Going after a big bird: Sandhill Cranes

It’s a yearly expedition–shooting the Sandhill Cranes. They are found in and around the Sacramento Delta. This trip, Laura and I started out at Consumnes River Preserve.  Right away, I learned another valuable lesson: have your camera ready before you leave home! I was going to put the big F/4, 300 mm lens on the D7100 once we got to Consumnes, but as soon as we got off the freeway we saw a flock of Sandhills near the fence. They usually like to be deep in the fields. By the time I got my camera ready–they were deep in the field.

I’m always learning lessons! For me, experience is the best teacher. I’m not crying over not having my camera ready for the best shot of the day. I did manage to get some good images as we went from preserve to preserve.

I was amazed at how many Sandhills there were this year. They were everywhere. In past years they were scarce. The drought may have contributed to that.

It was a fun day, chasing the big birds, finding other wildlife and shooting landscapes. Here are the results.


Cabin fever: Sacramento Delta Area

Wednesday was supposed to be partly cloudy and the first day of no rain in two weeks. So, I asked Richard if he wanted to take a ride down to the Delta–just to get out of the house. We were astounded to see rain drops making perfect round circles in our pool Wednesday morning. I checked the weather forecast and it said RAIN!

We went anyway. Going south, the rain lessened and by the time we got to Locke, it was just a light mist. We were amazed at how high the Sacramento River was. Everywhere we walked that wasn’t paved was soft so our shoes sank into the soaked earth. You’ll see in some of the pictures that piers were floating well above their normal levels.

We started in Locke’s Historical District, drove through Walnut Grove, went on to Rio Vista for lunch and then home. It rained on and off the entire morning. Of course I brought my camera along–just one camera and lens. But, I didn’t go out of my way to find environments to shoot. I’ve gotten so that I don’t go anywhere without my camera!

This was not primarily a photo outing. We were just two people trying to get out of the house for a short time. We got out and it did put a dent in our cabin fever. Oh, I read in the newspaper that Northern California is out of the drought, but parts of Southern California is still in severe drought. It’s progress.


Before and After: The journey to Locke in the Sacramento Delta

Part of the fun of going somewhere is the before you get there and after you’ve left! Have I confused you? Well, we don’t go straight to any place. We stop along the way, get sidetracked and look for unique things to shoot. This happened on the way to Locke in the Sacramento Delta.

The Sacramento Delta is an expansive inland river delta and estuary in Northern California and is  an important habitat for migratory waterfowl and more than a hundred species of fish. It is also farmland, a popular recreation area and a source of drinking water for two-thirds of California’s population.

We first stopped at the small Freeport Marina. It was there that I realized I left my tripod home! Greg offered to share his with me, but I knew he used his most of the time and declined his generous offer. So, it was a handheld day for me. Lesson learned! Seems I’m always learning. Didn’t I say in my last post that I learn a lot by making mistakes?

Next we found a Halloween surprise, an old truck and a bridge to shoot. Then we got to Locke. You can see that our journeys seldom follow a straight path, and that’s the fun of a photo outing.

In this post you can see our before finds. You’ll have to wait for the next post to see Locke and what happened on the way home–the “after” part of our trip.

I go where the Meetup takes me: The Grand Island Mansion, Walnut Grove, California Part 2

Now let’s see, where did I leave off? Yes, I left you outside of the Grand Island Mansion. Now, let’s go inside!

I enjoyed roaming the inside. We couldn’t go upstairs because they had a wedding the night before and the guests were still sleeping. But, we did have access to the main floor and one below. Or at least I thought we did. I’m saying that because another photographer, who was eating there, told me she was asked, by the owner, not to take pictures inside! With that bit of information I stayed mostly downstairs, but I did get a good shot of the main dining area and buffet.

There was one room I was unsuccessful at shooting–the small theater. I was able to get the bowling alley, but was not happy with the result; so you’re not going to see it. Sorry. Enjoy your tour.