Liz made me do it! Okay, she didn’t exactly make me go to the Global Winter Wonderland at Sacramento’s Cal Expo. She asked. Since I hadn’t seen her in a long time, I agreed to go back to something I thought I wouldn’t.
I was there in 2o14 and was disappointed. The exhibits were blown up and held down with large ties. You couldn’t go in them. Yes, there was a lot of color, but the ropes and ties got in the way of photographing. I did try my had at slow shutter speed effects, and had fun doing that. But it wasn’t enough to go back.
I stayed away in 2015. However, Liz was enough to have me go back to the yearly event. It was a little better. The exhibits were smaller and not tied down as they were in 2014. Maybe they were weighted instead. They also had arches you could walk through. I tried to shoot the exhibits in an unusual way, and once again I had fun with the carnival rides.
At coffee afterwards, Liz was complaining that her photos were sort of “pedestrian,” and my comment was, “Well look at where we’re at!” I saw her images in her camera, and she did well.
For me, the fun was shooting with her and catching up. I’m so glad she sort of made me do it!
I chose to shoot a close up of the dragon’s head. I loved the colors.
This was a sweet display.
I thought these fish were cool.
I wish I could have gotten the little girl and her dad in total shadow. She was so drawn to the colors.
More archway and color.
Displays with the carnival in the background.
An abstract achieved through slow shutter speed and zooming.
The was a Christmas Tree made from lights.
A peacock with the ferris wheel in the background.
This was a zoom effect of a fairy.
This was the Star Ship Ride.
I practiced speeding up the shutter speed after shooting with it longer. The difference was tremendous in how the ride looked. This is less blurry.
This ferris wheel was shot at a very slow shutter speed.
So was this. Can you see the riders?
I don’t remember what ride got totally blurred out, but you can see the ferris wheel and carousel in the background. They are also blurry.
Every time I go to the Sacramento Zoo, I learn more–about the animals and photography. This time it was a short trip because I had a headache that just wouldn’t quit. But, I was there long enough to learn more about how to get through the cages with my lens and animal behavior.
For instance, take the flamingos. I only brought my F/4 300 mm lens that day, so I was looking for close ups. I noticed two flamingos drinking and their beaks were turned the same way. I shot a close up of them and got their reflections. Soon one came closer to where the other was drinking. The result? A disagreement over water rights! You’ll see it in the gallery.
There’s more descriptions of various animals in the gallery captions. So, what did I learn about getting through the cage? When the animal is closer to the cage, lower your F/stop. I also could have increased my ISO–next time. In any case, I’m very happy with the images I got.
I had fun in the short time I was there, and I’ll be making more trips. Having a zoo membership makes it easy to visit anytime I want to practice. And, at the Sacramento Zoo, there’s more to shoot. There’s pretty flowers and people! Next time I’ll bring a second camera with a more versatile lens.
Until then, enjoy our local zoo inhabitants.
Not a roar. A yawn.
That yawn was a prelude to a nap.
The snow leopard.
Here’s the giraffe family. Baby Rocket, mom and dad (the largest).
I was standing about a block away to get this shot.
Rocket in all his cuteness!
The Wolf’s Guenon enjoying his meal. He’d take a bite. Then look at what he was eating. Take another bite, etc.
The Red Panda.
They weren’t out the last few time I’ve been at the zoo.
The two flamingo drinking.
One of the pelicans. He tried to hide, but I found him.
One of the docents had the red tailed hawk out for the kids since school was out.
A very spectacular bird.
They are still cats, just bigger and more ferocious if you get on the other side of the fence! Camera Totin’ Tuesdays went back to the Sacramento Zoo. Some children were back to school and it was too early for classes to take their zoo field trips so it was not crowded. And, the cats were active!
I’m still learning the lens and how to shoot through the fencing. I used my F/4, fixed 300 mm lens. This lens is proving to be more difficult than I thought. If I stand close enough to get through the fence, all I get are the animals heads. If I move back, then I can’t get through the fence! Zoom lenses do have an advantage. I got better results at a lower F/stop, meaning wider aperture. Photography is such a learning process.
