“Dreams are like stars…

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

…you might never touch them but if you follow them, they will take you to your destiny.”~anon

Dreams are like stars...

This is a 19 frame composited image.  We had a fairly clear night the first night of my Wild Mustangs trip so I set up outside my tent to photograph the stars.

Funny story. I was doing my test shot and my frame came out completely black…set up another one same damn thing! Now, I’m mumbling to myself and asking myself why is it all black, my friend Dan who also went on the trip said from his tent,” you left the lens cap on”.  Doh!!

Connie another camper was chuckling in her tent.  It happens even to the ole timer’s.

I cleaned up several airplane trails that were in the frames, but I was tickled to see I caught a Shooting Star on film down near the mountain ridge. See it?

I hope you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| SanDisk Digital Film| Stacked in PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

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Wild Weds. 25/52 Family moments

Copyright ©Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out in the meadow observing the Wild Mustangs, and waiting for something to happen…because mostly all that horses do is eat! I happened to see this little family scene.

Family Unit

The horse on the far right wasn’t impressed so walked away and must have gestured or said something to the other adult because it started to get up…

Mare and Foal

Then I heard the rumble of horses hooves to my left and turned my camera to find it and saw this-

Get off my Dung Heap!

I missed what started it, but it was a mare, or a dung heap I’m guessing.  I learned a few things about Horse Behavior on this trip.  Stallions will fight over a pile of dung…their version of King of the Hill.

The Hazelnut brown horse chased the dark one all the way to the other side of the group.  Then all was calm again, and they went back to eating.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 24/52 Wild Mustangs of Adobe Valley Pt 1

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m back safely from my trip to Adobe Valley to track, see, and photograph Wild Mustangs!

It was a fantastic trip.  We stayed in two camps; a lower one the first night then we rode for 6 hours up to the upper camp in the high country.

Here’s a look at the kitchen and some of the other photographers. We were assembling for a walk out to the herd of Wild Mustangs that were in a huge meadow a mile and half from camp. The kitchen/hangout is on the far right under the tarp like tent.  Penny our cook had quite a camp kitchen set up.   The paddock the horses and mules were in are just to the right of that out of the frame.

Happily, I can report there wasn’t a hot dog, or hamburger to be found on the menu!

The food was awesome. I wanted to bring Penny home.

We had BBQ chicken, corn puddin, and fresh fruits, Stuffed Pork Chops, fresh mixed salad, homemade applesauce gravy, and summer squash sauté just right, and steak, baked beans, corn, and anything left over from the night before was set out to be eaten.

Breakfasts were hearty and kept us going until our lunch stop along the trail.

We had sausage and egg  comme Mcmuffins, steel cut oatmeal with all sorts of topping choices; raisins, brown sugar, syrup, nuts, fresh strawberries, and bacon, and French toast.

Snacks and lunches we made and packed for the ride each morning. We had turkey, or ham, or roast beef and assorted cheeses, chips, nuts, cookies, and fruit.

Snacks were nuts, dried and fresh fruit, chips, dips, OH, and desserts! Fresh baked berry pie, carrot cake, and oh, I forgot what we had the last night already!  I should have wrote it down. Penny made the cake in a dutch oven on the grill, actually most the meals were made via her huge Dutch Ovens.

We didn’t go hungry!

 

Lower Camp Adobe Valley

I’ll show you some of the camp. My tent, and others.  That cabin is deserted. A rancher lived there once. They told us it’s about 150 yrs. old.  The horse paddock was made of stone fencing instead of wood.  That’s one way to clear the rocks.

Cowboy/Wrangler Patrick setting up my tent.  The pack company provided tents, the cook, wranglers, horses, and tack.  We had to bring our own sleeping bag, and sleeping pad that was weighed in as part of our 40 pound dunnage limit. Patrick setting up my tent

Tents set up at Lower Camp

Do you want to see the Privy? Inside there is a box with a lid. Open the lid to find a hole cutout. It was just a hole dug out of the dirt under that box.  It wasn’t bad.  I don’t see a ziplock bag with toilet paper clipped to the tarp so someone is using it at the time I took this image.  That was the signal. 😊😊

In the upper camp we had two of these privies, and two showers with hot water!

Lower Camp Privy

My trusty steed Tip. He’s a 25 year old Gelding. They told me he’s a mutt. A mix of Draft, and Thoroughbred? He’s a gentle, and easy going horse.  Up in the rocky lava strewn hillsides I would get a bit tense;especially going down. I tighten up his reins a lot, but he’d ask for me more, and I gave him the slack on the condition that he kept me on his back, and didn’t fall.  He stumbled a few times, but he has four legs, and rebounded quickly.  I learned to trust him pretty fast.  He kept me on his back every ride.

Tip

We didn’t find any Wild Mustangs in the high country, but it was fun to explore and ride despite that.  We rode all the way into Nevada!

I took a pair of He-Man’s cycling shorts with a nice gel pad, and lots of butt butter.  My butt was fine, my thighs, and knees on the other hand not so much.  Riding up and down mountains on horseback is a workout! My thighs are still sore.  I hate sage brush! We were riding single track trails between the brush and too often my stirrups or toe would get caught in it and it would pull my leg backwards.  My knees are so bruised.

