Skip navigation

Category Archives: Santa Clara County

Copyright © 2017  Deborah M. Zajac   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I thought I’d share with you some recent images from the trail.  The clouds were gorgeous, and the deer were too, and I loved the Oaks that lined the trail a little bit more than usual on this morning hike.

I was on the way down here. The view is looking at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area. The white teeth like structure left of center near the water is Shoreline Amphitheater, and moving to the right are the hanger of Moffet Field looking small from up here.  The mountains in the distance is the Diablo Range.

View of the Pennisula from the Trail

Autumn was on display.  Even dying I thought the blossoms were pretty.

Naturally Dried_IMG_7872

IMG_7874

I think this is a Coyote Bush. It goes all Fuzzy this time of year.

Trail Fuzzies

Liquid Amber Leaves in Fall

The trail…

Lined with Oaks

The Toyon are full of red berries this time of year…

On the Trail_IMG_7864

and the wildlife… I saw a young Buck, a Doe, and some wild turkeys along with the usual suspects; squirrels, and birds.  This pretty doe was in the front yard of home when I was headed up hill along the road to the trail-head.

IMG_7854

I made two short videos. One of the Buck, and the other of the wild Turkey’s.

Here’s the video to the Buck.  I dislike my voice in this video, but can’t figure out how to mute it so no one has the option to hear it. 🙂 I couldn’t upload the video directly from my computer, so had to put it up on YouTube.com for you to see.

I hope you all have a lovely week-end and your views where ever they are are wonderful.

iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Advertisements

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I didn’t get out too much this past week-end unfortunately,  my original plan to shoot the night sky Saturday fell apart. So I had a Plan B, but that fell apart too. (sigh) Plan A got cancelled due to all the smoke in the air from the Detwiler Fire burning near and around Mariposa, and Yosemite NP.  As I write this 76,000 acres have burned.  Evacuation orders have been lifted in some areas, but Firefighters are saying it may take up to two more weeks for the fire to be fully extinguished.  It’s so sad!

Plan B was scuttled when a friend had to change plans, and I didn’t want to be alone so I stayed home and painted a bit.

Before all that happened my Archive Drive crashed Thursday and Saturday afternoon we were still recovering images and documents from our back-up drive, and cloud service. I can’t tell you how scary that is to think thousands of images made over the course of many years may be lost!  I’ve got them all back, but my external drive is full no doubt due to the huge 36mp files of the D810 so, we bought a new external drive which should be here this week. Then I’ll have my stuff backed up two places, have room to grow, and feel much, much better!

Saturday evening I pulled out an old book I have by Ferdinand Petrie, called Drawing Landscapes in Pencil and stayed up late to practice some drawing then I added some watercolor to it.  Wanna see? If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen this. 🙂

I had some new watercolor paper to try too. It’s by Legion papers called Stonehenge Aqua. I like it. There’s not much blooming or bleeding, and the colors look wonderful on it to me.  It’s got some tooth, but not as much as Arches cold press paper. I prefer the smoother hot press papers, so this paper just might be the perfect balance for me.

Ranch Watercolor

Sunday He-Man and I rose early to get on the trail early; we were extending our route and wanted to beat the heat. It was going to be in 90’s again Sunday. We were on the trail just before 7am.  There were quite a few cars already parked near the trail-head when we arrived.  A lot of others had the same idea to beat the heat and get an early start.  We parked at the bottom of the mountain, and planned to  hike up into Fremont Older an Open Space Preserve.

There are a few options to get up there; the most popular routes are:  take the road all the way up to stage 3 of the Parker Ranch Trail system and hike the rest the way up via the trail, or do what we did and walk along the road to Stage 1 of the trail, then you come out on the road again for a bit then catch Stage 2 which is the toughest bit with some switchbacks at an 8% grade.  I was huffin’ and puffin’ going up those. At the top of those you meet Stage 3 of the trail.  There are two sets of switchbacks on this part of the trail, but they aren’t nearly as steep as Stage 2’s.

When we crossed into Fremont Older Open Space Preserve we hiked up to the top of the Toyon Trail then turned around to head back. We altered our route on the way back by bypassing the Stage 2 part and chose a different section of the trail that meanders through an Oak grove, and you climb another steep hill to meet the road. We walked down the road to Stage 1 of the trail and  caught the road back to the car. Phew! Hope that makes sense! Here’s a screen shot of my route from my Garmin Edge 500.

