I was out lensed as usual. Laura and I went for a tour around the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area before it got too hot for us and the birds. Laura is a great nature photographer and uses a zoom that extends to 600 mm lens. I use my trusty 300 mm lens. You can understand what I mean by out lensed! But, we have great fun and lots of laughs. I’m happy when a bird is spotted close enough for me to get a good picture.
This big bird did get close enough; almost too close. We couldn’t figure out what he was doing since he wasn’t spraying crops. I just kept thinking of Sesame Street’s Big Bird. That’s what happens when you’ve raised kids!
This Great Blue Heron was just about close enough for me. He was still and watching his prey.
If you’re dreaming of a wedding set in the country, Pheasant Trek at Dunnigan Hills may be the place for you. A working ranch of olive groves and vineyards, Pheasant Trek, in Yolo County, mostly bills itself as a wedding and event destination. We were invited there through the Yolo Arts and Ag Project.
On the way there we stopped to catch this scene and more.
The actual ranch consisted of buildings, a barn, a water tower converted into a bridal dressing room, an enclosure for a cow and two donkeys. Here are some of the buildings seen from the central part of the ranch.
Here are the animals.
I walked around to the back of the ranch and found these.
Yes, I was a little disappointed, but there was enough to photograph and keep me busy. I’m wondering what Yolo Arts and Ag has in store for us in July? Really, I’m very appreciative that we are allowed to photograph in these venues.
There are challenges and there are challenges! This post is late because we need to drive up to Reno last night to help my son who is sick. At 12 pm EST today we were in emergency with him. He will be okay. So let’s get on with my original post and see some local vistas. Thank you for your patience.
Sometimes you need a nudge to realize what’s going on around you. For me that nudge was photography. Before I found this passion, I really wasn’t paying much attention to what the greater Sacramento area had to offer. I was busy caregiving to my mom, being daytime guardian for my older grandkids, running a part-time business and helping in the family business when needed.
But wonderful grandkids grow up, my mom passed away and eventually, I shut down my business. I had a void to fill, and I chose to fill it with photography. And how lucky I am to live in the Sacramento area. There is so much to see, so much to enjoy and so much to photograph.
Here are some of our local Sacramento Vistas
You know how much I enjoy the Sacramento Zoo. It’s going to be moving a little further away, but still in Sacramento County. The cheetah is enjoying his bone and the Wolf’s Gueron is snacking away too.
We have two rivers for our enjoyment. Old Sacramento sits on the Sacramento River. It’s a great place for tourists, families and is home to the Sacramento Railroad Museum. First is a view of the waterfront from the iconic Tower Bridge and then a sunset image of the Tower Bridge.
Not far from Old Sacramento is the Capitol Mall. I think we have a most beautiful capitol building and its grounds include the World Peace Garden. Here is a picture of the Capitol dome on a full moon night.
Moving into Sacramento City, each year we host Wide Open Walls. Artists come from all over to paint bright and beautiful murals on our buildings’ walls. This is a yearly festival, and most building owners keep the murals up. Some are fading already. This one touched my heart last year. It will always be a reminder of the pandemic and its heroes.
Discovery Park is close by and is part of the American River Parkway (A trail that is 32 miles along the American River.) The trail is for bicyclists and runners. It has picnic facilities. The golden hour adds to its beauty.
Let’s move further down the trail to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center which is part of a “100-acre nature preserve with riparian and oak woodlands, shrub lands, meadows, and aquatic habitats.” There we find deer, turkeys, coyotes, raptors, snakes, etc. Here is one of the inhabitants we come upon most of the time.
I can’t end this post without showing you our sister county, Yolo. We leave our suburbs and in just a few minutes we’re in Yolo County or should I say “country!” Here is where we go to photograph our rural scenes and sunflowers.
And we just have to go over the Tower bridge to the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to find wildlife.
Now you can see why I love living here. But I bet you love your area too. What are your local vistas? Where do you photograph when you don’t have a lot of time or are not on vacation? What about your hometown excites you? Is it the countryside, city, gardens, amusement venues? This week, tell us about and show us your local vistas.
