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Category Archives: Landscapes

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon is having a sale or instant rebates going on right now. Several of the high end Prosumer Cameras are in this sale. Some are bundled with lenses, and all come with some freebies to sweeten the deal.  Nikon comes out with new cameras every 2-4 yrs.  It normally is 2+ years, but there are sometimes set backs which push out the dates.

I jumped on the sale and picked up a Nikon D810. The tech inside the camera is 3 yrs old so, I’m sure there’s some kinda wonderful new camera coming down the pipe later this year, but for me this camera is a huge jump up in tech. It will replace my 6+ year old D700.  There’s still a lot of life left in the D700, but she has been my wildlife camera since my D300s’ auto focus motor went out.

It wasn’t worth the price to fix the D300s so, the D700 is what I have been using.  It has 12.3 MP and cropping in on little birds has been limited.  Stepping up the D810 with its 36MP I’ll have room to crop heavily and not lose resolution, and for landscapes, macro, and studio work the images will contain all sorts of lovely details that will be wonderful when making big prints.

As you might imagine I’ve been photographing things with the new camera testing it out since it arrived on Tuesday. I’ve been tweaking it; getting the buttons and dials, and features set up the way I like them.  Here’s a look at some of what I’ve been photographing last week.

Thursday night’s sunset at Lake Vasona. Nikon D810 + 50mm f/1.8G

High Pass resize Vasona Dusk

I spent all day shooting with friends on Saturday at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and other venues.  The garden was awash in color! Nikon D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Fill the Frame

3 Garden Arches D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

3 Arched Trellis'

A Bird of Paradise in the Garden at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Bird of Paradise

…and Mother’s Day Sunset at Lake Vasona using the 35mm f/1.8G lens my children gave me for my Birthday/Mother’s Day.  I’ve have wanted this lens since it came out several years ago. I sold my old 35mm f/2D lens about the time this lens came out with the intention of buying the new lens, but I never did

get one. There was always something else that I needed to have so couldn’t afford it.  I am thrilled and so blessed to have been gifted this lens. D810 + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G micro

Vasona Lake Sunset Mother's Day

I really love how quiet the shutter is on the camera, and it’s a bit lighter than my D700. The grip is deeper which is nice when holding it, and the buttons are laid out perfectly for my hands.  A couple of buttons have been moved to new places on this camera and I’m getting used to that, but overall I’m really happy with this purchase. I think it’s going to be a pretty great all-around camera which will give my trusty Df a break, and retire my D700.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/1.8G & 50mm f/1.8G | Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

He-Man and I spent a long week-end visiting my son Big Baby Boy and his fiancé the Dark Haired Beauty down in Southern California.  They moved to a new apartment just before Christmas and one town over to San Clemente and we were looking forward to seeing the area, and their apartment.

The area is gorgeous, and their apartment and complex are really nice. They’re happy and we won’t worry about them anymore than normal which is a blessing!

On Saturday afternoon the Dark Haired Beauty and I spent an hour getting our nails done after we had a full, rich breakfast with the guys, and a walk around Dana Point Harbor.

We had a super rich dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse, and hoped to hike on Sunday morning but, we woke up to a rainy day.  There was a break in the rain late Sunday afternoon so we high-tailed it to the Cristianitos Trail which is right in their neighborhood.  From the trail-head to San Clemente Summit is only 1.4 miles. I stopped to take some photos on the way up.

Spring is in bloom there! I was so surprised to see Lupine this early in full bloom along the trail.

Lupine

There were huge bushes of Pride of Madeira with new buds.  I’d love to go back when they’re in full flower in a few weeks, but know that’s highly unlikely.

pride-of-madeira

The southeasternish view.  There are sandbags all over the trail to help keep it from eroding from rain runoff. The clouds were pretty great.

cristianitos-trail_dmz9261

I stopped to catch the sun just before it dipped below the mountains.

the-view-west-from-cristianitos-trail

From here we made the final push up the hill to the summit.  The clouds blocked the sun so there was no color. The image is boring so I won’t share it. We hiked down in near darkness. Fortunately, I brought along my headlamp.

