A Favorite Place: Sacramento Zoo

I enjoy going to the Sacramento Zoo. I’ve gotten to know the animals and their habits. There are new animals, and I’ll introduce them later. There are successes and trials when photographing zoo animals.

I know I’ll not be able to capture a meercat with my camera because they just keep running, at a good speed, along the perimeter of their enclosure. Well all except the lookout who stands still and just keeps turning its head looking for danger. Plus it’s a glass enclosure and you need to photograph through children’s hand prints.

The flamingos are a favorite because they are beautiful and have fun personalities. Sometimes they fight and sometimes they show affection.

While we’re in the pond, there is one white pelican–another favorite of mine. This was the first time I saw him eating.

One of the new arrivals is the largest rodent in the world (says a docent)–a capybara.

The orangutan was not being cooperative, but I got a decent picture anyway. The zebras were doing their usual eating. The red river hog and kangaroo were also reluctant to have their pictures taken.

The lioness was posing beautifully while her mate was peaking out from under a bush.

The red panda was grooming itself before napping and I was able to catch it with eyes open before it rested it’s head. The mongoose lemur got back from it’s cage far enough for me to photograph through the wires.

The cheetahs were being exceptionally difficult. They did not want to sit still, turn and face the camera and stay the proper distance from the enclosure fence. I asked the keeper to talk to them, but I don’t think she did!

Sharing an enclosure is the Okapi and the Black Crowned Crane.

I’ve left the best for last–the giraffes. It was feed the giraffe time where guests could feed a patient giraffe some leaves.

The other giraffes had to fend for themselves.

I hope you enjoyed this zoo visit as much as I did. I’ve linked each animal with the area where their fact sheet is located for your reading pleasure!

Lens Artists Challenge #163: Keep walking

Amy wants us to walk. I don’t have a choice! I walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles each morning–unless the weather doesn’t permit. I do this to keep Gem, my dog, happy. He leads the way, has his various routes around the community, knows the other dogs and knows the humans who have the treats! We have a small lake and there’s always something going on with the geese and ducks. Too bad I don’t bring my camera with me. This is his joy and my exercise. Okay, I enjoy it too. It helped me feel less alone during lockdown.

My joy, is walking with my camera. My photo group goes out once a week, and sometimes to our favorite places where we can walk, talk and take photographs. One of my favorites is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It’s on the American River and supports a great deal of wildlife. Here’s a few photos taken during a 2019 walk.

We also like to walk the Sacramento Zoo. The animals sometimes put on a show for us. Here again is a 2019 visit.

And how about the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery! We go there about once a year. It’s so peaceful to walk about, there is so much history to be found. One year they were going to take away the flowers, saying they weren’t there when the cemetery was first started, and they wanted to keep the cemetery original. Everyone protested and we won.

I’ll close with an image from an outing to the Folsom Farmers’ Market that moved me–our flag in glory.

So, how do I feel about these photo outings? I enjoy them and look forward to them as much as Gem does his morning walks. It’s good exercise and a good time with dear friends.

Lens Artists Challenge #148: Spots and Dots

Spots and dots? This challenge from Ann Christine put my lack of creativity to a test. Fortunately, I got some ideas from members who posted before me. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery!

Animals were shown in a few posts; at least those having spots. So off I went to my Sacramento Zoo archives.

I also found a dog with spots. Not a dog called spot. I spotted him in one of my tours of a small town. Sorry, I couldn’t resist having some word fun.

And you’ll never know what you’ll find at IKEA. With a Photoshop filter, I turned a dotted pillow into a swirl with a center dot.

Every year there are Christmas lights that you can shoot normally or zoom. But they all start out as brightly lit dots.

Finally, you know how much I love photographing flowers. Whether it’s a macro, showing the stamens or a field dotted with golden poppies, I totally enjoy it.

This was a fun exercise. Thank you Ann Christine for the challenge!

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!