Wild Weds. 10/52 Snow Leopard

©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a pretty busy week-end as you saw if you follow me on Instagram. I birded Saturday morning near Sacramento, CA  with a friend and had great success there with the ducks and geese we were hoping to see. I’ll share some of those images in another post.

After lunch we visited Sacramento Zoo; which was a first for me.

I have lots of images I want to share, but I’ll spare you loads of images and just post a couple of the beautiful Snow Leopard they have there. It was my favorite animal there.

Sunday a friend and I went to Yosemite National Park to see the snow and do a little Winter landscape photography. It was beautiful!  I’ll share an image or two in the future.

Added to that I got behind reading the blogs posted over the past week. I had #1 Grandson all week and I had no backup. Both Baby Girl and He-Man had business trips that took them to the East Coast; different states though.  I didn’t have a lot of free time for working on images, or staying on the computer long; #1 Grandson kept me pretty busy playing with Legos, board games, reading, and trying to fit in a little exercise in between the rain.

I’ll catch up this week…I hope! Happy Hum Day!

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

more to come…



Wild Wednesday 8/52 Hawk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding in Central Valley last month I saw lots of Red-tailed Hawks. This one was happy to pose for me. 🙂 At least I think this one is a Red-tailed Hawk.


Red-tailed Hawks are quite common here. Their habitat is wide open fields. They like to perch in trees along fields, fence posts, and telephone poles.

Their Behavior- from All About Birds:

“You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When flapping, their wing beats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground. They attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched – much different from a falcon’s stoop.”~allaboutbirds.org

They’re so common here I almost take them for granted. I’m always hoping to spy other types of Hawks instead of them, but when there are none about I’m so happy they’re here.

Sunday, I planned to go out to do some photography at the coast, but the wind was blowing 20-25 mph, and it was cold and gray, so I stayed in and watched Season 1 of Monk. Guess who found Streampix? 🙂 I hadn’t ever watched that show before, but I really like it. I’ll be watching every season til I am caught up. Yep, I’m hooked. 🙂

Recently I’ve also binged watched Vikings, and Camelot.  Those are two more T.V. shows I’m now Jonesing for the next season to begin already!

I’m currently reading A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse by Marian Allen who I discovered here on WordPress via Thursday Doors. You can find her here.  She writes Sci-fi stuff too. Yeah, she’s right up my street. 🙂 Check her out if you enjoy reading these genres too.

So, what are birds are seeing in your neighborhood, what are watching and reading right now?

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

more to come…

Wild Weds. 7/52 Wild 4 You!

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For Valentine’s Day. “)

Wild 4 YOU

I composed and shot this image back in 2014.   Since I hadn’t thought of anything else to compose for today I thought why not publish it for Wild Wednesday?

I did change what the Sweetheart said to fit both of today’s themes using Photoshop CC.  Here’s a quick run down on how I did that in case you’d like to know how I did it.

Firstly, I created a new layer then I grabbed the spot removal tool and erased what the Sweetheart said.

Next, I grabbed the Horizontal Text Tool and switched my paint/text color to bright pink, changed the font size to 6pt I think it was then I typed the first line WILD. Then I summoned the Free Transform Tool to turn the text to the right direction, then summoning the move tool I moved it into place.

I did that two more times for the number 4, and word YOU!. Then I saved the whole thing as a PSD file.  After that I added a new layer and cleaned up a few specular highlights on the ceramic figures then I merged the layers, resized it for the web, added my watermark, and saved it as a JPEG.

There is more than one to change the word on something like this, and probably an easier way too, but that’s how I did it. 🙂

I hope you all have a sweet day!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 105mm| Lexar Digital Film| Continuous Lights right and left with light modifiers| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 6/52 Fungi

© 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While hiking to stretch my legs I spied two different types of Wild Mushrooms.

I have no idea what their names are. Since I have no knowledge of which ones are harmless ~vs~ those that are deadly I have a healthy respect fear of them in the wild.

Aside from photographing them that is.  They make wonderful subjects for macro/close up imagery.

I think these are in the Shelf Mushroom family. I liked the big one on top that looks like a fan.  The stripes had a greenish/gray hue that I liked.  I spied them growing on a fallen log just off trail.

