An accidental one-lens walk: Sacramento Zoo

One lesson learned: Be careful what you challenge others to do! Recently on a Lens Artists Challenge, I encouraged participants to take a photo walk with only one lens. If that lens was a zoom lens, I suggested that they pick a millimeter setting and leave it there. Last Thursday Ray and I went to the Sacramento Zoo and I accidently put my 80 mm fixed macro lens on my camera instead of the 55 – 200 mm I usually take inside.

I didn’t notice my mistake until I started taking pictures. I decided to stay with the lens and see what how it performed. Fortunately, the zoo has put glass in some enclosures, because the lens had a difficult time eliminating fencing.

The panda was the most difficult and far away. When I was taking its picture, I couldn’t see what it was actually doing. I thought the pictures were incredible. Here are three. They are cropped in a lot.

I’m trying to learn patience and the zebra proved that patience pays off. It was eating and then looked up. It also walked away from the food trough and proceeded to do a little tap dance!

There’s a new baby giraffe at the zoo, but she and mom were not out yet. But the macro lens did well with the others.

The jaguar was eating its bone (Thursday is bone day for the big cats.). Fortunately it was close to the glass so I could get these images.

Now for the lion. He just finished his bone and I think he’s telling us it’s tongue licking good.

I kept walking back to the orangutan enclosure, but they weren’t showing off. The only one out there just wanted a head of lettuce and was headed back inside.

So, this was my one-lens walk. It took some extra walking on my part, but I learned more about my lens and had fun!

LENS ARTISTS CHALLENGE #233: A One Lens Walk

Lately, I find that I’m usually choosing one lens to put on my Fuji camera when I go out for a photo outing with my friends. We are usually gone for few hours. I carry nothing else except for an extra battery. I mostly use my 18-55 lens which covers landscape and close ups. I’ve taken it to Bodega Bay to catch ocean scenes and to the Antique Trove to capture some indoor close ups.

When I go to the Sacramento Zoo, I always take my 55-200 mm lens. It does a great job of capturing giraffes and also gets me up close and personal with an orangutan.

You know I love Macro. When I need a lift, I take my Fuji and macro lens to the Green Acres Nursery. There I find many macro-opportunities.

The McKinley Park Rose Garden is another of my favorite places to take my macro lens.

Macro lenses are great for photographing other things like this bird. I was in the Rose Garden and saw it above me.

And then there’s my old trusty prime F/4 300 mm lens I use on my Nikon D7100 for bird shots. I don’t use it often but when I do, I appreciate it. Actually, this lens is why I’m holding on to my Nikon.

If I know I’ll be gone on a longer photo outing and not near my car, I’ll put on my waist pack containing an extra lens giving me a total of 18-200 mm in length. It also carries extra batteries, filters, water, lens cloth and tissues. My problem is, I don’t like changing lenses in the field. Maybe that’s why I challenge myself with one lens each outing.

My challenge for you is to take a lens for a walk. Yes, choose a lens and walk. You can also use your cell phone or point and shoot camera and see what you can do with it. Another trick, when you’re using a zoom lens, is to pick an aperture and stay with it. If you don’t have time or the weather isn’t cooperating, then delve into your archives. Look for images that represent one F stop or close to it. Most of all, have fun! Remember to link to this post when you take us on your one-lens walk and use the Lens-Artists tag.

We all enjoyed looking back with you during Sophia’s challenge last week. I thought your responses were unique and interesting. Next week our newest team member Donna Holland of Wind Kisses will be leading the challenge. Be sure to look for her post. Have a great week!

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

Lens Artists Challenge #231: Favorite Images of 2022

To be honest, 2022 wasn’t my favorite year. I spent most of it in the blahs with a few exceptions. Now John has tasked us with the challenge to pick our favorite images of what was my blah year! To do this, I decided to pick one favorite from each month.

January: Laura and I went to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The Tule Elk were out. What is this one trying to tell me?

