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Tag Archives: US National Parks

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…

 

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Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It’s Theme week (Curve(s) )on Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2.

It rained a lot during the week which kept me indoors, and my imagination and “sight” were MIA this past week when looking for curves everywhere I did go, and around the house. So, I went back to Death Valley National Park via my archives to find curves.

Monochrome Madness 2 43 of 52 Curves

I love the curves, and contours of the Sand Dunes so, I selected an image I made in 2011 for my entry to Monochrome Madness 2 this week.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@35mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2016 & On1 Photo 10

Visit Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2 to see this week’s entries here. Note- Leanne resides in Australia so post will be available on Wednesday’s in the U.S.

More to come…

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We return to Monochrome Madness 2 this week with Theme Week.  The Theme is Country.  I was torn between; Country a nation, or Country rural. In the end I went Literal (no surprise there right) 🙂

My image is from Fort Point National Park in San Francisco, CA. which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

MM2 27 of 52 Country

The view is looking North across the “Gate”. You see both the South and North Towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and in the foreground some of the 3 tier casements of Fort Point, and on the top tier some of the old Cannon Foundations, and watch tower.

For the History Buffs

In 1851 the War Department got busy planning to build a Fort(s) on the Pacific Coast. Priority was to build a Fort at San Francisco’s Gateway because the Military considered it a High Priority and Key to the Pacific Coast.

Construction began on Fort Point in 1853, but completion of the Fort was delayed due to the cost, and complexity of the building’s multi-storied tiers of arched casements. The fort needed to be strong enough to withstand the strong storms of the Pacific.  The building is made of walls 7 feet thick, and has the multi-tiered casement construction typical of Third System forts.  There were 30+ forts of this type on the East Coast, but this was the only one built of this type on the West Coast.

Third System forts were planned after the war of 1812; they combined high walls, heavy masonry, and classified as Third System, as a grade of structural integrity.

When Fort Point was completed to its top tier (barbette) it could accommodate 90 cannons which weren’t yet installed.

In 1861 war was looming on the East Coast so the Army mounted  55 guns at the fort, and the first garrison and defenses were ordered.

Fort Point never had to fire its guns during the Civil War, and the Confederate Army never launched an attack on the Bay.

For further reading about the Fort’s Post-Civil War History to Present day click here.

I believe the flag is flying at Half Staff to honor the victims in Roseburg, OR.

To see all the images that were shared for the Theme Country  click Leanne Cole Monochrome Madness 2.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6 & Silver Efex Pro

More to come…

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Several weeks back several photographer friends and I spent the week-end in Lassen National Park hoping to making images of the Night Sky. Unfortunately, as the shadows of the day grew longer the clouds got thicker. They made the sunset lovely, but foiled are hopes of night imaging.

We photographed the Sunset at Lake Helen image here  then we walked back to the car and on the way we saw Lightning! That’s a BIG DEAL for me and my friends because, we rarely see lightning where we live in the San Francisco Bay Area. It wasn’t bolt to the ground, or is it ground to sky lightning bolts? It was the type Eric our mid-westerner in the group called “cloud to cloud” lightning.

It was behind the mountains and lighting up the clouds so, instead of packing up we set up to photograph the lightning.

After 10 minutes or so shooting it we decided to get higher to see if we could see Bolts and try to capture that.

It was quite dark by now, and we still hadn’t seen any Bolts, just the sky lighting up. This image is one image I made of the sky being lit up by a strike of Lightning.

Chasing Lightning in Lassen National Park

While we were shooting the rain started, so we packed up and moved to the other side of the lake hoping to get in a few more images since it was only sprinkling.

Lightning Summit Lake Lassen National Park

I had just got set up to start shooting when the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down. I managed to get this one image of the sky lighting up from lightning then we packed up and raced to the car all of us and our gear wet, but thrilled to have seen lightning.

Heads-up!

Next week my MM2 image will be posted on Leanne’s page, but not on my own until the following week. I’ll be offline next week.

I’ll be back online Sept. 6th, and catching up with all I missed while offline.

If you have time please click over to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2 post here to see all the images that were shared this week.

More to come…

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Portal to the StarsI had a fun week-end in Moab, Utah with friends Alex and Theresa chasing the stars. Our goal was to shoot the Milky Way at Corona Arch, but the first night was really cloudy so we went to Dead horse Point in Canyonlands State Park for sunset. We didn’t have much color, but the clouds were dramatic.

Sunset Deadhorse Point Canyonlands State Park, UtahSaturday morning my alarm went off at 3 A.M. I snoozed for a few minutes then got up, dressed then the 3 of us left the hotel and  were at the Trail head to Delicate Arch at 4:10 A.M. It’s a 1.5 mile hike up to Delicate Arch with a 500 ft elevation gain. It took us 42 minutes to ascend to Delicate Arch in the dark. (we had head-lamps)
Civil Twilight at Delicate Arch

Not much color this morning facing this direction: South-southeast, but still pretty. While waiting for Golden Hour we met Adonis Farray who is from Canada. We all hiked down together then parted ways. Starving we headed to Moab for breakfast. We went to the Jailhouse Cafe and had just put in our order when in walked Adonis! We invited him to our table. Over the course of our conversation we discovered he hadn’t ever shot the Milky Way so of course we invited him to join us if he had the time. He altered his plans and stayed another day in Moab in order to join us. He will tell you I held a gun to his head. 🙂 It didn’t take too much arm twisting to convince him it was worth a second hike up to Corona Arch.

