Off to see the animals: Sacramento Zoo

For me, going to the Sacramento Zoo is like seeing old friends. You get to know some animals by name, you learn their behavior and watch their babies grow. My camera group decided since the zoo was open again, we needed to visit. Right now you just can’t go to the zoo on a whim. You need to go online and buy your ticket for a specific time slot. Even though I’m a member, I still have to reserve a time slot. They can only let in a certain number of people at a time for each specified slot.

So, we were at the zoo at 10:30 a.m. Fortunately, the large cats were still awake, having eaten their bones. It was a Thursday–bone day!

The lions and snow leopard.

This is the second time I’ve caught the Red Pandas awake. They were busy finding and eating food.

All the Orangutans were out and having a lot of fun and eating.

The River Otters were putting on a show too. I processed this one in black and white.

One of the alligators came out from the water so we could get a good look at him. Does he look hungry?

Baby giraffe, Glory, has grown since my last visit. She’s eating food put at her height.

The Masai Giraffe was playing with a large plastic bucket. Do you think he’d be good at soccer?

One of the Okapi decided to show me his best side! They do have a beautifully marked rear.

Some of my favorites weren’t out. I guess another visit should be put on the calendar.

Lens Artists Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

This challenge from Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles seemed easy at first, but when I started digging through my photos, the challenge became emotional and difficult. The pandemic wove its way into our lives touching all aspects even photography. There were fewer outings, no lunches afterwards, less day trips. Picking the favorites out of a challenging year was tough.

The year 2020 started out great with one of my best sunsets taken at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, and an eagle shot at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. I didn’t make it back to either place that year.

Before the first lockdown, we did make it to Mare Island (A former Naval installation) where I spotted the perfect natural frame for an old brick building. I do love structures.

I did win an honorable mention for this photo in the McKinley Rose Garden contest.

Our photo shoots mainly consisted of meeting at the designated place shooting masked and then going our separate ways. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the World Peace Rose Garden in Sacramento reached deep into my soul since my husband served in Vietnam. This piece particularly touched me. A prisoner waiting for what?

I did take two longer trips. One with husband Richard as we searched for the beautiful California poppy and one with my friend Jean as we looked for Fall color, but instead found this beautiful lake.

Out again with our small group, we searched for Fall color before it disappeared. As we were going home, we came upon this.

But my favorite is the simple love of a child for her mother. In this case the child is Glory, 6-weeks I think when this was taken, and her mother. This was taken at the Sacramento Zoo. I call it, “This is MY mommy!”

And so, we are now two days into 2021 and things are looking up. We have vaccine choices in the works and hope. Take care and stay safe!

Need a pick-me-up?: Sacramento Zoo

There’s a certain innocence about animals. We see it in our pets and we can also see it at a zoo. I enjoy going to the Sacramento Zoo, because it’s small and we can learn a lot about animal behavior. They are still maintaining small capacity attendance and requiring masks. That helps me feel more comfortable during my visit.

It’s also great to see the changes like the birth of a new Giraffe. Her name is Glory, and she is adorable. Here are a few pictures. In the first one she is claiming her mom. I’ve titled it: This is my mommy! In the last image, giraffe blends into giraffe.

The resident Pelican is one of my favorites. Some time ago, a keeper said they were going to send him to another zoo. So far they haven’t. I’m happy!

It was bone day at the zoo, so it was easier to photograph the big cats as they gnawed on their treats. The Lions and Jaguar were still and easy to photograph.

We all get sleepy after a big meal and the Snow Leopard is no different. What a big yawn!

Flamingos are beautiful, but they can have their disagreements.

The Orangutans were playful and a delight to photograph.

The Okapi are especially handsome with distinctive markings.

Of course I have more pictures, but we’ll save those animals for my next zoo visit. Take care everyone!

Lens-Artists #118: Communication

What an exciting topic from our guest host Biasini with some help from her human Ma Leueen who helped her out with the typing. Horses can’t type. You’ll have to read the original super interesting post here.

Animals do communicate with each other and humans. My dog Gem will continuously ask me to take him for a walk until I finally do. One morning he came to me while I was eating breakfast. I knew what he wanted, a walk. I told him it was too early and to come back in one hour. He came back in 58 minutes. I told him he was 2 minutes too early! True story.

