Category Archives: Photos

Out & About—Safari Park birds

Out & About

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the beginning of 2017 I decided to upgrade my camera equipment. I was getting frustrated going to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park but not being able to get to some of the wildlife because their enclosures were too big and, in the case of the birds, enclosed with screen and wire. I knew that a longer lens would take care of both of those problems.

My daily walkaround lens since 2007 was a Tamron 28-300 mm, so I decided to look at the 150-600 mm lenses. They come in three versions: Tamron G2, Sigma Contemporary, and Sigma Sport. At that time they ranged in price from $1,399 to $1,999, so they weren’t cheap.

Online reviews led me to believe that I would be buying the Sigma Sport for $1,999. I decided that real world use would be better than online reviews for that price, and it just so happens that one of our local camera stores specializes in renting all things camera. So I rented the Sigma Contemporary first (the cheapest), then the Sigma Sport (the most expensive), and then the Tamron G2. Rental period was one week each, so I went out each day to places like the railroad tracks, Ramona Grasslands, San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, the beaches, and the mountains to see if I could lug those things around for 10 hours a day, get good pictures, and be ready to do it again the next day without being too tired.

To make a long story short, for handheld pictures, I did not notice any difference in sharpness between the three lenses. The Sigma Sport was very heavy because it is all metal construction. The weight coupled with it getting too hot to handhold after a couple of hours in the San Diego sun coupled with its price dropped the Sigma Sport out of the competition.

The Sigma Contemporary lost out to the Tamron G2 based on one factor: which direction the zoom ring rotated. I discovered that Nikon and Sigma zoom rings rotate clockwise and Tamron and Canon zoom rings rotate clockwise. Remember that I handhold my equipment, not being a fan of tripods and monopods because of their bulkiness and difficulty in using in crowded areas. Zooming from low to high in a counterclockwise manner using the left hand is not natural, thus difficult and, due to the size and weight of these lenses, sometimes painful for someone 62 years old. Additionally, I had been using the Tamron 28-300 for ten years, so I already was quite comfortable with a clockwise rotation.

Lastly, at the end of three weeks, I compared the pictures from the three cameras. I found that the Tamron G2 gave me better blurred backgrounds than the other two lenses when I really wanted to get up close and personal. Following are bird pictures from the Safari Park taken with the Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens on April 26, 2017. I have not cataloged these pictures yet so the only birds I know the name of are the the same ones you know the name of, so we’ll start with those.

Spoonbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Bald eagle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Safari Park opens at 9:00 a.m., and that’s when I go to avoid
the huge afternoon crowds. So I guess this bird was eating breakfast.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This great white pelican turned its pouch inside out, which makes
it look like something out of a Stephen King movie.
The mallard doesn’t look impressed.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

And now for the unknown birds.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Mama and her little one.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

As I was leaving Safari Park, I saw a hawk soaring
overhead so, of course, I took a picture. Duh.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Out & About—12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon

Out & About

This past Sunday was the 12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar, California. Dogs at the beach never fail to bring a smile to my face. And after those two sucky songs in yesterday’s Music on Mondays, I think we need some smiles!

The Surf-a-thon takes place at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California.

Dog Beach, Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Not all the dogs were there to surf. Some wanted to play fetch in the water, some wanted to get all wet, some wanted to get all sandy….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some wanted to go back home….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some were limited in what they could do….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Of course, most were there to surf, some looking unsure of themselves, some looking quite relaxed….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

There were five categories: small dog, medium dog, large dog, and extra large dog, as well as the freestyle category, which is always a lot of fun because you get dog tandems, dog trios, human/dog tandems, human/human/dog trios, and even an impostor this year.

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Impostor!
12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

My wise old grandmother told me that dogs quite often look like their owners. Who am I to argue?

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Coming up next: Sports Car Club of America auto racing.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Residents of the Jetty Cats feral colony at the San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

As promised, many pictures of some of the residents of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony.

San Diego jetty

Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Show me some fangs and tongue, baby!
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Zoey the Cool Cat said that I should include pictures of the non-cat residents because, even though they aren’t cats, they are residents.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

This was one of my favorite cats from this visit.
S/he wouldn’t come to eat anything. Didn’t even move.
Just sat there with its back to me. I felt so ignored.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Coming up next: Music on Mondays

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

 

Out & About—The San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

Once a month I go out to the San Diego Jetty to see how the feral cat colony there is doing. We old timers call them the Jetty Cats.

