Author Archives: Nicci

About Nicci

Romance writer published with The Wild Rose Press.

San Diego Zoo, birds

I didn’t get the info on all of these amazing birds, and I’m kicking myself now for that. The first one is a whistling duck. I had to also capture these birds on video because it is amazing how their throats swell and vibrate, a phenomenon that simply cannot be captured in a still shot.

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All three of these species are in the same habitat. I’m not sure if they are all from the same environment in the wild. If not, that would be interesting that the zookeepers could make it work. Another reason I wish I had photographed all the descriptions.

I have a few more photos to show you, including a grand finale.

Have a great remainder of the weekend.

San Diego Zoo, hooved animals

It was fairly hot last Saturday, and a lot of the animals were sleeping.

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Or standing in the shade.

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Look how graceful the antlers are on this one.

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We’re getting through the zoo animals pretty quickly! I’m going to have to do another photography outing.

It is suddenly very hot here and mornings are the only time to do yard work. It was almost 100 degrees the last two days. It’s early for that, but I guess it’s a heat wave. I should go to the beach for some photos. Maybe on the weekend, early though.

I hope you have a good rest of the week. It’s all downhill from here, in a good way I hope!

San Diego Zoo shots!

Hello, I hope you are having a good week. I had the big thrill of visiting the San Diego Zoo, which I loved. I’m ready to start sharing photos.

Growing up, we had an Encyclopedia. It was the only one my dad sold during his very short-lived days as a door-to-door salesman, LOL. Anyway, I loved looking at the animals and the anteater was one of my favorites.

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Anteater

When I looked down and saw it at the zoo, I was so excited. As a child I thought they were really weird looking, but I had no idea they are pretty! This one looks pretty healthy, huh? His coat looks healthy to me. I didn’t know they were black and white with stripes. They move pretty fast. I guess he was out on the hunt for ants.

Another animal I was always interested in was the warthog. My brother and I used to run around calling each other warthogs. So every time I came up to a cage and saw something that I thought was a warthog I would cry out to my husband, “Look, a warthog,” but then it wouldn’t be. Finally I found one, sleeping peacefully by a rock.

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Warthog

Big news, I cancelled my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I have an older laptop, not super powerful, and the background processes were slowing down my machine. Rather than investing in a new computer, I canceled the subscription. I would say that’s a tad more economical a solution, LOL!  No new computer, no ten dollars a month.

I am back to GIMP. I might buy Lightroom or another software package someday but not as a cloud service. Anyway, how this affects you is I that can’t batch process, or at least, I don’t know how, so my photos will be coming out a little at a time. That might not be a bad thing since I don’t spend as much time shooting new photos as I should! Maybe I can communicate more often now, sharing a few images at a time and talking to you more. I’ll also be doing less processing. I am going more natural, taking my photography more towards just the photography part and less image processing, although I still will probably do some digital photo painting. I have that software and a little tablet that I haven’t used in a couple years, and I miss working this way.

I certainly have a treasure trove of images from the zoo to share. Here is my favorite image of the day. I’ve never seen an orangutan in person, wow!

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Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought The End

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A local creek that has been dry for a long time

I wrote around 10 of these chronicles over the last two years, sort of tracking the whole experience. I really thought it was permanent. I had a moment of fear when we were told if we didn’t cut back, California could run out of water. We cut back a lot. The restrictions and warnings and increased prices resulted in a massive conservation effect. We were successful, yay!

I also was sad taking pictures of Sand Harbor because these shallow waters used to be deep enough to dive into.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

You could still carefully wade out, but even that would be gone soon.

I walked in the Truckee River, the only outlet of Lake Tahoe.

Truckee River

Truckee River bed

The piers weren’t much use any more!

Lake Tahoe winter 2016

Pier

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These rocks aren’t really supposed to be part of Commons Beach

The gates at Fanny Bridge, the mouth of the Truckee River looked like this two years ago:

Gates

Volunteer anglers working with fisheries personnel caught the huge trout who lived there, put them in aquariums, moved them to the lake, and released them…before it was too low for them to live.

Now all 17 gates are open:

Gates open

Just like we couldn’t assume it would always be like the drought, we can’t assume it would always be like this past year, but it’s a massive relief. We now have a gravel front yard. Here’s a photo from the post when we first had it delivered a couple years ago.

Gravel

We just have drip watering now.

