American Kestrel-Male

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The American Kestrel is the littlest Falcon in North America and the most colorful.  They’re quite fierce for the size. They often perch on wires, or poles to watch and wait for unsuspecting prey. ” Hunting for insects and other small prey in open territory, kestrels perch on wires or poles, or hover facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place.”

Gordon and I stopped at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday morning before joining a Meet-Up group we’re in at another National Wildlife Refuge and while on the auto route where the Tulle Elk are we spotted this Kestrel on a post.  It was just after a heavy rain storm so there was Tulle Fog all over the valley hence the white sky.  I love the rain drops or dew drops on his breast feathers.

American Kestrel Male



We didn’t see any Tulle Elk in the paddock. Not one! They must have been deep in the trees until it warmed up.  Thankfully for us this Kestrel was out and about looking for breakfast!

Nikon D700|Nikkor 200-500mm @ 460mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

After the Storm

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

After the Storm DEDPXL08

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 + BW 6 StopND Filter| Tripod| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6| Silver Efex Pro 2

More to come…

Morning’s Golden light on Delicate Arch Moab, UT

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Morning's Golden Light on Delicate Arch Moab UtahAlex, Theresa, and I started our hike to Delicate Arch at 4:10am and got to the Arch in 42 minutes with only head-lamps for light. There was only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived. We met the two guys that it belonged to on their way down.

The trail-head to Delicate Arch is right off the parking lot at Wolfe Ranch inside of Arches National Park. The elevation gain is about 500 ft up rough and steep terrain. Length of the hike is 3 miles round trip.  Most the trail you’re hiking on giant slabs of sandstone. The trail is marked by cairns, but some are widely spaced so, if not carefully looking for them you can miss one.Theresa and I missed one on our first hike up to Delicate Arch back in 2010  we ended up about quarter of mile off course and had to back-track to find the trail.

The last bit of the climb is along the side of sandstone fin. There are several steps and a path that was carved out of the stone that wind their way up to the Arch. This part of the path is fairly narrow and has no cable or guard rail- If you fall you could be toast.

Here’s an image Theresa took of us hiking down that part of the trail. That’s Alex, with me in the lead, and Theresa’s shadow on the sandstone wall. Thank you T for giving me a copy of this image! xx

Image by Theresa Johnson. Used with Permission
Image by © 2014 Theresa Johnson. Used with Permission

There was no one else up at the Arch when we got there, but it wasn’t too long before other hikers were coming up the trail, and by 6AM there was quite a crowd, and it was getting warm already. We stayed up through Golden Hour and when the light went flat we packed up and hiked down, starving and ready for breakfast then a nap.

More to come…

NIkon D700| AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8| Tripod

A Foggy Morning Hike

I rose at 3AM to meet some members of my Night Photography Group at Peak Trail in East Bay Regional Park Dist. to hike up to Mission Peak.

I and only one other hiker did this hike this morning. We met at 4:30AM and walked about 15 mins to the trailhead.

This is was an arduous climb for me. My legs are still tired from Sunday’s 9.4 mile hike out to Tomales Point  and back. I made it to the top! After two previous hikes up that fell 500ft short. I’ve finally made it!

The fog was low and the Summit was shrouded in it. We could not see the sunrise, or the city lights below. I did take a few photographs of me, and Steven at the pole, and one of the Summit elevation marker. You can see how bundled up a I am; I was cold. The wind is whipping around my pack straps. I had 3 layers of clothes on top and two on the bottom and hand warmers in my gloves.

Deborah Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved

Steven C.- Thinks he lives in “Sunny” California!  Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

The Summit Marker- Says, Mission Peak 2,517 ft

The climb- The trail starts at 500ft and the top is  2, the top.  A  2,100 foot ascent.  It’s 3.4 miles from bottom to the top. Pretty STEEP!

The trail traverses rocky loose soil, rutted, dusty, with rocks jutting out of the trail, wooded areas,  you may run into cows that roam freely through the park on or near the trail, and there are open areas with strong winds, and gusts.   Today at the top the wind was blowing pretty hard WNW 10-20 MPH.

We didn’t stay up any longer than to take a few photos then we started our descent.

Under the fog layer.

View of Moffet Field, Mt. View, and Northern Sunnyvale,CA from Peak Trail

It took me 2h5m to reach the summit and about half that to get down.

I traveled up here really light this morning. Only taking the Nikon D300s, Nikkor 18-200mmVR w/one spare battery, my ND Grads, tool kit, rain gear for me and the camera, water, and tripod.

BTW- I think Rocky, rutted, and Dusty  would be an excellent name for a Grunge or Heavy Metal Band!

All Images are Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved and may not be used or copied without the expressed written permission of the photographer.