Wild Weds. 42/52 Withered and Tattered

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Normally we see gorgeous, perfect Monarch butterflies being shown on blogs, and photo sharing sites, but there’s another side of their lives that shows us just how amazing and remarkable these insects are in addition to beautiful.

This Adult Male Monarch Butterfly has survived the wind, rain, and maybe snow. It probably avoided predators along its arduous migration, and perhaps it lost some of its wings being snagged on thorns.

Monarch Butterfly-Male

The average lifecycle of a Monarch Butterfly is 6-8 weeks.  From the egg stage, then the catepillar stage, to the chrysalis stage is only 27-28 days. At 28 days the Monarch Butterfly emerges from its cocoon a fully grown monarch and lives 2-6 weeks.  That’s remarkable!  From that point its whole raison d’être is to mate so there will be eggs to lay so there will be the next generation of monarch butterflies.

I love how clever he is by landing here on this withered and tattered Showy Daisy-like flowers. He’s trying to blend in I believe.

I made this image in May in Santa Clara County. It’s back to my archives this week because I have been outside my box, and doing a bit of portraiture the last two week-ends.  Two weeks ago a girl-friend and I teamed up to do a Maternity Session for some dear friends, and I’ve been working on those images, and this past Sunday afternoon I did a Wedding Invitation/Save the Date session for Baby Girl, and the Handsome Surveyor.

I can’t show any images from the Maternity Session as the couple hasn’t seen them, and I don’t have their permission to share yet, but Baby Girl and The Handsome Surveyor said it would be alright to share one image; one that won’t be used on the invitation.

People photography really isn’t my thing, and retouching even less so, but I do like this image.  Of course, I am just a wee bit biased. 😃  I will probably go back and tweak this image after I get the Maternity Set done for my friends, and Baby Girl’s wedding invitation image done.  I’m not used to working on the clock so to speak, so I’m feeling the pressure!

Haakma Zajac Session 04

I hope your week is going well, and you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| top image shot w/ Nikkor 200-500mm| bottom image shot w/ Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens at f/5.6| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

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Mandarin Duck- Male(Drake)

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This duck is usually a resident of Asia not the USA. This one is the only one if its kind on this pond. Most likely it was a pet that was released or flew the coup. It’s known as the most beautiful Duck in the world and I agree! My friend Dali and I went to photograph him when we got wind that he was in town. Prior to this sighting I’ve only seen this duck in captivity. It’s very exciting to see one in the wild!

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 300mm f/4@ f/5.6| 1/250sec| ISO 1250| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Hand-held| On board camera flash fill; San Jose, CA; USA;

“The Soul becomes dyed with the colors of its thoughts.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

A group of friends from a Meet-Up group I’m in spent one night at May Lake specifically to photograph the evening and night sky.  My friend Michael and I drove up together.  Along the way we stopped at the Old Priest Grade Station Cafe for a late breakfast to help fuel our bodies for the hike to the Lake.   Michael and I split an Egg scramble skillet loaded with goodies, and a short stack of flapjacks.  The coffee was welcome and good, and the food delicious.   We talked with some folks who were traveling from Maine who were visiting Yosemite for the first time. They were pressed for time and wanted to know what they should see. I suggested Tunnel View as their “do not miss” place in the park. I wish I got their email to find what they saw and how  they liked the park. Hindsight is always better isn’t it. [sigh] What would you have suggested they see on very little time in the park?

We made good time from the Cafe to the May Lake turnoff and we found a great parking spot near the trail-head. While we were getting everything out of the car and ready to do the hike up  to May Lake we met a lovely family from San Francisco; Regina, and Jesse with whom we chatted about backpacking, hiking, and gear. They were having lunch and getting their gear ready for the hike up while their two little ones were having nap time.

We took our time hiking up to the lake enjoying the views and talking to passersby.  Regina, and Jesse with their two little ones caught up with us even. They each carried a child in their backpacks plus their camping gear! There wasn’t much further to go to reach the lake by this point.

It turned out we were first of the group to arrive, and there weren’t many backpackers at the lake so we had lots of choice spots to choose from to set up our tents.

Home Sweet Home…for the night

It was a nice flat space and moderately sheltered from the wind. It was breezy and got windy during the night I heard from Michael in the morning, but I slept through it. Michael set up behind me.

