P52 37/52 -Eggcruciating

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#dedpxl06 Eggcruciating!

Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.8G|f10| 1/125s| ISO 320| Nikon SB910 @1/4pwr camera left front bounced off white ceiling| Tripod


P52 36/52 Guarding his Territory!

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Guarding his TerritoryI set up a little blind in my backyard hoping I’d be able to make a decent image of the Hummingbirds that come to the feeder. I used the cover of the sandbox as a blind by bracing it against my Camilla bush,  then I set up my tripod, camera, and comfy seat behind it then waited.

  It took about a half hour and a few over my head buzzes before the Hummingbirds felt safe enough to stop at the Feeder for a drink.
  After lunch I moved the sandbox cover to the edge of the lawn for a different angle bracing the cover on the Patio Cover’s post. I heard the Hummingbird chitting away in the Flowering Plum beside me so turned to see if I could see him and there he was sitting on a branch watching the feeder.
There’s been another male coming by and this one chases him off whenever he comes around. He sat there for long enough for me to photograph him for several minutes.
He was in the shade of many branches overhead so, while the image is sharp there is more noise than I’d like. I tried Auto ISO during this shoot to see how it would do, mainly to see if I would be able to concentrate more on shooting than having to change my ISO setting frequently to adjust for the light changes. I was also shooting a Butterfly that would occasionally come by to sip on the Lantana Bush which was in much better light than the feeder, and the tree. Auto ISO worked very well for me in these conditions.

 I used Adobe’s Camera Raw noise reduction a little bit to help remove some of the noise. 

Here’s another image of an Anna’s Hummingbird at the Feeder. He’s just about to take off after drinking some nectar.

Ready for Take OffThat sandbox cover worked a treat as a blind.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4 +  Nikon 14eII Teleconverter

More to come

P52 34/52 Dawn Santa Clara County

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDP52 34 of 52 Dawn Santa Clara County

Mornings are arriving a little later, and chillier these days and with that I’m finding it a little harder to get out of the house for a hike or walk. Once I get out I am usually very happy that I did.
This morning was especially nice as we had a lot of clouds which meant there might be some color, and I got lucky and had “God Rays” too, and there was a bonus; the sign marking the trail’s boundary is gone! 

YEAH! I have spent years framing around it, cloning it out, or cropping it out. It was lovely shooting and not have to deal with it, or deal with it later in post development.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t replace it, and if they do they put it somewhere that doesn’t hinder the view. 

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 17-35@ 17mm| f20| 5 seconds| ISO 200| Tripod| B+W 6 stop ND filter

P52 33/52 A new day, a new beginning…

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

P52 33 of 52 A new day, a new beginning...Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm| Hand-held

“All you need is Faith, Trust, and little bit of Pixie Dust.”~Tinkerbell

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVE"All you need is Faith, Trust, and little bit of Pixie Dust." ~Tinkerbell is one of my favorite Disney characters so, when I saw this T-shirt at the Disney store I couldn’t resist purchasing it.

It’s washed and ready to wear. I’ll be pairing it with my White House/Black Market jeans, polka dot open toe-kitten heels, Dior sunglasses, and simple jewelry that I bought on a trip to London in 2006. The watch is Malachite and Mother of Pearl, the ear-rings are malachite both are made by PastTimes.

I used my new SU-800 Wireless Remote Commander to trigger my Speedlights. It’s super easy to use and can control up to 3 lights. It’s also a lot more affordable than 3 Pocket Wizards would have been.

More to come…

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.8G| SB910|SB600 |SU-800


Portal to the Stars

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Portal to the StarsI had a fun week-end in Moab, Utah with friends Alex and Theresa chasing the stars. Our goal was to shoot the Milky Way at Corona Arch, but the first night was really cloudy so we went to Dead horse Point in Canyonlands State Park for sunset. We didn’t have much color, but the clouds were dramatic.

Sunset Deadhorse Point Canyonlands State Park, UtahSaturday morning my alarm went off at 3 A.M. I snoozed for a few minutes then got up, dressed then the 3 of us left the hotel and  were at the Trail head to Delicate Arch at 4:10 A.M. It’s a 1.5 mile hike up to Delicate Arch with a 500 ft elevation gain. It took us 42 minutes to ascend to Delicate Arch in the dark. (we had head-lamps)
Civil Twilight at Delicate Arch

Not much color this morning facing this direction: South-southeast, but still pretty. While waiting for Golden Hour we met Adonis Farray who is from Canada. We all hiked down together then parted ways. Starving we headed to Moab for breakfast. We went to the Jailhouse Cafe and had just put in our order when in walked Adonis! We invited him to our table. Over the course of our conversation we discovered he hadn’t ever shot the Milky Way so of course we invited him to join us if he had the time. He altered his plans and stayed another day in Moab in order to join us. He will tell you I held a gun to his head. 🙂 It didn’t take too much arm twisting to convince him it was worth a second hike up to Corona Arch.