I love going to the Sacramento Zoo just to visit with the animals. They talk to each other.

Music speaks to us in different ways. I can’t carry a tune or play an instrument, but music is an important part of my life. It brings back memories. And it touches our hearts, especially when the memory is mutual. Richard and I used to work the Sacramento Music Festival until it closed. Two of our favorites were Tom Rigney and Flambeau and Dave Bennett.

Music also tells us about different cultures. Last year’s Asian New Year Festival in Isleton featured taiko drummers. They were amazing. Along with their music came an explanation of the culture attached.

And finally there is human non-verbal communication. Marlene and I happened to be in San Francisco for a photo walk along the Embarcadero. These next two images communicate human emotion.

Communication is key to our getting along as a society. The animals at the zoo know that, do we?

Lens-Artists #117: A photo walk

Whether in the city or country-side, I love photo walks. Thank you Amy of Share and Connect for choosing this topic. It’s a great way to relax, observe, see opportunities and shoot pictures. However, here in Sacramento, between the pandemic and smoke from fires, taking photo walks has been minimal. Of the few activities this year, my trip to the Sacramento Zoo and Gibson Ranch stand out.

The Sacramento Zoo. I love the zoo, and typically spend 2 hours walking it. It closed early on in the pandemic and when they were permitted to reopen, it was under strict guidelines. We needed to make online reservations, you couldn’t request a time slot, and they only let in a certain amount of visitors at a time. My time slot came early in the afternoon. Typically I would get there when they opened in the morning before the big cats took their naps. However my ticket was for 1:30 p.m. Wow, animals that were traditionally inactive in the morning were active. Here are some images from that zoo afternoon.

Another time we went to Gibson Ranch in Elverta. I hadn’t been there in a long time and wanted to get familiar with my new 80 mm macro lens. I didn’t think I’d be able to do much true macro work, but I wanted to see what else it could do. Gibson Ranch has a pond, barn, animals, horse stables and horses. It’s typical to find families feeding the ducks and geese, horses being groomed and rode, and people taking trail rides.

I’ve since used my macro lens on flowers, etc. It’s great.

There are so many other places to stroll about with a camera in the Sacramento area. I’m just waiting for the smoke to clear!

They’re open! The Sacramento Zoo

When you can’t have something, you realize how much you enjoyed it. Like when you’re on a diet! That’s when you want to eat all the fattening foods. When they shut down the zoo because of COVID 19, no one anticipated it would be so long before they could reopen. Actually no one realized the severity of this pandemic.

Our zoo is open again, but with many restrictions in place. In order to get into the zoo, you must get your ticket online. As members, Marlene and I decided to take advantage of the 2-day member trial. They asked members to do a run through on getting tickets online and coming at the appointed time. Since Marlene and I have single memberships, we had to go online separately to secure our spot. I first got a 11:30 a.m. slot; then Marlene got a 1 p.m. slot, so I went back and got a 1:30 p.m. time slot. I gave up the 11:30 a.m. ticket. Only a certain number of people were allowed in during each time slot.

Marlene entered at 1 p.m. and I called her when I got in. It worked out okay. We wore our masks (as suggested by zoo protocol) and enjoyed the lack of crowds. I was amazed that animals usually at sleep in the morning were active in the afternoon. For instance, I’ve never been able to see the red panda awake.

And the zebras were doing more than just eating. This one had an itch that needed scratching!

It was a nice cool morning with a slight wind. The flamingos were arguing and feathers were flying in the breeze.

The two black crowned cranes were showing off. They are beautiful.

And the orangutans were out. This one was where we could photograph him. Was he picking his nose??

The emus were sitting down.

And new to the zoo are alligators!

We had a fun couple of hours. That’s why I love this zoo. It’s small and easy to get through. I’m thinking that they are going to continue admitting guests to the zoo online through the life of the pandemic. Maybe they’ll come up with a way of admitting groups of a certain amount at the same time. That would make it easier for my camera group to get in!

It’s a small world! The Sacramento Zoo

A lot has changed since my last post. There’s nothing like a pandemic to show how small our world has become. Here in the Sacramento, California area things have changed rapidly. Many businesses have closed, events were cancelled and schools announced closures through March! Oh, yes, the stores are totally out of toilet paper!