San Diego jetty

San Diego jetty

Feral cats on the San Diego jetty

The Jetty is a great place to see beautiful sunsets because there always is something to put in the picture to add interest to the sunset. It’s also a great place to go for a walk, as so many people do.

Following are some pictures from my trip to the Jetty in August, featuring everything except the Jetty Cats, although a few can be seen in these pictures. The Jetty Cats will be featured in Saturday’s post since tomorrow is Friday Flower Fiesta day.

Sentinel SeagullSentinel Seagull

Dogs at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach,
across the San Diego River from the
San Diego Jetty and the Jetty Cats.Dogs on Dog Beach in Ocean Beach across from the San Diego Jetty

Throw it already!A woman and her dog

The San Diego Jetty is an active fishing area.
Sadly, that means the some fisherpeople leave
fishing line behind which the birds often get
entangled in, quite often losing a leg. This juvenile
already has to go through the rest of its life with just one leg.One-legged bird at the San Diego Jetty

It’s probably too late for this bird’s leg.
You can see the scar where the fishing line
was wrapped around the bird’s leg.
Bird with an injured leg at San Diego Jetty

There are quite a few cormorants and pelicans.
The cormorants are relative new visitors to the Jetty.
Cormorant at the San Diego Jetty

Pelican and sunset at the San Diego Jetty

The Jetty might be the only place where the birds are bigger than the cats,
and the cats have no interest in trying to catch those birds.Cats and a seagull at the San Diego Jetty

Bird mug shots.
I love it when wildlife cooperates with me.
Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

ImpostorCats and skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Yes, there is a family of skunks that lives right alongside the Jetty Cats.
Neither the cats nor the skunks seem to care but it does make it
interesting when people like me show up to leave a little water and food.Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Bushy tails.Skunks at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Tour boat coming back in at sunset.Tour boat at the San Diego Jetty

Wrong side of the fenceWrong side of the fence

Into the sunsetOff into the sunset

Coming up tomorrow: Friday Flower Fiesta. The Jetty Cats will have their own feature on Saturday!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Picture of the Moment—Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!

Picture of the Moment

I like to get action pictures of wildlife. That was difficult until recently. I bought a Tamron 150-600 mm lens and replaced my 9-year-old Tamron 28-300 mm lens with a Tamron 18-300 mm. The 18-300 is my daily walkaround lens although the 150-600 is always in the trunk of the car. The 18-300 is best for outdoor spontaneous action because it is lighter and focuses faster. The 150-600 is best for getting through wire fences such as those which surround many enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Lions Tigers & Bears, Discovery Nature Center, and others.

Following is one of my best action pictures ever, taken at the San Diego Jetty while I was visiting the Jetty Cats feral colony.

Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!Seagulls running

Many decades ago I was reading an interview with a photographer from National Geographic magazine. One of the questions concerned how he got such great shots of wildlife. His answer was that he always focused on the eyes. If he did that, everything else would fall into place.

I focused on the eyes of that first seagull, but by the time I pushed the shutter button, the birds had moved so that it looks like I focused on the eye of the second seagull because it’s just ever so slightly more in focus. I was about 50 feet from these birds and the picture metadata shows a shutter speed of 1/250, which is why I got such good motion in the wings and legs. It was taken with the 150-600 lens but the focal length was 150 and the f/stop was 5.0.

I will have more pictures in the next few days of wildlife from the San Diego Jetty, including, of course, the Jetty Cats.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

The Squirrels are beating the Rabbits, 4-2

I live in my own little world

On June 26, 1999, Jim and I closed on our first home. We were celebrating 5 years together. Although it was much too big for two people—11141 Valley Lights Drive, El Cajon CA

3,984 square feet on 1.83 acres of land with a 45,000-gallon swimming pool and a 15,000-gallon spa

—we probably would still be living there if Enron of Houston had been not so greedy….

In June 2000 our gas & electric bill was $4,700, a thousand dollars higher than our monthly mortgage. We never thought prices would come down so we decided to sell. We closed escrow on the sale on June 26, 2001, exactly two years to the day after we bought it. It wasn’t until December 2001 that the world found out that Enron had been manipulating the energy markets west of the Mississippi River. After Enron’s bankruptcy, energy prices here in San Diego did come back down.

That was the largest house and the largest yard we have had. We rented a house from 2001 to 2002 while looking for a house to buy. We settled on one that was 1,588 square feet on ¼ acre. We stayed there for five years when we decided to downsize, which basically meant going someplace without a yard. My poor body just wasn’t into yard maintenance anymore.