May I present Battle Cat. Big Baby Boy’s and Dark Haired Beauty’s Maine Coon.

Battle Cat

He’s a little over a year old, and still has a few more years  before he’s full grown. I didn’t realize this breed can get so BIG!

It took him a full day to approach me.  I pretty much ignored him hoping that might bring him around. Once he figured I was okay he followed me everywhere, and slept with me for a few hours Sunday night. 🙂  He’s so soft, and cute. I wonder how big he’ll be the next time I see him?

 

I’m terribly behind reading blogs again. I’ll be catching up! Rain is forecast for Sunday. I’m sure to make headway then. 🙂

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

…in a puddle.

We’ve been enjoying a fair amount of rain in Northern California of late. So much so that Northern California has been declared officially out of the drought!  The reservoirs are full and spilling over, and the aquifers are filling up. WHOOO-HOO!

Last week-end I had signed up to join one of my Meet-Up groups at a National Wildlife Refuge to do some birding. Thankfully the weather was partially cloudy and no rain was in the forecast.  Gordon who some of you know from Thursday Doors lives just north of me an hour or so was also going and has caught the Birding Bug…it’s addicting! Just sayin. We talked/emailed ahead of time and after hearing my plan to get an early start and visit another refuge, and stop for lunch at my favorite burger joint in Merced before meeting the group he decided to join me.

Gordon picked me up at 6:3o ish in the morning and we headed south down to Hwy 152…Pacheco Pass.  Famous for gnarly accidents, and its beautiful rolling hill scenery.

It’s a two lane highway/pass that gets far more traffic than anyone foresaw way back in the day when highways were being constructed.  Just outside of Gilroy, CA…the Garlic Capitol of the USA are vast fields that used to be used for flowers, and garlic. Today they’re used for garlic, flowers, pastures, and ….fields.

After rain…heavy rain there are pretty good sized puddles, and fog out in the countryside, and while Gordon and I were driving to Merced we saw both our dreaded Tulle fog, and puddles. There was a vineyard and hills with fog that we loved so we pulled over to photograph what we saw, but the sun was rising just then and by the time we got our gear set up the fog had retreated to the farthest trees. Isn’t it annoying how fast the fog, sun, and moon disappear when you break out the camera gear! Seriously!

While Gordon was photographing the vineyard across the road and the field we parked in I was interested in photographing the setting Moon above the fog and hills. I found a big puddle with the reflected Moon in it and thought, ” this is where I’ll make my composition.”.  This is the resulting image.

Mist, Moonset, Puddle, Reflection

By Spring I’m hoping the powers at be will relax the stringent conservation rules and relax them a bit since we’re going to have a surplus for a while up here in the north. Southern California hasn’t seen enough rain to break through the drought yet, but by Spring when the snow melts I hope they do. There’s a lot of snow in the mountains and I’m hearing it has good water content.

I’ve lived in California since I was 1 yr old. My Mom wanted out of the south and live in a warmer climate with fewer bugs.  Thank you Mom! 🙂  She did all she could to get my Father to get a commission in CA.  He was in the Marines then.

This is the 4th severe drought I’ve lived through. Severe meaning putting buckets in the shower, and bathtub to catch all the running water while it’s heating up to do dishes, and water plants, taking a ten minute or less shower. I hate that! I love a HOT, LONG shower! We gave up watering the back lawn all together and only watered the front lawn twice a week for 10 minutes, and severely cut the amount of lawn and plants we have outside due to the severe drought, the cost of water to maintain them was too dear, and the worst is not flushing every time. The motto in a drought is: ” Let the yellow mellow, and flush the brown down”.  That’s the reality at my house during drought years.

