The week was busy with work and recovery from being in the field so long. Yes, I am still recovering from that. My other work is so far behind that I am only beginning to catch up. But I should be caught up in a couple more weeks.
The Girl and I were walking Thursday about noon. We had a little rain and that softened the sand burrs that plague her on the trails at Silver Saddle Ranch. So she is enjoying the walks more.
Her toe is healing, although she still messes with it too much. I might decide to call her Sera of the three toes when I am feeling a bit ornery. She does not care1. We are also taking a little longer path that adds a quarter mile to our walk. Both of us need the exercise.
I also like to cross the ditch at one of the irrigation structures and walk along the ditch to Mexican Dam. If I time it right, or the weather is less appealing, there is little traffic on the Mexican Ditch Trail and we can get more than three miles in. Plus I get to shoot the Dam.
It was a good hike and a good day. Life is good.
1I often call her Sera Sue because I like the alliteration and rhythm.
I am working on the hydrology for one of my projects. The weather is cooler and more windy, so I do not want to get out as early.
Once I made some progress on project work and the markets, The Girl and I headed out to walk Silver Saddle Ranch. The weather today was cooler than yesterday, but also less rainy. Still, I could see rain to the north in Washoe Valley and behind Mt. Scott. A curl of rain clouds pulled south to the east of Mt. Scott, but did not seem threatening.
The Girl continues to worsen the condition of her toe with the missing nail. If I am distracted for just a moment, I will catch her licking. So, she slept in the cone-of-shame last night, wore it all morning, walked without it (but limping), and is now wearing the cone. She will get to sleep in it again tonight, although I might remove it when we sit on the sofa to relax and snuggle.
I carried the Fuji X100V with me again today. Last night I read a bit on Ritchie Roesch’s website, Fuji X Weekly about those film simulations he recommends. He has a list of seven because most of the recent Fujifilm cameras have seven custom slots. I am already using several of his recommendations, but I have some empty slots to fill and will add his recommendations. Then I will use them.
Today I used Reggie’s Portra 400 simulation, which is intended to produce results similar to the Kodak Portra 400 film stock. One of the things Reggie did was to set Auto White Balance instead of using the Daylight balance of the regular Portra simulation. This adds a little to the flexibility of the simulation. There are other details as well, but I consider them relatively minor.
I came home with a couple of decent images. That is, images that I like. I make images for me — that is, I am the only one who needs to like them. If others like them, that is good. I appreciate the acknowledgement.
Alex (The Photographic Eye) recently did a video on the subtle impact of social media on the photographs we produce. This resonated because I left Instagram a couple of months ago (again) because I was tired of doomscrolling through things I did not want to see to find those that I do. On my IG account, I sometimes posted photographs I knew would gather more “likes” partly as an experiment. It is a nice dopamine hit to see that my work is appreciated.
What Alex made me think about is the who and why of my photography. It is good for me to do something creative and that is why I do it. The photographs are for me, because there was something about the subject that attracted my eye (and my mind).
So, what I share here and also on FB are images that somehow spoke to me and caused me to pause, find a composition, and make the capture (usually several). I do not always like the end result, but I usually learn something in the process.
OK, so I do indulge a little and share a lot of Doggo images. Those are for fun (and I do love the subject) and for my dog-loving friends.
So, I like this capture of Mt. Scott and the weather over Carson City. The fall colors are mostly gone, with just a few hangers-on. We’ll soon start to see snow and some gray days and certainly cooler temperatures. But I still love the high desert and I am good so long as the sun is shining.
For the last number of weeks, my daily walks have mostly been on the job site in El Dorado National Forest. By the end of the day, I was pretty much done and getting in a half-hour walk for The Girl was about all I had left in me. I sometimes carried a camera, but the creative juice just was not there.
Now that I am recovering from that slog, I have time and energy to play a little radio, work a little in my house, and do something with a camera. I am also walking an hour or so for both The Girl and I. We love those times together.
Today was a treat for a couple of reasons. First was the image above. An irrigation structure on the Mexican Ditch often returns flow to the Carson River at this location. The flow crosses the road and I love the sound and sight that it makes. With the colder temperatures of the last few nights, the cottonwoods are dropping their leaves as the color leaves them. The sight this morning made me pause for a couple of captures. I like this one.