We lived in condominiums from 2007 to 2017, one of them 50 feet up in the air, before deciding that we’d rather be back on solid ground. Our new home, which we moved into on July 21, 2017, is 1,440 square feet and has a yard which has not been landscaped. So I have a little work to do there, but the yard is not too large so I think it is manageable, especially since I’m going to switch to container gardening.

We are in the boondocks, so we have a lot of wildlife out here, and I think container gardening will be less disruptive to their way of life. The living room looks out on a corner which is conducive to watching the wildlife. That corner is where I feed and water the wildlife. This morning I got a picture of four squirrels and two rabbits sharing among themselves.

It's 4-2, squirrels over rabbits

Since baseball season is nearing an end, we’ll say the score is 4-2, Squirrels over Rabbits. But it’s just the top of the second inning.

Even got a picture of a rabbit taking a bath. Who knew?

Rabbit bath

I also had two unknown birds stop by this morning for bird baths, so I guess I need a bird feeder, too.

Unknown bird and squirrel

I don’t know what kind of bird that is, but it’s quite beautiful with its long, curved beak.

Unknown bird

I have named the corner “Wildlife Corner.”

With our new window tinting, I can now get right up against the window because the wildlife outside cannot see into the house. It will make for great picture taking, and once I get the living room floor cleaned, I’ll set up my camera on a tripod so I can take videos. These squirrels and rabbits are just way too much fun to watch.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—The Great Stone Church, the Wrightwood Earthquake & dubious construction methods

Out & About

During my early years as a teenager 55 years ago, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, but only because I could spell that word.

When I was in my mid-teens, I wanted to be a history teacher, but then I found out how much money teachers in Texas made. Not enough….

History, though, very much has been a part of me all my life, so when my husband told me a few months ago that he wanted to go to Mission San Juan Capistrano, well, I’m all there….

So yesterday we drove up to the Oceanside Transit Center (51 miles) and took Metrolink to San Juan Capistrano, about a 40-minute train ride. We spent six hours wandering around the city and the mission, both of which are extraordinarily fascinating.

I’ll have more about both the city and the mission in future blog posts, but today I wanted to share some pictures of the ruins of the Great Stone Church:

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

In the second picture, that long walkway was what one might call the Great Hall inside the church. A model of the church, built in the shape of a cross, provides a better perspective; the Great Hall is the base of the cross:

Great Stone Church model at Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Great Stone Church took nine years to build, 1797-1806. It was used as a house of worship for six years, 1806-1812. Mother & Father Nature destroyed it in mere minutes with one of their earthquakes on December 8, 1812. Forty people died, all Native Americans attending mass and in the process of being converted to Christianity. I wonder why the almighty god would want to kill forty of his converts………….

Earthquakes also have fascinated me throughout my life so I went to find out more about this one. Records are poor (which is just one of the many reasons why I don’t take anything literally that is in the Bible; records from 200 years ago are poor but somehow records from 2,000 years ago are complete?). The earthquake involved here is called the Wrightwood Earthquake or, sometimes, the San Juan Capistrano Earthquake in recognition of the death toll.

While the exact location and size of the earthquake are unknown, evidence from sediments along the San Andreas Fault, as well as analysis of tree rings of pines growing near the fault, has led to the earthquake being identified as one along the Mojave segment of the San Andreas Fault, possibly resulting in as much as 106 miles of surface rupture, and a theorized epicenter near Wrightwood. The magnitude has been estimated at Mw 7.5.

The Great Stone Church was built completely of stone; ergo, its name. The earthquake caused the mortar to fail and the church collapsed. No surprise to me. Look at the stone—no rhyme or reason as to size and placement:

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Here a stone, there a stone, make it big, make it small…. Each stone will conduct stresses differently, so while one stone might be great at absorbing stresses, another stone might be great at concentrating those stresses. And of the stone and mortar, the mortar will be the weakest part of the construction. Of course, I have the advantage of an extra 225 years of construction knowledge and experience….

The Southern California Earthquake Data Center states:

That even a magnitude 7.5 on the San Andreas fault could have such dire consequences on a structure as far away [about 80 miles] from the fault as the mission church seems unusual, but it was reported that the construction of the church was of dubious quality.

So now I’m wondering why this almighty god would let his people build a church using construction methods of dubious quality…………….

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post