Morning Hike Route Saratoga

He-Man’s not as fast as he was going downhill since his Patella Tendon ruptured nearly 3 yrs ago so, if my time looks slow…it is. When I’m heading down at my normal pace I get way ahead of him so, I turn around a go back until I see him. I get some extra steps that way too. 🙂

There was a lot of fog and, we’re getting some smoke from the fire up here. Here’s one image from the trail. I took this with my iPhone. I went gear light today.

View North from the trail

The faint peak in the fog and smoke on the right might be Mt. Diablo at  (3,889 feet (1,185 m)) high.  The highest hilltop on the left is Hunter’s Point in Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

We hiked 4.34 miles,  gained 827 ft in elevation, and were back in the car headed home by 8:55am! Not too bad.

We spent the afternoon looking at Loveseats, and bought two. Our current two are really beat up and have needed replacing for over a year, but with a 4 yr old at home we put it off for as long as we could stand it.  Now we’re excited for the new ones to arrive!

That was my week-end. I hope you all had a lovely week-end and got to have a bit of fun, and relax so you’re ready for the week ahead.  I hope it’s a great week for us all!

iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2017

more to come…

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This Lizard and one more live in our backyard.  I think they’re Western Fence Lizards and this one is a female because I’m not seeing bright blue at her throat or belly, but I’m not positive.  The coloring and scales match the description, but… I’m guessing; nothing else in my book even comes close to matching our backyard lizards.

They like to bask in the sun on the warm cement bricks of our garden borders and retaining wall.

This one came right up to the end of the border next to the sliding glass door the other day. Luckily I had my camera nearby.  We’ve named her Lizzy the Lizard.

Western Fence Lizard

 

Daughter came home with a bug on Wednesday, and #1 Grandson came down with it yesterday.  I’ve had a dull headache and no appetite all Thursday.  I fear I’m next! That could seriously wreck my photography plans this week-end. 😦  I’m hoping it’s just the change in the barometer (it dropped) affecting me and not the bug.  It’s been really gray, overcast, and a bit chilly.  There was rain in the forecast yesterday, but it never did rain.

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end, and stay healthy!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 300mm f/4 @8| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

 

 

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm @460mm| Lexar 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

Back in March while birding and photographing flowers in Santa Cruz, CA I was thrilled to hear and see a California Thrasher for a minute…long enough to get a few images, before I spooked it trying to get a little bit closer to it.  You can see that post here.

I’ve been wishing to see one again, and be closer to it. Well, on Sunday I got my wish while birding down in the southern end of Santa Clara Valley.

California Thrasher

He was singing his little heart out!

California Thrasher

He sang for 10 minutes.  Then he stopped, gave himself a real good shake…

California Thrasher

…took a breath, and began singing again!

California Thrasher

Two little Bushtits flew into the bush beside him and began talking to him,

Bushtits

so he turned around to sing to them.

California Thrasher

There were a few more notes sung by the Bushtits to the Thrasher then they flew off. It happened so fast I was only able to get 3 shots of the Bushtits.  The image isn’t great. My lens kept wanting to focus on the branches in front of the bird rather than the little bird.

Then the Thrasher flew north. What a treat that was to hear him singing for so long.  It was the highlight of my morning.

The California Thrasher is found in California and Baja California.

I found some  California Thrasher Song sound files over on allaboutbirds.com that you can listen to here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

 

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out to Alviso, CA this past week to look for a Little Stint which is a shorebird, and very rare to this area.  I didn’t see the Little Stint unfortunately, but  I did see a neat rusty, and sagging door at the old Bayside Canning Company. This Canning Company has been closed since 1936.  I blogged a little about the Canning Co. & town here.

Rusty Door- Photography

The city is letting the buildings decay, and they are currently being used by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. 

The Little Stint has been hanging around the Western Sandpipers, and I did see some that were close to me. Sadly the Little Stint wasn’t hanging out with this group.

Western Sandpipers- Photography

There are deck walkways that take you right across the top of the marsh and you leave

the deck via a  facade like doorway to the levy’s that surround the ponds. You can walk around these or just gaze at the view.   Back in September 2009 I happened to be there early in the evening for Golden Hour; it was gorgeous.

Alviso Golden Hour Fall 2009

Top two images- Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

Bottom Image- Nikon D90| Nikkor 70-300mm VR| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2015

This post is part of Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.  If you love doors and would like to see the doors others are posting, or post doors you’ve photographed and join other door lovers from around the world click here.

At the end of Norm’s latest Thursday Door post is a little Blue Link-up/View button click it to be taken to a page with all the links, or add your own.

More to come…

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: