Wild Wednesday 29/52 Alpine Glow in the High Desert

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Alpine Glow on the White Mountains over the high desert taken on last months Wild Mustangs trip.

Alpine Glow over the White Mountains

I had a long 3 day week-end to go back to look for the Wild Mustangs with 3 girl-friends. We found some, and made a new friend too! I got home early evening Monday. After the long drive home I showered, relaxed, and caught up with the family then went to bed.

Today, (Tuesday July 17h) as I write this for tomorrow’s post rather than working on the new images from the week-end I spent it with #1 Grandson, and doing a bit of housework,  laundry, and making a head start of cleaning out my artsy-fartsie and hobby stuff from the retreat, and cleaning Box’s room….most would call it his habitat.  I’ve still got a sink full of dishes to get to this evening. It never ends does it. 🤨

Big Baby Boy is coming home tomorrow for a week! We’re so excited! So, I’m sharing an image I made last month, and a tease about this past week-end. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share some images, and tell a story or two about it.

What’s going on at home?

He-Man and I are finally going to do the Wine Train in Napa Saturday. Baby Girl gave us this gift for Christmas.  Big Baby Boy said he’d stay home to feed, and medicate the animals. Which is such a blessing! Baby Girl, and #1 Grandson are planning to come over to keep him company. We’re only going for the day so we’ll be home the same night. We’re both looking forward to it.  I hope I can take photos.  I’m already saying I have nothing to wear! So, that’ll be the rest of my week. Hanging with fam, and agonizing over what to wear. Nothing to fancy, but nothing too casual either.   He-Man cleans up real nice. I hope I get a nice image of him lookin all handsome and hot.  Yes. I did say that.

I’m sorta kinda doing the Fitbit 30 day challenge,  that Amy over at https://bedlamanddaisies.com/ blogged she’s doing. She inspired me to up my game with my morning stretches a bit with it, but I wasn’t to faithful to the challenge over this past week-end. I’ll get back to it seriously tomorrow.

Just so you know… I can’t do a “real” push up…never have been able to, so I do a modified one using the counter to push off of, or while on the floor I am on my knees, and I use a stair step whatchamacallit to push off of. It’s been awhile since that got any use. Since it’s higher than the floor I can lower myself. Lowering myself all the way to the floor I. Can. Not. Do. Never have been able to so modified it is.  I’m feelin it. The squats, push ups, and planks are a work out. I added sit ups one day. I need to do those more often. Since doing the 5 minute Plank Challenge a year ago…or was two years ago? I can do a 30 second Plank…it’s not easy…my arms shake, I need to breath through it.  It’s a challenge to hold my own body up, but I can do that!  Who knew holding ones own body up would be. so. hard? Ants hold 50 times their weight carrying stuff back to the nest.  50 times in those little itty bitty antlers and jaws, and I struggle for 30 seconds holding up my own body.

Ants will always have my respect, and fear of them figuring out to rule humans. I know I watch and read too much Sci-fi! 😀 Speaking of reading…

I’m reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to #1 Grandson. His request.  We start and stop a lot because he’s asking for a lot of word definitions. I LOVE THAT! Some kids probably wouldn’t stop to ask. I hope the words are sinking in and his vocabulary grows.  Which is already really good…lots of $0.25 cent words. Today’s words he stopped me to get definitions for were: forded…as in forded a shallow river,  heather; the flower, the bank was steep and slippery; bank was the word that brought him to attention.  We go to the bank for money stuff he thought,😊 and shallow.

He also stopped me to tell me Hobbits are much taller than him, “like your height Grandma.”…Right! I’m 5ft, 6 + 3/4 inches people!  He’s not convinced they’re only his height and shorter.   He’s just hitting the 3ft 6 inch mark. It’s Bilbo…he’s a HUGE character. For a Hobbit that only wants to eat, and stay in the Shire he’s HUGE! He’s taken on the roll of Burgler to save Middle Earth quite seriously. Who does that? Only the bravest of the brave! He’s my favorite of the Hobbit characters, and Sam is my 2nd favorite. #1 Grandson hasn’t met him yet.  Anyway,  I’ll be  reviewing the words he’s asked for definition, and emphasizing the height of Hobbits the rest of month so it does sink in. Sheesh! Hobbits over 5 ft 6 inches. What is he thinking?