Our Federal Government did little at first, with our president saying the Coronavirus wasn’t anything to worry about. Now the action is hot and heavy. So here I am sitting for my grandkids this past week (and enjoying it) while their parents were on vacation. They their way home now. The kids will be out of school for at least 3 weeks so I expect my photography time will be curtailed. That’s okay, time to finally get started on learning Photoshop!

A few of us did take off on Tuesday to visit the Sacramento Zoo. Again! Yes, again!! First, I enjoy it, and, second, they have added a training session with the Lions. This is from the zoo’s website:

Watch animal keepers perform daily training sessions with the African lions at the mesh of their exhibit. This positive-reinforcement training is to encourage natural behaviors that allow the zookeepers to perform voluntary health checks on the lions and build trust. Please note that this is a voluntary training for the lions, and they may decide not to participate on some days.

The zoo is now closed until March 31st or longer because of the Coronavirus. I’m so glad we got there before they did. Here are pictures from the Lion Training.

Stay well everyone!

A zoo morning: Sacramento Zoo

It wasn’t our first outing of 2020, but it was a great zoo morning. In my January 13 post, I told you that Marlene and I had planned to go to the Sacramento Zoo for our first outing of 2020, but I left my D7100 at my kid’s house. So we went on January 14 instead, and had a great time.

I left the F/4 300 mm lens at home and just carried my walk around 18 – 200 mm lens instead. It was lighter and much more manageable. To capture a group of flamingos, I didn’t have to stand a block away! Best, there were no school tours!

I’m still getting used to shooting through glass enclosures. It’s a challenges with reflections, but the animals come right up to you, hence no need for a prime 300 mm lens.

To add to my excitement, I was able to photograph one of the two jaguars. They are difficult to capture via the camera because when they are out, they are in constant motion, but this morning one stopped for a few seconds!

The lions were out enjoying their larger enclosure. The docents told us that once in the new estate, Kamu, the male lion, has been roaring more often. We heard him several times. Here are both our lions in their new habitat. Do you think Kamu is trying to tell me something?

Next are one of my favorites, the Wolfs Guenon. They are so cute.

And speaking of cute, we have the Meerkats!

Fairly new at the zoo are two males Okapi. These are normally solitary animals, but the zoo docents told us that these two have formed a friendship and visit over the fence.

And we also saw:

I’ll end this zoo visit with images of one of the snow leopards. I think this may be the male, Blizzard, but I’m not sure.

The end and the beginning: The Fountains & About Town

The beginning:

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!

The end:

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………

It’s all in a name: Folsom Zoo Sanctuary; Sacramento Zoo

I was ready with my debit and Sacramento Zoo membership cards in hand to pay for my visit at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary only to be told that they have no affiliation with the Sacramento Zoo and couldn’t give me a discount! They were not a zoo, but a sanctuary!! That’s what’s in a name!!!

Marlene and I had visited the Folsom Zoo, in Folsom, once before and found it not too favorable for photography, but Ray set up this outing for our Tuesday group and off we went. I just wasn’t prepared for the difference between a zoo and sanctuary to be explained so explicitly and rudely. What makes one better than the other?

You might say that the sanctuary takes in animals that can’t be released into the wild while the zoo breeds animals into captivity. I find there’s a place for both. When you look at the amazment in children’s faces you understand that a zoo is where they learn about animals they may never get to see. I think it’s great that a sanctuary gives animals a home when they can’t be in the wild any longer, and their stories touch your heart. For me, there’s a place for both.

Getting back to why the Folsom Zoo is not a great place for photography, their cages are too thick. We can’t shoot through the thick metal and make it disappear. Knowing that, I just took pictures of the crowds, the beautiful landscaped and designed walkways and some animals not in caged enclosures.

Meanwhile, at the Sacramento Zoo, in Sacramento, there were so many children visiting the day we went. I couldn’t get close to some of the exhibits. Or, by the time I could take the shot, the animal was out of reach or went back inside.

So, here are a few images from both the zoo sanctuary (FZ) and the zoo (SZ)!