That is my only complaint about the trip.  The bush is brutal! Nevertheless, if Ken will have me I’m doing this trip again next year.

Okay, I know you want to see some wild horses.  Here’s one of my favorite images.  Taken just as the sun was going down.

Wild Mustangs at Sunset

Aren’t they beautiful?  There were several foals, but only 3 Yearlings.  The mortality rate is awful.  Not many foals will survive because of the mountain lions. 😢

I have tons of images to share so I’ll be sharing for awhile. I hope you don’t get bored!

I’ll be catching up with your blogs!

Happy Wednesday!

Nikon D810 w/ 200-500mm, 20mm f/1.8G. and iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 23/52 White-tailed Kites

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On and off for a few weeks I’ve been going to over to a nearby park to photograph and check on a young family of White-tailed Kites.  The adults have two Fledglings.  They aren’t quite ready to be on their own yet.  Mom and Dad are still hunting, and bringing in food for them.

I had hoped to see a mid-air food transfer between parent and fledgling, but that didn’t happen. Mom dropped the food in the nest on this evening.

White-tailed Kite with Prey

Myself and several friends went back the following morning bright and early.

Here’s a look at the Fledglings in the nest:

White-tailed Kite Fledglings

The Fledglings have been flying around the big fields practicing their hovering, spying prey, and diving, but I don’t know that they’ve actually caught anything on their own yet.

I went back again this past Saturday hoping to see and photograph the mid-air food transfer. It happened, but I missed it! After the oldest fledgling left the nest and it didn’t look like anything would happen following it, I set my camera back on the smaller fledgling still in the nest thinking it would follow shortly as it had before, then I heard oooh’s, and ahhh’s to my right and looked just in time to see the transfer but didn’t get my camera on it in time.  I didn’t anticipate that. 😥

Here’s one of the Fledglings in flight on my last visit June 2, 2018:

White-tailed Kite Fledgling in Flight

I fear they’ll be own their own and kicked out of the territory when I return next week.  Mom and Dad have already set up another nest across the field from this set of Fledgling’s nest, and they’re making the fledglings wait for longer periods of time between feedings.

I’ll be offline by the time this post goes live. I’m leaving the house in He-Man’s, and #1 Grandson’s capable hands while I’ll be camping in the wilderness with a group of photographers. 12 of us plus guides, and a cook are going to be tracking by foot, and horseback Wild Mustangs.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this trip!

As I type my bags are nearly packed. I’m waffling on which wide angle lens to take, and worrying about staying within my dunnage weight limit of 40 pounds!

Wish me luck that I don’t get thrown from my horse, we find the team of Wild Mustangs, get loads of wonderful images made,  Hot Dogs don’t make an appearance on our dining menu.  Some of you know I don’t like Hot Dogs, and I don’t get so saddle sore I’m unable to ride.  I’m packing Butt Butter! ☺

I’ll catch up with you all when I get back.  Until then I hope you have a wonderful week, and stay safe!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year we had a pair of American Bald Eagles make a nest in a Redwood tree which is located in the front yard of an Elementary School right here in Silicon Valley. It was very exciting news.  We hoped they’d return this year. Not only did they return to their nest they’ve had two chicks!

Myself and several friends had made a couple of trips over to see and photograph them, 2 weeks ago we met there again.  When I pulled up there were many photographers there, and they were quickly changing positions, and pointing up, one friend already there motioned me to hurry.  There was something exciting happening.  I quickly parked, got out of the car then went to get my camera out of the back of my car. The Female was coming in and she had dinner!  I had to act fast she was flying low, fast, and being dogged by crows who squawked at her the whole time.

There was a row of trees blocking my view, so I ducked down, and sans tripod got her in my viewfinder and fired off three rapid shots then I lost her in the trees. Since I was hand-holding my 200-500mm lens  I wobble all over the place and my position of ducking and shooting wasn’t stable. I didn’t have much hope for having a decent shot. My rig weighs just a smidge under 8 pounds (4kg). I’ve never had any arm strength. 😥 Two of the images were nothing but a blurry blob in the frame, but one was worth saving for myself. It’s not print quality, but I thought I show you it anyway because you can tell what birds they are, and what’s happening.

Mama Eagle scored a whole duck for dinner. A whole duck! There were 3 crows dogging her, but I only got one in the frame with her. See the duck?

Milpitas Eagle Famale with Kill and Crow Chaser

Mama stayed near the nest watching the Eaglets eat for sometime, and the Eaglets would pop their heads up from time to time looking for their parents.

American Bald Eagle Chicks

Mama decided it was time for another flight.  I photographed her just as she left the branch she was on.  I love this shot! Her wings are enormous!  I barely fit all of her in my frame.

American Bald Eagle Adult Female

Dad was nearby on a branch higher up keeping watch, but after Mama left and the chicks were fed he thought it was safe for him to come down and clean off his beak.

He cleaned it by rubbing and wiping it on that branch.  Under his back end below the branch is the nest. You can just make out a chick in there.  Dad has lost all his beautiful white tail feathers!  I hope they grow back.

