fourth week of it and not feeling really well. Can I continue to complain a bit? The worse part of it is the fog brain that keeps me from posting, etc. I didn’t even realize that I haven’t posted in a long while. Okay, that’s enough complaining.
I’ve been on a few shoots since my trip to San Francisco, and I’ll try to post about two of them here. My Tuesday group visited The Fountains Shopping Center again. It’s always a challenge to come up with something different at a place you’ve photographed many times. So here’s what I came up with:
Another visit was to downtown Sacramento and the third year of the Wide Open Walls Festival. This time we shot on the second and last days of the week’s artistry. On the second day, we found only one artist at work. On the last day, we were treated to two amazing murals: Johnny Cash and Monkeys (which was three-dimensional with metal parts and paint). Here’s some of what we saw:
While shooting our first set of murals, we stopped by William Land Park in Sacramento to photograph the lotus pond:
And, of course, I do enjoy shooting buildings:
That’s it for now. Have to rest. I do hope this cold is over before my next post!