Some Songbirds

Pine Siskin
Orangevale, CA; DEC 2020

I am sharing a few songbirds that we see here in the Sacramento area. I’m especially excited about the Pine Siskin. This winter is the first we’ve had them visit our feeder, or at least the first time I’ve recognized one.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Savannah Sparrow
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; DEC 2020
Dark-eyed Junco – Oregon Subspecies
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JAN 2020
Hermit Thrush
Mississippi Bar
American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; DEC 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Birds Along the Water’s Edge

Herring Gull
American River Parkway, Rancho Cordova, CA; NOV 2020

Today’s post features some birds that I found along the edge of the American River. The Kingfisher and Sandpipers are here, in the Sacramento area, much of the year but not always easy to find. The Herring Gull is a migrater found in large numbers during the Salmon Run.

The Herring Gull was fun to watch. I picked him up right after he caught the crayfish and got to watch as it positioned and swallowed the crayfish. It swallowed the crayfish whole, claw, and all. I think that is amazing.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Least Sandpiper
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; DEC 2020
Female Belted Kingfisher
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; JUL 2020
Spotted Sandpiper
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
Least Sandpiper
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; DEC 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Wandering Around Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Crepuscular Rays at Sunrise
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

I am a volunteer at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center (sacnaturecenter.net) in the Carmichael section of Sacramento, CA.  The center is a nature study area along the American River Parkway that provides nature classes for children and adults alike. It was named for Effie Yeaw, a teacher, conservationist and environmental educator who led natural and cultural history walks in an area known as Deterding Woods, located along the American River in Carmichael. It spans 100 acres replete with trails through a riparian woodland and along the American River. Black-tailed Mule Deer, Wild Turkeys, Acorn Woodpeckers, Fox Squirrels and California Ground Squirrels are often an attraction when wandering through the center. But watching closely, you’ll see many species of birds and sometimes a coyote.

I am a Trail Steward. My job is to walk the trails, report any issues, pick up litter and answer questions from visitors. But, most of all, I get to hike and to photograph what I see, while providing this labor of love. I even get to write a blog and share my photography. It is a dream job.

This blog is based on one I wrote for the Nature center. I am sharing it so all my friends and followers can see one of my favorite places. This will be the first. I will share more over the next few months. Meanwhile, you can see many more photos of Effie Yeaw Nature Center at https://larryklink.smugmug.com/EYNC/. Better yet, if you live in the Sacramento Region, make a visit, bring the kids and grandkids.

Female Acorn Woodpecker Building It’s Larder
Chipping away, the Acorn Woodpecker prepares another hole in which it will store an acorn. Note the flying wood chips.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

This is an Acorn Woodpecker. The Acorn Woodpecker uses its beak to drill holes where it stores acorns. Once the hole is ready, it will pound in an acorn for later use.  In this picture, the woodpecker was drilling a hole. If you look closely, you can see wood chips in the air. Also note that some of the existing holes are empty and others have acorns.

Oak with Moss at Sunrise
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Contenders – Wild Turkeys
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; DEC 2020
Sunrise along Meadow Trail
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Pointer – California Ground Squirrel
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
The Pond
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

A Few Songbirds

Orange-crowned Warbler
Orangevale, Ca; OCT 2020

I am sharing a few songbirds that I have photographed over the past few months.

Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Savannah Sparrow
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Rollingwood Bluffs, Orangevale, CA; NOV 2020
Oak Titmouse
Sailor Bar American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; NOV 2020
Lesser Goldfinch
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Shore and Wading Birds

American Coot
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020

Today I am sharing some birds we find foraging around the shore of our lakes, ponds, rivers, and sloughs. Some of these birds can be found here in the Sacramento region year-round but most are much more prevalent from late autumn to early spring.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Spotted Sandpiper, Juvenile or Non-breeding Adult
Wm B Pond Park, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
Sora
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020
Greater Yellowlegs
Wm B Pond Park, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2020
Black-necked Stilt
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Wild White Geese

Snow Geese
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020

The wildlife refuges in Northern California are one of the wintering over spots  for our two varieties of wild white geese: The Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) and the Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii). They are 2 species that look almost alike and hang around together. In fact they do inter-breed so hybridized geese can be found. There is also a darker morph of both species which can sometimes be found in the flock. The darker or “blue morph” of the Snow Goose is sometimes called a Blue Goose. The head of the Ross’s Goose is smaller and more rounded than the that of the Snow Goose. The Ross’s Goose has a gray patch at the base of its bill. The Snow Goose has dark smile lines on the side of its bill that, I think, look like teeth.

It is amazing site to see these birds lift into the air. Entire fields full of geese will take off at one time making it look like a blizzard of white. On the day we observed them we were treated to an air show by many flocks. Thousands of birds were flying in large “V” formations as far as you could see in all directions. It was amazing!

Please click on caption to se images at higher resolution!

