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Category Archives: Sunrises

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

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Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday morning was another very early 4A.M. wake up for a sunrise shoot with friends a little further north of me at Don Edward Wildlife Refuge.  The plan was to arrive early and photograph sunrise then go birding.

We met at 6AM et Quelle horreur! The gate was locked! It didn’t open until sunrise which wasn’t until after 7AM. Once the gate opened we drove out to the marshes/ponds and I raced to set up my rig to catch the colors that were unfolding in the Eastern sky.

The power towers run right through the marsh so I composed this image with them as a focal point and interest rather than trying to avoid them.  I also discovered that while packing my gear bag I inadvertently grabbed my 50mm lens rather than my 20mm lens!  They’re both small, and have the same make-up, and I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses. Sigh.

I rarely use this lens so, composing was a bit of challenge for me. I like a wider view, or a much tighter view, but I am happy with this composition.

Dawn in the Marshlands

Then I went birding but found very few birds on the marsh. The Winter migrants have pretty much left, but there were two pair of Canvasback ducks swimming in a stream which I was excited to see. I’ve been trying to be close enough to photograph one since I first saw one many years ago. Unfortunately, they weren’t any closer on Saturday so I still don’t have a decent image of one.  Maybe next year. 🙂

The tale doesn’t end there though. No. It turned out to be a very exciting birding day, but I went to another refuge, and I’ll tell you about that later this week. I was out all day Sunday too, and haven’t had a chance to work on the many bird images I made this past week-end; between Saturday and Sunday I shot 1,100+ images.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 50mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

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Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I met up with one of the photography groups I belong to at Santa Cruz’s Walton Light Station for sunrise this week-end.  We hoped for more clouds, but the weather changed from cloudy to clear late in the week so we knew it wouldn’t be very colorful, and yet there was some warm color, and a lovely glow low on the horizon as the sun was approaching.

Walton Light Station Dawn

But turning to my left looking northeast across the channel  there were clouds and some color.

Harbor Channel Santa Cruz Dawn

For the history buffs:

Located at the northern end of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Harbor is a haven for fishing craft and vessels. A harbor light, located at the west jetty, has marked its entrance for forty years. The original light was a box light structure which served from 1964 – 1996. It was replaced by a cylinder nicknamed “the water heater” which was used from 1996 – 1999. From 1999 until May 2002, a simple pipe structure held the light which marked the way into the harbor.

In 1998, the Santa Cruz community, under the leadership of Bill Simpkins and Jim Thoits, proposed replacing the unsightly harbor light with a lighthouse of classic design, adding a little more character to a community renowned for its characters. Fundraising efforts began in earnest, and with the contributions of many people, including a major donation from Charles Walton of Los Gatos, enough money was raised to begin construction of the new lighthouse in 2001.

The lighthouse, designed by Mark Mesiti-Miller and constructed by Devcon Construction, Inc., stands 41 ½ feet tall above the level of the west jetty, and 59 ½ feet above the mean low water mark. It weighs 350,000 pounds and is built to withstand a quarter million pounds of wave energy.

The construction began with a cylindrical inner core which houses electrical equipment and a circular staircase of forty-two steps which lead to the top of the lighthouse. Surrounding the inner core is a network of reinforcement rods, onto which “shotcrete” was blown and then hand-troweled to form the conical shape. These shotcrete walls are 4 ½ feet thick at the base. Finally, a durable weatherproof white finish was applied to the exterior of the lighthouse and a copper roofed lantern room topped it all off.

On June 9, 2002, the new harbor lighthouse was dedicated, and the signal, a green light flashing every four seconds at a focal plane of thirty-six feet, was activated. It is named the Walton Lighthouse, in honor of Mr. Charles Walton’s late brother, Derek, who served in the merchant marines and was lost at sea during World War II.” ~lighthousefriends.com

It was worth the O’Dark Thirty wake up alarm, and drive over the hill I thought.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017 & On1

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Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I spent the week-end in the Eastern Sierras photographing Sunrises, Sunset, and Fall Color.  I left my home in Silicon Valley at 4PM on Friday to meet a new friend/member in the Photography Group I was going with.  Anyone living in Silicon Valley knows leaving after 3PM is a nightmare! Traffic is awful.  It’s congested with get-away travelers and commuters. Unfortunately, even in mid-October that’s true! It took me over an hour to travel 11 miles to meet her!  Cindy parked on a residential street hoping her car would be fine for the week-end b/c my house was out of the way, and me going to meet her would have beem backtracking and mean we’d lose 1-2 hours in traffic.

I picked her up, and we got back on the freeway where we crawled at about 30 mph for 2 hours. Finally the road opened up and we were off and onto the Eastern Sierras. We arrived at our Motel just about Midnight. After checking in we both unpacked the bare necessities then fell into our beds knowing the alarm would be ringing in just 4 hours!