I did bring my small point and shoot to get some wide-angle shots. Next time I go to the zoo, I hope not to wake up so early that I’m tired. Then I’ll carry my 3100 also for the photos that my long lens can’t take.
I realize that I still have much to learn and will be returning to the zoo soon. Here are some of the cats and other animals I shot that morning. They are good. My followers always tell me that I’m too picky with my images. But, I know I can do better. I’ll let you know when I’m ecstatic with my zoo images–in all CAPS!
And, we did call to them saying, “Here kitty, kitty!”
When we first got there, Misha, the snow leopard, wasn’t ready to come out.
Kamu, the male African lion, was wide awake.
The lioness, Clio, was resting.
And, she was cleaning her paws. The young cats were not out.
Later in the morning, Clio plays.
Mother Wolf’s Guenon and her baby. I think the baby is nursing.
Misha is out and yawning.
I think this is the Azure Winged Magpie. My first successful attempt in getting through the cage with a bird.
I couldn’t ID this one. Bird’s tend to sit near the cage, making it impossible to get the cage to disappear.
This flamingo needs a napkin.
Rocket, the baby giraffe. He’s old enough to be out with the herd.
Rocket and his mom and dad.
The Red River Hog family. The babies have grown since my last visit.
Lemurs tend to be right near the cage.
Shooting them is tricky.
This was a first for me–shooting in dense fog. I learned a lot in a recent Meet Up shoot to Point Reyes National Seashore on the coast. It was my first time and I truly wasn’t prepared for the totally socked in adventure I was about to have.
At first I thought, “What moody images this will make.” I had no idea that the fog would make focusing difficult! Auto focus had its problems, so I tried to focus manually. Even that was hard.
In addition, I wasn’t well during the week and only did part of the trails, meaning I didn’t reach the beach where it wasn’t so foggy. I basically concentrated on what I could do rather on what I couldn’t.
Today, I’m posting some images so you’ll get an idea of the fog. It was an amazing first for me.
This complex was the beginning of the trail where we were to see Tule Elk. We didn’t.
The fog was encroaching on the complex.
It softened the tree image.
Here the fog is hovering low on the hills.
I walked until I could see the ocean. The beach was way beyond my walking capabilities that day.
This turkey vulture was flying through the fog. This was the best I could do. Making it black and white helped.
Here’s the fog engulfing hikers.
Here the fog is laying on the ocean.
Instead of a blue sky, we have a foggy sky.
The fog is touching the trees.
We did see Elk as we were driving past the Elk preserve. This doe was scampering through the brush. She was on the driver’s side and I was shooting from the passenger’s seat with my 140 mm lens. Not to shabby given the circumstances.
This buck wasn’t too far ahead. This was the best i could do with a 140 mm.
This is the Point Reyes an abandoned boat that has been a favorite of photographers. She’s located in the small town of Inverness.
It is sad that her destruction was hastened along by a photographer shooting with steel wool on her deck. The boat caught on fire.
She’s still loved and shot by photographers.
An amazing boat that retains a haunting energy. The fog bank is right behind her.
My crystal ball won’t tell the future, but it sure is fun to take on a photo outing. After trying a couple of my photo buddies’ crystal balls, I decided to get one. They are fun, but my 4.2 inch is heavy and bulky to carry around. I found an old point and shoot camera bag that it could fit into, and it helped to carry it over my shoulder during a July 4 morning shoot at Gibson Ranch with Laura.
If you’re thinking of buying a crystal ball/orb, don’t go bigger than mine. Photo buddy Karen has a 4″ and 3″. She prefers the 3″ because it fits into a jacket pocket and is lighter to carry. I find the smaller orb more difficult to shoot through and to get some of the background identifiable in the background. One recommendation is to get one that sits on a crystal base rather than a wood base.
