Wildlife? Mather Lake

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expected like our May outing to Mather Lake in Sacramento County. We expected the typical wildlife that we’re used to finding there, but we only found swans and fishermen! But, we’ve learned to make the best with what we get.

I was there with my Tuesday group, and we walked as far as we could around the lake. I was carrying my Nikon D7100 and my F/4, 300 mm lens. I do need to go back to using two cameras. I also need to get to the gym so I can do it! This left me sort of handicapped for landscape or wide focus shots. I made my Fitbit happy by taking some extra steps backing up to get a good compostion. While I like the results from my 300 prime lens, it is limiting,

Sometimes, when you’re not busy shooting, you experience the most outstanding interaction between birds. A swan was protecting his mate and his cygnets from a goose. The interchange was hilarous. Too bad I couldn’t catch it. My lens was too long and my reflexes too slow!

Take a look at what I saw that morning!

Blog neglect: Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, Davis California

It takes a lot of time and effort to get a house ready to sell. If you’ve ever sold a home you know what I mean. We had pictures taken today and have a few days before the listing goes live, giving me the time to write this blog and go on a photo outing tomorrow.

Today’s post is on the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area–we locals call it the Yolo Bypass. This close-to-home wildlife area that covers 25 square miles and is home to nearly 200 species of birds. I’ve never seen 200 birds, but it’s close to home and usually we can spot a few species. Unlike other wildlife areas, we are allowed to get out of our cars to photograph the wildlife.

However, the last couple of times I’ve been there, the wind was blowing so hard that even the birds were having trouble. This recent outing was a challenge for me to hold a heavy camera and lens while bracing myself in the wind.

Still, it was fun and I’m looking forward to the break in the house selling effort to attend my Tuesday group’s outing to the Historic Old Sacramento City Cemetery. Marlene is spicing it up with a scavenger hunt.

We’re not moving far, just downsizing. When you’re in your mid 70s, it’s best to think ahead and buy a home without stairs, etc.!

Leftovers: A look back at December 2017

Do you like leftovers? I do, but not when they tell that I haven’t been posting in this blog for a while. Or, maybe it’s that I’ve been out shooting and haven’t had the time to post. I think it’s a bit of the two.

In this blog post, I’ll show you some of my last visit to Mather Lake Regional Park in Sacramento County and Sly Park Recreation Area in Pollock Pines. Both tell a story of to expect the unexpected!

At Mather I did bring my 55 – 300 lens so I could capture the wildlife. During my last trip I brought my 18 – 140 lens thinking I’d be doing more landscape, but I found beautiful wildlife that I struggled with capturing. This time the sky turned dark and I still struggled but not as much. Next time, should I bring my F4/300 on a monopod?

The outing to Sly Park was to be a kayaking outing. While others kayaked, Karen B and I were going to walk the trails around the lake. We would then get together for a lunch of homemade clam chowder (Cup Of Noodles for me.) The unexpected was that the only person to bring a kayak was the organizer. So there were three of us. In the end, Karen and I shot around the dock and didn’t walk the trails. By lunch time, more people had joined us.

Will 2018 see us taking photo trips without the unexpected happening? I don’t think so. We should always be ready to be flexible on our photo outings. Sometimes the unexpected is fun and great photo opportunities. On to 2018. I’ve got some leftovers already!

Navigating the not so perfect: Various outings

I learned long ago that we all can’t be winners and neither can outings. I’ve made lemonade so many times recently. It’s not that the outings were truly “lemons,” but either the potential for great images was not there or I was off and not seeing opportunities.

For instance, the John Muir National Historic Site was one I had been to before, but forgot. Basically it’s a tour of his home and orchard he inherited from his father-in-law. The movie shown in the Visitor’s Center did give us great insight into his life and dreams.

Another venture was to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area a small preserve near West Sacramento. Seeing wildlife here is either okay, great or bad. The morning we went viewing, the wind was blowing so hard even the birds were taking cover! After we drove the route, Linda, Teresa and I went to see if any burrowing owls were brave to fight the wind. They burrow in Davis, California. We spotted two little owls.

Last, is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Summer is not the best time to view the many deer, roosters, coyotes and birds that live there. This visit was in September, and I guess it wasn’t cool enough for the wildlife to come out and smile for the cameras!

Even though there may not have been great photo opportunities, these outings were fun. When you’re with fellow photographers who enjoy getting out with their cameras, the camaraderie is what makes the day. I guess I’m saying a day out with a camera and friends is always a winner.

On the road again: Inside/out, Glacier National Park, Montana

Well, we tried. We wanted to get to Polebridge on the west side of Glacier National Park (GNP). We followed the signs within the park, and then we were out of the park. We like to take the challenge of going off the plan and drove on. The map said that if we drove 37 more miles we would get to Canada; Polebridge was before that. Easy? No.

A sign told us that the dirt road we were about to go on was going through private property, meaning—no trespassing. That’s okay. We passed farms and rural scenery, but no livestock. Do people live here all year round? We asked a gal who lives in White Fish, she said that a lot of them only summer here. So, now I’m curious as to why so much property for living around GNP for 3 to 4 months a year!

We did take the road that was supposed to take us back into GNP at Polebridge. After enjoying a delicious cookie at a gift shop, eatery and bakery, we embarked on the dirt road, but it soon turned into the road from hell. We turned back!

