Sunday, October 31, 2010

Journey to the Past Series Part 3: The Bobcat and the Rattlesnake

A few years back I was hiking in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve with my camera and I came a cross a bobcat which I have actually seen him a few times on my hikes in about the same area each time. I stopped to photograph him out in the field he was laying down in but all of a sudden it looked like he was getting up to charge me. I quickly started backing away from the fence but keeping an eye on him cause I did not want to loose eye contact with him. It turned out just a couple feet in front of me there was a rattlesnake which was in striking distance from me. I did not notice the rattlesnake until right before the Bobcat started attacking it. The rattlesnake never did its warning rattle sound when I was standing in front of it. Thank goodness the bobcat saw it and started going after it cause that could of been a bad situation for me to have been in. I call the bobcat my little guardian angel. It was an interesting experience to see the bobcat and the snake fight it out with each other but another hiker came around and started yelling at the bobcat and the bobcat ran off before the fight was even over.

Here are a few of my photos I took of the bobcat not all taken on the same day and then a picture of the rattlesnake.

Approaching the rattlesnake

About to attack the rattlesnake

After I have backed away and the bobcat has gotten close enough to the rattlesnake it got into striking position

Taken about a week later after it attacked the rattlesnake

Taken about a week later after it attacked the rattlesnake

Adam and Eve

One of my favorite past times is to go hiking and one of the places my husband and I go hiking at is up in the hills at Villa Montalvo.

Villa Montalvo is a historical landmark built in 1912 by James Duval Phelan.

James Duval Phelan was a three time Mayor of San Francisco, California and he was California's first popularly elected U.S. Senator.

James Duval Phelan would invite writers and artist to the estate so they could be inspired by their surroundings.

Some of the many guest that would attend the estate on a regular basis was Jack London, Ethel Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Douglass Fairbanks, and Edwin Markham.

The view from on top of the hills when you go hiking is very beautiful but also Villa Montalvo has several interesting statues in its gardens that I really enjoy seeing when I visit the estate. My favorite sculpture is of Adam and Eve. Here are a few pictures of the Adam and Eve Sculpture at Villa Montalvo.

What you can not see in this picture is the serpent holding an apple behind them but you can see his tail at the bottom left of the picture near Eve's foot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photography Assignment #4 - Lighting

Teachers instructions for this Assignment:
"Find a lighting situation other than “daylight”. Make a photograph in this situation using one of the “White Balance Control” choices in your camera. Please do not use "Auto"!"

My choice of subject for this assignment I decided to photograph my Pet Rock. Actually the rock is painted as a Tiger done by someone who used to work with my mother. I collect tigers and my mom bought it for me since my moms co-worker sells her rock artwork. The woman that painted the rock can actually see the animals in the rock before she decides what she wants to paint on the rock. Once she sees the animal in that rock then she will paint the animal on it.

I used my Nikon D70s for this assignment since for some reason my Nikon D300 was not working properly. The Flash I used was my Nikon SB 600 Speedlight. I shot the photo in Manual setting and used the Flash White Balancing Control Setting. My aperture was f/5.6 and the focal length was 70mm.

DSC_8036 Pet Rock Tiger - FB

Monday, October 18, 2010

Journey to the Past Series Part 2: Western Lowland Gorillas

Throughout the years I have gotten to know an interesting Gorilla Troop at the San Francisco Zoo and the Gorillas have gotten to know me also. There are actually two gorillas I have gotten to know the most which is Oscar Jonesy the Gorilla Troops Silverback and his half sister Zura. When I visit with the gorillas I sit there for several hours just watching them and studying their behaviors when I am taking their photographs. Oscar Jonesy and Zura love to sit right in front of me when I am visiting with them. When Oscar is right in front of me he will watch me and people are surprised by the attention he is giving to me and the camera. Zura is actually my favorite she will come up and make faces and will stick her tongue out at the camera. She also does the sign language symbol for love. Zura also laughs a lot while having fun for the camera. Zura also knows a bad symbol that she has picked up from the crowd which is if she does not like you she will flick you off. I've never had her do that to me but other photographer friends have told me she has done it to them. There has been several cases that I have actually been able to calm Zura down when she is upset. She gets upset a lot when a new Docent comes up to the exhibit and they don't realize that her and Oscar Jonesy do not like the uniform that the Docent is wearing. Zura and Oscar Jonesy get really upset about this uniform for some reason not sure why. When Zura sees me she actually starts to calm down and when I realize it is the Docent setting her off I have to ask the Docent to take off the jacket or just step back from the exhibit. Docents who have been volunteering at the zoo for a long time know that the jacket comes off if you approach the Gorilla Exhibit.