Shelf Mushrooms

These  Brown ones below were growing under Valley Oaks among the fallen leaves and twigs.  I laid down on my stomach to see if I could spy any Fairy Folk, but they must have known I would do that and scattered among the leaves and debris. Sadly, I didn’t spy one. Not one! 😦

Wild Brown Mushrooms

I was hiking with a new lens.  I’ve longed for a replacement lens for my very old 28-105mm Nikkor lens.  Nikon replaced the 28-105mm with an AF-S 24-120mm f/4 VR lens in 2003. That version doesn’t get good reviews . I didn’t upgrade to that one since my old 28-105mm was better.

In 2010 Nikon improved the  Af-S 24-120mm f/4 VR adding VR II, better lens coatings, and some other things so it’s sharper at the wide end, and the long end: that version is still sold new today.  It’s well liked, at least a lot better than the first version was.  It’s the lens I replaced my 28-105mm with.  I’ve had it now about a month, and I like it. I’ve wanted a lens a bit wider, and longer for a long time for a walk-around/hiking lens.  My lens as you can imagine is old. Nikon hasn’t supported it for a long time now so should it break finding parts is going to be really hard, and finding somewhere to fix it might prove just as hard.  Replacing it has been on my mind for several years.

Just after the Holidays Nikon  had a sale on their Refurbished lenses and the AF-S 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR II was on the list.  The price was right…  so, after stalling and/or balking on the purchase for several years I finally pushed the “buy” button.

Early impressions are good.  I think I’m going to be able to live with this lens for many years.  At least as many as I have the old 28-105mm lens.

Of course cameras improve with every new version released which can make the lenses of yesterday and today redundant in resolving power.  Which is what I faced with my 28-105mm. It isn’t as sharp on my Df as it was my D700. When I upgraded the D700 to the D810 which has 36 mega pixels ~vs~ 12mp I was afraid my old lenses wouldn’t resolve on it well.   Reviews since have proven that. 🙂 I haven’t even tried my old 28-105mm on it since it’s not quite as sharp on the Df at 16.2 MP.  I’m keeping it to use on my Df though. Just a little added sharpening and contrast is all it needs on that camera.  I LOVE my Df. I think I should have just bought another one of those, but that’s another post.

Too much gear talk?  I’m wild about gear. I could talk about it all day…well not all day, but for a good while! 🙂  Anyway, because I was testing out the lens at this stage I wasn’t carrying my Canon 500D Close-Up lens, or a macro lens. I wanted to see just how close I could focus with this lens, and find out how the images look.

They’re not bad. If I had carried my tripod they probably would be better, but since it was quick “stretch my legs” hike I didn’t carry it.

I am now looking forward Spring when I’ll be carrying my close-up lens with me everywhere to see how much closer I can get, and get really close. 🙂

I’m so excited for the possibilities this lens brings me when opportunities arise in the Spring, and using my LensBaby lenses, and Macro Lens.  It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite lens. I love every lens I own.  I don’t know how I would ever be able to pick just one! I’d need at least 3 to be truly happy.

What about you, could you live happily with just one lens? Do you use one lens 90-100% of the time? What lens would you choose if you could only have one?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…


Wild Weds. 5/52 Lost in the Wild

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Losing your house key on the trail would be among the top five worst  things ever to lose on the trail!

Thankfully, someone found it and placed in spot it is hoped to be found.

Lost in the Wild

I hope the person that lost this was able to retrace their movements to here and reclaim the key that was lost the wild.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 24-120mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wild Weds. 2/52 Wild Ones at Home

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It rained this week! I’m not complaining we need it, so when He-Man and I went for a hike on Saturday we went late morning to let it dry out a bit, and get warmer. We kept to the paved streets in the nearby hills b/c I did not want to trod uphill and down in the mud on the trails.  We walked just over 2 miles and gained about 600ft in elevation.  It felt like a workout.

FWIW: If I’m hiking or stretching my legs with a hike I’d rather go uphill for a bigger pay off verses a longer, flat walk.  Since it was late morning there wasn’t any wildlife; the birds, deer, coyotes, and wild turkey were all napping I guess.  Not a bad place to be on a late Saturday morning though. 🙂

Sunday it rained all day. Like me all the wildlife was hunkered down somewhere cozy, warm, and dry.

