Undersocialized Charlie and my efforts to have a companion dog!

Among the many problems created by the pandemic is the under socialization of my puppy. My nine-month wait coincided with CoVid 19. Born on February 7th he arrived home just after society was shutting down. Governor Newsom declared a stay at home order in mid-March. We picked up Charlie at 7 weeks rather than chance not being about to make the 2-hour drive to Orland, Ca, and Serenity Springs Labradoodles.

So instead of allowing Charlie to have many social interactions during this critical puppy period, we were busy having our groceries picked up through e-cart, and sanitizing them before bringing them into the home. No one knew what we were up against. Social interactions consisted of listening to Amy teach us on Zoom. Charlie would sit next to my computer and together we learned. Amy’s voice and treats were our first classroom at Baxter & Bella online training. As more was known about CoVid 19 I reached out to my friend Carly and a few months ago we went to our first in-person training with other under-socialized puppies.

Nearing one year of age, Charlie now attends class with the “gifted” pups training to be CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) dogs. Sometimes this works, and sometimes not so much. Skateboarders, cyclists, and motorcycles are triggers (Puppy training language). He was so alert last week, that when I asked for a paw he followed the instruction with his eyes on the road. It was funny to watch but frustrating to teach. In this new 6 feet separation society when you take dogs in public you may not want to let anyone pet your dog. So to be polite, you can say, “Please don’t pet my dog, but if you want he can wave to you.” Giving a paw is the first step in teaching dogs to wave. Good adaptation for the pandemic. Right?

Being anxious is detrimental to learning. To desensitize Charlie I decided to park in front of a store and let him watch the world around him. He feels safe in the car. I give him treats when he is calm. I listened to an NPR interview with Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist. Her research specialty is dog cognition. I have since downloaded one of her audiobooks to take with us. A perfect soundtrack for people watching from the car. While we watch I capture some images with my Fuji x100f. I like this camera for street shooting.

Next time I will park right in front of entrance!
Looking in to the store.
Reading while walking.
Charlie, the ghost dog!

Last weekend my friends planned to walk the Johnny Cash Trail outside of Folsom Prison. Since my focus has been on Charlie I decided to take him with me. I brought my Fuji x100f to simplify the photo walk. This was a real test. I met the group in a shopping mall parking lot next to very busy, fast-moving street traffic. He was doing well considering the noise.

Right outside the razor-wired fence of Folsom Prison.

Group planning doesn’t always work out, so I decided to pass on the trail, and went in search of a nature trail. The Miner’s Ravine Nature Preserve parking lot was 1 1/2 miles down the road.

Came across this interesting tree. Such an expression What does it say to you?
Gave Charlie the command, “Wait!” He allowed me to take my photograph.
Raised manhole cover ahead. My friend Anne sees something else.
Charlie walks around the manhole cover.
I took this photo after our walk. I think the nature preserve was on the side that we did not visit. Or else Charlie did not pay attention to the sign. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Charlie relaxed, and when I asked him to wait, he allowed me to capture some images. This was a win-win situation.

He always recognizes our car, and is happy to jump in!

I plan to make a point to take Charlie out with me daily. After all, someday we all will not be homebound. I hope!

Taking my new Fuji xt4 out!

The story of my new purchase. It started about a year ago when my friend asked if I was interested in parting with my Nikon D7100. A perfectly good, solid camera I have been using for many years. Well along came my mirrorless Fuji x100f. Fun camera and great for grab n go, street photography. This led me to reconsider my Olympus mirrorless that I did not find any happiness with. So KEH (company buys used cameras) came along and purchased all my used Olympus stuff. I replaced it with my Fuji xt2 and some lenses. I found my system. Oh, so back to the Nikon. Well, I still used it, but not as much. I hate to have a camera sit unused. So I sold the camera to a friend of a friend. Now I had a lot of additional lenses I have collected over the years, and along came KEH again. This time buying all the rest of my Nikon gear. I now had credit at my favorite camera store, Action Camera in Roseville. And I let it sit since I did not really need anything. CoVid strikes, and I have too much credit at a small retail establishment. Fuji just put out the xt4 so I decided to use my credit and order this new camera.

Meanwhile, my friend Anne purchased a Fuji xt3, and she wanted to try out her new x100-400mm telephoto lens. To be a real birder you need a long lens, big muscles, money, and lots of patience. I lack big muscles so I shy away from a lens I am not willing to or have the ability to hold. But I can’t say my interest wasn’t piqued just a bit. Especially. if my friends were going to be out shooting birds, peacefully. My longest lens x55-200 wasn’t going to be long enough for birds,, but since we would primarily be in a car I also took my wide-angle lens and my macro lens. My Subi Blue needed a wash so I offered to drive.

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is located along the causeway on Interstate 80 between Sacramento and Davis. Nice and close to home. In natural settings, you never know what you will find. But anytime I get away with my camera in hand is a good day. There are some impressive upgrades to this camera, but I just set up the basics this time out.

