Flight of the Fiery Skipper

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While #1 Grandson played quietly without me I took advantage and tried to catch up on emails and news at my desktop computer which is near a window that looks out on the backyard. Suddenly in the corner of my eye there was fluttering, and streak of color!

A Fiery Skipper was drinking the nectar from the tiny Lantana peddles! My camera never too far out of reach was in my hands quick as you like, and me making a mad dash for the backyard! Using a strip of lattice work on my patio cover as a blind I quietly positioned myself and took several images of the skipper at its meal. Most were sharp as a tack and show the skipper very well, but today I like this one the most. The movement shows their flightiness, and speed of the Skipper; how quick and nibble they are!

The image has an Impressionistic feel that resonates with my soul just now.

Flight of the Firery Skipper

No doubt in time I’ll be sharing one or two of those sharp as tack images I made, but today let’s be nibble and quick and fly with the Fiery Skipper! 🙂

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5| image made 9/21/2016

More to come…

 

Plan B is for the Birds

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

My original Photography plans for last week-end fell apart mid-week when one of the friends I was going with fell ill.  Rather than go anyway which didn’t sit well with me or my friend Theresa we two switched gears and decided to go birding in the Central Valley to see what birds if any had arrived early.

I had read a few reports of early migrants in the area; we hoped to find one or two, and spend some time catching up with each other.

I left for T’s house early (6:30am) so we’d get to the Refuge in the morning when the birds are more active.

We found the first pond completely sans water. Fish and Wildlife have just started filling the ponds we discovered. Many of the ponds we’re used to seeing full of water were bone dry, but it is early in the season!

Just as we were starting the auto-route we spied a Doe and her Fawn in the tall grass. I didn’t get an image of them together. Mom decided her male Fawn was too close to the road and moved to higher grass.  Honestly, I think she looks young!

Doe  Deer Female

The Fawn has two little adorable antler nubs.Fawn Male

Early arrivals: There were quite a few White-fronted Geese on the little islands in the ponds that had water.

White-fronted Goose

Northern Pintails, and Shovelers are showing up, but I didn’t make any images of the Shovelers they were too far out. You see a Northern Pintail in image above giving me a one wing salute. 🙂

Among the usual suspects here were thousands of Dragonflies,

Dragon Fly

Pied-billed Grebes

Pied-billed Grebe

Night Herons; most were deep in the foliage, but one was on Sentry duty,

Night Heron

We saw a female Harrier flying low in the distance hunting, a few Red-tail Hawks, and as we approached the tree the Bald Eagles hang out in there we saw there was a Peregrine Falcon perched on a snag surveying the land.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Once the Eagles return I doubt we’ll be seeing this Falcon in this tree. 🙂

Plan B turned out to be a great day, and it was lovely  hanging out with Theresa. You can find her images on flickr here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiery Skipper & Gear Review

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m renting a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR lens for a week to see if I like it well enough to replace my older 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D Micro lens. I sat in the backyard hoping the Skipper would show up so I could see how the lens handles close up imaging with my Canon 500D Close Up lens attached to it.

 

I really would like 24mm on the wide end, and having a little more reach couldn’t hurt.

I’ve shot less than 200 frames since picking up the lens late Friday afternoon; so far I am liking what I’m seeing.
It’s sharp, contrasty, auto-focuses quickly, and is pretty quiet. I don’t hear or feel VR (Nikon’s lens stablization) kicking in, but it must work b/c I was able to snap off a throw away low light shot made in my living room at 1/13s hand held and it’s pretty good…in focus and not blurry!

Fiery Skipper

It’s easy to carry. It weighs 1.56 pounds which is just a tick under my 17-35mm so,  the weight feels natural to me.  What I’m trying to say is; I’m comfortable holding it and my camera. There’s not much difference weight wise between having the 28-105 or this lens on the camera to me.

One bête noire is the focus ring on this rental lens is SUPER hard to turn. Doing photography in the dark means one needs to be able to focus manually. While photographing the Moon and planet conjunctions both Friday and Saturday nights it wasn’t easy rotating the focus ring with this copy of the lens. I’m hoping it’s just this rental unit and not a characteristic of the lens.  The rental copy has been well used. I can tell that because the gold lettering stating the lens specs is just about worn off, and the focus ring is a pain to use.

I haven’t uploaded last night’s images yet, but hope I was able to dial in a well focused shot.  I’ll be posting those images soon.

Fiery Skipper on Lantana

You won’t get graphs, charts, and scientific testing with my reviews. I’m all about how the lens feels, works in my hands, and how good or bad the images look. I’ll be printing several images as well as pixel peeping on my PC to see how well they look.

My kit this week will be Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR

Canon 500D Close Up lens

B+W Polarizer

2 Singh-Ray Graduated Filters

2 B+W Neutral Density Filters

SB910 Speedlight

Cable Release

Either my Nikkor 20mm f1.8G or my 16mm f/2.8D Fisheye for ultra wide angle photography.