After breakfast we all headed back to our hotel rooms to take a nap, and prepare for our upcoming night shoot. I woke up before my alarm and so did Theresa so we went for a quick swim at the pool then went back  to shower, and meet Alex for dinner before heading up to the Corona Arch trail-head where we would meet Adonis.

We started the hike up to Corona Arch about 7  P.M. The outside/ambient temperature was 101 degrees. You start climbing straight-away up a dirt and rocky path which soon levels out  for a short distance then it meanders up through a canyon; you cross one set of railroad tracks then continue up the path. Soon the path gives way to sandstone and red rock. You hike across a steep rock with a well-worn path in places and no trail at all in other places, but it is marked along the way with cairns, there’s a part of the rock that slopes so you’re walking on an angle but there’s cable to hold on to which helps. Then you begin to climb up the canyon wall following the cairns.
Not too long after you leave the cable behind you come to another cable that helps you climb a much steeper, but short rock. There are shallow foot holes cut into the rock face that make the 15 foot climb much easier. I took this image of the cable back in Feb. with my iPhone. That boy about 10 yrs old ran up the rock opposite the cables- too impatient to wait for us to go up then he waited for his parents at the top.

Cable on the trail to Corona ArchWith that challenge behind us we continued on a short distance only to meet with another steep rock to climb, but a ladder is there to help you up, or you can hike up and around it which is what I did this trip. This image of the Ladder I took back in Feb. with my iPhone

Ladder on the trail to Corona ArchBy now you are hundreds of feet high above the canyon floor hiking across the canyon wall on a huge slip rock ridge with a gentle uphill slope that leads you right to the Arch.
The 1.5 mile hike up to the Arch is packed with fun and challenging terrain. Here’s how the Arch looked when we got up to it. Taken with my iPhone 5

Corona Arch iphone imageAlex had checked our calculations for the night shoot before we left the hotel using Stelliarum so we had a pretty good idea of where the Milky Way was going to rise. We set up and waited for it to get dark enough to see it.
The temperature started cooling off about 9 P.M. and by 9:30 P.M. it was dark enough to see more and more stars shining bright against the darkening sky.

Theresa brought along a strong flashlight for light-painting. While we were making images of the Arch in the Blue Hour with Theresa light-painting it she stopped and said, “I hear rustling in someone’s back pack. Like animal critter kind of rustling noises.” We all stopped what we were doing to investigate. Turning the light beam over to the pack Theresa saw a mouse in Adonis’ pack! Adonis had left it open and the mouse was trying to get his trail mix. The light beam, and Adonis poking his pack scared the mouse who came running out of the pack and straight into one of the holes in the rock behind us, but he came out of that hole just as fast with angry wasps on his tail! We discovered earlier that all the holes in the rock behind us were filled with wasp nests. We were set up in front of them, but far enough away not to disturb the wasps. The mouse got away up and over the rock and thankfully we didn’t see it or the wasps again.

We hoped we would have breaks in the clouds giving us some kind of view of the Milky Way and we got lucky! Adonis said he’d put in the order with the weather Gods. 🙂 We shot for a couple of hours then we packed up, and with head-lamps lighting the way we started to make our way down from Corona Arch.  With our lamps on the white light we were assaulted by little gnat like bugs. Yuk!

Our Theresa got a touch of sun exhaustion and didn’t feel good at the start of the decent. Thankfully she was able to hike down without difficulty- she was tired, hot, nauseous, had a head-ache, and thirsty despite drinking 64 ounces water that day. By the time our plane landed late Sunday afternoon she was looking and feeling much better.

Our day for the Milky Way shoot started Saturday July 26th at 3 A.M. and ended when I went to bed on Sunday July 27th at 1 A.M.  We got a lot of hiking in. 8.2miles total, and I had a lot of fun with dear friends, and  new friend from Canada Adonis.

More to come…

Unless noted- All images taken with a Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

P52 20 of 52 Ursa Major"Big Dipper" over Yosemite National ParkNikon Df| AF-D Nikkor 24mm f/2.8| Tripod

Yosemite National Park, Half Dome, Basket Dome, Yosemite Valley, California, USA

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

P 52 14 of 52 Tunnel View Golden HourI ventured North-east to look for Wildflowers  then went into Yosemite National Park to photograph the river, and waterfalls, but couldn’t be in the park and not go up to Tunnel View. I swung by here earlier in the day to see how it looked and thought it would be a good place to shoot the sunset since the clouds were getting thicker by the hour and by 3PM Half Dome was covered in clouds.

I made two images up here a cool version using my Singh Ray LB Color filter then removed the filter and made the warmer image you see here. I’ll share the cooler image soon since I like them both.

This is all the color we got this evening. More clouds rolled in obscuring the sun and blocking any more color. By 7:40pm I was in Pearl (my car) with the heater on thawing out my very cold fingers still hoping the color would come. There were only 3 photographers set up waiting and hoping outside on the observation deck; everyone else had left. Shortly after that all the color faded completely and He-Man and I headed home relaxed, and very content.

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm @ f11| 1/30s| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Matrix Met| tripod

 

 

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