Finishing up 2018: Effie Yeaw and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Gray Lodge

Since our world is shrinking, most of you know about the government shut down partially in the United States. Let’s put politics aside and think about the people who are being used as pawns in this game. It’s even affected us photographers with some of our National Parks partially closed.

Being a National refuge, all services were gone at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows. It was, however, open for those who wanted to take the driving tour. Laura and I did just that, and we then drove over to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gridley.

Before that, my Camera Totin’ Tuesday went to visit Effie Yeaw in Carmichael. I wanted to photograph deer, but I didn’t see any. I know you’re beginning to be doubtful about deer in the Nature Center! Effie Yeaw is always a great place for a walk since it’s along the American River.

So here are some images from both outings. I’m hopeful that the next time I post, I’ll be able to say our government is open!

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.

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.

 

 

 

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!

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

Sometimes photography can be a challenge, especially in fog and overcast skies with only a 300 mm lens! That’s what we were shooting in when we went up north to the wildlife areas to catch the birds in action. Not only was the weather bad, but there wasn’t much water and the bird population was way down.

Usually at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, you can see a few bald eagles. We didn’t see one! One photographer in the meetup did capture one and his image was great. I’m thinking that he was using a longer lens. It was very disappointing.

Further west, the Gray Lodge Wildlife area was not much better. There were enough birds for the hunters to shoot, but not the numbers we normally see. But we did have fun.

When you travel to these meetups with other photographers, they don’t mind stopping and shooting something ineresting that may have nothing to do with your original purpose. We made a couple of those side trips–three of us in the car. Plus we had the extra joy of having the GPS get us lost.

All in all, it was a fun 12-hour day. I hope you like these fogged and overcast images! This will be a two-part post.

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, part two of three

Ah, Mother Nature–she gives us beauty to enjoy, and she also gives us insects. I’m talking about mosquitoes, mosquitoes,  and more mosquitoes! There were a lot of them at Gray Lodge and they were BIG. As soon as I would stop to take in a scene or a photo, they were all over me. The double layers of clothing protected me somewhat, but they bit through jeans and socks. I have bites on my face, legs, feet, hands and fingers. The first thing I did when I got home was shower and wash my hair. I’m not complaining; it was worth it. A city girl, I’m just amazed.

Today,  we continue our journey through Gray Lodge. First we did the driving tour. You cannot get out of your car, so we were shooting through open windows and the sun roof. Yes, the car was full of mosquitoes too. Then we did the walking tour. That’s when Diane and I noticed the mosquitoes just sitting on the back of Laura’s pants. They must have been on ours too because I have a lot of bites on the backs of my legs. This tour brought us in a little closer to the birds and plants.

After we left Gray Lodge, we took a nice tour of the area on our way to Delevan National Wildlife Refuge. We stopped along the way when we saw anything interesting.

 

For the birds–Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Birds are pretty and tweet; but, they take on a new dimension when you go birding with Laura Munro and Diane Richards. Laura knows birds. I found it amazing that she was able to spot them in trees as she was driving! Yesterday, we left at 5 a.m. to catch the sunrise at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and spent the entire day shooting from sunrise to sunset.

What an amazing day! Let’s begin with sunrise, snow geese and turkey vultures. Actually those are the names I can remember. In later posts, there will be some small birds, but my senior brain can’t remember their names! We arrived at Gray Lodge as the sun began to rise. My experience at Maui taught me that the real color doesn’t come out until the sun is above the horizon. So we waited. The results were worth it! More tomorrow….