Sunday, November 18, 2018

Immerse Yourself in Waterfowl (Plan Your Visit)

This late fall and through the winter is a great time to immerse yourself into the great waterfowl migration of California's Central Valley. Waterfowl and shorebirds of all types are drawn down from the Arctic, Alaska and Canada to feed and winter in the valley. One of the best places to do this is at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is the winter home to 600,000 to well over one million ducks and geese. The refuge is open seven days a week from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. There is a visitor center with small exhibits and a bookstore with hours from 9am to 4pm seven days a week November through February. The visitor center also has binoculars and field guides that can be checked out for a closer look at the birds. Starting at the visitor center there is also a 2 mile long wetland trail for car tired kids and adults to explore. The highlight of any trip to the refuge has to be the auto tour. The tour starts at the visitor center and it takes a circular six mile one way trip through the refuge with grasslands and ponds on both sides of the roadway along the way. Typical sights to see are large flocks of flying, resting and feeding waterfowl. You also have the chance to see many raptors, Redtail Hawks, Peregrine Falcons and Marsh Harriers. It is not uncommon to see shorebirds,Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Snowy Egrets. River Otter, beaver and Blacktail deer have been observed as well. You must remain in your car, but three stop and stretch spots are available for you to get out of your car; this includes one observation deck to get a grand view of the refuge. The best times to visit are early in the morning or late evening. The main refuge is located seventy miles north of Sacramento just off of I-5 between Maxwell and Willows. From either the north or the south take the Road 68 exit. Go north on HWY 99W (frontage road) for 1.7 miles, and turn right into the refuge. The day use fee is six dollars, or be in possession of a a current federal duck stamp. Federal duck stamps can be purchased beforehand at any United States Post Office, and they help support waterfowl all over the United States. So plan a trip to the refuge and immerse yourself in the migration. God's blessings upon your journeys, chris All images were created with either a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera or a Canon EOS T1i camera with a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

South to the Sonoma Coast

Halloween morning found me very early in the morning wandering around in the dark on the Sonoma Coast. The day before I had dropped off one of my family members for some surgery in Santa Rosa for what was supposed to be outpatient surgery. Good luck with that! Better to be safe and healthy than sorry. Rather than driving an hour and a half back to Willits and then driving an hour and a half back down to santa Rosa the next morning I opted for a cheap hotel in Bodega Bay only thirty five minutes away. The hotel was great and the next morning I wandered out to capture the sunrise by driving up Highway One to just north of Salmon Creek Beach for my first stop. At first I was literally setting the focus on my camera to infinity and composing in the dark by checking the resulting image on the camera back. I made some long exposures at high ISO wide open. Then as it got lighter and lighter I was able to see more of what was going on around me and I could compose using the view finder on the camera. I made several stops as I headed up north. I stopped at Wrights Beach, Zed Beach, Goat Rock and I finally crossed the Russian River and turned around at Lands End for the return trip down the coast and back into Santa Rosa. by then it was just after ten and the unhappy patient was begging to be picked up and brought home. Their surgery was a success and I was happy to get some beautiful images from the Sonoma Coast. All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera or a Canon EOS T1i camera. The two lenses I was usinf were a Canon 100-400 IS USMv.1 or a 6.5 mm ultra wide angle. #TeamCanon

Friday, November 16, 2018

Hidden Worlds Beneath Our Feet

This morning I set up a bowl of beach sand in the early morning light next to one of the sunny windows on the east side of our living room. Next I grabbed my tripod, trusty camera, a macro lens and a set of extension tubes. After setting up the camera I placed the bowl on a chair. Then I ran upstairs and picked up a piece of white foam core to bounce some light onto the sand. It's amazing how cool sand looks close up. There is an incredible world hidden right beneath our feet! This image was created with a Canon EOS T1i camera and a Tamron 180mm macro lens along with a a set of Kenko Extension tubes. It was supported by a Manfrotto Tripod with a Bogen ballhead. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F11.0 for 2 seconds. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fall Color Tour or Country Roads

Every year I try and take a fall color tour to the east of Willits, Ca. The route always starts off the same but then depending upon my whim the ending is usually different. I take the Hearst-Willits Rd up over Red Hill down through Rock Tree Valley. I then ford Tomki Creek. From here on it's anyones' guess as to where I'll go. This year I decided to follow Tomki Creek out to Tomki Rd and up over into Redwood Valley and then back out to Hwy 101. It was a beautiful drive with plenty of creek crossings and not a single vehicles in sight until I got close to Redwood Valley. I was glad to have a high clearance vehicle because at one creek crossing because the water was close to two feet deep. I don't think Lenore's little Mazda would have made it through that one. It was such a lovely drive. I look forward to another year. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera or a Canon EOS T!i camera. I had two lenses with me a Wide Angle and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 telephoto #TeamCanon

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Photographing Kiteboarders on Bodega Bay

This last week I was down on the Sonoma Coast for a couple of days. When I rounded the first corner on Highway 1 into Bodega Bay I could see kiteboarders racing across the bay close to Doran Beach on the bay side. I drove down to the beach and found a place to park. The conditions were perfect. It was high tide with small waves and there was a really stiff breeze blowing. The kiteboarders were really moving. I talked to one of the group on shore taking a break. He stated that it was quite unusual to have windy conditions like this so early in the year. He went on to say that they usually have to wait until early winter for conditions like this. This was the first time I have photographed the sport of kiteboarding and I really enjoyed it. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera and a Canon 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 L IS USM EF Mount v.1. #TeamCanon

Monday, October 29, 2018

Once Again Playing With Macro

This morning found me wandering around looking for macro subjects. I'm still getting comfortable in using my new Tamron SP DI 180mm Macro lens and testing out what it can do. My first subject was a wasp nest from the underside of our picnic table. No wonder we had so many wasps on our deck this summer. It's a wonder we never got stung while eating there! My second subject was a fish fossil that I received as a gift when I was a young lad. It's from some fossil beds somewhere in Wyoming. I was really pleased with the sharpness of these images as they were hand held and braced.I'm quite pleased to add this lens as another tool to add to my photography. God's blessings upon your week, chris Both images were created with a Canon EOS T1i camera and a Tamron 180mm SP DI Macro lens. The camera settings varied but I was shooting in AV mode at and ISO of 800.#TeamCanon,#WithMyTamron

Monday, October 22, 2018

By the Old Watering Hole

For the past couple of weeks I have been periodically going out and sitting next to the pond in the yard. It's a great spot for photographing the birds and squirrels that have been coming for drinks and to bathe. Sometimes there can be some really long waits between subjects. It requires a lot of patience. Here is part of a sequence of a Dark Eyed Junco that stopped by. When it first arrived it sat on the bank for quite some time before tentatively stepping forward to take a drink. Then it very slowly moved into the water. Once it got into the water it really got into it by diving under and splashing with its wings. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX speedlight. #TeamCanon