On the way back to the rig, I was keeping an eye out for other walkers/dogs and heard a whistle behind me. For a moment I thought of the Mockingjay whistle from The Hunger Games movies. That caused me to pause and I looked behind us.
Sera came to attention. When Timber and Lisa started calling her I said “Go! See you peeps!”
She blasted off, of course and I heard Lisa call “Watch your knees!” as she blew in to greet them. Sera was all wiggles and soft looks as she interacted with some of her favorite people.
I walked back to greet them and retrieve The Girl and we walked back to my rig. We paused to visit for a few minutes. I so enjoy them and it was good to spend a few minutes catching up.
The capture was made with my Fujifilm X100V and its lovely 23mm f/2 lens. The capture was made at f/8 using the Portra-400 film simulation. I am running a light diffusion filter on the camera, which provides a more filmic look.
A few days ago I reveled in the luscious colors of fall along the Carson River. The Girl and I walked the Mexican Ditch Trail nearly every day. Those times we could not do the long walk, we drove over to Riverview Park and made a shorter walk, but still near the river.
Then, seemingly overnight (actually a day or maybe two), the cottonwoods shed their color, but not their leaves — at least not all of them. The trees took on their winter colors, conserving their energy for the coming spring.
I love the turn of the seasons. The extremes of summer and winter are harder, but I love the change and I can keep cool or warm as the season demands. There is something magical in the seasons and when I am aware I marvel at that regular pattern and am grateful to experience it.
The fall colors were sure pretty this year. A couple of days ago The Girl and I were walking the Mexican Ditch Trail along the Carson River. She enjoyed doing doggie-things and I enjoyed being outdoors and the fall color.
When I reached the Mexican Dam, I was treated to a combination of color and reflection. I was carrying the Fuji X-T1 with the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens. It’s a good combination.
The Girl and I always enjoy our walks. But when the fall comes, the weather cools and our walks get even better. She does not burn out as quickly and loves all the fall scents.
I love the way the light changes as the sun falls in the sky. The quality of the light is less harsh, even during the midday hours. As the leaves change, the light is filtered not by the green of summer foliage, but by the warmer colors of the change. The yellows and reds warm up the light and the change excites my eyes. I almost always carry a camera, but I am really motivated in the fall.
Yesterday morning did not disappoint me. As we walked one of our favorite trails along the Carson River, the late-morning sunlight filtered through the gorgeous yellows of the changing cottonwoods. I was happy that I carried the Fuji X-H1 with the Fuji 18-135mm lens with me. That camera is a game-changer for me. The lens is one that has been in my kit from early in my Fuji experience. It is one of the better walk-around lenses that I have used. It certainly did not disappoint me Sunday morning. I came home with at least a handful of keepers.
I think this one is one of them. It reminds me that the time moves on, the seasons change — those outdoors as well as those inside us. The last few weeks challenged me. A project I am working on is a significant technical challenge. The struggle is reverse engineering a hydrologic system to determine how what happened came to be. The time pressure to get through the analysis is a secondary challenge and can add significantly to the pressure.
But, I think I have the system mostly figured out. A change in the schedule is taking some of the pressure off. I was blessed this weekend to have a few hours to just breathe. That breath was a most welcome relief and a reminder that the seasons change. Projects come and go, like the seasons. But there is more to life than just the work and the time outdoors this weekend was another reminder of that. I am blessed to live where I do and I am thankful.
Early this year, while Older Son was visiting and helping me around the house, we took The Girl out for a long walk along the Carson River. We staged from Riverview Park, which is at the end of Fifth Street on the east side of Carson City. The weather was a beautiful winter day. There was plenty of water in the river, although nowhere near flood stage. That meant all the wetlands were, well, wet. The wetland wildlife were out and active on that beautiful winter day.
We came across this beautiful Great Egret, (Ardea alba) working the ponds in one of the wetland areas. I had only my Olympus OM-D M10 and a Wollensak cine lens with me. The lens was long enough, but I couldn’t get the capture I wanted. I was left with, well, only feathers.
