I want to share a few images from some recent walks around the American River Parkway near Folsom, CA. I’ve also included one from Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans. Nature provides some beautiful creatures for us to appreciate. I hope you enjoy these few.
Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size.
Last Friday was a cold, foggy morning and we had just come out of a long bout of heavy rain. A lot of water was being released from Folsom Lake and the American River, near Folsom was running strong. I decided to spend some time photographing the area of Folsom that surrounds the historic Walker Bridge / Donald W. Alden Memorial Bridge. It was a great time to be out. The river roared as it created whitewater through the gorge. Quite a treat. In the 5 years that I have lived in the area, I never saw significant whitewater or heard the river roar.
The Walker Bridge / Donald W. Alden Memorial Bridge was built in 1893. It was sold 3 times: once to a man in Japan who wanted it for the steel but was never able to get it, once to the State of California who dismantled it and moved it near Walker, CA to span the Klamath River, and finally back to the City of Folsom who reinstalled it on its original abutments. It now serves as a pedestrian footbridge and an access point to the American River Parkway from the City of Folsom.
I hope you enjoy these images.
Note: Click on image to see in larger size. I particularly recommend this for the image of the American Rive Gorge.
Walker Bridge / Donald W Alden Memorial Bridge, Folsom, CA
It’s fun to be in Northern California in the winter. We are part of the Pacific Flyway, so we get many birds, primarily waterfowl, who winter over. But even in my backyard I see Oregon Juncos and a species of Goldfinch that spends its summers in the Sierra foothills. Though my passion is landscapes, photographing this wildlife is fun because watching them go about their business of living is fun.
I’ve been out twice in the last two weeks photographing and enjoying the wildlife. On one trip, I went to 2 of the wildlife refuges that have been built along the flyway. Some years ago, land was set aside as a safe haven for migrating waterfowl. Levees were built and fields flooded so they could live and eat. This helped farmers by keeping the birds off their cropland. A win-win situation, enjoyed by birders, photographers and duck hunters. On the day I visited the refuges, raptors became my focus. They benefit from the migrating waterfowl as well.
This past week, I got to spend an hour watching a River Otter and an Egret. They appeared to be helping each other feed. Otters always seem to be playing even as they feed.
I am not typically a bird photographer. When I do shoot birds, I try to take them in the context of their environment, trying to answer the questions: this is who I am and this is how I survive. Living in the Sacramento, CA area affords me the opportunity to shoot migrating winter birds but, I find I really like to go back to the usual suspects – herons, egrets, Canada geese and mallards, hawks. Learning about them, observing their behavior gives me a lot of pleasure.
The last week or so, I’ve had the added pleasure of trying out my new Fujinon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens and 1.4X Tele-converter. Its a great lens but its been more than a year since I shot with a long lens so, I made a few depth of field mistakes. Oh well, I guess I just need to go out and shoot more.
Anyway, here are a few images I shot. I hope you enjoy them.
Rainbow Bridge, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA, JUN 2015 (Click to See Image Enlarged)
I regularly walk along various stretches of the American River Parkway trail system. It is a great place to get exercise and enjoy the beauty of an urban forest and riparian habitat. I rarely have my camera because, if I did, I’d never get exercise. But, I always have my phone.
On several of my blogs, I remind readers that it is the composition and lighting that make the image and not the camera. Especially with today’s smartphone cameras and their incredible software. But, I have a problem using my phone. I can’t hold it steady enough to lock in the composition and get the focus right. So, I invested in a walking stick/monopod/tripod by Manfroto and a bracket to hold my phone. Now, I can overcome my shakiness. I also carry a microfiber cloth to clean the lens – it can get grimy being carried around in purse, pocket or holster. Grimy lenses impact the clarity of the image.
I have the Samsung Galaxy S6 with its 16MP rear camera. It does a great job. You can use it as a point and shoot by using auto mode or you can put it in pro mode which allows you to manually control functions just like on a DSLR. I find manual selection of the focus point to be the most useful but wish it wasn’t tied to the auto exposure so I could control them separately.
The attached image was shot with my phone last week. I am very pleased with it. Enjoy and make the best of your photography.
Peaceful Morning on the American River. Wm Pond Park, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA, APR 2015 (Click on image to enlarge)
Irises on the Bank. Wm Pond Park, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA, APR 2015 (Click on image to enlarge)
As often as I have walked along the banks of the American River, at William Pond Park, I never realized that much of the vegetation I saw was wild irises. But, imagine if you will, clumps of the brilliant yellow blossoms outlining both sides of the shore for perhaps a half mile or so, complimenting the lupine and other wildflowers. Though there are some wild irises that are native to northern California, I haven’t been able to find if this particular species is or is not and even if it is, whether they are native to the banks of the American River. Regardless, they provide a real treat.