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…


Wild Weds. 7/52 Wild 4 You!

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For Valentine’s Day. “)

Wild 4 YOU

I composed and shot this image back in 2014.   Since I hadn’t thought of anything else to compose for today I thought why not publish it for Wild Wednesday?

I did change what the Sweetheart said to fit both of today’s themes using Photoshop CC.  Here’s a quick run down on how I did that in case you’d like to know how I did it.

Firstly, I created a new layer then I grabbed the spot removal tool and erased what the Sweetheart said.

Next, I grabbed the Horizontal Text Tool and switched my paint/text color to bright pink, changed the font size to 6pt I think it was then I typed the first line WILD. Then I summoned the Free Transform Tool to turn the text to the right direction, then summoning the move tool I moved it into place.

I did that two more times for the number 4, and word YOU!. Then I saved the whole thing as a PSD file.  After that I added a new layer and cleaned up a few specular highlights on the ceramic figures then I merged the layers, resized it for the web, added my watermark, and saved it as a JPEG.

There is more than one to change the word on something like this, and probably an easier way too, but that’s how I did it. 🙂

I hope you all have a sweet day!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 105mm| Lexar Digital Film| Continuous Lights right and left with light modifiers| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 6/52 Fungi

© 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While hiking to stretch my legs I spied two different types of Wild Mushrooms.

I have no idea what their names are. Since I have no knowledge of which ones are harmless ~vs~ those that are deadly I have a healthy respect fear of them in the wild.

Aside from photographing them that is.  They make wonderful subjects for macro/close up imagery.

I think these are in the Shelf Mushroom family. I liked the big one on top that looks like a fan.  The stripes had a greenish/gray hue that I liked.  I spied them growing on a fallen log just off trail.

Shelf Mushrooms

These  Brown ones below were growing under Valley Oaks among the fallen leaves and twigs.  I laid down on my stomach to see if I could spy any Fairy Folk, but they must have known I would do that and scattered among the leaves and debris. Sadly, I didn’t spy one. Not one! 😦

Wild Brown Mushrooms

I was hiking with a new lens.  I’ve longed for a replacement lens for my very old 28-105mm Nikkor lens.  Nikon replaced the 28-105mm with an AF-S 24-120mm f/4 VR lens in 2003. That version doesn’t get good reviews . I didn’t upgrade to that one since my old 28-105mm was better.

In 2010 Nikon improved the  Af-S 24-120mm f/4 VR adding VR II, better lens coatings, and some other things so it’s sharper at the wide end, and the long end: that version is still sold new today.  It’s well liked, at least a lot better than the first version was.  It’s the lens I replaced my 28-105mm with.  I’ve had it now about a month, and I like it. I’ve wanted a lens a bit wider, and longer for a long time for a walk-around/hiking lens.  My lens as you can imagine is old. Nikon hasn’t supported it for a long time now so should it break finding parts is going to be really hard, and finding somewhere to fix it might prove just as hard.  Replacing it has been on my mind for several years.

Just after the Holidays Nikon  had a sale on their Refurbished lenses and the AF-S 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR II was on the list.  The price was right…  so, after stalling and/or balking on the purchase for several years I finally pushed the “buy” button.

Early impressions are good.  I think I’m going to be able to live with this lens for many years.  At least as many as I have the old 28-105mm lens.

Of course cameras improve with every new version released which can make the lenses of yesterday and today redundant in resolving power.  Which is what I faced with my 28-105mm. It isn’t as sharp on my Df as it was my D700. When I upgraded the D700 to the D810 which has 36 mega pixels ~vs~ 12mp I was afraid my old lenses wouldn’t resolve on it well.   Reviews since have proven that. 🙂 I haven’t even tried my old 28-105mm on it since it’s not quite as sharp on the Df at 16.2 MP.  I’m keeping it to use on my Df though. Just a little added sharpening and contrast is all it needs on that camera.  I LOVE my Df. I think I should have just bought another one of those, but that’s another post.

Too much gear talk?  I’m wild about gear. I could talk about it all day…well not all day, but for a good while! 🙂  Anyway, because I was testing out the lens at this stage I wasn’t carrying my Canon 500D Close-Up lens, or a macro lens. I wanted to see just how close I could focus with this lens, and find out how the images look.

They’re not bad. If I had carried my tripod they probably would be better, but since it was quick “stretch my legs” hike I didn’t carry it.

I am now looking forward Spring when I’ll be carrying my close-up lens with me everywhere to see how much closer I can get, and get really close. 🙂

I’m so excited for the possibilities this lens brings me when opportunities arise in the Spring, and using my LensBaby lenses, and Macro Lens.  It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite lens. I love every lens I own.  I don’t know how I would ever be able to pick just one! I’d need at least 3 to be truly happy.

What about you, could you live happily with just one lens? Do you use one lens 90-100% of the time? What lens would you choose if you could only have one?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…


Super Blue Blood Moon 1.31.2018

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn’t venture further than my front yard to photograph the Super Blue Blood Moon on Wednesday morning because I didn’t have enough time to get anywhere with a good foreground and be back in time to be here for #1 Grandson.

The Eclipse was already underway when I started photographing it.  Here’s how I saw it at Totality.

Super Blue Blood Moon 1.31.2018

This Moon was special because it was a combination of 3 Lunar occurrences at the same time.  It was a “Super Moon”, a moon that is full while at its closest orbit to Earth, with a “blood moon”, so called for the reddish color that it gets as the sunbeams peek around the edges of the Earth, and shine on it, and a “Blue Moon”, because this was the second full moon to occur in a calendar month.