If you haven’t shot through a crystal ball, it gives an upside down image of what you’re shooting and looks almost like a fish-eye effect. Here’s one:
Of course, you can right side up the image and have the background upside down. In this picture, the blurred background is what you see in the ball. My goal is to learn how to crop out the ball’s base. Just another challenge.
Speaking of challenges, I have been attacking Photoshop, but not on Mondays. We can schedule, but things do come up. Last week I broke open “Photoshop for Lightroom Users” by Scott Kelby. I’m learning some of the tools and to do little things right now. I’ve also investigated some of the other software I have as I edit.
So gaze into my crystal ball, enjoy and have fun!
The pond at Gibson Ranch is great for young fishermen.
I got closer as he walked.
I enjoy the pond’s still water.
We met an Appaloosa and her owner.
She just had her bangs combed, and I couldn’t resist!
Many horse owners board their horses here. This is a hay barn.
The hay barn through the ball.
A horse and rider.
You can also get to Dry Creek at Gibson Ranch.
We took turns holding the ball. I need to turn a tripod into a ball stand.
I love the creek. So serene.
Back at Gibson Ranch. Here’s a view of the pond through the ball.
Pardon me, just walking through! The ball image is right sided and the barn is upside down.
This horse owner posed for us. I left her upside down.
Another right sided barn image.
I’m sorry to say that I really don’t have a bucket list. But, happily, photo buddy Linda does!
Her bucket list brought her, Marlene and I back to Donner Lake for the third time this year. I’ve lived in the Sacramento area for 15 years and had never been there. Thank goodness for photography. This hobby has taken me to more places I could imagine. And, back to those places.
During this Donner Lake trip, we specifically went to see the Donner Lake Railroad Tunnels that were on Linda’s bucket list. Fortunately, she knew of a way we could get there without hiking up the rocky mountain. Driving there and parking the car was easier, especially for three seniors.
These three tunnels totaling 1,659 feet were the first railroad line to traverse the Sierra Nevada Range. Built largely by Chinese workers, the tunnels were completed in August 1867 and the first train passed through it on June 18th, 1868. The last train passed through in 1993 when the route was changed to a new location.
We passed through it on July 2, 2016. Well, we made it through the first two short tunnels and half way through the long third one. The train rails are gone, and the walls are decorated with graffiti. It’s an experience to do at least once, and the doors in the third tunnel exit to an excellent view of Donner Lake.
After the tunnels, we drove back down and rode around the Lake. It was very different in the summer. In the winter it was serene and beautiful; however, in the summer, it was crowded. I’ll show you both images.
I enjoyed this trip, but I wonder what else is on Linda’s photo bucket list? We’ll see.
The entrance to the first tunnel.
Puddle reflection inside the tunnel.
Graffiti on the wood.
The view in between the tunnels.
We weren’t the only ones there.
The vibrant grafitti.
Another view point.
Construction: rock and wood.
Visitors standing on the roof of a tunnel entrance.
The lake view outside the third tunnel door.
An outside view of the tunnel.
Graffiti is also on the outside.
This was taken in February.
The same view, but a little more distant. Not as serene.
Paddle boarders and crowds on the beach.
It’s not going to be a pleasant summer here in California. We’ve had more triple digit days in June than I remember during the entire summer in past years. So, we went to another museum. I’ve posted images from the Aerospace Museum of California before, but the exhibits change. I’m hoping I won’t be repetitive.
Our Tuesday group got there when the museum opened at 10 a.m., giving us an hour outside before the heat drove us inside. I did a lot of HDR outside in the planes and was happy with the results. Inside proved to be more of a challenge. I took the camera off the tripod and tried close ups and long angles.
Most of the planes are from the WWII and Vietnam wars. Although the docents are wonderful with their knowledge, I was busy shooting what I could before the heat became unbearable. Inside is mostly engines and smaller planes. Some of these planes are on loan and will be rotated with others as they come in.
It was a fun morning and somewhat challenging in the heat.