So, it’s to my archives we go.

Here are a few wild ones that visit my backyard bushes and feeders taken last year.

hum… something Squirrely (sp?) is going on here…

Bird Feeder Raider

Yep! This one found the one feeder he/she can get in to!

Squirrel at Bird Feeder

Then there’s the fence sitters.

Morning Dove

California Towhee

The top bird is a Mourning Dove…which I’m thinking was born in the hanging basket on my patio, or their Mother.  The bottom bird is a California Towhee. I can’t tell if it’s the male of female.


I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and staying warm!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…


Wild Wednesday 1/52 Here Kitty, Kitty!

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A Bobcat image…Finally!  I went birding with my friend Dali on the 30th of December which would be my last birding adventure for 2017.  We went to an area not too far from home that we hadn’t been to in a year.  While on the way out of the area and headed to lunch b/c the birds had gone quiet, and hunkered down well into the foliage out of sight Dali spotted this Bobcat.

I was so excited and had been looking for one or it when we went through this area coming in, because way back in the winter of 2011 Dali and I saw a Bobcat here, and it was right in my sights, but I missed the shot because my lens then was the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 which was slow and would hunt in poor light. My lens just would not find focus, and by the time I switched to manual focus all I managed to get were blurry butt shots of the retreating Bobcat.  It was then I decided I had to move up to the 300mm f/4 prime lens.  Missed shots like this due to a hunting lens was unacceptable! Needless to say, every time I’ve birded this area since I’ve looked for the, or a Bobcat sans success…that is, until the 30th of December 2017.  6 years of hoping to see a Bobcat again in this area!

This Bobcat just like that day in 2011 was under the canopy of Oak trees and well shaded but, unlike that day my kit today is the 200-500mm lens, and the formidable D810 camera which together were able to attain focus so, I was able to fire off 4 shots before the Bobcat got behind the foliage and out of sight.  However all was not perfect…all four images were metered for a brighter environment so, they were all under exposed.  I didn’t delete them. Actually, I never delete “in camera” for fear of corrupting my card. I hoped I would be able to bring up the exposure enough in Photoshop and save the images especially since the Bobcat did turn and look at me for two of those four shots!

If I haven’t told you before how much I like Photoshop let me tell you now. I LIKE PHOTOSHOP! I was able bring back nearly two stops of light, and with some noise reduction have a “keeper” instead of having to delete the images again.

Was this the very same Bobcat? Probably not, but maybe its offspring. 🙂  Either way I’m a very happy camper with this shot, and my last birding excursion of 2017. Oh yes,  we did see birds. Lots of Hawks, Sparrows, and a Says Phoebe are the most notable birds, but the highlight for me was long awaited re sighting of the Bobcat.  I sure hope that bodes well for a stellar 2018 wildlife/birding year.

Here’s a link about the North American Bobcat from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Oh, three more things; 1)  you may have noticed I have changed my blog theme, and hope you’re all able to view and read my posts sans problemes. My old theme was no longer supported, and I was having some issues with it for sometime.  Then I created a “sticky” post back in week 41 of 2017 and couldn’t figure out how I did it or undo that until week 51 or so when I had given up trying to fix that and tried new themes.  For now this is the theme I’m rollin’ with. Let me know in the comments if it’s working for you please.

2) while driving home from Baby Girl’s this evening I decided on my Project 52 theme for this year. Yes, I’m going to do another one.  It motivates me, and gets me out of the house with my favorite tool…my camera.  This year’s theme I’m calling Wild Wednesday.  I have plenty of wildlife images marinating in my archives in case I get stuck indoors, but I plan to get out to make many more new images, and not all things wild are animals. 🙂

3) My Header: It’s an image I made back on Jan. 1, 2011 of Stoneman Bridge in Yosemite National Park.  That was a stellar Photography Trip with Dear Friends Dali, Alex, and Theresa.  We’re way overdue for another Annual New Year’s Trip.  Just sayin. 🙂

I raise my glass and toast; Here’s to a good photographic year! 🙂

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @f/8|ISO 1000| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…