The last time a Total Lunar Eclipse coincided with a “Blue Moon” in the United States was in 1866.  Having all three line up together is really rare!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm|

more to come…




Wild Weds. 5/52 Lost in the Wild

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Losing your house key on the trail would be among the top five worst  things ever to lose on the trail!

Thankfully, someone found it and placed in spot it is hoped to be found.

Lost in the Wild

I hope the person that lost this was able to retrace their movements to here and reclaim the key that was lost the wild.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 4/52 White-tailed Kite

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend and I went birding Saturday at two Wildlife Refuges. We reversed the order we normally do these two refuges and I’m glad we did. It was pretty birdy at Merced Wildlife National Refuge, but I’m going to share with you the last bird I photographed for the day at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

And, what a bird to end the day on! It’s my favorite raptor.

White-tailed Kite

It’s a medium sized raptor and likes open grasslands, and savannas.  It hovers while hunting for prey, and have big amber/red eyes. Here’s some information about their hunting behavior from allaboutbirds.com

While hunting, the White-tailed Kite characteristically hovers up to 80 feet off the ground and then drops straight down onto prey items. This ability to hold a stationary position in midair without flapping is accomplished by facing into the wind, and is so characteristic of these birds that it has come to be called kiting. White-tailed Kites also perform ritualized courtship displays in which a male offers prey to a female prior to egg laying. In an often spectacular aerial exchange, the female flies up to meet the male, turns upside-down, and grasps the prey.“`allaboutbirds.com

I think they’re the prettiest of the raptors.  If I could be a bird this is the one I’d be. 🙂

You’ll find them up and down Western to Central California, Oregon, Mexico, Central and South America.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm@500mm| 1/640s| ISO 500| cropped| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…




Wild Wednesday 1/52 Here Kitty, Kitty!

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A Bobcat image…Finally!  I went birding with my friend Dali on the 30th of December which would be my last birding adventure for 2017.  We went to an area not too far from home that we hadn’t been to in a year.  While on the way out of the area and headed to lunch b/c the birds had gone quiet, and hunkered down well into the foliage out of sight Dali spotted this Bobcat.

I was so excited and had been looking for one or it when we went through this area coming in, because way back in the winter of 2011 Dali and I saw a Bobcat here, and it was right in my sights, but I missed the shot because my lens then was the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 which was slow and would hunt in poor light. My lens just would not find focus, and by the time I switched to manual focus all I managed to get were blurry butt shots of the retreating Bobcat.  It was then I decided I had to move up to the 300mm f/4 prime lens.  Missed shots like this due to a hunting lens was unacceptable! Needless to say, every time I’ve birded this area since I’ve looked for the, or a Bobcat sans success…that is, until the 30th of December 2017.  6 years of hoping to see a Bobcat again in this area!

This Bobcat just like that day in 2011 was under the canopy of Oak trees and well shaded but, unlike that day my kit today is the 200-500mm lens, and the formidable D810 camera which together were able to attain focus so, I was able to fire off 4 shots before the Bobcat got behind the foliage and out of sight.  However all was not perfect…all four images were metered for a brighter environment so, they were all under exposed.  I didn’t delete them. Actually, I never delete “in camera” for fear of corrupting my card. I hoped I would be able to bring up the exposure enough in Photoshop and save the images especially since the Bobcat did turn and look at me for two of those four shots!

If I haven’t told you before how much I like Photoshop let me tell you now. I LIKE PHOTOSHOP! I was able bring back nearly two stops of light, and with some noise reduction have a “keeper” instead of having to delete the images again.

Was this the very same Bobcat? Probably not, but maybe its offspring. 🙂  Either way I’m a very happy camper with this shot, and my last birding excursion of 2017. Oh yes,  we did see birds. Lots of Hawks, Sparrows, and a Says Phoebe are the most notable birds, but the highlight for me was long awaited re sighting of the Bobcat.  I sure hope that bodes well for a stellar 2018 wildlife/birding year.

Here’s a link about the North American Bobcat from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Oh, three more things; 1)  you may have noticed I have changed my blog theme, and hope you’re all able to view and read my posts sans problemes. My old theme was no longer supported, and I was having some issues with it for sometime.  Then I created a “sticky” post back in week 41 of 2017 and couldn’t figure out how I did it or undo that until week 51 or so when I had given up trying to fix that and tried new themes.  For now this is the theme I’m rollin’ with. Let me know in the comments if it’s working for you please.

2) while driving home from Baby Girl’s this evening I decided on my Project 52 theme for this year. Yes, I’m going to do another one.  It motivates me, and gets me out of the house with my favorite tool…my camera.  This year’s theme I’m calling Wild Wednesday.  I have plenty of wildlife images marinating in my archives in case I get stuck indoors, but I plan to get out to make many more new images, and not all things wild are animals. 🙂

3) My Header: It’s an image I made back on Jan. 1, 2011 of Stoneman Bridge in Yosemite National Park.  That was a stellar Photography Trip with Dear Friends Dali, Alex, and Theresa.  We’re way overdue for another Annual New Year’s Trip.  Just sayin. 🙂

I raise my glass and toast; Here’s to a good photographic year! 🙂

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @f/8|ISO 1000| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…