Iphone 5

Both images made with the Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-120mm f4G VR| Canon 500D Close Up lens|Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

FWIW: I’ll be off line most of this week. I’m still behind reading posts, and will get further behind this week! I’m getting some posts ready in advance and scheduled, but won’t be able to comment or view posts easily.  Y’all have a great week! I’ll catch up when I get back. xx

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insects of Point Reyes National Seashore

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had pretty good luck spotting insects while hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore last week-end.  I saw Butterflies, Beetles, and Grubs. Here’s a sampler. 🙂

I’m pretty sure this is a Skipper, but I can’t find anything that looks exactly like it in my books, or online so, don’t know what it is.  I found it in Point Reyes National Seashore last week-end; July 9,2016.  Anyone know what it is and what it is called?

Unknown Skipper or Butterfly?

Other insects I found while exploring different areas of the park were:

A ladybug, one of several I saw…

Copyright ©2016  Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

a green and black beetle called a Spotted Cucumber Beetle,

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

who was pretty hungry,

Spotted Cumcumber Bettle

…a Common Buckeye Butterfly

Common Buckeye Butterfly

…and a grub or grasshopper served a la carte to a White Crown Sparrow that is banded. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a banded sparrow.

Banded White Crown Sparrow

Nikon Df w/28-105mm lens and Delkin Digital Film, and  Lumix FZ200 w/ Lexar Digital Film- Hand-held

More to come…

 

P52 39/52 Banded Garden Spider

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Banded Garden Spider I can’t say positively this is a Banded Garden Spider since I didn’t see its top side. It’s web was huge! I found this spider on the side of the house when I went over there to turn the wagon around for #1 Grandson. The Spider was in the middle of its orb shaped web which spanned from one side of the fence to the house wall on the the other side; over 4 ft!  The spider itself was about 2 inches long. Its head pointed down.

P52 39 of 52 Spider

#1 Grandson was fascinated with this spider so he kept going back to see it all afternoon.  Later we tried to identify it, and learn about them.  By the size and position of this spider I’d say it’s a female. I didn’t notice a male anywhere.

Nikon Df| AF-D Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro lens| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6

More to come…

The Harvesters

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On the trail I take to get to the Steep Hill are a few grape vines growing along a fence.  Only the birds, and ants are harvesting the grapes this season.

The Harvesters

Nikon Df| LensBaby Composer Pro w/Soft Focus Optic and Macro Converters

More to come…

P52 26/52: Honey Bee

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve reached the half-way point of my Project 52. YEAH!!!

“Grevillea Superb” Non-Native

I have been wanting to get a Macro Rail for quite sometime so, I bought one. It wasn’t very expensive at all…(read dirt cheap),but it has good reviews so I thought I’d try it.
I bought the NeewerPro 4-Way Marco Rail. I was so excited to try out the Macro Rail I contacted a friend I hadn’t shot with in about a year to tell him I finally got a Focusing Rail. On our last outing we were shooting Macro Flowers, and he had a Focusing Rail; I watched him set up his shots, and I asked him a zillion questions.

He suggested we get together to shoot macro images and try out my new macro rail. We met this morning at Santa Cruz University’s Arboretum, and photographed flowers for over 3 hours. The morning flew by!

Using the Macro Rail I found it was much easier to get, and keep my subject in focus. The rig is pretty big, and heavier than I thought it would be, and I made it heavier by attaching a Universal Quick Release Plate to the bottom of the Rail for easy attaching, and removing from my ball-head. I couldn’t find my Quick Release Clamp to attach to the top base for easy camera mounting and dismounting so, this morning I had to screw the camera right into the base. It’s a pain in the #$! tricky! The screw is under the tension screw of the top rail.

When I got home this evening I looked more thoroughly for my gorilla pod which is where I have been using the clamp, et Voila! I found it. Now it’s going to be a piece of cake mounting my camera to the Macro Rail base.

It’s early days…I’ve only had the Rail a few days, and have only used it for 3+ hours, but so far I’m happy.

I’ve added the links below for the Macro Rail, Quick Release Plate, and Quick Release Clamp in case you’re wondering what it all looks like. I am not an affiliate with any of these vendors, and I don’t get any money if you click the links. I’ve only provided them so you can see what I’m using and to share the information.

Nikon Df| AF-D Nikkor 105mm @ f8|1/500s| ISO 250| Tripod| Manual Priority

http://www.amazon.com/Neewer%C2%AE-Focusing-Close-up-Shooting-Standard/dp/B009SJ7UWU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435450065&sr=8-1&keywords=neewer+macro+rail&pebp=1435450069580&perid=0WRW1VYZVMJCYRRZYT4A

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/329092-REG/Acratech_2128_Universal_Quick_Release_Plate.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/611828-REG/Jobu_Design_QRR_138_QRR_138_Quick_Release_Clamp.htmlQuick Release Clamp

More to come…