February: An outing to Grass Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills yielded this pine cone in perfect light.

March: Ray and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Lincoln to photograph Great Egrets and Blue Herons nesting in three trees.

April: Again another yearly visit to Ananda Village and their Tulip Festival. It’s the same each year and it’s always beautiful.

May: My year can’t be complete without showing you a visit to the Sacramento Zoo. One of my favorites is the pelican who lives with the flamingos. He’s missing a wing and can’t fly. This time he was close.

June: Our yearly trip to the Land Park pond to photograph the Lotus wasn’t as spectacular as previous years, but you never give up.

July: My wanting to get Downtown Sacramento building images ended with me getting a flat tire and the AAA driver getting lost! But I was able to get a few photographs.

August: brought us down the the Amtrak station in Sacramento. I tried in-camera double exposures and got one fairly good shot.

September: Another annual event, Chalk It Up. This artist’s piece of Gene Wilder was amazing.

October: I finally had the opportunity to photograph outside of my local area. I joined friends on a New England cruise. Before the cruise we spent time in Virginia. Here’s an image from the Luray Caverns.

November: My photo buddies and I went to the California Museum. It’s a place I need to return to without my camera. I spent a lot of time photographing angles and lines.

December: We were staying with the grandkids in Reno, Nevada when a snow storm hit. This is a picture of the sun rising on the mountains with houses and Reno below.

So that was my year in pictures. Thank you John for helping me realize it wasn’t a blah year after all. I’m anxious to see all of your favorites. When you post please remember to link to John’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Sofia leads the challenge so look for her post.

 For more information on joining the challenge each week, check here.

Lens Artists Challenge #220: One Subject Three Ways

I find that I’m getting lazy when I photograph. I used to do as Patti suggests in this week’s challenge: bend down, sit down, walk around and even lay down to get the shot. Now I find that I stop myself after I take one shot and begin to walk away. I think it’s more physical aging than being lazy.

Sometimes I don’t have to bend down to get a different perspective. Sometimes I just walk around and aim the camera up. This red sculpture is found in Roseville’s Sculpture Park. While it’s a well known landmark, Roseville has cleverly hidden it behind a shopping center. But it can be seen from the freeway. Maybe the sculpture came first and the shopping center second.

My next example is of stepping back and changing position to get a different scene from the same area. This was taken at Fort Ross Historical Park in Jenner. I’ve never seen wild Calla Lilies, but they are here. We start out with a larger view of the coast and then come in to find the wildflowers (you can barely see them).

Sometimes it’s patience that gives us a new perspective on a picture. This Orangutan at the Sacramento Zoo required patience as I waited and followed his moves.

Finally, it’s taking a shot of many and bringing it down to just one for a different perspective. These poppies were found in Sutter Creek, Amador County.

Thank you Patti for reminding me to position myself to get the “one subject three ways!” When you post on this challenge please remember to link to Patti’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag. We all enjoyed finding our special treasures as prompted by Tina last week. Ann-Christine is hosting next week’s challenge.

Before the heat hit: Sacramento Zoo

Early this month we decided to beat the heat and went to the Sacramento Zoo when it opened. To our surprise, it was pleasant weather wise. However, the animals were being ornery. I don’t know why they turn away when they see a camera! Many weren’t in their enclosures and the nocturnal animals were sleeping early.

The orangutans were playing and eating in their enclosure. Finally one decided to turn around.

Thank goodness it was bone day, and the lions and jaguars were still gnawing at their treats.

By now we should have a new baby giraffe. I guess as soon as it gets a little cooler I’ll get down their to see him/her. The docents are hoping for a girl because she would get to stay. If it’s a male then when he gets to a certain age, he’ll be sent to another zoo.

One of the alligators was active and swimming towards the platform we stood on. He doesn’t look too friendly.

Last we have the okapi. There was only one out that morning. They are an amazing looking animal.

