Before the heat hit: Sacramento Zoo

Early this month we decided to beat the heat and went to the Sacramento Zoo when it opened. To our surprise, it was pleasant weather wise. However, the animals were being ornery. I don’t know why they turn away when they see a camera! Many weren’t in their enclosures and the nocturnal animals were sleeping early.

The orangutans were playing and eating in their enclosure. Finally one decided to turn around.

Thank goodness it was bone day, and the lions and jaguars were still gnawing at their treats.

By now we should have a new baby giraffe. I guess as soon as it gets a little cooler I’ll get down their to see him/her. The docents are hoping for a girl because she would get to stay. If it’s a male then when he gets to a certain age, he’ll be sent to another zoo.

One of the alligators was active and swimming towards the platform we stood on. He doesn’t look too friendly.

Last we have the okapi. There was only one out that morning. They are an amazing looking animal.

You’ll notice there are no flamingo pictures this time. All the birds are inside because of the avian flu. They even drained the flamingos pool. I hope they are back when we visit next. They are fun to watch and photograph.

Our zoo is planning to move to Elk Grove, a city south of Sacramento but within Sacramento County. More acreage is needed for expansion and to house the current zoo animals. But, it’s not going to happen overnight. They say the zoo will move in stages. I wonder what that would mean for the visitors and animals. Change happens!

Lens-Artists Challenge #210: Picking favorites

When you have thousands of pictures, how do you pick just three? It’s difficult, but Sarah of Travel With Me has given us this challenge. I’ve taken it on and here are my three.

My first photo is of Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, in Canada. I like it because when I decided to try processing it in black and white, it took on a whole new dimension, almost like a sketch. I love black and white, so when I think an image has a tonal quality that may fit, I try it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but this time it did. I typically process black and whites in NIK Silver Efex. This won a prize in the Motherload Fair, Sonora.

Next is a macro that almost took first place in the In Focus competition. This means it made it to the final table. That doesn’t matter to me because I just like it for the color, seeing the hair on the leaf and the water drop that’s just hanging on. I process all my photos in Lightroom and may have brought this into NIK Color Efex. I just can’t remember. I’m sure I’ve posted this before in an LAPC post. This is truly one of my favorites.

My third image is definitely a recent favorite of mine. I love the flamingos at the Sacramento Zoo. I had already taken a few photos of them, looking for a “keeper.” I was thinking sometimes you’re just not in the right place at the right time. I was talking to a docent about the birds who were taking their naps and this one opened one eye and looked at me. I’m so glad it opened it again after I got my camera in position. This time I was in the right place at the right time! This was processed in Lightroom and Topaz sharpener AI. It did take “Picture of the Night” at the Sierra Camera Club general competition.

As I said, I have many more favorites. This was a difficult challenge Sarah, but worth the exercise. Thank you! Remember to use the Lens-Artist tag when you post your reply and link to Sarah’s original pose. Tracy’s Surreal challenge last week brought us many amazing photos to look at. I’ll be posting next week’s challenge, so be sure to check back.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge#205: The Eyes Have It

During a photography competition, the judge always looks into the subject’s eyes–whether human or animal. Are they sharp and have a catch light. This week, Tina challenges us to focus on the eyes of a subject. Eyes are doorways into the soul.

I managed to find some images in my archives to show you. Let’s start with one I enjoy looking at. My friend and I were at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge driving the course. Towards the end, a bald eagle was in a branch right over the road. To get this picture, I climbed up through her car’s sunroof. Look at those eyes. What do you think he’s telling me?

Two more animals: The coyote is on the hunt. You can see that he is focused in his eyes. While the parrot, is just being colorful and beautiful.

Burrowing owls are very small, but their eyes are big in comparison. Is he flashing a do not disturb sign with those eyes?

I don’t capture enough candid portraits of people. Here are two that tell different stories. The first gentleman was sitting on a bridge bench. His glasses hide the despair in his eyes, but his body language speaks. The woman is taking a break at the Pirate Festival. Her eyes are narrowed and relaxed. To me she’s reflecting on a good day of fun.

Another of my favorites is this flamingo trying to sleep at the Sacramento Zoo. What is he trying to tell me as I snap his picture?

A dog’s eyes are a true reflection of what he/she is thinking. I think he/she wants attention. What do you think?