American Bald Eagle Adult Male

We stayed watching and photographing them until sundown when we lost the good light. I have more images I want to share of the adults, but again I’ll wait for a rainy day, by then I may a few of the Chicks as Fledglings.

Pets Update:  I finally took a photo of Box, and someone cough! (Dan) reminded me that I haven’t shared a photo of Diva Dog in sometime.  Imagonna fix that for ya. 🙂 I had Yosemite Sam pop into my head when I heard that last sentence in my head. 😜

Box is still shy:  He loves to hide in the back corners, and he loves his hay bag. I got him at a good time munching on hay.

Box the Guinea Pig

 

…and for Dan, Diva Dog- Yesterday was in the 80’s and today is supposed to be 89°F.  Early summer?  When it’s hot she likes to lay on the cool wood floor in the entry hall, or on our bathroom floor’s Travertine tiles.  She wouldn’t pose for me. Too hot! I’m sorry you can’t see her cute neckerchief.

Diva Dog Staying Cool

It’s supposed to cool down mid week. I hope you’re not too hot or cold,  and I hope you’re all having a good week, and great day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 21/52 Osprey Family

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The day after Mother’s Day Gordon of undiscoveredimagesamongstus blog was the navigator for an excursion to see an Osprey nest that is currently inhabited with a family of 4.

We had some great sightings of the Female, Male, and little peeks at the chicks.  The morning was overcast, but during lunch the sun broke through the marine layer giving us some blue sky.

The Male was busy in the morning with chores; bringing in new nesting material.

Osprey Male with Nesting Material

Heading out again…

Opresy leaving the Nest

a peek at the chicks!

Osprey with Chicks in the Nest

Osprey and Chicks_DMZ7350

Osprey Facts:

COMMON NAME: Osprey

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pandion haliaetus

TYPE: Birds

DIET: Carnivores

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 30 years

SIZE: Body, 21 to 23 in; wingspan, 5 to 6 ft

WEIGHT: 3.1 to 4.4 lbs

They are fantastic fishers. Their diet is 99% fish, so you’ll find them on rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal waterways around the world.

Ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.~https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/o/osprey/

I didn’t get to see the aerial show Gordon and our friend Dan saw on Saturday, but I can’t complain. It was amazing see these fly to and from the nest, and get a bonus peek at the chicks.

We saw some other birds too, but I’ll save those for a rainy day. 🙂

He-Man was seated on a jury today so, I’ll be missing him for the next few days.  Funny that. When he first started telecommuting I wasn’t happy about it. Having him in my space all day; UGH!  I’ve had to adjust. It’s been a few years now and I’ve grown to appreciate him being here.

The Guinea Pig; Box, is settling in and he and Diva Dog are getting used to each other.  Box and she are communicating I think.  Diva Dog chuffs, and wags her tail like crazy when she’s inspecting Box, and his habitat, and Box chirps, and whistles and is really excited to see her after her walks.

Box is standing still in his habitat when I put my hand in to pet him now, so we’re making progress too. I’ll get some images of him to share soon.  He’s a cute little calico Guinea pig.

I hope your week is going well!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| f/8| ISO 800| SanDisk Digital Film

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 20/52 Deep Greens and Blues are the Colors I Choose

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Saturday I went birding locally in the morning hoping to see a Lazuli Bunting. They’re only here in the Spring and I heard they were spotted in a place I’d seen one four years ago.  It was a stellar morning of birding! Not only did I get a brief look at the Lazuli Bunting, but I also saw lots of Violet-green Swallows. 🙂

Both birds have amazing colors.

Lazuli Bunting Male-  He’s song bird.

Lazuli Bunting

Violet-green Swallow Male

Violet-green Swallow

…and I got the “look” from a White-tailed Kite while she was hunting. You know how much I like them. My favorite of the Birds of Prey.  I like to think she was wishing me a Happy Birthday. 🙂

White-tailed Kite

I had a birdy long week-end that included some hiking/walking . Saturday I hiked just a smidge over a mile half of it was uphill and the beginning was steep.  Monday I hiked a bit over 2 miles, and Tuesday afternoon I hiked just over 4 miles.  He-Man and I hiked a trail we hadn’t hiked in a couple of years. It was good to get out and really stretch our legs.  Mind you, I feel so out of shape since having the flu and not doing much hiking since. I’m glad I made the loop up and down! I had doubts about being able to make it up to the second trail-head to make the loop. A couple of spots are steep. On two of the hikes I had some elevation gain which I like.  I like uphill for the first leg…more payoff for the exertion, and the reward is the downhill on the way back.  However, what I find is that there is uphill on both ends! I’m usually tired by the time I reach the upper elevation, and it’s work to get up those uphills on the way back.  I’m always so thankful I completed the hike, and if I carried my Garmin tracker seeing the stats always makes those uphills on the way back more rewarding.  I was tired and needed some extra Yoga stretches to ward off being really sore Wednesday, but I kept thinking “maybe I’ll get my groove back, and hike a couple times a week again.”

One can hope! 🙂

I hope you all are having a good week!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| San Disk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…