Let’s hope you see more birds once I get my new Fuji 100 – 400 mm lens. To do most wildlife photography, I’ve been using my Nikon D7100 and an old metal F/4 300 mm prime lens. It was almost impossible for me to hold until Ray made me a short monopod that helps hold the camera and lens steady. The other problem is the Nikon itself. It’s not very good in low light. So photographing in cloudy and overcast days was difficult.
So, I finally decided to try the Fuji lens which I hope is lighter. It’s coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, Laura and I recently went to our local wildlife area in Yolo County, just across from Old Sacramento. The Yolo Bypass is a favorite for local photographers.
I was lucky to get a series of a great egret hunting for what ended up being a cricket, beetle or some other bug.
There were also some other birds.
And then two cormorants.
Get ready and fly.
I’m not sure what bird this is but….
And here are some landscapes taken with my Fuji.
Now, I’m anxious to test out my new lens, but we will have to wait!
Get wild! That’s the challenge given this week by Dianne Milliard of Rambling Ranger. She gave us parameters: no ” groomed gardens or animals in the zoo. No people or signs of people.” So that left out some of the parties we have in our senior community!
I gave it some thought and focused on an event that was a one time opportunity for me. Something I had never done before. But something wild and caused by nature. The total solar eclipse in August 2017. The event was seen in many places, but we chose Weiser Idaho. We got there a couple of days early so we could get a good spot for our RV. Richard checked out his sun scope and I was trying to get my Nikon d3100 ready. I shot with the 3100 just in case something happened. I didn’t want to ruin my d7100.
I was so nervous and truly beyond my photographic level. I read tutorials, etc. I wanted a trial run, but nature doesn’t do that!
The filter Richard (My husband is an astronomer.) made for me wasn’t the best. So I walked around and talked to other photographers (with more knowledge) and one of them gave me one of his filters. I am always amazed at how generous photographers are!
Eclipse day arrived. I perched the 3100 on the tripod while Richard had his sun scope ready to go. The moon was about to cover the sun, but I couldn’t find it while the camera was on the tripod. I wasn’t going to miss this. Off came the camera and I shot the eclipse hand held.
Here are some of the pictures I got that day.
The last crescent, diamond ring and Totality
The reversal begins as the moon moves away from the sun.
So this was my wild adventure of mother nature at it’s wildest.
Another outcome from this was Richard meeting a former science teacher who talked to him about becoming a NASA Ambassador. Now he gives astronomy talks at libraries and via zoom.
Life’s journey seems to take twists and turns, but it’s been my experience that important happenings come at a right and perfect time. Amy has given us the challenge of describing our photo journey. I started this blog at the very beginning of mine.
For me, photography came as I closed down my part-time speaking and writing business. At age 70, I didn’t know what to do with all the extra time I would have. Friends suggested sewing, quilting and crocheting. No! I’ve sewed and crocheted before, and it wasn’t fulfilling.
After several weeks, I remembered how much I enjoyed the photography class I took at Pierce College when I was a returning student (My youngest was in first grade). All the journalism majors had to take the photo class and the photography students had to take a journalism class. We had to use an all manual camera. Fortunately, Richard brought back a Minolta from his time in Vietnam, and I used that camera. What fun I had developing the film and making prints.
During that time, I was also writing for a newspaper and started taking the pictures for my column. I always wrote tight so the editor wouldn’t cut my articles. The only time he cut one was to run one of my photographs a half page. After graduating and moving, I stopped taking photos except of family with a point and shoot.
Fast forward to my retirement decision to purchase a DSLR. Not sure about the decision to make photography my new passion, I bought an entry level Nikon, the D3100. I didn’t know anything about crop sensor vs full frame or even how to use the camera. And, what was ISO?
From the archives, a picture taken with my D3100 shot on auto because all I could see in the dark was the green “A!” This was taken at one of my first outings with my new camera.
I found that photographers were more than willing to share their expertise, and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions. I found out that ISO was like the film camera’s film speed and much more. I didn’t take a class because I didn’t want assignments and homework. Come on, wasn’t I too old for that?
The more I learned, the more I understood the limitations of my 3100. So, within a year, I bought a Nikon D7100. I could bracket automatically and it had two card slots. I liked that camera and used it until 2020.
Here’s a shot taken with my 7100 in 2014. Now I know how to reduce the white at the bottom.