That was a couple days ago. I double checked the map and saw where we made our mistake. So today, we took off to find Polebridge and Bowman Lake on the west side of  GNP. We didn’t make it. A fire had forced the rangers to close the road and campground.

After dinner we went into White Fish to experience an evening Farmer’s Market. We did buy some chocolate huckleberry jam–delicious.

I’m not going to tell you what we did next; that will be in a post a few days from now. We just keep trying! Never give up!!

 

Oh Dear, No Deer: Effie Yeaw, Carmichael

As the heat continues, we look for places to shoot that are open early in the morning to avoid the rising temperatures. We chose Effie Yeaw Nature Center for a recent Tuesday shoot. This is a nature preserve along the American River in Carmichael.

Typically the deer are out in the early hours. When I took my young grandkids there, we saw a full herd in the first meadow, and we found bucks on the other side. Marlene and I had the joy of walking (on a path) through a heard one time. But, this time we didn’t see a deer–not one. I wondered where do they go to hide? It’s not a large preserve. One was spotted near the pond at the entrance.

So, without our dear deer, we looked for other things to shoot. Lesson learned: there’s always something to shoot. It’s what you make of it! We walked and shot for a couple of hours and then went for an early lunch.

After lunch, we went back to the Vedanta Society’s pond to see if the Hyacinths we in the pond.  There were some but not a lot.  During lunch we talked about what other outings we could schedule with this summer being so hot. I think you’ll have to wait to see where we go next!

Restoration: UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, part 2

She’s getting gussied up–well is an arboretum a female? The UC Davis Arboretum, in Davis, is a rambling 3.5 mile, 100 acre, garden along the banks of the old north channel of Putah Creek. It’s open to the public 24/7 at no charge (except for parking). As I mentioned in the previous post, half of the arboretum is being restored after our winter rains.

Even as we walked the west side, we saw benches being sanded and re-stained. The low water level was the only noticeable detraction during our visit. As we strolled, there were snowy egrets to entertain us. We found out they do get aggressive when it comes to one thinking another’s rock is a better fishing spot!

There were still some landscape opportunities also. In today’s photos, you can see how low the water level is. Although they did clean out all the algae that covered the water last year, making the creek look like it was carpeted in green.

I also like to people watch when I’m there. In this post, you’ll see the birds, landscapes and people. I’m hoping the restoration doesn’t take all summer. It is a nice place to go and relax.

 

Going backwards: In search of Sandhill Cranes

We’re back in 2016. November to be exact. Laura and I went in search of Sandhill Cranes. I’ve tried to capture their images a few times before, but was never successful. Even though they are large birds, they stand in the middle of the fields so my 300 mm lens has a difficult time. After a couple of years, I was beginning to think it was personal–they didn’t like me!

The Sandhill Cranes are migratory and are only in the area a few months of each year. They come in November and are usually gone by February.

We went to the Consumnes River Preserve and the Staten Island wildlife area. It was our last stop in the Sacramento Delta at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve Shelter where I saw them standing near the fence. I yelled for Laura to stop. She said there was no place to pull over. I said I didn’t care! So there we were blocking one side of the road. Fortunately, there was no traffic either way, and we were able to shoot the Sandhills.

Victory is so sweet! I’m so glad I went back through my photos and realized I hadn’t posted on the Sandhills because they are worth looking at. Let’s just say, “Give them a backwards glance!”

Shopping and shooting: The Romanian Festival and more

I love farmers’ markets mainly because the vegetables are so much fun to shoot. But this one was closing and was in our way of gettting to the Romanian Festival. As we walked around, I did my best to catch whatever vegetables left. I didn’t do well. However, they had the water spouts on for the children to run through. I got a couple of good pictures there.

We stopped at a very special bench, and I tried to get a group photo. I didn’t have a tripod so it was without me. The shot I’m posting was the best. Jim, I think you have a habit of closing your eyes!

We finally made our way to the Festival. It was very small but people were enjoying the vendors, entertainers and food. Ron and I did some shooting while the others walked around.

I enjoy capturing people candidly; however, sometimes they just aren’t in the right position or their expression is not good. Then I will ask if I can take their picture. I’ve never had anyone say “No!”

This group of images is the last I shot before Richard’s back surgery. So it may be a while until my next post. Maybe I’ll do some fantastic, improved editing of already posted images and show them to you.

We’ve got to be creative and have fun!

Road trip: To we don’t know where, part 2

To say photography has enriched my life would be an understatement. I have been to and experienced places I would normally not have gone to. I have learned to see things differently and be more aware of my surroundings. Most of all, I have met wonderful people who have become dear friends.

I was out with three friends during this road trip to we don’t know where. Three women of various ages, but with one goal–to have fun! Yes, photography is just an enjoyable means of having fun. We are serious about our photography, but not that serious that it is all consumable.

And, when women drive and shoot together there’s a major amount of talking and laughter. This road trip was no different.

In my previous post, we covered Winters, St. Helena and whatever we could find in between. In this post we visited Calistoga, Geyserville, Clearlake, Rumsey, Guinda and Cash Creek Casino. To be honest, I’m not sure I have images from each of these places, but we did drive through and sometimes stop at each of these towns or along the road side.

In the end, we were tired and weary, but joyful. We were grateful for an amusing day with dear friends. When I got home and uploaded my pictures, I was able to relive the day.

Yes, photography has enriched my life. It is now my passion.