Zoo vs Sanctuary vs Nature Center

Zoo versus sanctuary versus nature center versus the outdoors. I enjoy observing and photographing animals. I most likely will not see exotic animals in the wild. So watching these animals that were born in the zoo is my next best thing.

Here in Sacramento there are different places to observe wild animals. As a member of the Sacramento Zoo I frequently photograph the over 500 animals. In the almost 40 years I have been here this zoo has continued to change and improve the habitats of its animals. Being an AZA accredited zoo means 21st century guidelines need to be met. Efforts are now being made to move to a new location to allow this continued growth and expansion. In May a proposal is being submitted. Shall the Sacramento Zoo remain where it is and update and stay small or move to a location allowing it to grow? I am proud of this zoo and will support either option.

Stripes and more stripes

The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary receives animals that can not be released back into the wild. It is a safe place for wild animals. I have visited here a couple of times, and while it doesn’t have the variety of animals it does have its own charm. Animals are given names. In its early history a bear named Smokey caused a bit of a commotion as I found out by reading the following from their website.

Smokey became famous when the U.S. government contended only the “Smokey” known for forest fire prevention could use that name. The community rallied behind the Folsom Smokey and worldwide publicity brought even more support. Eventually the government relented and Smokey retained his name. Smokey passed away in 1984.

Folsom Zoo Sanctuary that does not have a large following. Plenty of local schools come here.
Zoo docent pointing out that bears like to eat ears of corn. Quite juicy.


Photographers are challenged to capture enclosure-free looking images here. Even using a wide open aperture it is hard to get past the cage bars.

Brown Bear enjoying corn on the cob!
Peacocks have free roaming privileges to visit Henry the Bear!
Peacock spotted.
Cougar staring contest!
Looks like kids are in cages.
Deer are found in a gully within the Folsom Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo enclosures can be masked by camera settings most of the time. Though I hear there are plans to change out the enclosures to glass. Wonder why since there is the talk of moving the zoo?

I captures these Wolf Guenons through a fence. So cute!
This African Lion was taken through a fence. This fellow likes to pose!
I have been privileged to see many of this lioness’s cubs.
Located in Carmichael the Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a popular place. Many families visit, and school field trips are developed to support science, and social science curriculums.

Many times a staff member will accommodate photographers and bring a bird out for show.

Barn Owl

Roaming the nature trails I can see deer, wild turkeys, hares, and sometime coyotes.

Plenty of birds to be heard and sometimes seen. Woodpeckers, turkey vultures, and some unknown to me birds.

Showing off those tail feathers!

Often I will meet up with a group of bird watchers. Butterflies, and caterpillars can be found. Walk down to the American River and you can spot ducks, egrets and an occasional turkey vulture enjoying a feast.

Turkey Vultures carefully observing their prey.
Fishing in the American River
Foggy morning fishermen heading toward the American River
Families exploring nature
My grandchildren a couple of years ago

I like the way the sun hits this buck.
Frogs found in the pond near the entrance.Fou
First photograph I sold of this abandoned bee hive.

I am glad that there is a variety of ways to enjoy nature, and view animals here in Sacramento. I know that a wild life safari to Africa is not in my future. Besides, I could not even hold up the size lens I would need to capture great images. So I am content to visit these different settings for my nature fix! What is your feeling about where you seek out animals.

I had hopes of going to the Sacramento Zoo last week with my photo friends. But now I am the full time care person for my dog Libby. I believe that the tumor on her spine is pressing against a nerve and probably making her foot tingle. Unfortunately she can’t talk. Her rear right back paw is not heeling after the toe amputation, and every day is more alarming than the previous day.

I am now changing her bandage using a wet-to-dry method. This is a many step procedure. She is such a good patient. Someone has to watch her 24/7. She has a way of pulling off the bandage, and trying to tend to the wound herself even with an extra large cone. The other day I woke up to bloody paw prints throughout my house.

Her very wounded paw.

Almost looked like a crime scene. Got out my Simple Solution pet stain remover. This stuff works great! Now Libby and I are sleeping in our “Rest Haven” with a cone on and a leash attached to my wrist. Heeling her foot is the only way to keep her alive. And I hope that when her foot heels she does not go after it again!