President Clinton designated this floodplain in 1997 as a wetlands to be restored. It serves as a flyway and home for many birds.

3,700 of the 16.000 acres have been transformed into a wetlands.
The summertime dirt road is easy to navigate.
Restored wetlands demonstrates “leading lines”

I was interested in capturing landscapes, Anne had her long lens and her focus was birds.

Caught this Great Egret busy preening!

Quietly got out of the car and hunted flowers and insects.

Pay close attention to all signs!
These reeds caught my eye.
25 square miles just off Interstate 80. Peaceful!

My Fuji xt4 performed well in the field. The feel of this shutter is amazing. Hard to describe but it is different is a wonderful way! I was happy to capture these images to remind me that nature is not too far away!

P.S. My friend decided that she would return her long xf 100-400mm lens, and get the xf 80mm f2.8 Macro that I just love. So I will also save myself some money.

Sunflowers, Art, and Agriculture in Yolo County

Yolo County opens its farms up to local artists monthly. The last time I took advantage of this event was in July of 2019. Part of the fun of photography is seeing new places, and part is sharing the experience. I finally felt like I could share the experience with one friend, and so we headed out. This was the last part of June, and I was feeling like pushing aside CoVid 19 just a bit.

Sunflowers are showing up all over Yolo county, and there was a field on the Harrison Farm. Not the tallest flowers, not so spectacular, but I was traveling with my Fuji xt2 and my 80mm 2.8 macro lens. The weather was just perfect. With macro photography, even the slightest movement can look like a big magnified blur. Usually, I have experienced a gale-force wind creeps up just as I take out my macro lens. Not this time!

Lots of bees around sunflowers.
Such a flirty face
One amongst many

This Thursday in the last part of June I didn’t expect a large turnout. But I guess others felt the same, and there I was social distancing from a nice group of artists.

Traffic duty. Each car was carefully check in and she explained the guidelines.

Many uses for this pond. The ripples reminds me of an impressionist’s painting inspiration. The rope swings looks like fun. And the kayak and fishing poles is someone’s idea of a relaxing afternoon.

We each tried to capture our selfie wearing our protective CoVid masks.

On this day I carried my Fuji xt2 with three lenses. I heard there were sheep here, and I wanted to grab some animal photographs. Well, the sheep were resting in the corner shaded area. I wanted and finally one ventured out to eat.

Using my xf 55-200 lens I caught this little cutie.
Back in the shady side of the barn
Plein Air artist starting on his canvas
I appreciate the two red barns using my camera
I like the way this gate frames the image.

I wandered around the flower garden for these next photos.

These next images represent still life on the farm.

Backlit lighting on the walnut tree.
Someday I may be found in some baklava. That would be yummy!
Walnut trees. Careful. Drip irrigation leads to muddy sandals.
Pulling away from the walnut orchard was this fire engine kicking up a lot of dirt.

So ends this months Yolo Art & Ag event to the Harrison Farm. Looking forward to my next outing.

Virtual Living

“Stay at home” order is in effect. This is a good time to appreciate the good times. One way to do this is to look over my organized 40,000+ photographs I have on my computer.

Today, I will take you on a tour of the Capay Valley. Located in Yolo County, this rural valley is northwest of Sacramento. This was the last CTD event I participated in. Early February the almond trees come into blossom, and the Capay Valley hosts the Almond Festival. My photo group decided to avoid the rush and headed to the valley the week before.

My CTD (Camera Totin’ Days) friends head down the lane. Photo demonstrates “Leading Lines”

The almond trees blooming, and some farmers have fenced their trees in so they would not escape.

We found an unfenced orchard

No, so that the many photographers would not trample their fields and leave an unsightly mess. This has become a problem lately. Aware of this we parked along the fence and with the sun shining grabbed some shots.

Perfect day to pull out my new macro lens. Used the 80mm f2.8with my Fuji xt2.

We headed to Rumford and came across Hayes Longhorns Farm. Don Hayes, an owner/operator of heavy equipment invited our group to roam around the farm and encouraged us to photograph anything.

This barn has seen better days.

I found the No Parking sign ironic, the flatbed wagon a forerunner for a Ram Truck, some rusty parts that looked like cats, a face tilt, and a surry without the fringe on the top!

Plenty of photo opportunities, and listening to Don I learned that everyone in the area was getting ready for the Almond Festival.

Before leaving Rumford I checked out the post office. The postmaster pointed out many of the original fixtures inside.

Before leaving I grabbed a bag of freshly picked oranges and left $5.00 in the can.

We always end our day with lunch. This time we returned to a favorite spot of ours, Road Trip Bar & Grill. Great food, great service. And the name fits our day as we travel around our area.

Listening to the advice of medical professional I plan to be socially responsible and remain at home until advised otherwise. So stay safe, and enjoy my virtual journey.