Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #225 Wildlife Close to Home

Anne (Slow Shutter Speed) challenges me to look for non-domestic animals that live in my neighborhood. I live in Fair Oaks and much of the surrounding wildlife preserves and nature centers Anne has done a wonderful job describing. So I will look in my backyard, mostly.

Squirrels

This little guy (not sure of the gender) loved to eat the cactus that I called “Bob & Bea”. Bob and Bea were neighbors who lived across the street and gifted us this plant. One late, late evening I got a call that I had to come right away. I rushed right over for this emergency. This cactus blooms once at night and they didn’t want me to miss it. In my backyard, this plant bloomed over and over. Oh, back to the squirrel. He/she would come every day and eat just a little. Until there was no more plant. At the time I didn’t mind the company.

In my current house, my neighbor’s trees host many squirrels. There is an oak tree, a blackberry bush, and many other tidbits to munch on. But here in my yard, these industrious workers look for places to bury their acorns. My flower pots with their lovely soft soil are perfect. Not so cute when the dirt is dumped out of the pot, or the plants are uprooted. My dog Moxie is fascinated by squirrels. She doesn’t chase them away, she watches them quietly.

Birds

This summer a pair of Spotted Towee birds built a nest in my oleander bushes. I learned to recognize their particular bird call. While enjoying some of the berries I captured this image with my new iPhone 13 Pro.

While looking out my window this turkey surprised me.

Insects

Using my Fuji 80mm macro lens I was able to shoot some visitors to my garden. This dragonfly showed up for his photo shoot on time.

This fly knew it was better to settle outside on my succulent than in my house.

Green Acres Nursery opened up a short distance from my house. Sometimes I will visit with my camera, and sometimes I visit with Moxie. Both are welcome there.

Not quite wild, but unexpected

While visiting a local park with my grandson we came across some goats. Goats are used here to clear fields to prevent fires.

Thanks for checking out the local wildlife found in my Fair Oaks backyard and surrounding areas. What animals can you find in your local area if you stop, look and listen? Do any of my animals specifically capture your attention?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #152 Shades and Shadows

As the temperature rises here in Fair Oaks, California everyone is attempting to stay out of the sun. My next challenge comes from Ann-Christine. How do our photographs use light? This time I look for photographs that use shade and shadows.

On this sunny beach in Carmel, Charlie’s shadow appears.
When I am out with friends I like to grab a shadow photograph
Chalk It Up and Me!
We stop for a shadow image on the Island of Kawaii with my photo friends Anne and Laura.
Interesting shadow forms from one leaf to another.
Shadow pattern on the leaf in the shape of a heart! Love it!
A dragonfly casts a shadow on a lotus leaf!

Looking through my library I notice that I take many more shadow images. But working with some of my images I now see that the contrast of shadow and sun can highlight a subject.

Capturing this golfer from my hotel window, the shadow and sun contrast draws my attention to his swing.
These ducks are framed by the shade.
The shade and sun helps to draw the eye to the subject.I

Thank you for following along in my photographic journey. And if you decide to step into the sunlight be sure to protect your skin.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145 – Getting to know you

“The artist’s gaze, the photographer’s eye, when cast on a subject begins a relationship. That relationship can grow into a deep affection and a profound wisdom. It is that aspect of relating to your subject that I invite you to explore in this challenge.” Thank you Priscilla of scillagrace.

Photography has always helped me to see the world. It may be the quiet moment when I am out and can appreciate nature. It allows me to take a deep breath and slow down. You must be still as you press the shutter button.

Exploring my backyard with my macro lens I spot this dragonfly.
Posing for me

Sometimes I am occupied looking for the unusual. This may be a funny sign, or an object found out of place.

This bird is taking a stand!
Found this in Locke, California.
Old Folsom Bridge

Other times I see faces or animals in many of my images. This is pareidolia. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pareidolia as, “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” Hey, photography has even opened me up to learn new terms.

My photography has helped me get away from my introverted self. I like to people watch, and I use my camera as my lookout point. Some images are candid moments, some environmental portraits, and some tell a story

Photography has been with me since I was nine years old. It helps me connect with people, places, and things around me!

The Natural World around me!

I have gone on a couple of photoshoots since the reopening from quarantine. Each was outside and I mostly stayed to myself. Usually, after an outing, my CTD group likes to grab a bite to eat. I’m not there yet and pass on the friendly banter with my fellow photogs.

Old Fair Oaks Village provided the backdrop of my first time out with my friends. Easy for me since it is about 5 minutes away.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

WPA Rock Garden and Land Park Pond provided a nice opportunity to get out and use my Fujifilm 80mm 2.8 macro lens with my Fuji xt2.

I captured the magenta and green combination in the morning light.

Walking around William Land Regional Park I find all kinds of wildlife enjoying the pond. Dragonflies, ducks, and turtles all using the pond in peace.

Since none of the Lotus flowers were in bloom I headed over to Vedanta Society of Sacramento.

Now this is how to keep social distance when meeting friends.

The Sacramento Zoo has now reopened. As a zoo member, I was invited to preview the new format as it reopens. Only members were allowed during the first two days with a set appointment time. CoVid 19 guidelines are stated online. As I entered the zoo I was reminded to stay with my flock, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet away from others. I had a 1pm appointment time. Not my usual zoo time since I like to visit first thing in the morning. I was lucky, and the weather was very mild. Perfect.

The zoo has been closed for 3 months, but the facility has been making some changes to accommodate new zoo occupants. Flamingos welcome the visitors.

I’m practicing social distancing!

And these flamingos have gotten all sorts of mixed signals. It’s confusing! And possibly not in the best interest of the flock, or in the case of flamingos a flamboyance.

Black Crowned Cranes are dealing with issues.
Ok. All is good with Black Crowned Cranes.
Got an itch.

An ostrich, a duck, an emu, and a Himalayan Monal all walk into a …….

Don’t bother me, I’m napping.

Usually, when I arrive at the zoo in the morning the Red Panda is sleeping. Found this one ready to pose for a close-up.

I wonder what the front of this animal looks like?
Here is an Okapi. One of two that reside at the zoo.
Just hangin’ out. Glad to see visitors.

New residents here at the zoo.

A new giraffe joins the tower.
American Alligator takes his place at the Sacramento Zoo.

As a nod to Tom Paxton and the cd Goin’to the Zoo I’ll call this “Allen gator. A little alligator with a great big bite, he was Allen gator he wanted to do what’s right!”

And I hope that everyone does what’s right!!!