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…

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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…

 

Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year we had a pair of American Bald Eagles make a nest in a Redwood tree which is located in the front yard of an Elementary School right here in Silicon Valley. It was very exciting news.  We hoped they’d return this year. Not only did they return to their nest they’ve had two chicks!

Myself and several friends had made a couple of trips over to see and photograph them, 2 weeks ago we met there again.  When I pulled up there were many photographers there, and they were quickly changing positions, and pointing up, one friend already there motioned me to hurry.  There was something exciting happening.  I quickly parked, got out of the car then went to get my camera out of the back of my car. The Female was coming in and she had dinner!  I had to act fast she was flying low, fast, and being dogged by crows who squawked at her the whole time.

There was a row of trees blocking my view, so I ducked down, and sans tripod got her in my viewfinder and fired off three rapid shots then I lost her in the trees. Since I was hand-holding my 200-500mm lens  I wobble all over the place and my position of ducking and shooting wasn’t stable. I didn’t have much hope for having a decent shot. My rig weighs just a smidge under 8 pounds (4kg). I’ve never had any arm strength. 😥 Two of the images were nothing but a blurry blob in the frame, but one was worth saving for myself. It’s not print quality, but I thought I show you it anyway because you can tell what birds they are, and what’s happening.

Mama Eagle scored a whole duck for dinner. A whole duck! There were 3 crows dogging her, but I only got one in the frame with her. See the duck?

Milpitas Eagle Famale with Kill and Crow Chaser

Mama stayed near the nest watching the Eaglets eat for sometime, and the Eaglets would pop their heads up from time to time looking for their parents.

American Bald Eagle Chicks

Mama decided it was time for another flight.  I photographed her just as she left the branch she was on.  I love this shot! Her wings are enormous!  I barely fit all of her in my frame.

American Bald Eagle Adult Female

Dad was nearby on a branch higher up keeping watch, but after Mama left and the chicks were fed he thought it was safe for him to come down and clean off his beak.

He cleaned it by rubbing and wiping it on that branch.  Under his back end below the branch is the nest. You can just make out a chick in there.  Dad has lost all his beautiful white tail feathers!  I hope they grow back.

American Bald Eagle Adult Male

We stayed watching and photographing them until sundown when we lost the good light. I have more images I want to share of the adults, but again I’ll wait for a rainy day, by then I may a few of the Chicks as Fledglings.

Pets Update:  I finally took a photo of Box, and someone cough! (Dan) reminded me that I haven’t shared a photo of Diva Dog in sometime.  Imagonna fix that for ya. 🙂 I had Yosemite Sam pop into my head when I heard that last sentence in my head. 😜

Box is still shy:  He loves to hide in the back corners, and he loves his hay bag. I got him at a good time munching on hay.

Box the Guinea Pig

 

…and for Dan, Diva Dog- Yesterday was in the 80’s and today is supposed to be 89°F.  Early summer?  When it’s hot she likes to lay on the cool wood floor in the entry hall, or on our bathroom floor’s Travertine tiles.  She wouldn’t pose for me. Too hot! I’m sorry you can’t see her cute neckerchief.

Diva Dog Staying Cool

It’s supposed to cool down mid week. I hope you’re not too hot or cold,  and I hope you’re all having a good week, and great day!

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

more to come…

 

 

Wild Wednesday 17/52 Wild Chicks in the Park

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday I was feeling strong, and well enough to do some birding with friends. I rose 4:15am to be ready for my friend to pick me up then from there we drove north 50 minutes to meet Gordon from undiscoveredimagesamonstus

After meeting Gordon we headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge to go to a pond for birding.  We spent over an hour there then we headed over the Richmond Bridge to meet more friends at Blake Garden. After spending a couple hours at the Garden we headed to lunch. It was a great breakfast place. I’d go back and order the same thing.  I didn’t take any photos of my food I was too hungry by then.

After lunch and saying farewell to a friend we headed to Golden Gate Park to look for the Owlets we heard were there.

I was familiar with the tree the owls like to nest in having been to it several years ago, so finding that was easy, but we relied on birders there ahead of us to point us in the direction of the owlet nest.

Mama Owl was there too, but she was well camouflaged in the foliage much higher in the tree.  I have a really bad image of her I’ll spare you from seeing.

There are 3 owlets, but I was only able to see two of their faces. 😦  The one in the very far right is still sleeping.

Owlets San Francisco CA_DMZ6602

I changed positions to the other side of the tree and got this shot of one of the owlets.

Owlet San Francisco CA_DMZ6629-3

The only bummer for me was that I couldn’t find my 200-500mm lens to use that day.  I put it away somewhere safe when I went hiking in Quarry Hill Garden several weeks ago. Then I got the flu and was out of it for nearly two weeks. When I went to get my lens where I thought I put it it wasn’t there. I looked high and low, and couldn’t find it, so only had my 300mm with me, and it really was too short for the day.  Aside from that it was a fun, and successful day of birding.

I did finally find my 200-500mm the following day in a box with the Christmas ribbons and bows. I totally forgot putting it in there!

I’ll be sharing images from our trip to the pond and garden in other posts.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 300mm f/4| SanDisk Digital Film| PSCC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Weds. 14/52 A Wild Good Time at the Races

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Saturday I went to a car show, but discovered the night before that there would be drag racing too, so I spent all my time there photographing the racing, and not the many, many cars that were parked for viewing.

Two of my photography girlfriends in our group decided to join me, and we had so much fun.  We were trying the “panning technique”.   It’s not a technique I employ often. This technique requires one to slow the shutter down a bit, then track your subject while it’s moving then when it gets to the spot you want it to be gently squeeze the shutter while following your subject through the squeezing/releasing of the shutter.  It happens in a nano second.  I didn’t think I was doing it very well, but have more keepers than I thought I would.

The idea is to show movement/speed/motion while trying to keep the subject in focus.  It takes a bit of practice.

Settings I used were f/10-f/14, and I varied my shutter speed between 1/125s, 1/100s, and 1/80s in the beginning, and ended up using 1/125s and 1/100s the most.  I had really good light so kept my ISO at 100.

I liked f/13-f/14 the best for keeping more of the car in focus.

I also wanted to stop the action to show different parts of what was going on.  I just raised my Shutter Speed in those instances.

I was using Manual Priority, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering mode, Single Point Focus, and Single shot shooting mode throughout the shoot.

So, there’s the technical bits, lemme show you some images from the races. “)

N738sp

Drag Racing Car

Dan Nayl Or

Drag Racing Dan Nayl Or

They approach the starting line with attitude, noise, and whole lot of burning rubber. 🙂

Burn Rubber!

These cars are fast! From the start to finish this car did it in 10.962 seconds at 134.44 miles per hour! One dragster later on clocked in over 200 miles per hour! WILD! 🙂

10.962s  134.44MPH

We spent 2 1/2 hours shooting just cars racing up this track. The time flew by! When it was time to head down to the car show to meet the rest of our group we stopped by the pit area for a closer look.

Can you smell the burn? 🙂  Man it was ear drum bursting noise down there!

Can you smell the burn-Burning Rubber

It was so much fun. I can’t wait to go back.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 24-120mm f/4| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 13/52 Wild California Poppy

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is one of the first Poppies I saw in bloom this season. I spied it all alone while on a “stretching my legs” hike a few weeks ago.

It’s Easter on Sunday and I’ll be spending the day with family.  I hope you all have a lovely week-end, and a wonderful Easter if you celebrate it.

Nikon 810| Nikkor 105mm @f/5.6| San Disk Digital Film| Handheld

more to come…