“Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer, fun for all that children call, their favorite time of the year.” ~Charlie Brown’s Christmas

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

I’ve taken my camera and tripod with me while taking Diva Dog  for her evening walk to take photos of the most elaborate houses I come across. These two houses have been the most well thought out and presented so far.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@ 20mm| f16| 10 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod| Self-Timer

Thanksgiving treasures

Thanksgiving treasures, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.
The bird is in the oven, the Bread Dressing is all assembled, and the table is set.
I know it’s silly, but I love my Thanksgiving table setting. I look forward to setting the table and seeing these pieces as if they were old friends. The plates that I only use at Thanksgiving are Spode, and my Turkey platter is one I made back in 1996 when I was in a Ceramics phase.
My gravy boat was a gift from one of my sisters back in the 80’s, and my silver plate serving pieces were a gift from my Mother, and were my Grandmothers. I’m thankful for these treasures, and the traditions and love that binds my family together.
I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 50mm
Home, San Jose, California,

The Matadors

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Portuguese & Azorean Style California Bloodless Bullfights

Matador means “killer” and one who fights bulls on foot.

Photograph by Deborah M. Zajac. © All Rights Reserved

These are who we’ve come to see. Their ensemble is quite elaborate with both their riding pants, and bolero jackets being covered with sequins that glint, sparkle in the afternoon or evening light. The Matador is sequined in Gold and their costume is called. “Suit of Light”.  Matadors have worn suits like this since the 1800’s.

Matadors are professionals. They have training, and have gone through a ceremony to become professional called the “alternativa”.

Bullfighting is considered a Performance Art, not a sport.   There is no contest or elements of competition among the bullfighters.

When the Matador first faces the bull he uses the pink cape and tries to tire the angry bull out, and weaken him.

Photography by Deborah M. Zajac. © All Rights Reserved.

While watching the Matador lead the bull around the ring I kept thinking, “It’s a dance.”  The Matador is very graceful, and his steps are small, quick, and purposeful.  Notice his shoes? They remind me of ballet slippers. Notice too how he holds his feet.  He rarely stands with his feet apart. He stands tall, and I want to say compact…his limbs are held in close so he can move quickly if needed.

When the Matador feels the bull is tired, and weakened he switches to the Red Cape, and his sword. The last of the dance is about to begin.

Photography by Deborah M. Zajac. © All Rights Reserved

In some countries the Matador would kill the bull, but the Portuguese and Azorean style the sword is symbolic, and used for traditions sake. The bull is not killed. The Matador uses his “Velcro dart” to symbolically kill the bull.  In California it is illegal to kill the bull as well.

Photograph by Deborah M. Zajac. © All Rights Reserved.

The best Matadors kill the bull on the first strike. The fans applaud, and chant Bravo! They toss him single flowers, and bouquets, as he walks around the arena thanking the fans for their support.

Photograph by Deborah M. Zajac. © All Rights Reserved.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200mm| Induro CT213 tripod



The Art of California Bloodless Bullfights

1st Summit to Mission Peak

1st Summit to Mission Peak, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

My husband whom I call Heman has been hiking a lot with me these last 2 months. We’ve hiked to Black Mountain 2 times, and up and down the PG&E trail quite a few times so I thought he might like to hike up to Mission Peak. He’s never done it before after-all.
Today he asked me if I wanted to hike up to Vista Point this afternoon, and I said how about Mission Peak instead. He hesitated a moment then said, “Why not.”
I took him up Horse Heaven Trail, and we descended via the Peak Trail.