I was still learning, experimenting and asking questions. In 2015 I did the 365 Challenge, and I’m so glad I did. My photographic ability jumped after that year. That in itself was a journey.
Here’s a picture I took during week 10 with my new/used macro lens.
My passion for photography never waned through the years. The more adept I became, the more I realised my need for a camera that would be better in low-light situations. If I was to get another camera, it would be a mirrorless for the size and weight. Marlene bought a Fujifilm X-T2, and when I saw her pictures, I knew that was the camera I wanted. The color was outstanding and the clarity amazing.
In 2020 I bought a Fuji X-T3. I’ve always bought new cameras, but used lenses. This time I came home with a new camera and three new lenses. I have not regretted that decision. I still use the Nikon for ultra wide and telephoto shots. I’ve sold my wonderful Sigma macro lens since I have one for the Fuji.
Here’s an image taken in 2020 with the Fuji.
So, here we are in the present. I’m still learning and growing in ability. I do need to conquer Photoshop and other plugins. When an outing is sort of blah, I still come home with an image or two that are worthwhile. I now see things differently, and I’m more aware of my surroundings. Most of all I’m having fun. What an amazing journey that’s still twisting and turning while moving forward.
I’m sure you all know that things don’t always turn out as scheduled. For instance, Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for the first photo outing of 2020; however, I left my camera case (full of gear) at my kid’s house. I didn’t think my Nikon D3100 and an 18 – 55 mm lens would do well at the zoo. So where to go?
Marlene said that she had three things to take pictures of, but never got to it. This seemed perfect! A short but sweet shoot and all in Sacramento. We just wanted to get out with our cameras. The first on her list was a horse statue, but it had galloped away. Where, we didn’t know. So, on to the next, a bigger than life sized lumber jack statue outside a Lumberjacks restaurant He hadn’t stomped away!
Next was the bigger than life size chicken. I tried to get various angles, but it was fenced in. But, it was unusual!
For the last shoot of 2019, Marlene and I decided to tempt the possibility and do some street photography at The Fountains, in Roseville, an outdoor mall featured in this blog many times. I thought on December 26 there would be a lot of bargain shoppers, but I was wrong. One store owner allowed us to take photos of his beautiful inventory, and a lot of it was on sale. Here’s what we found.
There you have it. The beginning and the end. A little backwards, but then………
These paintings are not new to Slow Shutter Speed. I try to photograph the new additions each year. This time I thought, since we were going on our adventure during the week, we would avoid the parking meters downtown and look for the murals on Del Paso Rd. in Sacramento. Wow, was I disappointed!
This is not the best area in Sacramento, but I didn’t think the murals would also not be the best. Also the map on the Wide Open Walls site was incorrect. The highlight of the morning was having to buy something to eat to use the bathroom at a fast food restaurant. We all managed to use the facilities on one small order of hot dog something or other!
Not packing or unpacking! Yes, today is a day off. Since we decided to move, I’ve gone on two photo outings, and, even then, I packed at night. Then, the next day, I unpacked at the other house. We are painting, putting in new floors and taking care of other things at our small home. The kitchen is almost set up. The rest of the move is easy.
Today, is a rest and blogging day. Last weekend I needed to take a break, drive somewhere and shoot. So, I rounded up photo buddies Laura and Linda and away I drove to Michigan Bar Road. This road is located in a rural area of Sacramento County. To get there, you drive on Highway 16 or Jackson Hwy through beautiful scenery, and in the summer, you can buy the best corn ever at the Davis Ranch produce stand. I’ve posted images from this road before, so I tried to get different angles, etc. Then we had the bright idea to go beyond the paved road and get home a different way. I do need to tell you it’s been raining here off and on for two weeks, and I was hoping that with a few dry days, the dirt roads would be more or less dry.
Not!! Going 7 – 10 mph can take about 45 minutes to go 4 miles! I made it through three shallow large puddles with the help of my valiant crew, but was stopped by this pool. We had to turn around.
On the way back to the paved road, I had to set down the law because my pals were still wanting to stop to take pictures. No more pictures, we needed to get home. This was a fun adventure, and it rained the next few days so my car got cleaned outside. (I looked for every puddle to go through to get the underside clean.)
Each of us had a reason to get out and experience a bit of photography, so we all enjoyed our adventure. The next day it was back to moving for me, but my break was great!
This shed is showing its age.
The horse heard us and is coming to visit.
It’s curious and friendly.
Fortunately the property owners don’t mind us taking pictures.
A lone tree.