We were meeting the rest of our group at 6AM. We had a 30 minute drive from our Motel to the meeting spot. That meant a 4:40AM wake up call for me! I had a quick shower, and we managed to get out the door at 5:20am and arrived at the meeting spot 5 minutes early.

We were a group of 20 in all. We drove to Mono Lake ( Moe-Noh) and found the parking lot was already full of cars! Fall in the Eastern Sierras is getting more and more crowded. There was a faint light in the East signaling the Sun was in a hurry to greet the Northern Hemisphere so, we gathered our gear, and walked-ran to find our spots as quickly as we could.

We went left away from the horde of other photographers; I found a place I thought made a good composition, but I sank ankle deep in the muck to get there.

Experienced Photographers have a good feel for the outcome of the sunrise or sunset, but I’ve never bet on it.  Mother Nature has fooled me a few times! Okay, I won’t lie more than a few times! This morning however, had great potential, and fortunately, The Belt of Venus showed up and lent the morning a beautiful pink hue.

These formations you are seeing are salt and mineral deposits that formed over thousands of years. They’re called Tufas (too-fahs).

Years ago the lake water was re-routed to the south to give water to Southern California’s agriculture belt and residents.

As the lake got lower, and lower these remarkable formations were exposed.

A couple of decades ago a conservation group was successful in their appeals to let Mono Lake (Moe-Noh) return to its natural state. They are no longer diverting water from this basin which means one day all this will be under water again.

Each time I visit this lake I am acutely aware that I am seeing something wonderful, beautiful, and unique. I hope this image is able to convey just a hint of that wonder and beauty.

Morning Twilight Civil Mono Lake

In desperate need of a caffeinated drink, and food we headed for breakfast right after the light went flat.

For more information about Mono (Mo-noh) Lake click here.

I’m really behind on all your posts. I will get caught up this week!

Nikon Df| AF Nikkor 24-70mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| Tripod| Developed in Photoshop CS6

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Copyright © 2014-2015 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This was taken on the Summer Solstice last year (2014).

Sunrise over San Francisco CaliforniaI really wanted to meet my friend Anne and go back to this area and make another Summer Solstice image from

here, but I’ve been swamped moving out of two of our 3 bdrms. We’re down to 1 bdrm now. I fell into bed last night exhausted, and slept until 7:30 this morning!  So, I didn’t go out with my camera for sunrise this morning and am reposting the image I made last Summer Solstice.

UPDATE on our Remodel: The construction crew are planning to break into the interior walls of the Master bdrm, front bdrm, and entry hall tomorrow (Monday June 22,2015), and demolition of our Master bathroom begins tomorrow as well. He-Man and I are almost completely moved out of our room and will be using the Living room as our room. Only our bed, and a few things in the closet need to be moved out today.

Baby Girl, and #1 Grandson have moved to the back bdrm that I’ve been using as my retreat for years.

The roof of the house was extended and roofers finished laying on the new roof yesterday, two of the new windows are in, but the door they’re waiting until this week to install. It’s really pretty, has glass, and they didn’t want to risk any damage to it while framing and putting on the roof. YEAH!

Here’s how the house looked on the 18th of June.

Rabbit Hollow Exterior Remodel

…and this is where it came from. Day of Phase II back on April 30, 2015

Staking out the new foundation

Staking out the new foundation day 1 phase II of remodel and addition

My Summer will be largely spent in disarray, and chaos with this remodel and addition, but it will be worth all the inconvenience when it’s finished I have no doubt. Today I’m excited because we’re entering the final phases of the construction, and getting closer to having the house done.

Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!

Nikon Df| Lumix DMC-Fz200| Hand-held

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Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The view of Clear Lake from the second floor of the Inn I spent the night in.  It was just about 5:15am when I made this image. It was so quiet, peaceful, and not cold.

Dawn Clear Lake CA

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| Tripod| CS6 & On1 Perfect Effects 9.5

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Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

When I woke up this morning at O’Dark Thirty (4:30am) I peeked outside to check out the sky. The clouds that moved in two days ago had some breaks and pockets with a few stars poking through here and there so, I thought it might be worth getting dressed and going out for the sunrise.

It’s been sometime since I have shot a sunrise by the water so I headed to one of my “go to” spots; Vasona Lake which isn’t too far from me. While walking over to my shooting location on the lake I could hear that the geese were already up making a fuss about something, and soon they had the mallards, and coots up, and it wasn’t too long afterwords that I spied the first morning runners and walkers out for their morning’s exercise. Then the sun started making its way up and over the mountains bringing with it some wonderful yellow and pink hues.

Dawn Vasona Lake Park Los Gatos CA

All and all a wonderful sunrise!

Nikon Df| AF-D Nikkor 24mm f/2.8@ f/14| Tripod

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