Wild Weds. 42/52 Withered and Tattered

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Normally we see gorgeous, perfect Monarch butterflies being shown on blogs, and photo sharing sites, but there’s another side of their lives that shows us just how amazing and remarkable these insects are in addition to beautiful.

This Adult Male Monarch Butterfly has survived the wind, rain, and maybe snow. It probably avoided predators along its arduous migration, and perhaps it lost some of its wings being snagged on thorns.

Monarch Butterfly-Male

The average lifecycle of a Monarch Butterfly is 6-8 weeks.  From the egg stage, then the catepillar stage, to the chrysalis stage is only 27-28 days. At 28 days the Monarch Butterfly emerges from its cocoon a fully grown monarch and lives 2-6 weeks.  That’s remarkable!  From that point its whole raison d’être is to mate so there will be eggs to lay so there will be the next generation of monarch butterflies.

I love how clever he is by landing here on this withered and tattered Showy Daisy-like flowers. He’s trying to blend in I believe.

I made this image in May in Santa Clara County. It’s back to my archives this week because I have been outside my box, and doing a bit of portraiture the last two week-ends.  Two weeks ago a girl-friend and I teamed up to do a Maternity Session for some dear friends, and I’ve been working on those images, and this past Sunday afternoon I did a Wedding Invitation/Save the Date session for Baby Girl, and the Handsome Surveyor.

I can’t show any images from the Maternity Session as the couple hasn’t seen them, and I don’t have their permission to share yet, but Baby Girl and The Handsome Surveyor said it would be alright to share one image; one that won’t be used on the invitation.

People photography really isn’t my thing, and retouching even less so, but I do like this image.  Of course, I am just a wee bit biased. 😃  I will probably go back and tweak this image after I get the Maternity Set done for my friends, and Baby Girl’s wedding invitation image done.  I’m not used to working on the clock so to speak, so I’m feeling the pressure!

Haakma Zajac Session 04

I hope your week is going well, and you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| top image shot w/ Nikkor 200-500mm| bottom image shot w/ Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens at f/5.6| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

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Wild Wednesday 40/52 Green

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve been absent from the blog and reading blogs for more than a week because I was in Florida visiting my Mom and Step-Father, and touring around the state.  I haven’t even downloaded the images I made while on the trip yet.

We visited Epcot which was a first for me, then St. Augustine, and Tarpon Springs’ Sponge Docks; the Sponge Capitol of the US,  which is also it’s Greek community.  It was a good, but very hot trip.  It was the hottest September on record.   I hope there are a few good images to share.

Today I’m sharing an image I made of what I think is a Cabbage White Butterfly while walking around UC Davis Arboretum in July of this year.

White Cabbage Butterfly ?

I am always behind these days, but I’ll be catching up with your blogs soon.

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

more to come…

Wild Weds. 11/52 En Media Res

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went hiking both Saturday and Sunday hoping to find something interesting in nature as well as stretch my legs, but I hoped to see wildflowers. Saturday I saw flowering trees looking lush and pink in their full bloom and not much else in the way of flowers. I did see a pair of Does resting in the grass near the creek at the bottom of the trail.  I really do think Deer are my Spirit Animal.  He-Man and I stuck to the wooded area trails and did the steep switchbacks to gain some elevation.  We hiked over 2 miles and gained approx. 500ft in elevation.  I also rode the Fit Desk for 4 miles on Saturday which did not burn off nearly enough calories! 😦

On Sunday I proposed a different route that would take us along meadow and grassy trails, but still be hiking uphill, and if I didn’t run out of steam I’d even go up the wall.  Our mileage wouldn’t much  over two miles, but the elevation gain would be close to 600 ft having to go uphill to the top of the mountain/hill then down to the valley and back up the steep hill, and WALL then down the back hill to the car.

I saw several wildflowers in  bloom, there were fiddle necks, Hounds Tooth, Pacific Pea; Lupine; and a few others, but the best came when hiking up the hill leading to the WALL.

He-Man was well ahead of me because I kept stopping to photograph flowers, new pine-cone buds, a lizard in camouflage or so it thought,  so I was making tracks trying to catch up before he hit the WALL- which is the last section of this hill, but it’s nearly vertical.  I’m not kidding it’s really steep.  The grade must be 9 or 10%. Everyone calls it the Wall.  Thankfully it’s fairly short from there to the top.

Anyway, I was looking high, low, and sideways for flowers, birds, insects, etc, and in a thicket of dry and dead thistle or teasel I spied something like leaves, and kept going up the hill a few steps then my brain said, ” uh, no there shouldn’t be leaves  like that on those, back up!” So, I did and look what I saw when I really looked at it!  A pair of Silvery Blue Butterflies en Media Res!

Silvery Gray Butterflies en Media Res 2

 

I have never seen this type of Butterfly before and never in this position! I was so thrilled and excited; doing my happy dance!

The Silvery Blue is in the Gossamer-Wing Family.  Its habitat is varied but, not in deserts, but there is an exception as they are found in the Mohave Desert.  They are found where there are Lupine, Pea family, and Vetches. All of which were present when I saw these two.  Their season here is Feb- Aug.

He-Man missed it completely. 😦  I was tired and running out  of gas so took the cutoff right before the wall so, gained a little more mileage, but a wee bit less elevation. Next week I’ll take my hiking poles and claim the Wall again! 🙂

I was so grateful to have seen this. I’m still Wowed by it!

I’ll share some of the wildflowers in future posts.

Happy Hump Day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm @f/5.6| ISO 400| 1/1250s| Handheld

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 15/52 “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –” Gerard Manley Hopkins

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring —

Nikon Df| Nikkor 105mm micro lens| Delkin Digital Film| PSCC 2017 & On1

More to come…

Plan B is for the Birds

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

My original Photography plans for last week-end fell apart mid-week when one of the friends I was going with fell ill.  Rather than go anyway which didn’t sit well with me or my friend Theresa we two switched gears and decided to go birding in the Central Valley to see what birds if any had arrived early.

I had read a few reports of early migrants in the area; we hoped to find one or two, and spend some time catching up with each other.

I left for T’s house early (6:30am) so we’d get to the Refuge in the morning when the birds are more active.

We found the first pond completely sans water. Fish and Wildlife have just started filling the ponds we discovered. Many of the ponds we’re used to seeing full of water were bone dry, but it is early in the season!

Just as we were starting the auto-route we spied a Doe and her Fawn in the tall grass. I didn’t get an image of them together. Mom decided her male Fawn was too close to the road and moved to higher grass.  Honestly, I think she looks young!

Doe  Deer Female

The Fawn has two little adorable antler nubs.Fawn Male

Early arrivals: There were quite a few White-fronted Geese on the little islands in the ponds that had water.

White-fronted Goose

Northern Pintails, and Shovelers are showing up, but I didn’t make any images of the Shovelers they were too far out. You see a Northern Pintail in image above giving me a one wing salute. 🙂

Among the usual suspects here were thousands of Dragonflies,

Dragon Fly

Pied-billed Grebes

Pied-billed Grebe

Night Herons; most were deep in the foliage, but one was on Sentry duty,

Night Heron

We saw a female Harrier flying low in the distance hunting, a few Red-tail Hawks, and as we approached the tree the Bald Eagles hang out in there we saw there was a Peregrine Falcon perched on a snag surveying the land.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Once the Eagles return I doubt we’ll be seeing this Falcon in this tree. 🙂

Plan B turned out to be a great day, and it was lovely  hanging out with Theresa. You can find her images on flickr here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiery Skipper & Gear Review

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m renting a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR lens for a week to see if I like it well enough to replace my older 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D Micro lens. I sat in the backyard hoping the Skipper would show up so I could see how the lens handles close up imaging with my Canon 500D Close Up lens attached to it.

 

I really would like 24mm on the wide end, and having a little more reach couldn’t hurt.

I’ve shot less than 200 frames since picking up the lens late Friday afternoon; so far I am liking what I’m seeing.
It’s sharp, contrasty, auto-focuses quickly, and is pretty quiet. I don’t hear or feel VR (Nikon’s lens stablization) kicking in, but it must work b/c I was able to snap off a throw away low light shot made in my living room at 1/13s hand held and it’s pretty good…in focus and not blurry!

Fiery Skipper

It’s easy to carry. It weighs 1.56 pounds which is just a tick under my 17-35mm so,  the weight feels natural to me.  What I’m trying to say is; I’m comfortable holding it and my camera. There’s not much difference weight wise between having the 28-105 or this lens on the camera to me.

One bête noire is the focus ring on this rental lens is SUPER hard to turn. Doing photography in the dark means one needs to be able to focus manually. While photographing the Moon and planet conjunctions both Friday and Saturday nights it wasn’t easy rotating the focus ring with this copy of the lens. I’m hoping it’s just this rental unit and not a characteristic of the lens.  The rental copy has been well used. I can tell that because the gold lettering stating the lens specs is just about worn off, and the focus ring is a pain to use.

I haven’t uploaded last night’s images yet, but hope I was able to dial in a well focused shot.  I’ll be posting those images soon.

Fiery Skipper on Lantana

You won’t get graphs, charts, and scientific testing with my reviews. I’m all about how the lens feels, works in my hands, and how good or bad the images look. I’ll be printing several images as well as pixel peeping on my PC to see how well they look.

My kit this week will be Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR

Canon 500D Close Up lens

B+W Polarizer

2 Singh-Ray Graduated Filters

2 B+W Neutral Density Filters

SB910 Speedlight

Cable Release

Either my Nikkor 20mm f1.8G or my 16mm f/2.8D Fisheye for ultra wide angle photography.

Iphone 5

Both images made with the Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-120mm f4G VR| Canon 500D Close Up lens|Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

FWIW: I’ll be off line most of this week. I’m still behind reading posts, and will get further behind this week! I’m getting some posts ready in advance and scheduled, but won’t be able to comment or view posts easily.  Y’all have a great week! I’ll catch up when I get back. xx

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insects of Point Reyes National Seashore

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had pretty good luck spotting insects while hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore last week-end.  I saw Butterflies, Beetles, and Grubs. Here’s a sampler. 🙂

I’m pretty sure this is a Skipper, but I can’t find anything that looks exactly like it in my books, or online so, don’t know what it is.  I found it in Point Reyes National Seashore last week-end; July 9,2016.  Anyone know what it is and what it is called?

Unknown Skipper or Butterfly?

Other insects I found while exploring different areas of the park were:

A ladybug, one of several I saw…

Copyright ©2016  Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

a green and black beetle called a Spotted Cucumber Beetle,

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

who was pretty hungry,

Spotted Cumcumber Bettle

…a Common Buckeye Butterfly

Common Buckeye Butterfly

…and a grub or grasshopper served a la carte to a White Crown Sparrow that is banded. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a banded sparrow.

Banded White Crown Sparrow

Nikon Df w/28-105mm lens and Delkin Digital Film, and  Lumix FZ200 w/ Lexar Digital Film- Hand-held

More to come…