New Year, New Ducks

I’ve spent the last week sick with the flu, curled up on the couch under blankets when not sleeping for 12 hours straight a day. Finally today I felt well enough to go out for a longer walk, though still a bit fatigued. I’m glad I got to see the strangely glassy and still water of the king tide bay on the first day of the year. Numerous ducks are migrating through the area right now, and of course my old favorites the egrets are still out and about. It’s warm for January, and the rain has not yet come, but it is forecast to be headed our way soon.


Ocean Birds

I went to Pacifica this morning for a walk and photos. The heat has been nuts the last few days and it was just too hot to be outside. It finally broke last night, but it’s still hazy out there. There’s something kind of beautiful about it, if apocalyptic in a way. I’ll have another post later or tomorrow for some of my other photos.

For now here are some birds. The pelicans were out in droves this morning. It was fun standing by the edge of the water trying to catch them in their antics.


I Like Flowers

Walking around the park today, taking pictures of flowers with my new lens, I thought, “no matter what lens I use, I’m probably going to take pictures of flowers.”

I really like flowers. What’s not to like? They’re so colorful. They come in so many shapes. I love flowing, curved lines. I love bright colors. And they are so interesting to observe in various types of light. I like to photograph flowers and I like to draw and paint them.

So here are the spring roses in bloom, and one bird.



Up until now, my longest available zoom has been 135mm. Then I was poking around on Amazon and I noticed that I could grab a 55-250mm discontinued Canon kit lens for less than $120. I felt I would be stupid not to get this, so I did.

Camera gear enthusiasts are an interesting bunch. I’ve been reading more blogs and videos about camera gear and photography this year and I can see how one could easily get sucked into a never-ending crusade to acquire the ultimate camera/lens combinations. I must remind myself that there is no real reason for me to do this, from time to time. I don’t aspire to be a professional photographer. (But if someone is offering some awesome job I may reconsider!)

Photography serves several purposes for me:

  1. It’s an art you can do outside! It entices me to go outside and walk around. Drawing and painting are my real artistic passions, but you must sit still to accomplish them. One cannot sit still all the time.
  2. Reference photos for my art. I only draw from my own reference photos when I draw realistically and since I learned more about photography it has really improved all of my painting. Taking pictures that capture interesting and beautiful light is the key.
  3. Documenting the things around me. I live in an amazing place with great weather almost year round (rain excluded) and an incredible array of plants, especially flowers. No matter what lens I use, I’m going to take more pictures of flowers and hiking trails than anything else because that’s what interests me most.
  4. Messing around with abstract photography. I get composition and color ideas from my abstract photos, and can see whatever the thing is that is “my style” in them.

None of these purposes require me to buy the most expensive gear.

Here are some photos from the new lens. It’s definitely going to be fun to use to capture more bird photos. And I was impressed with how great the flowers look at 250mm.


Sunrise Silhouettes

One of my goals this season is to get a good picture of a pelican, which will likely involve some early mornings. I am happy the sun is coming up later so I can make it for sunrise without getting up so early.

Some photos from this morning at Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo. A few pelicans in the distance, but I want a closer shot! Pretty light though.


Posing Egret & Flowers

This egret might be the same one I’ve photographed before. He likes to hang out on the shore of the pond where I can get pretty close to him.

Coy Egret

He seemed to be enjoying his modeling career today. First he puffed up his hair.

Egret Mohawk

Then he sang me a song.

Egret Singing

Then he did a funny dance!

Egret dancing

What a ham 🙂

I also saw a lovely peach iceplant flower.

Peach Ice Plant

And a sunbathing nasturtium blossom.

yellow nasturtium

I’m still in awe of my new 100 mm macro lens (which I used for all of these photos.) Really fun to play with the very shallow depth of field at f/2.8

spikey thingWhite flowers DOF



Great Blue Heron

I was really excited that I got to get this close to a great blue heron and managed several pleasing photos. This bird was definitely like the holy grail of bird photography for me, I just love them. He was hanging out in a pond at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and seemed to be a lot less skittish than the ones I tend to see by the bay.


Look at him, he’s so cool!

Heron with back light

He was walking deliberately around the pond looking for a snack, but he may as well have been a model working his angles and showing himself off in different lights.

Heron light on face

I loved this moment when the light from the water reflected up onto his face.

Heron through grasses

Just when I thought I had gotten super lucky to get so close, I got even closer! Thanks for the time, heron. It was great. You’re a true beauty of a bird.


Crystal Springs Reservoir

Sawyer Camp Trail, which runs along the reservoir is a popular multi-use paved recreational path. If I want to go here on a weekend, I make sure to get there as early as possible. Today I managed to park before 7 am, which is also ideal for photography of course.

Western Scrub Jay

Right away, I snapped a picture of a Western Scrub Jay, a bird I have wanted to photograph for years. When I first moved to the Bay Area, I was amazed at how bright the blue birds and jays are here. Blue birds in Pennsylvania were much more muted. These California birds are an almost unbelievably bright saturated shade of blue. They’re very active though, and hard to capture especially with a lot of people around making noise.

As usual, most of my favorite pictures from the day are of wildflowers. Here’s a selection of the flowers that were blooming today, at the end of February: