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!
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.
Landscape shot from the car. I loved the soft colors.
From the car: The clouds were threatening.
From the car: Orchards still look beautiful without blossoms.
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!
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.
A synchronized take off.
The beautiful marsh lands.
The golden hour.
Fortunately, this little guy was very still.
Pintails again. I wonder if the one on the right is a juvenile since the body coloring is a bit different.
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.
I couldn’t find this beautiful duck in my bird book. Can anyone help?
Same with this one.
This might be a northern harrier.
They are so cute when they play.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron up close
A 3-point buck.
Crossing the pond and watching us.
He made it to land!
This looks like a Harrier. I usually can’t get them in flight.
I have resisted buying a lens that would zoom out larger than 300 mm because I really can’t handhold anything heavier. And, lets be honest, I would only need it when I shoot wildlife. So…..I guess I can do without it. That’s what I’ve been telling myself, but when I looked at my pictures after a recent visit to the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge with Laura and Marlene, I saw mostly grainy images. They were in focus, but not tack sharp.
I knew I’d have a problem before I agreed to go on the outing, but I thought I’d give it a try. Even though it was overcast, I had hope. With the current rains there would probably be more birds than last year, and I knew I’d get something. I did. Thanks to Laura’s sun roof, I got some fantastic shots of a bald eagle in a tree above us. With my lens all the way out, I could get in nice and close. That was one of the eagles we saw.
We saw two other bald eagles that day. One was too far away to shoot even with Laura’s 400 mm. The other was a distance, but we could shoot it. Although in focus, the images were grainy. After looking at my almost 1,000 shots for the day, I’m thinking of getting a 400 mm zoom lens.
When we shoot wildlife at a refuge or preserve, we can’t get out of the car and have to shoot out the window. The window (which is all the way down) becomes a tripod when a small pillow is placed on the frame. I could also use the heavier lens on a tripod. It’s rather limiting, but I could get a better shot of wildlife.
Right now, I’m checking the used departments of online stores. My goal is to find an affordable factory refurbished lens, so I won’t be in the buy or not to buy quandary.
A flock of Snow Geese.
Juvenile White Faced Ibis?
Ring Necked Pheasant
I don’t know what this little one is.
I think this is a raptor.
Juvenile Bald Eagle.
The same bird.
Although more than last year, the water level was still down at the refuge.
With my 300 mm I could still capture landscapes.
This was probably a walkway, but there’s a slight amount of water now.
We decided to escape from Sacramento. We didn’t know where we’d end up, but just wanted to get out from under the cloud cover that would prevent us from shooting the blood moon eclipse. Laura was our navigator while Linda and I gave suggestions.
We ended up at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge a little over 100 miles when you don’t take the direct route. We knew there was a viewing area that would give us a perfect view of the moon rise over the Sutter Buttes (a low mountain range). However, smoke from the recent fire was still hanging low on the horizon as if mocking us for traveling so far to shoot the moon! I was hoping to still catch some of the moon rise through the smoke haze.
While waiting I shot some pictures of the wetlands and at sundown, turned my camera around to shoot the sunset. Not a cloud visible. Then I turned my attention to the moon rise. There were five of us with cameras and tripods set to shoot, but we couldn’t find the moon! Finally as it rose slightly above the haze, one of the photographers found it and helped the rest of us hone in on the red sphere.
I went in with the realization that I was only shooting with a 300 mm and I wouldn’t get professional images. But, I was still a little disappointed with what I did get. This morning when I looked at some other photographers’ images, I saw similar quality. So maybe I didn’t do so bad. My lens did what it could. Hindsight, rent a longer lens and use your heavier tripod! But am I into it that much?–I don’t know.
Oh, we really didn’t have to travel out of Sacramento. The clouds dissipated after dark! But, we had fun! The next morning I iced my foot again! Foot surgery is a bummer.
One way to get a bird to pose is to catch them while eating. We were almost finished with the auto tour at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge when my friend Sandy saw an eagle. I immediately stopped, backed up a little and started shooting. After my excitement waned a little, I noticed what the Bald Eagle was doing. He was dining on his dinner, a Coot (a fellow meetup member told me). Talk about being a sitting duck!
I watched and shot. The eagle even looked at me, but didn’t move from his task. It was simply amazing. I’m posting some images from the more than 100 I took.