Nature Refreshed

The long wet winter is nearing an end. I am out looking for signs of Spring. Close to my house is the Jensen Botanical Garden. In the fall I brought Libby here to walk along the path. Eucalyptus trees abound, but not much else. This totally changes in the Spring.

It was our first trip out with Libby since she developed a lame back leg. Hard to get her in and out of the car. I bought a set of steps to help, but when I tried tempting her in the house she said, “No way!” With her new Help Em Up harness I was able to get her into the car without picking her up. I was thrilled to be able to get out and about with my Libby. She also developed cabin fever and was happy to find a new place to sniff. Then that morning when she she needed to have her toe amputated. (Refer to previous post – Breakfast Interrupted). Now for the next few weeks we used the steps to get her in and out of the car to visit her Dr. Hart, Dr. Trip and Dr. Faith at Reagor Vet Hospital

Do you remember the song?

There is a tree with nesting Great Egrets in Lincoln. Captured some Great Egrets improving their nest.

All these nests in one tree!

Bringing in some nesting material.

Honey, I’m home!

I’ll publish this now. Nature continues in the next post!

What’s happening on the farm?

Started this post about a month ago. I’m just now catching up.

Three weeks after spine surgery, and I am out with my friends and my camera. For California we are having a wet winter/spring. Hopefully, this will quell the noise of a drought during the summer. Our group has to be flexible because each day brings a chance of rain.

I brought my Fuji x100f which is a light mirrorless single focus camera. My first outing was to two farms in Woodland, Ca. Yolo County farms provide a time once a month where photographers and artists are invited to visit. This time our invite was to Valley Oak Wool Mill and Fate Sole Olive Oil Orchard.

Came a bit late for the full tour of the Valley Oak Wool and Fiber mill in Woodland, Ca.

Walked around to another farm that produces olive oil.

Frate Sole Olive Oil tasting room

Friendly dog welcoming our arrival

Yolo County Art & Ag monthly invites artists, and photographers to enjoy the scenery and get to know a bit more about their local working farms.

Painter capturing the olive orchard

We stopped for lunch in the city of Woodland for some Thai food at Bangkok Cuisine.

Loved the old signage along Main Street


Fixing musical instrument in Woodland, Ca


Spring is here and I have been out taking many photographs to share in the upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

Back to Nature in Kauai

Exotic Hibiscus Flower

For such a small Island I can say that five days left us little time with nothing to photograph. Each day we found a new area to see, and new things to photograph.

Up on the North shore Kilauea and Hanalei were an eye catching treat to explore. Weather was cooler, and changeable. Due to some storms last year roads past Hanalei were washed out. On my last visit I had a private docent led tour by my daughter-in-law of the Limahuli Garden  Perhaps, next time.

Approaching the Kilauea Lighthouse



My friend with her long lens finally got to capture images of the birds of Kauai. I tried, but quickly found other things of interest. Without long lenses, and strong arms to hold said lens, I look for things that are possible with the tools I can carry.

Meet the yellow garden spider. Aside from the wind, this spider stays still for a photo opportunity.

Yellow Garden Spider

The Nene is the official bird of Hawaii. I even caught a photo of it young.

Nene, official Hawaiian bird

Nene young

The views from this spot are spectacular. I so enjoyed visiting the north shore.

Rain started up, and we continued on to Hanalei, our selected lunch spot. But oh so fabulous a landscape.

View of Hanalei Bay


Waioli Huiia Church

Capturing some of the flowers here on Kauai. For some of these we stopped at a nursery where we could get close to our subject.

When I’m in Hawaii I like to take in a luau. The garden setting is lovely. A tram ride tour started us off.

Plenty of roosters
Smith Family Garden Luau is a family business. Now four generations continue the tradition started 50 years ago

Kalua pig roasted in an imu oven starts the ceremonial tradition. Followed by song and dance show. Not to easy to capture. I used my Fuji with a 35mm f1.4 lens and we had good seats!

I’m leaving the last bit of this photo tour for another day! Hope you enjoy the images as an arm chair traveler!