You’ll notice there are no flamingo pictures this time. All the birds are inside because of the avian flu. They even drained the flamingos pool. I hope they are back when we visit next. They are fun to watch and photograph.

Our zoo is planning to move to Elk Grove, a city south of Sacramento but within Sacramento County. More acreage is needed for expansion and to house the current zoo animals. But, it’s not going to happen overnight. They say the zoo will move in stages. I wonder what that would mean for the visitors and animals. Change happens!

Lens-Artists Challenge #210: Picking favorites

When you have thousands of pictures, how do you pick just three? It’s difficult, but Sarah of Travel With Me has given us this challenge. I’ve taken it on and here are my three.

My first photo is of Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, in Canada. I like it because when I decided to try processing it in black and white, it took on a whole new dimension, almost like a sketch. I love black and white, so when I think an image has a tonal quality that may fit, I try it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but this time it did. I typically process black and whites in NIK Silver Efex. This won a prize in the Motherload Fair, Sonora.

Next is a macro that almost took first place in the In Focus competition. This means it made it to the final table. That doesn’t matter to me because I just like it for the color, seeing the hair on the leaf and the water drop that’s just hanging on. I process all my photos in Lightroom and may have brought this into NIK Color Efex. I just can’t remember. I’m sure I’ve posted this before in an LAPC post. This is truly one of my favorites.

My third image is definitely a recent favorite of mine. I love the flamingos at the Sacramento Zoo. I had already taken a few photos of them, looking for a “keeper.” I was thinking sometimes you’re just not in the right place at the right time. I was talking to a docent about the birds who were taking their naps and this one opened one eye and looked at me. I’m so glad it opened it again after I got my camera in position. This time I was in the right place at the right time! This was processed in Lightroom and Topaz sharpener AI. It did take “Picture of the Night” at the Sierra Camera Club general competition.

As I said, I have many more favorites. This was a difficult challenge Sarah, but worth the exercise. Thank you! Remember to use the Lens-Artist tag when you post your reply and link to Sarah’s original pose. Tracy’s Surreal challenge last week brought us many amazing photos to look at. I’ll be posting next week’s challenge, so be sure to check back.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Lens-Artists Challenge#205: The Eyes Have It

During a photography competition, the judge always looks into the subject’s eyes–whether human or animal. Are they sharp and have a catch light. This week, Tina challenges us to focus on the eyes of a subject. Eyes are doorways into the soul.

I managed to find some images in my archives to show you. Let’s start with one I enjoy looking at. My friend and I were at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge driving the course. Towards the end, a bald eagle was in a branch right over the road. To get this picture, I climbed up through her car’s sunroof. Look at those eyes. What do you think he’s telling me?

Two more animals: The coyote is on the hunt. You can see that he is focused in his eyes. While the parrot, is just being colorful and beautiful.

Burrowing owls are very small, but their eyes are big in comparison. Is he flashing a do not disturb sign with those eyes?

I don’t capture enough candid portraits of people. Here are two that tell different stories. The first gentleman was sitting on a bridge bench. His glasses hide the despair in his eyes, but his body language speaks. The woman is taking a break at the Pirate Festival. Her eyes are narrowed and relaxed. To me she’s reflecting on a good day of fun.

Another of my favorites is this flamingo trying to sleep at the Sacramento Zoo. What is he trying to tell me as I snap his picture?

A dog’s eyes are a true reflection of what he/she is thinking. I think he/she wants attention. What do you think?

Eye focus equals communication. At Toastmasters we teach “eye contact.” Look directly into your audience’s eyes. You can tell immediately whether or not your message is reaching them.

Thank you Tina for this wonderful eye opening topic. Remember to link your reply to her post. Next week we begin our tradition of summer guest hosts during July. Next week Aletta Crouse of Now at Home will focus on Treasures. Be sure to look for her post.

During the remainder of July we have:

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to look for and check out their blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when I will host, “What’s Your Groove”.