I’m so happy the drought is over!  I hope prices of water will come down soon, but I’ll continue to conserve and not waste too much water because I know it’s only a matter of time before Mother Nature and weather here in California go into another long drought cycle.  It’s California, a very arid and drought prone state. I fully anticipate a 5th severe drought in my lifetime.  Long sigh. Earthquakes and droughts…long droughts. You really don’t want to move here.

I hope the Northeast and other parts of the country get enough rain, and snow with good water content to break their drought too.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

As we approach the end of 2016  I’m looking back on the year’s images; seeing which were the most liked by others, which images I love, which techniques failed,  or succeeded, and falling in love all over again with the places I’ve visited, and the people I met during the last year.

I made thousands of images in 2016 whittling them down to just 10 isn’t easy when I love so many, and divorcing myself from the emotional aspects of making the images and being purely objective is hard!

While going through my images I also took a look at my 2016 Top Ten most viewed images over at my Flickr site. Since those are easier to get to I thought I’d share those images with you again this year.  Most of these you’ve seen before if you’ve been following my blog this year. Voici!

1) Sunset Martin's Beach Half Moon Bay

2)Horsetail Fall 2016

3)Dawn in Manhattan

 

4)

5)Radio City Music Hall

6)Allen's Hummingbird Male

7)Swanson Creek Cascade

8)eyelashes-to-die-for_dmz1066

9)Anna's Hummingbird Female perched on a branch

10)Vermillion Flycatcher

Voila! The Top 10 2016 Most Viewed Images on my Flickr site.

I’ve whittled  down my favorites of the year down to 35. Getting that number down to 10-15 is my next task and I’ll share those images soon!

I hope those that celebrate Christmas had a lovely Holiday, and those celebrating Hanukkah are having a great one so far, and I hope we all have a fantastic week!

More to come…

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

After a day of birding my friends and I closed the day watching the sun dip behind the mountains from the far side of a pond. It was lovely.

Sunset Blues

Nikon Df| Nikkor 17-35mm @35mm| Delkin Digital Film| Tripod| PS CC 2017 & LR CC

More to come…

 

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Long overdue for a cell phone upgrade I ordered the iPhone 7 Plus after watching the promotion video, and several youtube reviews.  My ship date was way out Nov. 7-11th. Sigh. Oh boy, this phone is popular I thought.

To my delight I received an email saying my new iPhone 7 Plus was shipped I’d have it the following day!  I received it Thursday late afternoon, and began the process of updating my iTunes, backing up my iPhone 5’s data, images, etc., then followed the steps to get my new phone up and running.  It took a long time, and it wasn’t without a few glitches, but I was able to take it with me to the Eastern Sierras for the week-end to try it out while I was photographing Fall Colors with a group of photographers, and friends.

I was really excited to try out the dual lenses in the new iPhone.

Here are three images I made using it.

Mono (moh-noh) Lake South Tufa Area Daybreak.   Tufa is pronounced (too-fah).

On the top two images I used Adobe Camera Raw after uploading the images to my computer. I applied my standard settings:  I opened up the shadows, and tweaked the blacks, and highlights. Then I added a bit of contrast, vibrance, and cropped off bits that didn’t add anything to the image or to strengthen the composition. I added sharpening for the web and resized them for web viewing.

South Tufas Mono Lake

Conway Summit Alpine Glow (Sunrise)

Conway Summit Morning Alpine Glow

North Lake: This image is SOC = Straight out of the camera aside from resizing for the web, and cropping off a bit at the top. North Lake

+1 MORE: I packed lite, really I DID!

Packing Lite

The camera won’t replace my DSLR, but I’m impressed with it and will probably start using my phone camera more than I have been.  I wonder if my FZ200 will be the camera that gets shelved for this camera though?

I have oodles of images I made over the week-end made with my trusty Df. I’ll be sharing those soon.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus| Adobe Camera Raw| PS CC 2015.5

More to come…

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

An evening on the lake from my Grebe trip earlier this month.

Clear Lake

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8g| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

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