He felt great. I didn’t. Horse Heaven nearly beat me today. I kept going and made it up to take this photo of Heman. I call him Heman because he can open jars  with his bare hands! He doesn’t  have to bang the lid with a knife, or some other blunt object, and he can do anything that requires muscles and strength, and he can lift me up over his head! Yes, both he and my son have on more than one occasion lifted me up as if I were a bar bell to the ceiling. I think the name suits him to a T. 🙂

Hike details:
My time to the Top- 2h4m
Total hike time- 3h24m
started at 328ft
Total ft gained- 2,236ft
Total Miles- 6.45

Nikon D90| Nikkor 18-200mmVR@20mm| f8| 1/500 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Hand-held

Summer Solstice Hike

My morning hike up to Vista Point this morning was lovely.  There were butterflies flitting around the wildflowers lining the trail, and about 2 miles from the top there was a plant with several butterflies warming their wings. I think the flowers are Globe Gilia, and the butterflies Variable Checkerspots.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

This one must have been cold. It didn’t move when I approached it. It was right in the middle of the trail.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

and further up the trail was this lizard warming itself in the morning sun.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

Summer temperatures have arrived in Silicon Valley. The last two days it’s been hot. This morning at 6:30am it was warm. The canopy felt wonderfully cool this morning.

The view from Vista Point was marred by fog and smog laying across the valley like a veil, but above it you can see the Diablo Mountain Range. Over there on the right are Mt. Allison, and Mission Peak rising above the haze, and in the valley below are the large hangers of Moffet Field Naval Station.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

I walked over to the bench today, and looked back. I loved the blue sky and Moon looking down on me.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac


Total miles hiked- 8.2

Total elevation gained- 1,962ft

Total time to Vista Point 40minutes

Total time of hike- 3h3m-

Nikon D90| Nikkor 18-200mmVR

Giving it the Ole College Try

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I wrote the date down for June’s full moon and it’s position to set over the San Francisco skyline back in Feb. I had hoped I would be able to photograph it, but you know what they say about, “The best laid plans…”
I had work scheduled early this particular week on the days of the full moon setting, so couldn’t make it up to the city. The first free morning I had to try it was Friday. The moon was 98% full, and a lot higher than I had wanted it to be, but I wanted to try it anyway. Practice! Had I waited for the Moon to be lower where I really wanted it, it would have been daylight and too bright. By 5:30a.m. it was too light. So light that the lights on the bridge went off then!
The belt of Venus is lovely isn’t it. The skyline was diffused by a light fog hanging over the city.
I love it when even the failures are fun, and the view is pretty, and friend Downhill Dali who is so NOT a morning person got up, met me, and went up to the city with me to shoot. Thanks Dali!

Nikon D90| Nikkor 17-35 @ 24mm| f11| 30 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod

A Wild Morning

This morning I rose early to hit the trail. The PG&E trail in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. I needed a good hike since we didn’t do nearly as much hiking as I had  hoped to do last week-end.

Getting out in the country early in the morning is wonderful for so many reasons; it’s cool; there is usually no problem finding parking; there is hardly any one else around; and the wildlife is out and about. That was the case this morning;

Here’s what I saw this morning while on the way up to Vista Point.

A widdle wabbit!

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

A Junco surveying the land.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

The flowers have changed and will soon be plump and juicy berries!

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

Oh, we startled each other. He was curious about my shutter clicks and would look at me each time I clicked. After 3 clicks he thought it was safe and began to munch on these leaves. I let him graze a bit then moved which scared him up the hillside.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

Just after I rounded the bend in the trail I nearly stepped on this guy.

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

My sunny day companion…

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

Lilies…I saw only one other plant of these while going up today. I don’t think they fit here. Are they indigenous or not?

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac
Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

It was warm by 7:30a.m. I’m glad I got started early. Here’s Vista Point!

There isn’t much here, the power tower, a sign, and a bench you can’t see on the other side of the tower,  the view was hazy this morning too, but I made it here in my best time yet. 1h34m!

Photo by Deborah M. Zajac

The trip down was interesting and had wildlife too. A King Snake, and fawn and its Mother, and …well I’ll save that until next time.

Total miles hiked- 8.2

Total time – 3h5m

Total Elevation gain- 2.170ft