After breakfast we all headed back to our hotel rooms to take a nap, and prepare for our upcoming night shoot. I woke up before my alarm and so did Theresa so we went for a quick swim at the pool then went back  to shower, and meet Alex for dinner before heading up to the Corona Arch trail-head where we would meet Adonis.

We started the hike up to Corona Arch about 7  P.M. The outside/ambient temperature was 101 degrees. You start climbing straight-away up a dirt and rocky path which soon levels out  for a short distance then it meanders up through a canyon; you cross one set of railroad tracks then continue up the path. Soon the path gives way to sandstone and red rock. You hike across a steep rock with a well-worn path in places and no trail at all in other places, but it is marked along the way with cairns, there’s a part of the rock that slopes so you’re walking on an angle but there’s cable to hold on to which helps. Then you begin to climb up the canyon wall following the cairns.
Not too long after you leave the cable behind you come to another cable that helps you climb a much steeper, but short rock. There are shallow foot holes cut into the rock face that make the 15 foot climb much easier. I took this image of the cable back in Feb. with my iPhone. That boy about 10 yrs old ran up the rock opposite the cables- too impatient to wait for us to go up then he waited for his parents at the top.

Cable on the trail to Corona ArchWith that challenge behind us we continued on a short distance only to meet with another steep rock to climb, but a ladder is there to help you up, or you can hike up and around it which is what I did this trip. This image of the Ladder I took back in Feb. with my iPhone

Ladder on the trail to Corona ArchBy now you are hundreds of feet high above the canyon floor hiking across the canyon wall on a huge slip rock ridge with a gentle uphill slope that leads you right to the Arch.
The 1.5 mile hike up to the Arch is packed with fun and challenging terrain. Here’s how the Arch looked when we got up to it. Taken with my iPhone 5

Corona Arch iphone imageAlex had checked our calculations for the night shoot before we left the hotel using Stelliarum so we had a pretty good idea of where the Milky Way was going to rise. We set up and waited for it to get dark enough to see it.
The temperature started cooling off about 9 P.M. and by 9:30 P.M. it was dark enough to see more and more stars shining bright against the darkening sky.

Theresa brought along a strong flashlight for light-painting. While we were making images of the Arch in the Blue Hour with Theresa light-painting it she stopped and said, “I hear rustling in someone’s back pack. Like animal critter kind of rustling noises.” We all stopped what we were doing to investigate. Turning the light beam over to the pack Theresa saw a mouse in Adonis’ pack! Adonis had left it open and the mouse was trying to get his trail mix. The light beam, and Adonis poking his pack scared the mouse who came running out of the pack and straight into one of the holes in the rock behind us, but he came out of that hole just as fast with angry wasps on his tail! We discovered earlier that all the holes in the rock behind us were filled with wasp nests. We were set up in front of them, but far enough away not to disturb the wasps. The mouse got away up and over the rock and thankfully we didn’t see it or the wasps again.

We hoped we would have breaks in the clouds giving us some kind of view of the Milky Way and we got lucky! Adonis said he’d put in the order with the weather Gods. 🙂 We shot for a couple of hours then we packed up, and with head-lamps lighting the way we started to make our way down from Corona Arch.  With our lamps on the white light we were assaulted by little gnat like bugs. Yuk!

Our Theresa got a touch of sun exhaustion and didn’t feel good at the start of the decent. Thankfully she was able to hike down without difficulty- she was tired, hot, nauseous, had a head-ache, and thirsty despite drinking 64 ounces water that day. By the time our plane landed late Sunday afternoon she was looking and feeling much better.

Our day for the Milky Way shoot started Saturday July 26th at 3 A.M. and ended when I went to bed on Sunday July 27th at 1 A.M.  We got a lot of hiking in. 8.2miles total, and I had a lot of fun with dear friends, and  new friend from Canada Adonis.

More to come…

Unless noted- All images taken with a Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens

P52 27/52 Chocolate chocolate chip Bundt Cake

Copyright © Deborah M Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Busy morning bakin’. Just waiting for this super rich, moist cake to cool before glazing with a semisweet chocolate sauce.

Miam, miam!

Chocolate chocolate chip Bundt Cake-unglazedNikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G| SB600 camera left low @ 1/4pwr

Addendum: Melissa of http://melissabluefineart.wordpress.com/  is craving a good chocolate cake and asked for the recipe, so for you Chere Melissa here’s the recipe.

This is a recipe from Taste of Home- Ultimate Chocolate Cake

I made the chocolate sauce by melting 1.5 cups chocolate chips with a 2-3 tablespoons of milk. Drizzle over the cake when completely cooled letting it run down the sides of the cake.  Enjoy!