#1 Grandson can’t wait until we get to Smaug, and Gollum.  We’re early on in the book. It’s so far advanced for him that after a few pages we need to stop so he can absorb it all, but Gandalf, the 13 Dwarves, and Bilbo have made it safely past the 3 trolls, and have just arrived in Rivendell to give you an idea of where we are in the book. Chapter 3 now.

Oh and #1 Grandson, 5 years old is constantly correcting my pronunciation Gandalf. I say Gandalph with a short “a”. He says Gandolph with a short “o”.  My argument is if it is meant to be Gandolph it should be spelled that way, and the way it is spelled in the book is alph so that’s the way I read and say it.  I think the movie says Gandolph so that’s where he gets his pronunciation, but I have always pronounced it as I’ve read it. I’ve not seen the movies. How do you say it? English Majors please chime in, and give the grammar rules for the pronunciation!

I have started a summer project- painting rocks. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen a couple already. I left two out in the wild to be found, and I hope to leave several more this week. You’ve also seen a few images from the week-end. (my IG account is private. Send me a request if you want to follow me.)

I am having fun painting rocks.  Who knew? I’m also really enjoying acrylic paint. I bought a 10 pound bag of river rocks so there would be plenty to paint this summer.  Unfortunately, #1 Grandson isn’t interested in painting any himself. He’ll happily hunt for rocks with me, and put them out to be found, but not paint any. Hopefully that changes.

I picked up a couple pieces of what is probably slate this week-end…not a great rock for long term to paint on. I may not use them, but I want to paint a horse on a rock for a souvenir. A rock from the actual week-end would be perfect I thought, but I couldn’t find “the perfect rock”.

I’ll probably use a river rock, and keep the slate in the garden. I’m afraid it’s too fragile.  Can you say or think of the word fragile without thinking of “Old  Man”, the crate,  or the old man saying, “Fra-jill-ee” , and the Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story?  I can’t. 😂  I’ve been collecting those Hallmark Christmas ornaments for quite a few years. I hope I didn’t miss Randy in his snow suit fallen in the snow saying, “Help! Ralphie, I can’t get up!” I want that ornament.  I hope I didn’t miss it!

Speaking of #1 Grandson. I’m a bit of an emotional wreck concerning #1 Grandson. He starts Kindergarten in a month. A MONTH! Where did the time go? Our time together now is even more precious, and fleeting, and I’m battling that urge to keep him with me, and letting him go…and to another teacher. Sigh…It’s not so easy being a Helicopter Mom/Grandma. I know I need to let go, but it is so hard!  I wish I could pause so many moments, hold on a little bit tighter, a little bit longer.  I can’t.  So,  I’m enjoying every day we’re together, and this song is in my head a lot now.  Don’t you love Rush?  He-Man introduced me to their music shortly after we met…oh so many decades ago. I love it!

But, my soul; my spirit sings Puff the Magic Dragon.  I am Puff. I have sung this song to #1 Grandson since the day he was born. Knowing what was coming I’m sure.  My scales are falling like a drizzle right now, but I know what’s coming….pouring rain.   This is my favorite version of the song.

ARG!!! TMI!!!

I’ve  shared too much! I should write less and process/develop more images! Y’all know I’m Chatty Cathy just to delay doing those dishes in the sink right? 😊 But, it’s getting late and I won’t be a happy gal, or cheerful Chatty Cathy in the morning if I wake up to those so, off I go to get that done, then I’ll watch a Midsomer Murder episode I have recorded and call it night.

I hope you all had a lovely week-end, and the rest of your week goes easy, and you find or make time to frolic along the Cherry Lane too.  I’ll be catching up with your blogs throughout the week! xx

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

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Wild Wednesday 28/52 Restless Bachelors

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back to the Wild Mustangs we go for today’s post.  I was fortunate to catch a pair of bachelors rough housing.   These three were a distance away from the main herd. No doubt they’d been chased off by a more dominant stallion or two.