The Girl waited patiently while Older Son and I made our captures. When she detected that we were done, she started toward the water, accelerating as she got closer. The egret watched her from his watery perch. (I knew she wouldn’t get into the water.) When she got close to the water’s edge, she bounced and uttered a single “Woof!” The Egret calmly flew off a few yards, settled back down, ruffled his feathers, and continued fishing.
Since that time The Girl and I have seen this bird, or another like it, several times on the river, fishing. If I’m in a blind, then the bird goes on without noticing me. They have very sharp eyes, however, and will spot me (or The Girl).
A couple of weeks ago I had the Fuji X-H1 and the Fuji 100-400mm super telephoto zoom with me. The Egret was perched on Mexican Dam. The Great Blue Heron flew away as I approached the dam. The Egret watched me for a bit, permitted me to make a few captures, and then flew a few yards away to a sandbar. There it continued watching me. I made a few more captures but didn’t really like any of them.
I like birds quite a lot. They fascinate me. I like being along the river, too. The new equipment provides me some capability I did not have. It has opened some of the world for me to capture, like this Egret and the Heron.
Over the last couple of years, I have watched these beautiful Northern Harriers work the sageland and wetland areas of Riverview Park in Carson City. It took me a couple of attempts to identify the raptor, but I finally got a view of the bird’s head and with the aid of the Merlin application from the Cornell School of Ornithology I made the identification.
They are now easy for me to identify — that big white patch on the rump is one giveaway. The second is their mode of hunting is to soar about ten feet over the surface listening for mice.
With the acquisition of the red-badge Fujifilm 100-400mm super zoom lens, I now have the capability to capture an image of these birds. They generally do not allow me to get too close, although they will sometimes glide just overhead, teasing me.
On this particular morning, I saw the harrier glide over the field. I made a couple of attempts to capture an image but was not satisfied with my attempts.
However, the bird soon began a climb, having caught a thermal. I watch it rise up and up until it was a couple hundred feet overhead. It soared in large circles, overwatching its hunting grounds.
I stood there a few minutes, knowing that the bird was not hunting but simply flying.
Many of the animals encountered during my life have shown an intelligence that is impressive. They do not simply eat, sleep, and procreate. They interact socially among their species and sometimes others. They play. They do things that please them. Otherwise, why would they waste the energy to move from place to place?
The best teacher of all is The Girl. She showed me there is intelligence without language. She often talks to me, speaking volumes without making a sound. I get it.
As I stood there on the trail, watching the harrier soaring far above me, I got it. This was not about a hunt, or about turf protection; the soaring was simply for the joy of it.
The Girl and I spend many hours walking along the Carson River on the Silver Saddle Ranch. One morning we met Jarrod (I hope I got his name right) working on the trail. He was clearing the weeds that are no longer kept down by ranch traffic. He had paused for a few minutes to clear the radiator of his rig from the accumulation of dust resulting from the brush hog mounted on the front of the vehicle.
I learned that Carson City received proprietorship of the ranch from BLM some time ago. It should remain as open space in perpetuity. Carson City spends part of its resources maintaining these areas and I really appreciate it. As I said, The Girl and I spend a lot of our time out along the river and it is one of our favorite places.
I appreciate public servants like Jarrod, who take both their work and their relationship with the public seriously. He was willing to spend a few minutes talking about the work and the place. It was a good visit and I am thankful that he agreed to pose for an informal portrait next to his rig.
Since nearly being carried away by mosquitoes at the Riverview Park, The Girl and I have spent our morning walks to south on the Silver Saddle Ranch open space area. The ranch is still a working ranch with cattle and hayfields. I often meet the ranch manager while walking as he tends the irrigation system.
The capture is my morning view of the ranch compound. At one time this was a bustling ranch with a number of ranch hands all working from this area. It is nothing of what it once was, but remains a reminder of Nevada heritage. I am thankful that it is maintained as a place where I can spend time outdoors with The Girl.
It is also a place where I see many wild animals. There are mostly birds (and I do enjoy the raptors), but we see other species as well.
I shot this image with the Fujifilm X-H1 and the marvelous Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro lens that was built by Tokina, otherwise knows as the “Bokina.”