Eye focus equals communication. At Toastmasters we teach “eye contact.” Look directly into your audience’s eyes. You can tell immediately whether or not your message is reaching them.

Thank you Tina for this wonderful eye opening topic. Remember to link your reply to her post. Next week we begin our tradition of summer guest hosts during July. Next week Aletta Crouse of Now at Home will focus on Treasures. Be sure to look for her post.

During the remainder of July we have:

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to look for and check out their blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when I will host, “What’s Your Groove”.

Until then, have a safe and fun summer. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #189: Odds and Ends

This challenge is a challenge for me because I don’t typically keep photos that don’t make it into my blog posts. Maybe I’m too good of a housekeeper! But, I do have one, only because I did a post, forgetting that I hadn’t finished editing. So for Tina’s challenge this week, here is a macro image of an orchid from Green Acres Nursery.

And I did find this one of a flamingo’s rear that I don’t think made it into a Sacramento Zoo post. Let’s just call it “art!”

And here are some true odds and ends I did find in my archives. First the lumber jack from the LumberJacks restaurant and a metal chicken sculpture nearby. These were taken while out with my friend Marlene. We were looking for a metal horse sculpture. Never found it.

I must include these photos from 2020 just before the pandemic hit because I haven’t been able to get good photographs of almond blossom trees since. In 2021 we had a BIG wind storm before we were supposed to go out to photograph an orchard, and all the blossoms were blown off the trees. This year we were one week too late.

I’ll end with an iris from my garden. The plant bloomed one year in 2020 and never again!

Thanks Tina, from now on I’ll leave some Odds and Ends as I process.

Thank you all for participating in Karina’s (Murtagh’s Meadows) Special Places challenge last week. It was interesting to visit your special places. Next week Patti will host the 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/

The more I photograph, the behinder I get: Sacramento Zoo

I love Thursdays at the Sacramento Zoo because it’s bone day–the day they give the big cats bones to snack on. For a photographer, that means they are likely to be out and chomping. We went to the zoo on a Thursday in December 2021. We hadn’t been for a while and the animals didn’t disappoint us.

The Jaguar was enjoying his bone.

The lions weren’t as cooperative. I had to go back a couple of times to get a good photo of only the male.

The orangutans were out and playful, putting on a show.

The newest zoo addition is Chigüiro the Capybara–the biggest rodent in the world. He’s sort of cute for a rodent!

Did you know that the Okapi are related to the giraffe? You might think the zebra would be a better choice, but no. They are beautiful no matter who they are related to.

One of my favorites, the white pelican, was preening himself. He lives with the flamingos. He has only one wing, and will never leave the zoo. Fortunately, he was facing the right way for me to photograph him. He’s another of my favorites.

The flamingos weren’t doing much. At one point, they were all sleeping. I happened to be talking to a docent about the flamingos when I saw an opportunity to photograph one asleep with its feathers being blown by a slight breeze. As I was shooting, this particular one opened its eye as if to say “Can’t you see I’m asleep!” This image won picture of the night in the open category at the Sierra Camera Club. Patience prevails.

I’ve renewed my zoo membership, so there will be more visits and more blog posts about these animals.

A Favorite Place: Sacramento Zoo

I enjoy going to the Sacramento Zoo. I’ve gotten to know the animals and their habits. There are new animals, and I’ll introduce them later. There are successes and trials when photographing zoo animals.

I know I’ll not be able to capture a meercat with my camera because they just keep running, at a good speed, along the perimeter of their enclosure. Well all except the lookout who stands still and just keeps turning its head looking for danger. Plus it’s a glass enclosure and you need to photograph through children’s hand prints.

The flamingos are a favorite because they are beautiful and have fun personalities. Sometimes they fight and sometimes they show affection.

While we’re in the pond, there is one white pelican–another favorite of mine. This was the first time I saw him eating.

One of the new arrivals is the largest rodent in the world (says a docent)–a capybara.

The orangutan was not being cooperative, but I got a decent picture anyway. The zebras were doing their usual eating. The red river hog and kangaroo were also reluctant to have their pictures taken.

The lioness was posing beautifully while her mate was peaking out from under a bush.

The red panda was grooming itself before napping and I was able to catch it with eyes open before it rested it’s head. The mongoose lemur got back from it’s cage far enough for me to photograph through the wires.