The view from my spot:

Once both Michael and I had our camps set up we did a little scouting; looking for possible sunrise and night sky locations. Here’s a look at Mount Hoffman and Hoffman Peak which rises above May Lake. The stats for May Lake are:

Elevation at trailhead:  8,710 feet (2,655 meters)
May Lake Elevation:  9,270 feet (2,825 meters)
Mt. Hoffmann Elevation:  10,845 feet (3,305 meters)

After the rest of the group arrived and set up their camps we headed up the May Lake trail to the granite plateaus to find a nice viewing location to shoot the sunset. Sunset was absolutely stunning (first photograph). The colors in the sky were so vivid,  and beautiful, it made the hike up with its steep and gnarly trail to that plateau, and beyond for further night photography, and the treacherous return trek down in the dark of night with head-lamps, and torches of course well worth it.

I have to give a huge “SHOUT OUT!” to Enrico who set up, and coordinated this Meet-up. Without him and the group I wouldn’t have gone, as I’m not brave enough to do this alone. Thank you Enrico for setting up another terrific backpacking adventure!  Here’s a photo of the group courtesy of Enrico.

  Left to Right- Tulasi, Milad, Wayne, Me, Michael, Sarita, and Enrico.

An Otterly great morning on the Slough

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I went kayaking for the first time Sunday morning in Elkhorn Slough which is in the Monterey Peninsula in a sleepy little coastal hamlet called Moss Landing here in California.
This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was out here on a Pontoon boat with a Photography group last year.  My friend Dali and I both signed up for the Basics Course at Kayak Connection which is located right on the Slough .The red kayak behind the blue  one was mine for morning. She’s sleek, quick, and her number is KC58. I had the good fortune of having a great instructor who got me through the basics in just 3 hours.

While we were practicing how to go straight, and proper paddle position  I got close to Dali  so I stopped , and thought to pull out my camera for a quick photo of him gliding through the water in his yellow kayak.

After learning how to paddle straight, turn, stop, and go backwards, and learning to quickly steer clear of obstacles with a maneuver called the “J move” it was time to venture further into the slough.  We rowed out toward the mouth of the harbor when two male otters came to play. They were so close to me. One swam under my kayak and started knocking his clam on the underside of my kayak to crack it open. It was so exciting! Just look how close this one was to me.


Our guide Courtland  told us this Otter’s red tail tag meant he’d been released from the Monterey Bay Aquarium for being too familiar with humans. Evidently he’s still quite fond of humans. He showed no fear of us at all. He was swimming right up to our kayaks and looking in, and all around them for food I think. This is what I wanted to experience while kayaking.


It was an exciting day! Dali and I are both stoked and looking forward to getting out on the water again!

Canon Powershot SD750, SanDisk Digital Film

Best of 2011

I’ve been sorting through the years photos and have selected my best photos. Out of thousands of photos I narrowed it down to just 32.  I based these on technical merit, place, a special memory, friends I was with, or the emotion I felt at the time.

I hope you enjoy looking through them.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmzajac2004/sets/72157628642506681/show/

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

On a clear day…

On a clear day…, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.
On this Sat. morning I rose a bit later than usual and took a leisurely 1.5 hour drive over to East Glacier to meet Ranger Pat Hagan. Pat was leading me and several other hikers up the Scenic Point Trail.
Pat expanded on the trail giving us more of an idea of what we were about to take on going on this hike.
He said, “We’re going to be hiking up roughly 23 stories today, and, we’re taking the stairs.”

The trail has 16 switchbacks getting longer the higher you climb. Every 4th switchback or so Pat had a story. Most were about bears. Bear management, behavior, and safety which I found interesting, and educational.
I turned around to look back here. I’m about halfway to the top at this point. It’s windy up here, and worth the effort to get here. Look at this view! That’s Two Medicine Lake, and way down there by the waters edge is a campground where many of my hiking companions were camping, and about half inch above the Z in my signature in the right corner is the parking lot my Va-Va is parked in under a shady pine tree.
Hike details
7.80 miles rd trip
2,853ft elevation gain
5h57m total time

The trail is steep, but the switchbacks help make the going easier.

See my complete hiking stats here.

My GPS unit is this one here.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 17-35@ 24mm| f5.6| 1/250 second| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Hand-held

“…the glory of our parklands is too precious to be sacrificed…Steps must be taken to protect our dearly won recreation lands…”~ J.D. Grant

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

It looks a bit compressed in this view. Please click in the photo to view it larger.

Took a drive out to Grant Lake with Dali today and wandered around. It’s really pretty now. I don’t visit this park often enough.

D300s| Nikkor 17-35@ 17mm| f8| 1/500 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod