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!

DSC_2040
Somehow I got this Jaguar. I’ve had a difficult time getting him with the long lens! Opportunity and timing!

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!

 

Beauty is close by: McKinley Park, Sacramento

I’ve heard of McKinley Park, but it took 14 years of living in the Sacramento area to visit it. Now I’m wondering why I waited so long. And, it’s funny what brought Marlene and I to visit it–I still can’t wear anything except Birkenstock sandals! Enclosed shoes still hurt the surgery area on my right foot. The park was an easy access walk. However, it had rained the day before and my feet still got wet from the grass.

There are two areas to visit in McKinley park: the rose garden and the pond. I loved the rose garden. Without a macro lens, I did close up shots of the colorful cast in the rose play. The pond offered beautiful scenery and a lot of ducks.

Best of all, McKinley park is relaxing and peaceful. See for yourself. It won’t take another 14 years for me to return.

A full day of beauty: The UC Davis Arboretum, the people

I love street photography, but I’d rather it was candid. I know that’s the more difficult way to go, but it tells a better story. Fortunately, it was a weekend and the people were out enjoying the weather and beauty of the UC Davis arboretum. There were families, students, runners, cyclists, and many more. I’ll tell you about each image in the gallery. If I have room, I’ll also put in some odds and ends that I either forgot or didn’t fit into my three categories.

Some street photography!

Photography is just ducky: The Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds, San Rafael California

Photography may be ducky, but most of the wildlife at the Las Gallinas Ponds were ducks! And to go that far, about 90 miles each way, to find mostly ducks wasn’t ducky! At least we found sun, and other things to shoot.

The ponds are next to a water treatment plant, so I was hoping for more wildlife than we saw. I looked at images posted by photographers who went there the day before, and it looked like there were more large birds. I’m thinking it may be the time of day also. We left Sacramento at 8 a.m. and got to the ponds about 10 a.m. But, we walked the trail, met other people and found good stuff to shoot.

I had difficulty shooting the larger birds (mostly gulls) in the air because I’m having a difficult time holding my 300 mm lens still. This is something new for me. I guess it’s back to the gym. I need more upper body strength.

So here are some images. Don’t worry, I won’t burden you with a whole lot of ducks! This will be a two-part post.

When Mother Nature makes shooting tough: Gray Lodge and Sacramento National Refuge Wildlife areas, part 2

In addition to Mother Nature, sometimes WordPress makes things tough. I think some of you may have received all the images for both parts of this post and some I didn’t intend to post. I truly don’t know how that happened. However, I don’t know that all of you did. So I’m going to do the last part of this blog post anyway.

We are still fogged in during the morning and early afternoons here in Sacramento, and photographing is still difficult. Difficult unless you want to shoot foggy images. But, we’re trying to shoot wildlife!

And, here’s some more (or once again) some wildlife!

Out and about with Goose: Dry Creek Falls and Gibson Ranch

Photographers are willing to go out and about whenever they can and they are willing to help.  “Goose” Simmons has been a big help to me. I recently went out during an evening with him and shot on manual until I realized my GPS was stolen. Then I went back to aperture priority.  I was too upset to think. I think I was so excited to be shooting with Goose that I forgot to lock my car. I won’t forget again!

Tonight, I’ll be learning how to shoot the Milky Way, and I hope I’ll be posting some great images for you soon. Meanwhile here are some (because I ended up with more than 20 shots I liked) shots from my outing with Goose.

 

Tuesday practice: I finally made friends with my tripod and more from Capay Valley

I made a promise. When I make a promise, I usually keep it–even if it is to myself. Yes, it’s Tuesday, camera practice day. Even though I didn’t go anywhere except for my back yard, I still made progress. I’m confident now with using the tripod. I went back to Action Camera and bought a remote shutter release that will bracket. The cordless remote would do single shots, but not bracket. And, I’m comfortable with using the remote.

In fact, I did take a lot of bracketed shots–of my rose tree and a bush. Don’t worry, you won’t have to look at them. Now on to learning what to do with the bracketed shots. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I’ll download some trial software and get ready for a little frustration.

So, with the first week of Tuesday practice done, I’m posting some more shots of Capay Valley.