The cheetahs were being exceptionally difficult. They did not want to sit still, turn and face the camera and stay the proper distance from the enclosure fence. I asked the keeper to talk to them, but I don’t think she did!

Sharing an enclosure is the Okapi and the Black Crowned Crane.

I’ve left the best for last–the giraffes. It was feed the giraffe time where guests could feed a patient giraffe some leaves.

The other giraffes had to fend for themselves.

I hope you enjoyed this zoo visit as much as I did. I’ve linked each animal with the area where their fact sheet is located for your reading pleasure!

Lens-Artists Challenge #137: Soft

When I hear the word “soft” in photography terms, right away my mind goes to a beautiful bokeh background. This week’s challenge from Ann Christine is on things soft. She gave many examples on how we can interpret this challenge, but I’ll stick with the pleasing muted backgrounds.

Flowers with a bokeh background was the first type of shooting I wanted to learn when I started photography.

But then I started thinking that animals can also have a bokeh background too.

Let’s see what else I can find.

There are some very small daffodils outside my front door. If it wasn’t so windy, I’d go out and shoot them for inclusion in this post. Thank you Ann Christine!

They’re open! The Sacramento Zoo

When you can’t have something, you realize how much you enjoyed it. Like when you’re on a diet! That’s when you want to eat all the fattening foods. When they shut down the zoo because of COVID 19, no one anticipated it would be so long before they could reopen. Actually no one realized the severity of this pandemic.

Our zoo is open again, but with many restrictions in place. In order to get into the zoo, you must get your ticket online. As members, Marlene and I decided to take advantage of the 2-day member trial. They asked members to do a run through on getting tickets online and coming at the appointed time. Since Marlene and I have single memberships, we had to go online separately to secure our spot. I first got a 11:30 a.m. slot; then Marlene got a 1 p.m. slot, so I went back and got a 1:30 p.m. time slot. I gave up the 11:30 a.m. ticket. Only a certain number of people were allowed in during each time slot.

Marlene entered at 1 p.m. and I called her when I got in. It worked out okay. We wore our masks (as suggested by zoo protocol) and enjoyed the lack of crowds. I was amazed that animals usually at sleep in the morning were active in the afternoon. For instance, I’ve never been able to see the red panda awake.

And the zebras were doing more than just eating. This one had an itch that needed scratching!

It was a nice cool morning with a slight wind. The flamingos were arguing and feathers were flying in the breeze.

The two black crowned cranes were showing off. They are beautiful.

And the orangutans were out. This one was where we could photograph him. Was he picking his nose??

The emus were sitting down.

And new to the zoo are alligators!

We had a fun couple of hours. That’s why I love this zoo. It’s small and easy to get through. I’m thinking that they are going to continue admitting guests to the zoo online through the life of the pandemic. Maybe they’ll come up with a way of admitting groups of a certain amount at the same time. That would make it easier for my camera group to get in!

A zoo morning: Sacramento Zoo

It wasn’t our first outing of 2020, but it was a great zoo morning. In my January 13 post, I told you that Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for our first outing of 2020, but I left my D7100 at my kid’s house. So we went on January 14 instead, and had a great time.

I left the F/4 300 mm lens at home and just carried my walk around 18 – 200 mm lens instead. It was lighter and much more manageable. To capture a group of flamingos, I didn’t have to stand a block away! Best, there were no school tours!

I’m still getting used to shooting through glass enclosures. It’s a challenges with reflections, but the animals come right up to you, hence no need for a prime 300 mm lens.

To add to my excitement, I was able to photograph one of the two jaguars. They are difficult to capture via the camera because when they are out, they are in constant motion, but this morning one stopped for a few seconds!

The lions were out enjoying their larger enclosure. The docents told us that once in the new estate, Kamu, the male lion, has been roaring more often. We heard him several times. Here are both our lions in their new habitat. Do you think Kamu is trying to tell me something?

Next are one of my favorites, the Wolfs Guenon. They are so cute.

And speaking of cute, we have the Meerkats!

Fairly new at the zoo are two males Okapi. These are normally solitary animals, but the zoo docents told us that these two have formed a friendship and visit over the fence.

And we also saw:

I’ll end this zoo visit with images of one of the snow leopards. I think this may be the male, Blizzard, but I’m not sure.