The attack!

It's Mine, I tell Ya!

The rebuttal…

Bachelors Sparring

…and as quickly as it started it ended with this,

Horsey Make Up

Awwww! They’re so cute! I’m glad it wasn’t a “real” fight. They’re just practicing for their turn at a Mare someday.  I loved that they ended their sparring with a hug more or less.

I hope your week is going well! Happy Hump Day everyone!

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

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 27/52 Happy Independence Day!

©Copyright Deborah M. Zajac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Independence Day in the United States is today. On July 4th families and friends will get together to celebrate this holiday. Plans are being set in motion for pick-up games of baseball, volleyball, or swimming. There will be picnics, and barbecues/grills will be fired up. Dads all over will be grilling hot dogs, and burgers, watermelons will be split, seed spitting contests will ensue, and the colors of the day will be Red, White, and Blue.

When the sun drops beyond the horizon the celebrating doesn’t stop. Countless cities and towns will put on a great show of fireworks, and many families and friends will be gathered in their favorite viewing spot to watch the show, and many of us want to photograph them.

4th of July Fireworks

Settings for image above: f/10, iso 200, 14seconds-DSLR lens 18-200mm on a tripod

With just about any camera you can photograph fireworks.  I’ll share some tips for  getting the most out of your  DSLR or compact camera.

If you have a compact or Point and Shoot you might have a “fireworks” scene mode that you can summon either on the dial, or in the menu. Adding + 1 or +2 to Exposure Compensation will give you a longer shutter speed to add more colors, and longer fireworks trails. Then find something to stabilize your camera.  Most likely your shutter speed will be slow so, to avoid any blur you’ll need to have a solid base for your camera that doesn’t move while the shutter is released. A tripod is best, but a table, rock, ledge, or car hood works in a pinch.

Be sure to turn your flash off!

Night mode with Exposure compensation set to +1 or +2 to slow down the shutter will work pretty good too.  If you don’t know how to set that you’ll need your user manual.

Fireworks at Disneyland

Settings image above: f/8, ISO 3200, 1/4s, 35mm f/2 lens. Holding my DSLR over my head and shooting.

Using a SmartPhone-  Video is the best way to shoot the fireworks when using a cell phone. You can grab stills from your video. If you shoot a Time-lapse using your cell phone use a tripod!

Using a DSLR:

You’ll need your tripod, I recommend a cable release, or remote release, and full manual settings.

If you want foreground select a wide angle lens. On a Full Frame camera 24mm to 35mm in portrait orientation should be wide enough.

If using a Crop Sensor camera something in the range of 16mm to 18mm would be equivalent.

In Manual Priority choose an Aperture of F/8 to F/11, ISO 200, and a shutter speed of 8 seconds- you many need longer or shorter depending on the speed of launches, but 8 seconds is a real good place to start.

If you want just the fireworks in the sky select a lens with a range of 70-200mm.  If you have a 24-120mm, or super zoom like an 18-200mm lens that may be all you need for the night.

Once you have your camera set up with the settings dialed in you’re ready for the first launch. If you got to your location early you can sit back and wait. I hope you’ve packed something to eat! 😀

Once the sun goes down get ready for some fun! But, first we need to pre focus. When you hear the very first Whhomp! of the firework launch  follow the  contrail trail and when the firework explodes focus on the firework, and press your shutter release, or back button focus button if that’s how you focus to lock that in, and depress the shutter to make the image! In all likelihood that image isn’t very good. That’s okay, you’re just finding the place where the fireworks will explode and focusing there.  Now lock your camera down so it’s aimed in that spot, and switch your focus mode to Manual Focus! When it gets dark it may be too hard for the camera/lens to lock focus and it will hunt. You don’t want that. So, by using that first firework to pre-focus on you should be good to go the rest of night in manual focus.

