Saturday at the River Bend Park

I’m a little late posting this, but I had finals for my online class this week, and had to write a reflection paper and a positional paper so I didn’t get to this earlier.  Anyway, on Saturday the dog and I went over to the American River Bend Park for our walk.  The place is kind of “between seasons” right now, so there’s not much new to see but I always manage to find something to photograph anyway.  The mushrooms and stuff haven’t awakened yet.  But we DID get to see a gorgeous Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia) and some burgeoning Sulfur Shelf Fungus that hadn’t formed its distinctive “shelves” yet.  When it’s in its early stages it kind of looks like a big orange brain.  So, those were kewl.  We actually walked for about 2½ hours before my ankles and feet gave out and we had to head back home.  The weather was perfect: cool and sunny.  I love Fall!


A Business Meeting at Cache Creek

I went to a Staff Strategic Planning Meeting with my boss, co-workers and the organization’s President yesterday at the middle campground along Cache Creek. The weather was great — but the wind was a kind of gusty at times — and I think we got a lot of ideas out on the table and a lot of plans started, so it was a productive day.

I’d never been to Cache Creek before, and was impressed with the massive rockface on the other side of the creek from where we had our meeting. It’s a huge chunk of the earth that was lifted up and thrown onto its side by tectonic action… and towering up to the side of us was Glassock Mountain (2000 feet). Really neat.  While we were talking two deer kept circling around to check on us throughout the afternoon. Now THAT’s a kewl place for a meeting!

Glasscock Mountain was named after the brothers Tuck and Clint Glassrock, a pair of horse thieves in the 1800’s, who used to use the mountain as their lookout tower.

I didn’t get a chance to walk around it much yesterday, but I’m definitely going back to that area in the fall and spring to check it out a lot more.

Looking for Fungi at the American River Bend Park

Sergeant Margie and I went to the American River Bend Park and walked around for about 2 hours this morning.  It was still cool and overcast — this first day of Fall, thank you! — and after the rain yesterday I was hoping to see some ‘shrooms and fungi and stuff like that coming out.  Well, I guess it’s still a bit too early in the fall to see much of that, but I DID find several samples of Sulfur Shelf Fungus, some earth stars and some jelly fungus…  and I got to play around some more with the settings on my new camera.

 ((Glad I bought those extra batteries; I burn through things pretty fast with this camera.)) I’m really liking the camera so far; it responds quickly and takes nice shots.  Getting the super-macro setting to focus on what I want isn’t always easy but I’m assuming that’s “user error” and not the camera’s fault.  With the long-range telephoto setting I was also able to get an awesome photo of the moon when the clouds split up over the park.

Trying Out the New Camera at the WPA Rock Garden

It was overcast and dark this morning, and we had rain by about noon…  Sergeant Margie and I were out the door by about 6:45 am and went over to the WPA Rock Garden for our walk.  There was a race taking place near there today, so we made sure we were out before that started.  With the cloud cover there was some good “half light” that makes it easier to take photos (no “washout” from sun glare or harsh shadows).  I just tested out the new camera, putting it through its paces to see what it could do.  The macro settings are slightly better than my old camera, but the telephoto range is exceedingly enhanced, so I’m able to do some better long-distance shots (which will help when I’m “birding” or trying to get photos of wildlife like deer and coyotes).  We saw a couple of different kinds of caterpillars today, including a baby Tobacco Hornworm, a tiny first instar Gulf Fritillary caterpillar, and a kind of Leafroller (Agathodes designalis¸ I think) that was just starting to weave its “nest” and pulling the leaf together over itself.  I can’t describe how small of these guys were; to the naked eye they were thin pencil-line specks… but the super-macro setting on my camera was able to pick them up with some pretty good detail, so I was very pleased with that.

            On the telephoto side, I got some long-distance shots of a hummingbird and a crow, and some of the ducks in the pond.  I need more practice with that to avoid camera “shake” over the long distance.  I also tried out the “continuous” mode that keeps the camera taking photo after photo until you release the button.  I got some photos of geese flying with that.  Again, I need practice, but I was pleased with my first-time attempts.

            We walked around for about 2 hours and then headed back home.

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New Camera!

I was finally able to put enough pennies together to get myself a new camera, a Fujifilm SL1000.  According to its specs it “… features a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that is able to produce high quality imagery with notable low-light sensitivity. High speed performance is afforded throughout the system, enabling fast continuous shooting up to 10 full resolution frames per second and an auto focusing speed of 0.2 second.  An incredibly long 50x optical zoom lens is also built into the SL1000’s design, giving a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-1200mm…”  Between the 50x zoom and the super-macro setting that’s supposed to allow me to get within 1/4-inch of a subject, I should be able to get some really interesting shots.

A lot of the reviews of this one said it was a great camera but that the battery burns out fast, so I got a couple of extra batteries.  Oddly, though, the case it came with doesn’t fit the camera (?!) so I’m going to have to get another case for it.

I tried it out a little bit today, and liked this photo I took of my dog, Sergeant Margie, with the red-only setting on it.

Sergeant Margie.  Photo by Mary K. Hanson.  ©2013.  All Rights Reserved.
Sergeant Margie. Photo by Mary K. Hanson. ©2013. All Rights Reserved.

Flowers and Bees at the City Cemetery, Saturday Morning

I slept in a tiny bit today and got up around 7:00 am.  I was out the door with Sergeant Margie in about 10 minutes and we headed out to the Old Historic City Cemetery for our walk.  It was cool and breezy outside; really nice for walking.  And it only got up to about 88° today… We saw some neat flowers (and amber sap running off the side of a cedar tree), and I got a cool photo of a large female Carpenter Bee flying in toward a yellow lily.  She had been the flower before I took the shot, and flew off then flew back again, and I caught her mid-flight — with yellow pollen all over her body…  We walked around for about 2 hours and then headed back home.

…And my dog, Sergeant Margie!  Love him!

Sergeant Margie.  Photo by Mary K. Hanson.  ©2013.  All Rights Reserved.
Sergeant Margie. Photo by Mary K. Hanson. ©2013. All Rights Reserved.