Ross’s Goose, Northern Shoveler
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020
Snow Geese
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, DEC 2016
Ross’s Geese
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Willows, CA; NOV 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Scenes from the Eureka Valley

Desert in Autumn
Eureka Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA; OCT 2020

On our last trip to the Eastern Sierra, we explored Big Pine – Death Valley Road. Twenty-five miles from Big Pine, CA, the pavement ends, and you enter Death Valley National Park.  The route took us through Eureaka Valley, over the Last Chance Mountains to Crankshaft Crossing where we made a right to continue on Death Valley Road. That led us to Ubehebe Road then to Scotty’s Castle Road and further to Stovepipe Wells. It was a fun trip through beautiful desert despite the tire shredding rocks and washboard grating on the road. If you ever take this route be careful. Have really good tires and plan your timing; there are many washes that cross the road. They were all in good repair when we took the trip in early autumn. But, they could be bad in other times of the year.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

A Sunrise in Eureka Valley
Eureka Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA; OCT 2020
View From a Wash
Eureka Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA; OCT 2020
A Wash on a Fan; Last Chance Mountains
Death Valley National Park, CA; OCT 2020
Crankshaft Crossing
Death Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA; OCT 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Scenes From Big Pine – Death Valley Road

Sunrise From Death Valley Road
Death Valley-Big Pine Rd, Big Pine, CA; OCT 2020

We spent some time exploring Big Pine – Death Valley Road. Along the way, we found some interesting things: A beautiful forest of Joshua Trees, and a wonderful White-tailed Antelope Squirrel. All of this set against the scenery of desert mountains. It was beautiful trip.

Be aware though, if you decide to explore this road, we have read that is one of the most dangerous roads in the country. We found the route to be in good shape but there are some things to consider. We found a lot of tire shredding rocks. There are numerous washes that cross the route so it could be flooded, or the road surface washed out. With photography stops, it took us 7 hours to get from Big Pine to Stovepipe Wells.

This post shares some images from the section between Big Pine, CA and the entrance to Death Valley National Park. I’ll share images from Eureka Valley and Death Valley in a future post.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

A Fan of Joshua Trees
Death Valley-Big Pine Rd, Big Pine, CA; OCT 2020
White-tailed Antelope Squirrel
Death Valley-Big Pine Rd, Big Pine, CA; OCT 2020
Joshua Trees at an Outcrop
Death Valley-Big Pine Rd, Big Pine, CA; OCT 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Photographing a Burn Scar

A Mountain Woodland
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020

On our day trip to the mountains, we decided to visit and photograph a burn scar; a section of burned forest from a fire a few years ago. The burned trees were intriguing with their swirls of white wood and black charred wood. The grasses had repopulated the area and the Rabbit Brush was blooming. It was a fun time.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Scene from an Old Burn Scar
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020
Scene from an Old Burn Scar
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020
Scene from an Old Burn Scar
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020
Scene from an Old Burn Scar
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020
Scene from an Old Burn Scar
Rt 89 above Topaz, CA; SEP 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Infrared Camera Conversion, My Journey – Part 2

I was able to resolve the issue preventing me from creating Raw files. The Fuji XT series has the menu option “Image Quality” and that is where you tell the camera to produce Raw files. I’ve been shooting with Fuji since 2014 and am well aware of that required step. I checked that menu item 3 times over a period of several days and the menu item wasn’t there. The 4th time I checked it, the option was there. I assume it was the pesky squirrels that raid our bird food.

Selecting the proper white balance can impact the output of post processing significantly. My experience with my Fuji XT-3 follows. The first thing I noticed was that, in my camera, the Temperature and Tint settings on the Raw file were shifted far to the left; so far, in fact, that I had little room to adjust. The JPEG file had those settings pegged at zero. I have seen suggestions to set-up a specific color profile in the camera. In my experiments with a custom white balance color profile, the setting modifies JPEG files properly. However, it does not modify the Raw files even though it appears to when you look at the pictures in playback mode. That seemed a bit strange to me because I sometimes choose the daylight or cloudy day preset when I shoot in the visible light range. Oddly enough, when I chose the Kelvin, “K”, preset and adjusted the temperature manually, the change was reflected in the Raw file. After experimenting with different setting, I decided that I would just keep the white balance on auto.

I also discovered that the best white balance setting is obtained, in Lightroom and Photoshop, by using the Eyedropper Tool and selecting a spot on the image that I know is white. If I don’t have a white spot to select, I choose something close and adjust by dead reckoning.

When using color infrared, there is a step that needs to be added in post processing to get those beautiful false color infrared images. The step is called color swapping. It is important to do the white balance adjustment before you color swap. I did the color swap in Adobe Photoshop. After opening in photoshop, you choose Layer>Adjustment>Color Mixer which opens a box that lets you change the amount of red, green and blue in each of the red, green and blue color channels.

The simplest is a red/blue swap. In the Red Channel, set red to 0 and blue to 100 while in the blue channel, set red to 100 and blue to 0. There are other tutorials that suggest other formulas for color swapping. I have done some experimenting but have found the simple swap to work well. Once you’ve swapped colors, you can make other adjustments to tweak the image to your own liking.

Thanks for sharing my journey, to this point. If you are considering an infrared conversion, I hope you can learn from my early mistakes as I attempted to climb the learning curve. Now, it’s time for me to start getting some interesting images and honing my skill.

Raw Image, Camera White Balance Set to Auto
Raw Image with White Balance Adjustment from Crape Myrtle Flowers
Image After Simple Red and Blue Color Swap
Image After Color Swap that included Swapping Green Channel

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.