Fireworks_20130704_4470

Settings for the image above: f/10, ISO 200, +1 Exposure Comp, 10 sec. DSLR w/ 300mm lens on a tripod

I release my shutter at the sound of the launch whhomp! If your camera is finished before the firework explodes and it blossoms to its full glory increase your shutter speed a bit.  Or if the firework is finished before your camera is decrease your shutter speed.  It’s a balance of timing and settings.  Within the first few fireworks you should be able to find the sweet spot of settings then you can shoot and enjoy the show.

I am planning to photograph the fireworks tonight with some friends. I hope you get out with your camera too! 😊

I hope this helps and if it does please post some photos, and tell us about your experience on your blog or photo sharing site,  then please share link here in the comments so I and others can see your images too!

I hope all my friends in the USA have a Happy Independence Day!

Cameras Nikon D700, and D300s.

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Weds. 26/52 The Inn at Benton Hot Springs

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I thought I’d change it up a bit and show you the Inn I stayed in the night before the Wild Mustangs trip.

The Inn at Benton Hot Springs

It’s lovely! The Inn features 7 rooms in an Historic 1940’s building, along with two private historic houses, with private hot tubs, and 10 private tubs for day and overnight use, and a wonderful breakfast in the morning.

The Inn is housed in a 1940’s block building constructed with local pumice materials. It was built to replace an old hotel where 10 small rooms shared one bath. The Inn was renovated in 1998, however the original structure integrity was retained. Therefore, all rooms except the Marquessa Suite (Room 7) share a bath. Two additional unique bathrooms with showers are available in a separate, adjacent building.

Prized for it’s western history, hot springs, remote settings, and  dark skies.

The family has owned and operated the ranch for more than 90 years.

This is their Mission Statement:

“Our mission is to provide
guests with a tranquil and
peaceful respite from their
fast-paced, chaotic worlds.
During their visits we
encourage calm reflection
while lingering in natural
soothing hot mineral water.
We desire that our guests
leave in a restored and
reinvigorated condition,
returning to their worlds with
enhanced balance and harmony.”

Each room at the Inn is decorated in a different theme. I was in the Victor Room, but first let me show you the place setting and crumb cake we had as a starter to our breakfast. We had eggs, and hash browns, lots of coffee, and the conversation was delightful. You eat with other guests all at one table. There are two seating’s for breakfast. 8 o’clock, or 9 o’clock. Don’t be late!  I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of the whole table. 😕

IMG_8829

Now, onto the Victor Suite. My room was on the end of left side of the building with a street view. There was a lovely chair outside my door with a view of the front courtyard. That image is still on my cell phone.

Brass bed… pardon my jackets on the chair please!

Victor Suite Rm 2

Each room had a Teddy Bear on the Bed(s)…  after meeting some of the other guests that were also doing the Wild Mustang Trip I asked if I could see their rooms and decor and I said I’d be happy to show them my room too. We all did a little tour of each others rooms. It was neat to see 4 of the 7 rooms, plus the Miner’s cottage. The first question one of the ladies asked me was ,”Do you have a Teddy Bear on your bed? 😊

Victor Suite Rm 2

I loved the antique furniture, and collectibles in the room. That black door is to the shared bathroom. I didn’t take any photos of the bathroom.

Victor Suite Rm 2_IMG_8806

In this image below I don’t know if the thing under the table is for magazines or boots. I’m hoping it’s for boots!  Oops, forgive my Ray-Ban’s too please.

Victor Suite Rm 2

Victor Suite Rm 2

…and a closer look at what’s on the white table. I love old bottles, and railroad spikes and do-dads.

Victor Suite Rm 2

 

For the History Buffs, here’s a bit of history on the town of Benton from the Inn’s website.

~://benhttptonhotsprings.org/history.php

Benton is one of the oldest existing towns in Mono County. Benton was founded by the western Indians who came to make use of its hot springs. As the nearby towns of Bodie and Aurora grew, Benton became a check-point for travelers on the way south in 1852.

Silver was discovered in the hills of Benton in 1862, and its population quickly grew. After hitting the initial strike of silver, not much more was found, but Benton’s profits were soon primarily from silver.

