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. 10/52 Snow Leopard

©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a pretty busy week-end as you saw if you follow me on Instagram. I birded Saturday morning near Sacramento, CA  with a friend and had great success there with the ducks and geese we were hoping to see. I’ll share some of those images in another post.

After lunch we visited Sacramento Zoo; which was a first for me.

I have lots of images I want to share, but I’ll spare you loads of images and just post a couple of the beautiful Snow Leopard they have there. It was my favorite animal there.

Sunday a friend and I went to Yosemite National Park to see the snow and do a little Winter landscape photography. It was beautiful!  I’ll share an image or two in the future.

Added to that I got behind reading the blogs posted over the past week. I had #1 Grandson all week and I had no backup. Both Baby Girl and He-Man had business trips that took them to the East Coast; different states though.  I didn’t have a lot of free time for working on images, or staying on the computer long; #1 Grandson kept me pretty busy playing with Legos, board games, reading, and trying to fit in a little exercise in between the rain.

I’ll catch up this week…I hope! Happy Hum Day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…


Wild Wednesday 8/52 Hawk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding in Central Valley last month I saw lots of Red-tailed Hawks. This one was happy to pose for me. 🙂 At least I think this one is a Red-tailed Hawk.


Red-tailed Hawks are quite common here. Their habitat is wide open fields. They like to perch in trees along fields, fence posts, and telephone poles.

Their Behavior- from All About Birds:

“You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When flapping, their wing beats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground. They attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched – much different from a falcon’s stoop.”~allaboutbirds.org

They’re so common here I almost take them for granted. I’m always hoping to spy other types of Hawks instead of them, but when there are none about I’m so happy they’re here.

Sunday, I planned to go out to do some photography at the coast, but the wind was blowing 20-25 mph, and it was cold and gray, so I stayed in and watched Season 1 of Monk. Guess who found Streampix? 🙂 I hadn’t ever watched that show before, but I really like it. I’ll be watching every season til I am caught up. Yep, I’m hooked. 🙂

Recently I’ve also binged watched Vikings, and Camelot.  Those are two more T.V. shows I’m now Jonesing for the next season to begin already!

I’m currently reading A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse by Marian Allen who I discovered here on WordPress via Thursday Doors. You can find her here.  She writes Sci-fi stuff too. Yeah, she’s right up my street. 🙂 Check her out if you enjoy reading these genres too.

So, what are birds are seeing in your neighborhood, what are watching and reading right now?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film

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…


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 Weds. 2/52 Wild Ones at Home

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It rained this week! I’m not complaining we need it, so when He-Man and I went for a hike on Saturday we went late morning to let it dry out a bit, and get warmer. We kept to the paved streets in the nearby hills b/c I did not want to trod uphill and down in the mud on the trails.  We walked just over 2 miles and gained about 600ft in elevation.  It felt like a workout.

FWIW: If I’m hiking or stretching my legs with a hike I’d rather go uphill for a bigger pay off verses a longer, flat walk.  Since it was late morning there wasn’t any wildlife; the birds, deer, coyotes, and wild turkey were all napping I guess.  Not a bad place to be on a late Saturday morning though. 🙂

Sunday it rained all day. Like me all the wildlife was hunkered down somewhere cozy, warm, and dry.

So, it’s to my archives we go.

Here are a few wild ones that visit my backyard bushes and feeders taken last year.

hum… something Squirrely (sp?) is going on here…

Bird Feeder Raider

Yep! This one found the one feeder he/she can get in to!

Squirrel at Bird Feeder

Then there’s the fence sitters.

Morning Dove

California Towhee

The top bird is a Mourning Dove…which I’m thinking was born in the hanging basket on my patio, or their Mother.  The bottom bird is a California Towhee. I can’t tell if it’s the male of female.


I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and staying warm!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…