Lens Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

Stop. Look. Listen. Doing those three things will help you discover the abundance of wildlife you have nearby. You have wildlife in your yard, nearby park, local pond or lake and just about anywhere around you. We often overlook opportunities to photograph these animals because we are so used to having them around us.

We live in a community with beautiful green belts, old oak trees, a creek and the wildlife that enjoys it. I walk my dog, Gem, every morning. He and I are used to seeing a variety of animals each morning. Sometimes we even catch the nocturnal skunks if we’re out early like at daybreak during the summer. I’ve picked him up three times when I’ve seen coyotes. Twice, I’ve seen deer looking around for something to munch on.

Beyond my complex, I’m fortunate to live near parks and nature centers where wildlife abounds.

Let’s start with the pond we have in the middle of our senior complex. It has fish for catch and release, turtles and the usual geese and ducks.

Oh, we must give special attention to our wild turkeys that seem to take over the place only to be daunted by the coyotes. I’ve only seen coyotes while walking my dog and I’m without a camera. You’ll note that the last group of turkeys is not that sharp. That’s because it was taken with my cell phone, which doesn’t have a great camera. I just wanted you to see how they congregate. These turkeys are protected so there’s no thinking of enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with them on the platter.

Moving a little beyond my community, about 15 minutes away (I gage in time not miles!), is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s right on the banks on the American River. It’s nature at its wildest. I’ve been there and seen deer carcasses that have been ravaged by vultures and other animals. On the brighter side, most of the time the deer know that humans are not their predators.

About the same distance, but in a different direction is the Gibson Ranch County Park. It has stables and a pond. On a recent visit, a family was feeding the squirrels. This one was a cutie. And I found a goose that was not a Canada goose.

Further down the interstate, about a total of 30 minutes away, is the Vic Fasio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. We find mostly birds when we go around the dirt route, and in this drought, they are even a rare sighting. Here are a great egret and blue heron I photographed during our last visit.

From squirrels to birds, wildlife is around us. What non-domestic animals live in your neighborhood or nearby? Do you have feeders to attract wild birds? Look through your archives or take a nature walk with your camera. Maybe some of those flowers have bees looking for nectar with which to make honey? Lizards, praying mantis or spiders may be lurking around the rocks. Oh, how about butterflies? Let us see your wildlife. Remember to link to this post and use the Lens-Artist tag.

I had fun and learned some new things while responding to Sophia’s Exposure challenge. I hope you did too. Next week I’m pleased to tell you that our guest host is Jude of Cornwall in Colors. Look for her challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens-Artists Challenge #191: Curves

While I don’t enjoy driving on curvy roads, I do like photographing these roads that meander and bring our vision into a photograph. This week Ann-Christine is asking us to post images of curves. I look for curves in most of my compositions.

I’ve chosen to sort through my 2020 archives. I love trees and the way the trunk bends, branches bend and leaves hang.

Effie Yeaw

At Mare Island I saw all types of curves.

Next we have three different types of curves: A different kind of cucumber, a sculpture wheel and a hillside of poppies that curves on the horizon.

Near Jackson, California

And a beautiful curvy road near Sugar Pine Reservoir.

My exception from 2020 images is this one taken recently at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. This museum’s architecture is amazing with curves and lines. You’ll be seeing more in coming posts.

There are curves, man made and nature made, all around us. Thank you Ann-Christine for helping us become aware of the softness around us. When you post your curves please link to Ann-Christine’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can find you in the reader. Amy will be presenting next week’s challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artist Challenge #185: Change

Every day, something changes–whether we want it to or not. In his challenge John asks us to think about change: “Maybe it’s the changes in your family over the years, the change of seasons in your favorite park, or even the change in the technology of your camera equipment. In short, what does “change” mean to you?”

I thought about it, and what came to my mind was how Sacramento has changed since I started photography. First are some of the things we lost.

The first blow to photographers was Daffodil Hill. This beautiful hillside of color and flowers closed last year because of too many visitors. It’s remote location caused the one road in and out to become jammed, and visitors were not staying on the designated paths. Daffodil Hill was owned by the McLaughlin family who planted and cared for their farm. This was their labor of love to be enjoyed by many.

Daffodil Hill

The next thing we lost was the annual Sacramento Music Festival. We worked on and enjoyed the festival for several years. I loved walking from venue to venue, listening to wonderful music. It discontinued because of money loss.

One change that was fought and won was Sacramento City Council’s decision to remove the flowers from the Sacramento Historic Cemetery. The decision was made because when the cemetery was first founded there were no flowers and they wanted to keep it true to its history! The public and the gardeners won. The team of gardeners is volunteer based, and thanks to them we continue to enjoy this amazing place.

Ever changing are the murals that brighten Sacramento each year through Wide Open Walls. We go downtown each year to see what new art adorns the city’s walls.

One of my favorites.

New to Sacramento, specifically Old Sacramento, is the Ferris Wheel along the waterfront. After fixing the wood walkways, the city wanted an attraction to bring families into the Old City.

Last, is a thing we want changed: the homeless. There have been many programs offered to help. Some have succeeded, some haven’t.

Asleep on a sidewalk/curb in Old Sacramento.

Among the venues we hope don’t change is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. This center along the American River is close to us and offers us the nearness to wildlife like deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, etc. I hope this center continues for years to come.

A buck at Effie Yeaw.

So, because change is inevitable, we need to embrace it and continue on. Isn’t it wonderful that we are able to capture things we enjoy on camera before they disappear!

Thank you John for giving us a reason to pause and reflect. Last week Amy helped us to remember our travels and what they have taught us; next week Sophia leads the challenge. Look for her post. Remember to link to her post and use the Lens-Artists tag in WordPress.