Unlike other mining towns, Benton was able to provide enough for the town to thrive and flourish for about 50 years. Most of the main activity took place between 1862 and 1890.

The Carson and Colorado Railroad reached the region in 1883, and made a stop at Benton Station, just four miles away.

I have some images of the old town that’ll be sharing in the future.

I’ll be staying here again in July, and hope to get a photo of the whole breakfast table all set up for breakfast, and if I get a different room you know I’ll be taking photos to share.

Oh, and I’m packing my bathing suit this time so, I can partake of the Hot Springs tubs!😀

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G|  iPhone 7 Plus| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Weds. 25/52 Family moments

Copyright ©Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out in the meadow observing the Wild Mustangs, and waiting for something to happen…because mostly all that horses do is eat! I happened to see this little family scene.

Family Unit

The horse on the far right wasn’t impressed so walked away and must have gestured or said something to the other adult because it started to get up…

Mare and Foal

Then I heard the rumble of horses hooves to my left and turned my camera to find it and saw this-

Get off my Dung Heap!

I missed what started it, but it was a mare, or a dung heap I’m guessing.  I learned a few things about Horse Behavior on this trip.  Stallions will fight over a pile of dung…their version of King of the Hill.

The Hazelnut brown horse chased the dark one all the way to the other side of the group.  Then all was calm again, and they went back to eating.

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

more to come…

Wild Weds. 24/52 Wild Mustangs of Adobe Valley Pt 1

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m back safely from my trip to Adobe Valley to track, see, and photograph Wild Mustangs!

It was a fantastic trip.  We stayed in two camps; a lower one the first night then we rode for 6 hours up to the upper camp in the high country.

Here’s a look at the kitchen and some of the other photographers. We were assembling for a walk out to the herd of Wild Mustangs that were in a huge meadow a mile and half from camp. The kitchen/hangout is on the far right under the tarp like tent.  Penny our cook had quite a camp kitchen set up.   The paddock the horses and mules were in are just to the right of that out of the frame.

Happily, I can report there wasn’t a hot dog, or hamburger to be found on the menu!

The food was awesome. I wanted to bring Penny home.

We had BBQ chicken, corn puddin, and fresh fruits, Stuffed Pork Chops, fresh mixed salad, homemade applesauce gravy, and summer squash sauté just right, and steak, baked beans, corn, and anything left over from the night before was set out to be eaten.

Breakfasts were hearty and kept us going until our lunch stop along the trail.

We had sausage and egg  comme Mcmuffins, steel cut oatmeal with all sorts of topping choices; raisins, brown sugar, syrup, nuts, fresh strawberries, and bacon, and French toast.

Snacks and lunches we made and packed for the ride each morning. We had turkey, or ham, or roast beef and assorted cheeses, chips, nuts, cookies, and fruit.

Snacks were nuts, dried and fresh fruit, chips, dips, OH, and desserts! Fresh baked berry pie, carrot cake, and oh, I forgot what we had the last night already!  I should have wrote it down. Penny made the cake in a dutch oven on the grill, actually most the meals were made via her huge Dutch Ovens.

We didn’t go hungry!

 

Lower Camp Adobe Valley

I’ll show you some of the camp. My tent, and others.  That cabin is deserted. A rancher lived there once. They told us it’s about 150 yrs. old.  The horse paddock was made of stone fencing instead of wood.  That’s one way to clear the rocks.

Cowboy/Wrangler Patrick setting up my tent.  The pack company provided tents, the cook, wranglers, horses, and tack.  We had to bring our own sleeping bag, and sleeping pad that was weighed in as part of our 40 pound dunnage limit. Patrick setting up my tent

Tents set up at Lower Camp

Do you want to see the Privy? Inside there is a box with a lid. Open the lid to find a hole cutout. It was just a hole dug out of the dirt under that box.  It wasn’t bad.  I don’t see a ziplock bag with toilet paper clipped to the tarp so someone is using it at the time I took this image.  That was the signal. 😊😊

In the upper camp we had two of these privies, and two showers with hot water!

