An Early Morning at Folsom Lake

Early Morning at Folsom Lake; Doton’s Point,
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

This past week, we had a morning where the rain clouds were breaking up in the early morning. I chose that day to explore Doton’s Point trail at Folsom Lake Recreation Area; a trail that was new to me. The grasses and other plants were displaying their spring green. The early morning sun helped saturate the colors. Spring was at its finest. I went with the expectation that I might see some different birds. Instead, I discovered that it was time for some landscapes.

The beautiful rocks in this image are granite. The area around this portion of Folsom Lake is called Granite Bay because of the abundance of granite in the area. Like the Sierra Nevada mountains, this area sets on a pluton, a large blob of magma that cooled slowly underground to form granite then was uplifted and exposed.

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Early Morning at Folsom Lake – P2;
Doton’s Point, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

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Sharp-shinned Hawk, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Carmichael, CA; MAR 2019

There are 2 major classifications of hawks. Buteos and Accipiters. Buteos are the familiar Red-tailed, Red-shouldered Hawks along with numerous others.The Accipiters are generally smaller, with shorter wings. This makes them more maneuverable; a skill needed because they live in more wooded areas and prefer to eat other birds. I’ve included images of 2 accipiters; the Coopers Hawk and the Sharp-shinned hawk.

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Cooper’s Hawk, William Pond Park, Sacramento, CA; FEB 2016

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Pair of Common Ravens (Corvus corax); Yosemite National Park; MAR 2019

On our trip to Yosemite last week, a pair of ravens were foraging among the trees outside our hotel room.  They were totally unfazed by me as I followed them around.

It was an interesting day to shoot ravens. Everyone knows ravens are black. But black just means that its feathers absorb all frequencies of color and reflect none back. Like some other birds, the raven’s feathers can refract or bend light, allowing their feathers to appear other colors. When the birds were in bright light, they were their bright, familiar, black. But, when they were in lower light, depending upon how they positioned themselves, their wing and tail feathers appeared blue. In one other instance, the light hit the raven’s ruff under his chin and made it look brown.

Is it a raven or is it a crow. If its big and bulky and it makes a croaking sound, its probably a raven. If its smaller and makes the familiar caw, its probably a crow. But, sometimes its not so simple. I am collecting images to put together a simple but more complete illustrated guide.

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Common Raven (Corvus corax); Yosemite National Park; MAR 2019
Common Raven (Corvus corax); Yosemite National Park; MAR 2019

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A Golden Waterfall

Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park; MAR 2019

Last week, we took a trip to Yosemite National Park. We were a bit late in the season. We were looking for snow, but almost all of the snow was gone from the valley floor. There was some clinging to the nooks on the cliff side. It was sunny when we arrived but, as the golden hour approached, the skies became cloud covered and we got rain. Just being in Yosemite when there are few people is a real treat, so walking around in the rain was enjoyable even though photography opportunities were few. Little did we know the treat that would await us in the morning.

We dutifully got up and out ½ hour before sunrise – about an hour before the sun would start to light up the valley walls. While planning the trip, I learned we would have clear skies in the morning and that the sun would be in a good position to light Yosemite Falls. Yosemite falls is often shaded during the golden hours for photography. We found the position from which I wanted to shoot and set up. It was then we got our first surprise – snow had fallen on the cliffsides on either side of the waterfall. There was even a dead tree that was partially snow covered that I could get into the frame.

I set up my composition and waited in the cold. After a period of time that seemed interminable, golden sunlight began to penetrate the valley. Watching the sun light the mountain tops and valley walls is one of my favorite experiences; I never grow tired of it. We watched and enjoyed. I would shoot from time to time. But, I really wanted more light on the water fall. When the light broke, I got a treat I hadn’t expected. The sun began giving the water and the mist a golden glow. I watched and I shot as the different sections would glow. We stayed through the entire show.

I’ve included 2 of the images I got that morning. I hope you enjoy them.

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Upper Yosemite Falls at Sunrise; Yosemite National Park; MAR 2019

These and other images are available for purchase at my website, or by contacting