Archive for February, 2011

After dropping Rob and friends off at a marina in Rio Vista, I spent a little time walking around this small Sacramento River Delta town. Founded in 1858, Rio Vista has been flooded, burned to the ground and relocated.  It is now a destination for boaters and fishermen with its easy access to the delta.  I was draw to the old neon signs around town, and was sorry that Foster’s Bighorn wasn’t open until 10am — I missed seeing the collection of over 300 big game and wildlife “trophies.”

From here I was on my way to look for Sandhill Cranes near the Cosumnes Preserve. Unfortunately, after a beautiful sunny week, the skies had become overcast and rain was forecast for later in the day.   Despite the less that favorable light, I was determined to see the cranes again – and I was not disappointed.  I drove down Woodbridge Road, and although there were no cranes present at the Sandhill Crane Preserve, there were quite a few further down the road.  There were many flocks scattered across the barren corn fields, and they busied themselves with foraging in the mud for grain, insects, and small vertebrates and invertebrates.

Flock of sandhill cranes in fallow corn field. Woodbridge Road

Sandhill cranes in corn field on Woodbridge road

This area is rich, not only with cranes, but with many other species of birds as well.  This great egret seemed to have a lot to say as it strutted along, and I was thrilled to catch this peregrine falcon on an overhead power pole.

great egret

Peregrine falcon on power pole. High Voltage.

By 3 pm the weather was beginning to deteriorate, so it was time to head home.  In the distance I saw this lovely tree, full of blackbirds and one hawk. It was a good day.


Blackbirds, hawk in a foggy tree.

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2011 Corinthian Midwinters

The first weekend of the 2011 Corinthian Midwinter series was held on January 15-16, and was sponsored in part by my friends at Sailors for the Sea. Corinthian Yacht Club became the first SF Bay area club to implement the requirements for SfS certification of the race as a “clean regatta.”

Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, CA.

Chris Mancini and Dan Pingaro of non-profit Sailors for the Sea.

Saturday brought light air, flat water, and big currents — not so good for on-the-water action photography. Sunday was a bit more lively.  I was out on the water with videographer Vince Casselina, on a power boat donated and operated by club member —.

While I was prepared for the salt spray (microfiber dish towels and protective camera covers) I was not prepared for the failure of one of my favorite lenses, the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR. Unfortunately, after shooting some test shots at the beginning of the day, I didn’t replay the photos until I returned home and began the download / editing process. Much to my horror, over half of the shots were completely over-exposed!  What happened? I tested the lens on several different bodies and had the same result – it seems that the lens aperture was stuck in the wide open position.  I cleaned the contacts and reseated the lens on my Nikon D7000 and everything seemed fine. On Sunday I started shooting with the same lens, and after about 10 shots I had the same problem. I also tried it on the Nikon D700 – same problem. I found that by re-seating the lens I could make it work again, but that was VERY frustrating – I was re-seating it every 10 frames or so.  I’m still not entirely certain what happened, but needless to say, the camera has been sent to Nikon for service!

Shot at 1/1000 s at f/8.0, ISO 250 - this should have been a near perfect exposure!

Much to my relief, I was able to recover many of my images with Adobe Photoshop, although the post processing took much more time than normal.  I’m still not pleased with the resulting unintentional high-key look of many of the images.

After post processing with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS5 - not great but good enough for the online photo gallery.

Sunday - more wind, action, and mostly properly exposed images!

Galleries of the weekend’s racing are on the Rockskipper Photography website.

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