Lower Camp Privy

My trusty steed Tip. He’s a 25 year old Gelding. They told me he’s a mutt. A mix of Draft, and Thoroughbred? He’s a gentle, and easy going horse.  Up in the rocky lava strewn hillsides I would get a bit tense;especially going down. I tighten up his reins a lot, but he’d ask for me more, and I gave him the slack on the condition that he kept me on his back, and didn’t fall.  He stumbled a few times, but he has four legs, and rebounded quickly.  I learned to trust him pretty fast.  He kept me on his back every ride.

Tip

We didn’t find any Wild Mustangs in the high country, but it was fun to explore and ride despite that.  We rode all the way into Nevada!

I took a pair of He-Man’s cycling shorts with a nice gel pad, and lots of butt butter.  My butt was fine, my thighs, and knees on the other hand not so much.  Riding up and down mountains on horseback is a workout! My thighs are still sore.  I hate sage brush! We were riding single track trails between the brush and too often my stirrups or toe would get caught in it and it would pull my leg backwards.  My knees are so bruised.

That is my only complaint about the trip.  The bush is brutal! Nevertheless, if Ken will have me I’m doing this trip again next year.

Okay, I know you want to see some wild horses.  Here’s one of my favorite images.  Taken just as the sun was going down.

Wild Mustangs at Sunset

Aren’t they beautiful?  There were several foals, but only 3 Yearlings.  The mortality rate is awful.  Not many foals will survive because of the mountain lions. 😢

I have tons of images to share so I’ll be sharing for awhile. I hope you don’t get bored!

I’ll be catching up with your blogs!

Happy Wednesday!

Nikon D810 w/ 200-500mm, 20mm f/1.8G. and iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 23/52 White-tailed Kites

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On and off for a few weeks I’ve been going to over to a nearby park to photograph and check on a young family of White-tailed Kites.  The adults have two Fledglings.  They aren’t quite ready to be on their own yet.  Mom and Dad are still hunting, and bringing in food for them.

I had hoped to see a mid-air food transfer between parent and fledgling, but that didn’t happen. Mom dropped the food in the nest on this evening.

White-tailed Kite with Prey

Myself and several friends went back the following morning bright and early.

Here’s a look at the Fledglings in the nest:

White-tailed Kite Fledglings

The Fledglings have been flying around the big fields practicing their hovering, spying prey, and diving, but I don’t know that they’ve actually caught anything on their own yet.

I went back again this past Saturday hoping to see and photograph the mid-air food transfer. It happened, but I missed it! After the oldest fledgling left the nest and it didn’t look like anything would happen following it, I set my camera back on the smaller fledgling still in the nest thinking it would follow shortly as it had before, then I heard oooh’s, and ahhh’s to my right and looked just in time to see the transfer but didn’t get my camera on it in time.  I didn’t anticipate that. 😥

Here’s one of the Fledglings in flight on my last visit June 2, 2018:

White-tailed Kite Fledgling in Flight

I fear they’ll be own their own and kicked out of the territory when I return next week.  Mom and Dad have already set up another nest across the field from this set of Fledgling’s nest, and they’re making the fledglings wait for longer periods of time between feedings.

I’ll be offline by the time this post goes live. I’m leaving the house in He-Man’s, and #1 Grandson’s capable hands while I’ll be camping in the wilderness with a group of photographers. 12 of us plus guides, and a cook are going to be tracking by foot, and horseback Wild Mustangs.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this trip!

As I type my bags are nearly packed. I’m waffling on which wide angle lens to take, and worrying about staying within my dunnage weight limit of 40 pounds!

Wish me luck that I don’t get thrown from my horse, we find the team of Wild Mustangs, get loads of wonderful images made,  Hot Dogs don’t make an appearance on our dining menu.  Some of you know I don’t like Hot Dogs, and I don’t get so saddle sore I’m unable to ride.  I’m packing Butt Butter! ☺

I’ll catch up with you all when I get back.  Until then I hope you have a wonderful week, and stay safe!

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

more to come…