Remember to link to this post as you share your local vistas and use the Lens-Artists tag. Last week we all had fun with Sofia’s Minimalism/Maximalism challenge. So many interpretations and creativity came from all of you. Next week our guest host Sylvia Bacon will present a great challenge so stay tuned!
October 28! We had to get to the Gibson House in Woodland before Halloween. Why? We raced against time because the historic home was decorated for the holiday and on November 1, the decorations would be taken down.
I had never heard of the Gibson House and wanted to see it decorated. So, Marlene, Diane and I went off to photograph it. The house is on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a Yolo County Park and is operated by the Yolo County Historical Museum. The house and grounds were restored by the county and is now a hub for regional art displays, programs and more.
The outside of the house.
The inside was furnished to represent what it might have looked like when the Gibson family owned it. Of course there were a few visitors on display too. We were not allowed to go upstairs.
The blacksmith shop was closed, but the barn had been turned into an art gallery. The museum reaches out to area students for participation. They painted this mural.
We also found a beautiful old, rusty tractor.
This ended our trip to the Gibson House which is a treasure in Woodland. Maybe they will decorate it again for Halloween!
I love suburbia with all its conveniences, but I also like to visit the forests, beaches and country sides. The Yolo Arts & Ag program allows me to take my camera onto ranches, orchards and farms that open their facilities to artists and photographers for two half days a month. It’s a great opportunity for us to wander in and out of barns, see old machinery and have a glimpse of a life we don’t live.
The Hungry Hallow Ranch in Capay was a large facility that gave us access to the entire property. But when we entered, we mostly saw machinery in barns, old vehicles, young olive trees and hay bales. Marlene, Ray and I said that there was nothing new here. Richard was excited saying that this is what he loved to photograph.
I think Richard was right. I did find a lot to photograph and learned a lesson. Don’t judge a photography shoot by first glance. I made the most of our morning. I took close ups of machinery.
Then there was an artist painting.. There were many, but I liked this shot the most.
And the olive orchard. You can see that the trees were young.
And the barns.
I also found a grape vine or two, a wood pile large enough to cover the side of a barn and an awesome tree.
It’s the season for all photographers and “lookie loos” to descend on almond orchards seeking beauty. However, due to a couple of good wind storms, one hard enough to topple trees and take off roofs, the beautiful blossoms are hard to find.
We photographers respect the orchards and do not go into them. We photograph from the roads, using long lenses. When I saw that one farm was opening their orchard (for a small fee) for us to walk through, Ray and I made a plan to go there. We knew it was risky given the winds we had and were still having that day, but we went anyway. This farm was outside of Davis and closer than those in Capay Valley.
It was as we thought. Not only were the blossoms blown off the trees, they were blown off the ground. In years past, fallen blossoms looked like snow. We talked to the orchard owner who said the situation was dire. Not only did she sell tickets for people to come in, but also hired bees from bee keepers to pollenate the blossoms. Cost and revenue loss. Not totally bare, some blossoms held on.
Here’s a picture taken in 2017 to give you some idea at how full the trees can get. Notice the blossoms on the ground.
A little further down the road we found a younger orchard, shorter trees, that seemed to withstand the wind better.
Here are some other almond blossom images taken on this trip.
We did find the beginnings of a mustard field.
So where have all the blossoms gone? Mother Nature has control over that! Next year!
I enjoy our weekly challenges because they help bring back memories of fun photo outings. And, as I dig way back into prior years, I see how my photography has improved. This week Patti has given us the letter “S” and suggested many ways we could post on it.
I just dove into my archives and here are some memories that I enjoyed re-visiting.
In 2018, Marlene and I went with a Meetup group for a photo walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It was a wonderful day topped off with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (There aren’t any in Sacramento!). On the left is a probable homeless man sleeping on a bench. On the right is a sightseeing bus with lots of tourists. What a dichotomy of life.
