Lens-Artists 138: Natural Light

Awareness of natural light is essential in photography. Some photographers only go out when the light is optimum. I go out whenever I can and make the best of it! I’ve become good at reducing shadows and highlights in post. This week Amy wants us to show images taken at various times of the day.

Since I rarely get out for a sunrise, mid morning is the time you’ll find me out shooting. Here’s a picture of a painter doing a mural during Sacramento’s Wide Open Wall festival. The sun was in position to show his shadow on the ground and on the wall as he’s painting.

We’re getting slightly later in the morning. This blue heron is facing the sun which lights up his face and beak.

This building along the Sacramento River Walk is in bright sunlight and shadow.

The sunlight streaming through the foliage at Effie Yeaw Nature Center gives this tree expression and beauty. Moss grows where sunlight rarely hits.

And then there’s no sunlight. Folsom Prison looks especially formidable on a foggy day.

We are now approaching sunset time. This is when the light begins what will be a beautiful sunset.

And let’s not forget the darkness. We may not be capturing natural light, but manmade light can be fun and a challenge like this long exposure at Sunrise Mall’s small carnival.

Thank you Amy for this archival trip. It was fun.

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!

 

Getting the sun’s glow: Cosumnes River Preserve, Galt

You’ve got to love Laura’s enthusasim when it comes to photography. I do. So, on a recent weekend morning, about 8 a.m., when she suggested we go down to Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), a nature preserve of 46,000 acres, to catch the tail end of the morning’s golden hour, I scrambled. I always need that push to get up early, stay up late, etc. Laura gives me that push.

In my rush to get out, I left my backpack that contained, snacks, hiking shoes etc. at home. Another truth about me: I will shoot in Birkenstocks whenever I can because my feet don’t like to be confined (a bad arthritic toe). Luckily, we were walking on the dirt paths around CRP.

But we weren’t lucky enough to catch the last of the golden hour because there wasn’t any! Fog! This was the second time we caught the morning fog at CRP. The last time we were able to catch glistening spider webs on plants. That morning there were none. The rains had washed away the webs and the spiders hadn’t returned yet.

Because of the fog, I decided to use my Sigma 2.8, 17 – 70 mm lens; but, that meant I didn’t have the ability to catch the birds out in the distance. When the fog lifted, I switched to my Nikon 55 – 300 mm lens so I was able to catch a few birds.

In the end, we did get the sun’s glow and the moody fog. All in all, it was a fun morning.

Grandma’s turn: Coyote Pond Park, Lincoln, California

While the kids are away, grandma stays–with the grandkids. This weekend has been fun with the younger set of grandkids. I started early Friday morning and will go home tonight, Sunday. They are great kids and growing up fast. At 6 and 8 years, they are very self sufficient.

Yesterday, I told them that I’ve been a very good grandma and deserved a treat, which was to take my camera and shoot some pictures. So we went to Coyote Pond Park near their home. Actually, this is sort of a regular of theirs. Tucked in suburbia, the park has a small play area, a nice size pond where neighborhood kids can fish, and a nice paved walkway around the pond. I was surprised what a difference more water made for the park. We saw humming birds, an egret and a blue heron. Families were picnicking and kids were playing on the playground.

Because the walk was short, the kids enjoyed it, especially when they knew they would be able to play once it was over! My grandson spotted the hummer, and we watched as the blue heron was curious about what the egret was catching.

Take a look at this hidden treasure in Lincoln. Well, it was a treasure for grandma!

 

January, for the birds? Chasing wildlife

The wildlife areas were full with water, the weather was cool, but there were few birds. I went to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge twice, Grey Lodge Wildlife Area once and the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area once, and was amazed at the lack of birds.

I experienced this during the dry years when there was little water to be found in these areas, but we have water this year! Where did the birds go? To make matters worse, at all but one of these outings, we were in overcast skies and strong wind.

Yes, chasing birds was frustrating and difficult this year. The Yolo Bypass trip was a dismal effort. We went to get the first sunrise of the new year and ended up with nothing worthwhile. It was a dark morning.

Our first trip to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was also difficult. The wind was blowing so hard that the small birds had difficulty flying. I did manage to get this sequence of a Snowy Egret fishing and eating its catch.

 

 

During our second trip, a week later, I was able to photograph a Red Tail Hawk, rabbit and deer.

At Grey Lodge, we found a Bald Eagle, Blue Heron and a show off Great Egret.

So there went January–for the birds!

Going backwards: In search of Sandhill Cranes

We’re back in 2016. November to be exact. Laura and I went in search of Sandhill Cranes. I’ve tried to capture their images a few times before, but was never successful. Even though they are large birds, they stand in the middle of the fields so my 300 mm lens has a difficult time. After a couple of years, I was beginning to think it was personal–they didn’t like me!

The Sandhill Cranes are migratory and are only in the area a few months of each year. They come in November and are usually gone by February.

We went to the Consumnes River Preserve and the Staten Island wildlife area. It was our last stop in the Sacramento Delta at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve Shelter where I saw them standing near the fence. I yelled for Laura to stop. She said there was no place to pull over. I said I didn’t care! So there we were blocking one side of the road. Fortunately, there was no traffic either way, and we were able to shoot the Sandhills.

Victory is so sweet! I’m so glad I went back through my photos and realized I hadn’t posted on the Sandhills because they are worth looking at. Let’s just say, “Give them a backwards glance!”