Until then, have a safe and fun summer. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

Talking with the animals: Sacramento Zoo

I love our small zoo. Why? Because I can walk it and take pictures within 1 1/2 – 2 hours. But we need more land for a larger zoo. We don’t have many large mammals because we can’t house them. Right now the Sacramento Zoo is in negotiations to move to Elk Grove where the zoo could grow into 70 acres from its now 14.4 acres. That’s a lot more room for the current animals and animals to come. Aside from the longer drive time, I’m wondering whether I will love a large zoo as much as this one. That move is a few years away so let’s look at some pictures I took in my visit early in May.

Let’s look at the birds first. Where I could ID them, their names are in the captions.

Next we have one of the alligators, quiet, he’s sleeping! And the Chimpanzees are grooming each other.

The River Otters are in a glass enclosure which is difficult to photograph through, but they were in great positions.

It was a great day to photograph the Red Kangaroos in their new larger enclosure. They were just given something to nibble on.

The Cheetahs were trying to nap but this one kept lifting his head to see what was going on.

My last two pictures are of the Giraffe (They make such funny faces.) and the Red Panda.

Full and tired after finishing their bones, the big cats were sleeping. The Orangutans didn’t want to come out to play. The Zebras were still eating. Everything was as it should be at the Zoo. I can’t wait until I go visit again.

Lens-Artists Challenge #196: Humor

“Why did the camera stop dreaming about a career in photography? He couldn’t remain focused.

What did the woman think about her friend who was a photographer? She wished someone would shutter up.

Why did a man always rave about how great his digital camera was? He couldn’t think of any negatives.”

From the Kidadl Team

This week, guest host John of John’s Space has challenged us to post images of humor. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor–I do but it’s mostly sarcastic. So do I usually take humorous photos? No, but I do find some situations funny, especially at the Sacramento Zoo. If you go to a zoo enough, you’ll find the animals either look funny or are in funny situations. The following are examples.

Are these flamingos fighting, kissing, or what?

And, what message is this snow leopard sending? Is he smiling?

I’ve never had a lion stick his tongue at me before!

Watch out this orangutan is getting ready to kiss someone!

The okapi have beautiful markings on their rear ends, but maybe this one didn’t like my taking a picture of it!

This zebra is just taking care of an itch, maybe!

I’ll end with the giraffes. They have such expressive faces.

Thank you John for helping us find some smiles in today’s tense world. As you answer this challenge, remember to link to his post and tag Lens-Artists. And thank you everyone for joining in on last week’s colorful challenge. I enjoyed seeing and reading all your responses. Next week Tina will lead our challenge. Be sure to stay tuned.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

The more I photograph, the behinder I get: Sacramento Zoo

I love Thursdays at the Sacramento Zoo because it’s bone day–the day they give the big cats bones to snack on. For a photographer, that means they are likely to be out and chomping. We went to the zoo on a Thursday in December 2021. We hadn’t been for a while and the animals didn’t disappoint us.

The Jaguar was enjoying his bone.

The lions weren’t as cooperative. I had to go back a couple of times to get a good photo of only the male.

The orangutans were out and playful, putting on a show.

The newest zoo addition is Chigüiro the Capybara–the biggest rodent in the world. He’s sort of cute for a rodent!

Did you know that the Okapi are related to the giraffe? You might think the zebra would be a better choice, but no. They are beautiful no matter who they are related to.

One of my favorites, the white pelican, was preening himself. He lives with the flamingos. He has only one wing, and will never leave the zoo. Fortunately, he was facing the right way for me to photograph him. He’s another of my favorites.

The flamingos weren’t doing much. At one point, they were all sleeping. I happened to be talking to a docent about the flamingos when I saw an opportunity to photograph one asleep with its feathers being blown by a slight breeze. As I was shooting, this particular one opened its eye as if to say “Can’t you see I’m asleep!” This image won picture of the night in the open category at the Sierra Camera Club. Patience prevails.

I’ve renewed my zoo membership, so there will be more visits and more blog posts about these animals.