Also taken in 2018 is a sunset with sunflowers taken in Yolo County.
It’s important for us to be inspired all the time. Inspiration is what makes us get up in the morning, especially in this COVID year. Nature truly inspires me to get out with my camera. Nature doesn’t understand pandemics, politics, or other things that affect us humans emotionally. It just goes through its cycles and begs us to visit. Thank you Tina for creating this Lens-Artist challenge. It had me thinking positively.
So, I went through this year’s images to find nature’s inspiring moments. Although there are a lot less then in years past, there were enough to keep me inspired!
A dark, chilly and gloomy day doesn’t seem to be a day to visit the Sacramento Delta, but we did. The Sacramento river is always nice to visit. On this overcast day, the river was quiet, giving us beautiful reflections.
We also made our yearly visit to Yolo County’s almond orchards while the trees were blooming. There were beautiful skies that day. How inspired can you get!
Early on in the lockdown, Richard and I escaped to the snow. He wanted to see whether his favorite star gazing area was snowed in. This is shot on the road near Blue Canyon. I love that I can visit, but don’t have to live in snow!
And finally, I have my first rose in my garden and an image of a lovely lotus blossom. The lotus aren’t with us very long, but they are beautiful. My rose garden had a tough time this year with the extreme heat, but they are still blooming.
I’m hoping that next year I’ll be inspired by more of nature’s wonders. Thanks again Tina!
Fortunately I’m getting used to driving the various county roads in the rural areas of Yolo County. I was alone on this July expedition to the CR25 Ranch in Esparto, but remembered some of the roads from last month’s journey when Marlene road with me. The CR25 Ranch is located on the County Road 25!
I like getting out into fresh air and drive around the countryside. And, I’m lucky that this scenery is a little more than an hour away. This ranch is not as large as some of the others I’ve been to, but there was enough to keep me busy for 1 1/2 hours.
This horse was alone in a pasture. He was midway, but my Fuji camera with lens extended to the full 200 mm was able to capture him in focus. I cropped him in Lightroom. Here’s the result.
Here are some landscapes of the ranch, showing pastures and barns.
This ranch may have been small, but it did have its share of “ranch art!”
A few of the cows came down from mid-pasture to get some water. One of them stood out. Was he trying to stick his tongue out at me. Also, it was good that it wasn’t a frosty winter day or else that tongue would have stuck to the watering trough.
I’m enjoying the new camera and still learning more about its capabilities. It does more than I’ll ever use! Where will Yolo Arts take us this month?
I’m not fond of waking up in the dark to catch the golden hour in the morning or going to bed late in the summer to catch the evening blue and golden hours. So that leaves me mostly under the mid morning sun for most of my photo outings. No, I’m not going to post all my photos taken under the sun, just the ones that resonated with me when I read Amy’s challenge for the week.
There have been a few times when the timing was right on for me. One was at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. We caught the afternoon golden hour when the sun cast a beautiful glow on plants and animals. We were vacationing with my cousins in December 2016 . They are the couple walking out of the oasis.
The next set of images were taken during my favorite time of day, mid afternoon sun! (It’s not really!) My friend who lives in Sun City, Lincoln brought me to a tree where herons and egrets and other birds nested. I didn’t have my long lens with me, so I returned on my day to pick up my grandkids from school. My kids also live in Lincoln. Again, I seem to use the opportunity rather than make the opportunity! I’ve named this tree “The Nesting Tree,” and have brought other photo buddies to shoot there. Taken April, 2019, you can see the sun casting shadows on the birds bodies and feathers.
This last set was taken during a Yolo Art & Ag outing to Capay Valley Ranches in February, 2019. Every summer, Yolo Art invites artists and photographers to various ranches, farms and orchards to record country life. We were there mid morning (usually from 9 to 11 a.m.) Here, again, the sun created beautiful shadows.
While I may not get up before dawn, I still enjoy getting out in the sunshine. Thank you Amy for this great challenge.