Lens Artists Challenge #163: Keep walking

Amy wants us to walk. I don’t have a choice! I walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles each morning–unless the weather doesn’t permit. I do this to keep Gem, my dog, happy. He leads the way, has his various routes around the community, knows the other dogs and knows the humans who have the treats! We have a small lake and there’s always something going on with the geese and ducks. Too bad I don’t bring my camera with me. This is his joy and my exercise. Okay, I enjoy it too. It helped me feel less alone during lockdown.

My joy, is walking with my camera. My photo group goes out once a week, and sometimes to our favorite places where we can walk, talk and take photographs. One of my favorites is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s on the American River and supports a great deal of wildlife. Here’s a few photos taken during a 2019 walk.

We also like to walk the Sacramento Zoo. The animals sometimes put on a show for us. Here again is a 2019 visit.

And how about the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery! We go there about once a year. It’s so peaceful to walk about, there is so much history to be found. One year they were going to take away the flowers, saying they weren’t there when the cemetery was first started, and they wanted to keep the cemetery original. Everyone protested and we won.

I’ll close with an image from an outing to the Folsom Farmers’ Market that moved me–our flag in glory.

So, how do I feel about these photo outings? I enjoy them and look forward to them as much as Gem does his morning walks. It’s good exercise and a good time with dear friends.

Oh deer look at the swans: Effie Yeaw & Mather Lake

Living in the Sacramento area offers two nearby places for photographers to capture nature: Effie Yeaw Nature Center and Mather Lake. Both are less than 1/2 hour from my home. One March morning Ray and I went to both places.

First, we met at Effie Yeaw along the American River. The deer are very accustomed to humans and let us get close enough for me to use my 55 – 200 mm lens easily. This morning, unfortunately, we didn’t see any bucks, but there were a lot of does grazing.

We also saw turkeys and a tree branch that looked like an animal with a long neck. Do you see it too? Maybe a dragon?

After walking the trails in the nature center, Ray and I met Richard at Mather Lake. I wanted to practice carrying and shooting with my Nikon d7100, the prime 300 mm lens and new short monopod Ray made for me. This is a small lake and popular fishing spot. I had to walk to the back of the lake before I found swans close enough for me to photograph. At least I was able to carry the equipment easily.

It was a lovely morning of camaraderie, practice and exercise.

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.

Hunting with a camera: Effie Yeaw

We were hunting deer when we went to Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael. The nature center is about 15 minutes away and is on the American River. It’s a beautiful natural wooded area surrounded by the river and a golf course. It’s rutting season for the deer and we were hoping to shoot some–with a camera!

While we didn’t see any males rutting, we did see a lot of deer that were close enough for me to get with my 55 – 200 mm lens. It was a great morning. When I complained that I was out lensed with my photo buddies’ 400 mm or more, one said that I shouldn’t complain since they were so close! But, I like to complain!

Here are some deer shots from that successful morning.

And Effie Yeaw never disappoints with its beautiful environment. We got there early enough to watch the last of the fog glisten in the sunlight.

Just a few more!

And finally some log art.

It was great fun hunting with my camera!

Lens Artists Challenge #124: Then and Now

We live in the now, and these days we think back to the then. This is Amy’s, “The World is a Book” challenge this week. What is the difference between then and now.

I think our spontaneity is gone. Are we in the purple, red, orange tier? How far would we be going? Would we need to car pool? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves before we deem it okay to do an activity. We used to be able to go out to dinner on the spur of the moment. Now we either take out or cook. Sometimes we can eat out if our location is in the right tier. Even then, we may have to eat outside!

So, Amy wants us to show the difference through our photography of our then and now. For me the big difference is that our photo outings have been with our photo pod and have been close to home. I decided to post images from November 2019 and November 2020.

In 2019 I managed to get to Apple Hill in Placerville, Napa Valley, Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael and William Land Park in Sacramento. Apple Hill and Napa were some distance from my home.

This year has been a little different with outings no more than 30 minutes from home. The longest drive was to Woodland. We also went to U.C. Davis Arboretum and Effie Yeaw. Tomorrow we will be going on another short trip to Lincoln to find some fall color.

Woodland Library

I’m looking forward to when we can just get up and go wherever we want. Maybe a 2-hour ride to the ocean! In the meantime:

Escape #4: Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Something familiar, comfortable and close by; that’s what I wanted for my first photo outing that didn’t involve a car ride. Yes, I had to drive to get to Effie Yeaw in Carmichael, but I loaded my camera on my sling and walked the Nature Center. And, I wasn’t alone. Marlene, Jean and Ray joined me. I guess I wasn’t the only one who needed to escape!

This time was very different. We each drove our own cars, wore our masks and kept a reasonable distance from each other. And worst of all, we didn’t follow our adventure with lunch!

Because I had a morning Toastmaster meeting, we met at Effie Yeaw at 10 a.m. It was too late to see the deer, but we did see a lot of people. Some wore masks, some stepped aside when they saw us walking the path and some just passed us on the path. I guess everyone has their own level of concern about this pandemic.

I find breathing with a face mask on difficult. There’s something about breathing your own air that affects my heart. I’m probably not getting enough oxygen. So, with that hindrance, I got tired sooner. But, it was all worthwhile.

Here are some flower images from that morning.

I love the trees at Effie Yeaw. They are so expressive.

And then there’s the American River.

And, let’s not forget about the other things that catch a photographer’s eye.

The last image was created with a Photoshop filter that distorts. It was a piece of green netting!

It was a great escape, but a little different. Maybe next week there will be another adventure!

 

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!