Another shot of the shed.
The river and reflection.
This farm land is beautiful.
Almost to where the pavement ends.
Never saw a white faced cow.
Off roading now.
In the summer, this tree provides shade for the cows.
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.!
A bit thirsty!
This Great Egret was making its way through the reeds.
If it weren’t for a friend’s gentle push, I would have gone back to the car and swapped out my macro lens for my walk around lens. I’m so glad she persuaded me to use the macro. It’s a great lens: 105 mm, 2.8, Sigma; and I hardly use it because there’s always a slight breeze.
Karen taught me to increase my ISO so I could shoot at a faster shutter speed, and I got amazing results. I’ll be using that lens more because I do love macro photography. Although the WPA Rock Garden is a small area, we were shooting for about 2 hours!
This was my last time out shooting because we needed to prepare for our trip to Glacier National Park. Right now I’m exhausted. We packed the trailer today, except for refrigerated food in triple digits. I did try to do a lot during the morning. This is our first vacation since our 2013 cross country trip. We’re also going to be in Idaho for the solar eclipse, and in a great vantage spot. We’ll be attaching my D3100 to a small telescope, so wish me luck. I have a couple of days to practice. Richard will be using his sun scope to capture images.
After that, we’ll head into Oregon to visit my older granddaughter. I’m so looking forward to this trip. And, yes, I’m bringing my macro lens with me.
Images from the WPA Rock Garden.
Inside the flower.
The lens can get a nice shallow Depth of Field.
My only California Poppy for the season.
An unusual tree by the pond.
The back of a flower.
I was experimenting with depth of field. How much sharpness could I get.
Crisp and clear. This was a tiny flower.
Daisy in detail.
A rose bud.
Water drop, shadow and reflection.
I don’t know what this flower is, but it’s beautiful.
You’ve got to love Laura’s enthusasim when it comes to photography. I do. So, on a recent weekend morning, about 8 a.m., when she suggested we go down to Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), a nature preserve of 46,000 acres, to catch the tail end of the morning’s golden hour, I scrambled. I always need that push to get up early, stay up late, etc. Laura gives me that push.
In my rush to get out, I left my backpack that contained, snacks, hiking shoes etc. at home. Another truth about me: I will shoot in Birkenstocks whenever I can because my feet don’t like to be confined (a bad arthritic toe). Luckily, we were walking on the dirt paths around CRP.
But we weren’t lucky enough to catch the last of the golden hour because there wasn’t any! Fog! This was the second time we caught the morning fog at CRP. The last time we were able to catch glistening spider webs on plants. That morning there were none. The rains had washed away the webs and the spiders hadn’t returned yet.
Because of the fog, I decided to use my Sigma 2.8, 17 – 70 mm lens; but, that meant I didn’t have the ability to catch the birds out in the distance. When the fog lifted, I switched to my Nikon 55 – 300 mm lens so I was able to catch a few birds.
In the end, we did get the sun’s glow and the moody fog. All in all, it was a fun morning.
A scene of fog and reflection.
The water was so still.
No neutral density filters needed.
The fog jus sits on the water.
The fog has lifted off the water here.
Wide angle view of the marsh.
A great blue heron is fishing.
He goes for his prey.
After success, he moves on.
A red-winged black bird.
I couldn’t find this one in my bird book. Maybe a young Goldfinch?
Frustrating fun! Do those two words actually go together? They did the night I attended an indoor light painting workshop given by Sacramento Photographers, a local Facebook group here in Sacramento. I love this group because they are willing to share knowledge, sponsor photo outings and will critique photos when asked.
The evening started with a slide show on light painting. They showed us how elaborate it can get and how integral it can be to photo composition. Then they showed us the “toys” or tools. They had bars with LED lights on them, steering wheels with LEDs, LED wands and more.
Our cameras were on their tripods and we were ready to shoot for the practical part of the evening. And, the fun began. The lights were turned off and we began shooting. First was an LED bar that was carried across the room in an up and down motion. Then we captured a rope that was spinning around as the person was walking in a tight circle. Our volunteer model was traced with an LED wand while wearing glow in the dark sun glasses. It continued from there.
The frustration came when they were showing us how to do multiple exposures. My ability to do this was not available in my camera because of its current setting! I couldn’t figure it out and neither could another photographer. He messaged me the next day saying it might be that I had left bracketing on. Sure enough–I had!
But it was an evening of fun learning. Now I have to make some of those “toys!”