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Hope you have a nice week!

Wild bunny

This was supposed to go up yesterday for Easter, but I forgot. I happened to capture this little guy by zooming a lot before he hopped away (of course). This was taken in Sparks Nevada, which has a lot of these little cotton-tails and also a lot big jack rabbits.

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This time of year is also for taxes and planting our vegetable garden. One thing is not so nice, but the other is great. We planted two weeks early after looking at the long-term forecast and seeing it wouldn’t get too cold, so we have a good jump on it. It’s been raining like crazy, my husband roto-tilled in a lot of fertilizer, and the plants are growing really fast as a result.

We also now have a wood chipper for our palm branches and can turn them into a nourishing mulch which in turn provides food for the palm tree when you spread it around the base. The dried palm fronds make a golden brown mulch that’s pretty.

We also took the plunge and bought a compost barrel. You’d think we live on a farm rather than the suburbs, but this area (Silicon Valley) is incredible for growing things. It’s more a matter of getting control of the weeds than anything else. We don’t have a lawn any more, but lawns tame the weeds in some ways. Our neighbor’s lawns look amazing again after a brown year last year when our watering was curtailed, but we have gravel with plants and drip watering now. Lawns are in some ways easy and in other ways a lot of work. So is weed control in our vast areas of mulch, especially when you want to be organic. But I guess it’s a matter of what work you like to do. I don’t mind pulling up the weeds by hand as long as there aren’t too many, which we have managed because we used plastic as a barrier. Weeds grow on top of the plastic in the bit of soil that the mulch creates, and they grow through the drainage holes we punched, but those weeds come up easily. Weeding is my job. There are a lot of things only my husband can do, so I do the things I can do. Yard work is oddly enjoyable though!

You can look forward to some plant photos at some point and I have a surprise planned for you, but I have to wait for the rain to stop before I can do that. I have to tell you, it’s bizarre getting this much rain in California. In the mountains it looks like January. It’s starting to rain up there so maybe the snow will melt, but honestly, it’s not going to melt this summer. They are planning to keep the ski resort at Squaw open all summer, which is pretty exciting in some ways, but the locals are quite sick of snow. It’s feast or famine, I guess! Down here in the valley, there was some catastrophic flooding and California roads are a disaster. The legislature just wrote a bill to slap us with a 12 cents a gallon tax to fix the roads. That’s understandable, but the thing I don’t know is, where was the money for roads coming from before? Why is there a shortfall in funding for that? I’d like to know what money was spent before and if the storms caused a shortfall in funding, and if so, how long will we need that tax? I think the roads have been under-funded for some time. I’d like to know why. I have so many questions, but so far, no answers.

Well that’s it for this wandering post. Have a great week!

Phone photos

Part of me would like to be low-tech, but when the WikiLeaks blast came out about how cell phones can be hacked and the best way to prevent it is to keep the operating system up-to-date, I had to make a choice: no smart phone or upgrade to one that can support the latest Android. I decided to keep up with the world.

As soon as my husband set up the phone ;–) I started experimenting with the camera. It has a fixed aperture of f 2.8. That seems pretty great; it’s certainly possible to get bokeh.

Having a good phone camera is incredibly convenient.

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I’m finding I love all three of my cameras, my Panasonic DMC ZS40, my OnePlus 3 phone, and of course my Sony a300 DSLR with its many lenses.

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There are so many times when a photo must be taken, and if I don’t have one of the cameras available, the phone serves quite nicely. Although I do want to start to leave out one of the cameras so it’s readily available for the great family shot, the phone is handy for things like an unexpected spectacular moon rise. You can pull over, grab the phone out of the purse or pocket, and snap a picture.

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I find I’m doing posts when I have new photos rather than on Mondays and Fridays. It’s recommended to have regular days, but I’m going to try this for a while. When I have photos, I don’t want to wait for the designated day!

I hope you are having a good week and have nice plans for the weekend.

 

Flowers for the weekend

The lilies opened and I did some more experimenting with our travel camera (Panasonic DMC ZS40). So I had to share.

Macro flowers

Of course I was playing around with light. The afternoon sun comes in our dining room window, so it’s a great place to put the flowers for photography.

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The lilies almost look like they’re made of wax. The daisies look like paper.

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The particles of pollen make the purple ones look very real.

macro flowers

Hope you are having a good weekend!