Here are some of my favorite photos I have taken of the San Francisco Zoo Gorilla Troop:

Oscar Jonesy Smiling - I spoke his name and he turned around and smiled at me

Zura - She looks like she is thinking

Oscar Jonesy - He looks Buff

Bawang the Matriarch

Nneka Bawang's daughter up in a Gorilla nest

Monifa - this photo was used across the United States in the News when Monifa refused to take care of her new born baby boy Hasani

Hasani the youngest of the Gorilla Troop

Black and White Portrait of Oscar Jonesy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journey to the Past Series Part 1: African Lions

With this series I plan on featuring some of my favorite photos I have taken over the years before starting this blog and starting my photography class.

The first of this series I am just featuring my favorite African Lion photos I have taken since my first photo that I took that got me into photography was of African Lions back in September 2005.

All pictures taken at the San Francisco Zoo:

Jahari and Kimani (Siblings) September 2005 the photo that got me into photography:

Jahari holding Red Bowl - my all time favorite photograph I have taken

Jahari with his mate Amanzi

Tunya father of Jahari and Kimani enjoy birthday treats for his kids

Kimani - This photo is actually used as one of the rotating pictures the San Francisco Zoo uses on their website homepage. You have to refresh the page several times sometimes for the photo to eventually appear.

Amanzi drinking water

Jahari enjoying Halloween Treats

Tunya - The San Francisco Zoo also uses this photo for the info on African Lions

Frogs Remind Me Of My Niece

On my recent trip to the Oakland Zoo I went into the Reptile & Amphibian House which has snakes, turtles, lizards and frogs. Every time I see frogs they remind me of my niece Christina because when she was really little she loved frogs. Every time she had a birthday or Christmas would roll around everyone would buy her some thing to do with frogs since she really loves them. Now that she is 13 years old she says she has grown out of liking frogs but we know deep down she still loves them since she will still play with frogs and some times even kiss them. There is a bull frog at my parents house that lives in one of the planters next to the pool and he will climb in and out the planter to jump in the pool for a swim. Christina has gone and kissed that frog a few times but we have to tell her to leave the frog alone and it will not turn into a prince if she kisses it.

While at the Oakland Zoo I photographed a few of the frogs and they always bring a smile to my face because of Christina. Here is a few of the pictures I took of the frogs.

Amazon Milk Frog:

Panamanian Golden Frogs:

North American River Otters

One of the animals I do not normally photograph at the Oakland Zoo is the North American River Otters but the other day I got a chance to actually take a few photographs of them. Normally the reason of not photographing them is because most of the time I just do not see them since their enclosure has 2 sections and the sections are huge and when I do see them they are normally right at the glass in the water moving really fast plus there is normally a crowd around making it harder to photograph them. My friend Pam and I was actually lucky to have been passing by their enclosure right before they got fed and the otters decided to wait and watch at one end of the exhibit for the keeper to come out and feed them. It was really cute cause they would stand up on their back legs to try and see over the wall for when the keeper showed up with their food. Here is a few pictures of them waiting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photography Assignment #3 - Depth of Field

Description of the assignment:

"Make one photograph showing either great or shallow depth of field. State the method that you used to achieve it, and why you chose to show that type of depth of field."

My response and the photo I used for the assignment:

I shot the photograph of the Blue Spiny Lizard as a Shallow Depth of Field. I used my Nikon D300 in the Manual Mode setting. My aperture is f/13.0 at a focal length of 70 mm. I was also standing really close to the Blue Spiny Lizard with my lens fully extended.

The reason I chose this method is when I am photographing animals some times the backgrounds are too distracting or there is just some thing I would prefer not being in the picture because of flaws that are not interesting to the photo having it blurred out makes it looks a lot better. In this case there was flaws that did not look good and the shallow depth of field made the picture look better.

