Betwixt and between: Yolo Bypass

We’re still not moved yet. I can’t say this is the worst move we ever made because the move to this house was equally traumatic. Moving is about the most emotional change you go through. There’s sadness about leaving a home you loved and happiness about building a life in another. Right now, I do feel betwixt and between. Richard and I talk about “home” and have to qualify which one!

In the meantime, I’m able to go on photo outings. This blog is about Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (also known as the Vic Fazio Wildlife Area). I was there a month ago, but each time is different. On this trip, the hunting area was open so Laura and I drove through it. We saw more wildlife than on the regular driving route. Maybe they knew they were safe at the time!

Right now, photography gets me away from a house that’s missing furniture, a house that’s being painted and floors being put in, and the stress of it all. I did pack my camera cases, but not my cameras and gear. Yes, for me photography is great therapy for the moving blues!

Here’s the latest from the Yolo Bypass. Again, my bird book is packed, so no captions!

Blog neglect: Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, Davis California

It takes a lot of time and effort to get a house ready to sell. If you’ve ever sold a home you know what I mean. We had pictures taken today and have a few days before the listing goes live, giving me the time to write this blog and go on a photo outing tomorrow.

Today’s post is on the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area–we locals call it the Yolo Bypass. This close-to-home wildlife area that covers 25 square miles and is home to nearly 200 species of birds. I’ve never seen 200 birds, but it’s close to home and usually we can spot a few species. Unlike other wildlife areas, we are allowed to get out of our cars to photograph the wildlife.

However, the last couple of times I’ve been there, the wind was blowing so hard that even the birds were having trouble. This recent outing was a challenge for me to hold a heavy camera and lens while bracing myself in the wind.

Still, it was fun and I’m looking forward to the break in the house selling effort to attend my Tuesday group’s outing to the Historic Old Sacramento City Cemetery. Marlene is spicing it up with a scavenger hunt.

We’re not moving far, just downsizing. When you’re in your mid 70s, it’s best to think ahead and buy a home without stairs, etc.!

This and that: Two Mandarin ducks and lunar eclipse

It’s not that the duck and lunar eclipse have anything in common–except for me and my camera. Oh, it could be the fact that one was planned and didn’t turn out well and the other wasn’t planned and turned out successful.

First the Mandarin ducks at Elk Grove Regional Park in Elk Grove. This was a planned outing for 9 a.m. By the time we got there and I drove around to the other side of the lake, the ducks needed to nap. It seems they like swimming in the fog! Those of our group who got there about a little earlier and parked in the right lot, got beautiful shots of them swimming.  I still got some of them napping and standing. And, I did get some fog shots. We get the Tule fog in Sacramento. I love the moodiness of fog.

These are some of the ducks and moody fog images:

For the lunar eclipse, I decided to sleep in if I could; but if I woke up in time, I would just shoot the triple lunar event from my backyard. I woke up at 3:45 a.m. (Darn my internal clock) and tried to go back to sleep. At 4:15 a.m., I got out of bed, gathered my camera gear, set up and opened my back door. Now this is the way it should be done–in PJs, bathrobe, coat, drinking tea and set up right outside my back door! I didn’t get cold!! I did try several lenses before I ended up with my fixed 300mm. These were the best of all the shots:

So there you have it. Planned or unplanned, I had fun!

 

Things are looking up: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and Gray Lodge, part 2

Hooray, the computer is working! Thank you Kevin!! This technical age has made us so dependent on our computers, phones, tablets. I could say that I remember when, but I won’t bore you. I’ll just say that my typewriter never crashed. It may have needed a ribbon change, or a key might stick–but never crashed.

I do love one digital necessity (at least to me) that has not crashed–my DSLR. I’m still learning, and with each outing I get better. Let’s finish up my trip with Laura to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. Laura is the best bird spotter. Without her I wouldn’t see the small birds.

After seeing three bald eagles and many hawks at SWR, we ventured to Gray Lodge. Tired from climbing up and down to and from Laura’s sun roof, I resolved to just shoot what I could get from the open window. Fortunately, there are more opportunities for landscapes at Gray Lodge. Again, there were many hawks, but the sun was going down and it was difficult to shoot them as they hid in the trees. Take a look!

 

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.

Leftovers: A look back at December 2017

Do you like leftovers? I do, but not when they tell that I haven’t been posting in this blog for a while. Or, maybe it’s that I’ve been out shooting and haven’t had the time to post. I think it’s a bit of the two.

In this blog post, I’ll show you some of my last visit to Mather Lake Regional Park in Sacramento County and Sly Park Recreation Area in Pollock Pines. Both tell a story of to expect the unexpected!

At Mather I did bring my 55 – 300 lens so I could capture the wildlife. During my last trip I brought my 18 – 140 lens thinking I’d be doing more landscape, but I found beautiful wildlife that I struggled with capturing. This time the sky turned dark and I still struggled but not as much. Next time, should I bring my F4/300 on a monopod?

The outing to Sly Park was to be a kayaking outing. While others kayaked, Karen B and I were going to walk the trails around the lake. We would then get together for a lunch of homemade clam chowder (Cup Of Noodles for me.) The unexpected was that the only person to bring a kayak was the organizer. So there were three of us. In the end, Karen and I shot around the dock and didn’t walk the trails. By lunch time, more people had joined us.

Will 2018 see us taking photo trips without the unexpected happening? I don’t think so. We should always be ready to be flexible on our photo outings. Sometimes the unexpected is fun and great photo opportunities. On to 2018. I’ve got some leftovers already!

The salmon are running: Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Gold River

I have never seen such determination. The Chinook Salmon have returned to spawn, but with most of their natural spawning areas lost by the creation of Folsom and Nimbus Dams, the California Department of Fish and Game created the Nimbus Fish Hatchery to mitigate the problem.

I’ve given you many links to read about this amazing fish hatchery, and I do hope you read more. To summarize, the salmon eggs are gathered at the hatchery, hatched and let loose down river when the fish are old enough. The cycle comes full circle when the mature salmon come to complete their life cycle, trying to find their spawning spot. They operate on such instinct that they are persistent as they jump the ladders.

It is an amazing site to see. Take a look!

 

Going after a big bird: Sandhill Cranes

It’s a yearly expedition–shooting the Sandhill Cranes. They are found in and around the Sacramento Delta. This trip, Laura and I started out at Consumnes River Preserve.  Right away, I learned another valuable lesson: have your camera ready before you leave home! I was going to put the big F/4, 300 mm lens on the D7100 once we got to Consumnes, but as soon as we got off the freeway we saw a flock of Sandhills near the fence. They usually like to be deep in the fields. By the time I got my camera ready–they were deep in the field.

I’m always learning lessons! For me, experience is the best teacher. I’m not crying over not having my camera ready for the best shot of the day. I did manage to get some good images as we went from preserve to preserve.

I was amazed at how many Sandhills there were this year. They were everywhere. In past years they were scarce. The drought may have contributed to that.

It was a fun day, chasing the big birds, finding other wildlife and shooting landscapes. Here are the results.

 

A cold a day, keeps the apple away: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

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.

 

 

Frustration: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

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.