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 #221 Flower Favorites – and Why?

This week Ann-Christine (Leya – To see a world in a grain of sand) hopes I will bring some colorful joy to us all. She would like a story to go with them. I have plenty of flowers in my photo library. I have a garden, but between lack of time, heat, and a puppy I don’t have many flowers. I love to visit and appreciate the efforts put in by others.

This is my unexpected flowering succulent. An ice plant relative.

Following the annual cycle of blooms, I visited Daffodil Hill in the spring. Over the years it’s popularity grew and overwhelmed this rural setting, and the privately owned ranch closed.

Daffodil Hill provided the backdrop for this photo with some visiting guide dogs in training.

Years ago I went with a friend on a cloudy, misty weekday. Few visitors that day.

So many varieties have been planted over the years. I miss this place.
A peaceful place., until word got out.

With friends we go out searching, and come across many beautiful flowers as a bonus!

Mustard flowers bloom among the grape vines in Napa Valley
A sea of flowers cover this hill
Love my California Poppies

Finding pollinators among the flowers is always a fun photograph.

Going to the California coast I love the different flowers I find.

Coastal wild flowers
Pride of Madeira

Botanical Garden and local nurseries display flowers of the area.

As you can see I love love being out finding flowers. My macro lens often brings a breeze, so not many macro shots. My gear now is Fuji xt4. I used my Nikon D7100 for my earlier shots. Now even my iPhone 13 pro gets some use.
i hope these flowers brought some beauty into your day, Any particular flower or image caught your attention?

Oh I forgot to say what flower is my favorite! I don’t have one. I am just not a real fan of cut flowers. I don’t like when they fade.

A Photowalk in Niles

Getting away with photo friends and introducing them to my brother Alan made for an enjoyable and interesting day. My brother lives in Freemont, Ca. and found this little old town flavor in Niles about a mile from his address. Car loaded with friends, cameras, and gas we headed off to Niles. I was driving Subi Blue, and just as we started the infamous I symbol appeared on my dashboard indicating a low tire sensor. We boldly continued the two-hour journey.

After passing under a railroad trestle we arrived in Niles, Ca.

This old restored gas station serves as a meeting spot for car enthusiasts.

Unique stores line 1st Street (Main Street). Forget trademarks here. Plenty of antique stores, but since we are here on a Thursday we find many stores closed.

My brother served as our own personal guide to a town he walks around frequently. He knows most of the small business owners and often photographs events in town. The weather cooperates and we found plenty of photo opportunities in nature and architecture.

This wisteria tree has over the years intertwined with another tree.

Oh what a tangled web we weave.
Tangled
Wisteria in bloom
A Lady Bug

An original house.
Bath anyone?
Each house an individual
I liked the way the light fell on these hats

Silent movies and Charlie Chaplin have solid connections with Niles, Ca. On our way home, we drove through Niles Canyon used as a backdrop for cowboy films in the early days of movie-making.

It turns out the air in the tire was low, so off to find a working air pump, and tossing in a bunch of quarters, and home we went.

This little Tortuga Talavera followed me home.

And we returned safely.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #185 Changes (Another Change)

John states, “Given that change is inevitable, for this week’s challenge consider change as it applies to you. Maybe it’s the changes in your family over the years, the change of seasons in your favorite park, or even the change in the technology of your camera equipment. In short, what does “change” mean to you?” Photography and camera equipment have been bouncing around in my thoughts, so here goes my journey through camera changes.

Last year I bought myself a Nixplay digital frame.

Nixplay Digital Frame

It has brought me, and my husband a lot of pleasure. I receive photos from people I love who are far away. I upload favorite flora and fauna photographs. My dogs make an appearance. I turn the frame on in the morning and with my coffee it brings back memories of the past. Seeing my grandchildren grow. Watching as my puppy changes. Noticing the changing seasons.

My cameras have evolved over the years. For my nineth birthday I got my box camera.

I saw my box camera, Imperial Debonair at a Swap Meet and had to have this reminder. The models with the fold out lens is like the German camera I had. Interestingly, my Uncle Mark still had the same one the last time I saw him. Wish I could have it. The Nikon is my first SLR.

Then as my father got a new camera I inherited a rather complicated, 35mm German camera. I had to manually set the f stop and shutter speed. For this I used a light meter. The shutter needed to be screwed in each time. I mastered this and captured many family moments in my teens. My father moved up to a Canon slr and I moved up to a Yashica rangefinder camera. I used this camera through college, and until my son was born. My next rangefinder camera had two distance settings. I was simplifying, but understanding the limitations of my tool.

When I went back to teaching, I liked to use my camera as a tool in my classroom. All my photos were printed, and I found places that printed duplicates. On the first day of school I would take a photo of each student as I got to know them, and then on Back to School Day the parents could find their student’s desk. Activities in class were documented, and placed in a photo album. Field trip volunteers got a photo taken with their student. And the last day of school students could take any of the duplicates as a reminder.

There is something about having the printed photo in an album. I just invited my first cousin from Israel to lunch. We really did not know each other. After lunch I brought out my parent’s albums, and we found common ground in looking at pictures sent from over 70 years ago. So special.

I dabbled in video for a while, but I didn’t want to learn how to edit properly. So my next step was to a SLR. In the last years of my teaching profession I was pulled back into the artistry of photography by the high school students photo work displayed outside my library. I purchased a Nikon N80 and began my lens collection. My photo were still printed, but I moved into slides for a while.

My first connection with digital came with my Sony CD Mavica, 3.3 mega pixel camera. Cute, compact and it wrote the files to a cd, but oh so slowly. I took a photo of my toddler granddaughter and she was in the next room by the time the file had recorded.

The idea was good, but technology kept innovating.

Then came the Digital slr. Now I was intrigued. My first serious look at digital was with my Nikon D70.

Taken at the Sacramento Zoo with my Nikon D70

I could still use all the lenses I was purchasing for my N80 slr and I saved images on my compact flash card. As the technology improved I graduated to a D200

Peeking
Taken at the Oakland Zoo with my Nikon D200
Another from the Oakland Zoo

Nikon D7000 upgrade

My Liberty Love poses
My Nikon D7100 at the Sacramento Zoo
Libby has an eye on the prize with my Olympus

The Mirrorless Digital cameras came on the scene and the smaller size, and quality appealed to me. I moved to the Olympus line, but I never felt like I was having any fun. I loved the size, quality of photographs, but I never got the hang of the menu system. So I switched to Fuji. I first tried the Fuji 100f. This is a great camera for street shooting. I have had great luck taking pictures, but I am mindful of the single focal distance available. Once that menu system was understood I sold my Olympus system and purchased the Fuji xt2.

Changing over to my Fuji xt2 I capture wild horses in Nevada
My Fuji 100f captures there 2 Lagatto Romagnolo at a dog show

My Nikon system sat for a while and finally I sold my workhorse Nikon D7100 to a friend. Sold all my lenses and purchased a Fuji xt4 at the start of the pandemic.

Dragonfly landing on a lotus

Which brings me back to upgrading my iPhone 8

My Charlie visits the snow. My handy iPhone 8 got this one.

I just got my Phone 13 Pro. Always with me, and the capabilities are there to grab a good shot for my Nixplay Digital frame.

My first attempts with my iPhone 13 Pro

Technology changes but I still remain to same in wanting to capture some great memories.