Triple digits–for two weeks! What’s a photographer to do? Go out early? Shoot indoors? Don’t shoot? The last is not an option! So one day Linda and I drove to Vallejo early in the morning to visit the 10th Annual Northern California Pirate Festival. Well, it’s cooler in Vallejo, we got there soon after it opened and left when the heat turned up.
I guess I was expecting something like the Highland Games we went to last year. This festival was on a much smaller scale, but didn’t lack pirate enthusiasts. The vendors were in costume, but what caught my camera’s eye were the visitors. They were the show.
There were kids activities, games, food, and more family fun. But, Linda and I didn’t bring grandkids, so we observed.
We were in and out within two hours, missing the fine festival food. Instead we enjoyed lunch in nice air conditioned restaurant! So, avast ye mates, and join me at the Pirate Festival.
Do you have any other ways to avoid the heat and still get out and shoot? I’d welcome suggestions because it’s going to be a hot summer.
A candid shot. He was talking and I waited for him to look up.
He looks more like a viking than a pirate.
Another candid conversation.
It was interesting to find mermaids here.
Another candid. I don’t know why she had the feather in her mouth.
A parade marching through the grounds.
This couple stopped and posed for me.
Black Beard was also busy talking.
A group of ladies in song.
A proclamation of some sort.
A gal just has to relax. Another candid.
A more flattering image. Candid.
A pirate and his gal dancing outside the food tent. Candid.
A posed shot.
Looks like love. Candid.
A music lover. Candid.
See, this is what happens. I had a very busy weekend with the grandkids sleeping over, and today, I’ve been shopping at the grocery store and helping my husband pack for his astronomy weekend in Aidn, California. I handled phone calls: 1. to get someone out here to fix my air conditioner up stairs and 2. to find a new home for my Toastmaster Photography club, All About Photography. I did a load of laundry and walked the dog. I just looked up at the clock: almost 3 p.m. I got a lot done, but didn’t prioritize in my 2 to 3 hours of editing study.
I know that a know a new habit takes a fairly decent time to implement. I’m hoping to do better next week. We usually eat early on Mondays so I can get to my All About Photography Club meeting on time. I’ll prioritize some time on Wednesday while I wait for the air conditioner repairman to come.
Okay, now that I’ve confessed, I want to show you images from another trip to the Yolo Wildlife Area. I’m still learning how to use the new/used F/4, 300 mm lens. On this trip, I found out that it’s not easy for me to handhold. And, you can’t use a tripod/monopod in a car. Normally, I’d rest it on the window (which is rolled down). But most of the birds inconveniently located themselves on the driver’s side. I was the passenger, and my friend Laura was the driver.
But it was a worthwhile trip, and I did learn more about handling the lens. Laura showed me that pumping up the ISO was necessary for a faster shutter speed. I’m reluctant to use a high ISO because of grain. I don’t think the grain is too bad.
Let me know what you think!
When they feel their nest is threatened, they will fake a broken wing.
Once they feel the nest is safe, they will fly away.
A pelican in flight.
This heron was one of two just standing at the water’s edge.
An egret hiding in the brush.
What did you say?
You’d better not say that again!
I think this is an Avocet that’s fishing.
And, going for it.
This might be a White Faced Ibis with it’s winter look still on. If I’m wrong, please give me the correct name. My book doesn’t have all the answers!
I just liked the spirals in this plant.
There were a lot of bees buzzing.
Butterfly getting some nectar.
In my last post I was bemoaning about not moving forward with my editing education. To those who responded with support and suggestions, thank you!
Monday will be my editing day with 3 hours prioritized. I think that is a good and doable approach. I also believe that once I get into it, the hours may increase.
Here’s the last on Petaluma–the churches. I have never seen so many churches in a small area. All have that small town charm. I shot the outside of most and went into the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and shot the inside. In fact, it’s this church that I feel I did not do well on the outside.
The featured image shows its amazing steeples, but by the time we walked the house tour and got to the church, I think I was tired and my mind was blocked. However, I think I did a better job on the inside.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Monday and my 3 hours of editing. Wish me luck!
Again, no captions.