Feeding Ring-tailed Lemurs

When I am out at the zoo photographing the animals if I am around when a Keeper is in the exhibit interacting with the animals I try to make sure to take a few photographs of them with the animals. Today while I was at the Oakland Zoo there was a Keeper and Volunteer helping the Keeper out in the Lemur Exhibit. The Volunteer was feeding the Ring-tailed Lemurs and I decided to photograph her interaction with one of the Lemurs. Since my goal in life is to some day work with animals I really enjoy seeing keepers interacting with the animals they work with.

Here is a few photographs I took of the Volunteer feeding one of the Ring-tailed Lemurs:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photography Assignment #2 - Your Camera and the Camera Modes

Teachers description for Assignment #2:
"Tell us about your camera. Who is the manufacturer and what is the model? What is the maximum resolution? List the modes available on your camera.

Make a photograph using one of these modes. State which mode you used, and why you feel it was appropriate for the image."

I actually went out to several different locations to play with the different preset modes for one of my cameras. I went to Point Lobos State Reserve, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, and Monterey Bay.

Here is what I wrote for the assignment:

I actually have 2 cameras that I switch between using.

My main camera which I plan on using for most of my photos in the class is a Nikon D300 which for the most part is a Manual Camera. The modes on the camera are Program Auto with flexible program, Shutter-Priority Auto, Aperture-Priority Auto, and Manual. The maximum resolution on this camera is 4288 x 2848 which is 12.2 megapixels. The reason I did not select this camera to use for this assignment is my photography comes naturally but I would not be able to explain the steps I did to get the photo which is the reason I am here in this class to learn more about how the camera works with its settings.

But for this assignment I decided to use my Nikon D70 which does have preset modes. The modes on this camera are Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Program Shift. The maximum resolution on the D70 is 3008 x 2000 which is 6.1 megapixels.

Both cameras have the option to shoot in JPEG or RAW but my preference is to photograph in RAW format since it gives me more control over the photo if I need to make changes to it.

My photograph is of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission and I used the Landscape preset mode. The reason I used the Landscape mode is because I wanted to create a sharp image of the cross and the mission at the same time plus I wanted the vibrant color of the sky. I did enhance the saturation a little bit in Capture NX to add a little bit more blue to the sky.

I used this photo of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission for my photography assignment. The next photos I am posting are other photos I liked for the assignment but decided not to use them.

Photography Assignment #1 - Environmental Portrait

Every couple of weeks the teacher in my Digital Photography Class do different photography assignments. Our first photography assignment is called Environmental Portrait.

Description the teacher had for the assignment:
"The environmental portrait is a study of a person within his or her environment or context. This can be a literal description or a more figurative representation: this is open to the interpretation of the photographer.

Make an environmental portrait of someone you know. Think about how you want to show this person and what you want to tell the viewer(s) about this person."

I decided I would photograph my husband playing one of his guitars for the Environmental Portrait. My husband does not normally let me take a lot of photographs of him but he was a good sport about it this time around since the photograph was for homework. At first I had a hard time photographing him cause he would blink or he seemed to tense for the photograph but he eventually started relaxing and was just having fun for the photograph. The Fun photographs I took of him I really liked cause he was showing off for the camera but was having fun doing it.

Here are some of the photographs I liked from the photo shoot I did of him. The first picture is the one I chose to submit for my Environmental Portrait but I liked the other photos too.

Playing Guitar Under Leg - I chose this photograph for the assignment.

Recently Going Back to School and Taking a Photography Class

Recently I decided to go back to college to eventually get a degree in Zoology or Marine Biology but to reach my goal of one of those degrees I have started going to De Anza College in Cupertino, California to get a degree in Biological Sciences.

I went to college before over 13 years ago from an out of state college and since my past credits are from out of state it will take me at least a semester or two for the college to even review my past classes. So while I wait to figure out what classes I will need to take for my degree since I don't know what will actually transfer over from my old school I decided to take an Intro to Digital Photography Class as one of my first classes I am taking during my first semester back to college. I have a passion for photography especially photographing animals and historical buildings and since I have never taken a photography class in the past I figured now was a good time to actually take one.

In my photography Journal I plan on featuring some of the photographs that I have taken for my Digital Photography Class and photographs that I have just taken for fun.