Saturday, November 28

The Answer, My Friend . . .

We wanted to take more bird pictures today at Cosumnes River Wildlife Preserve just north of us. A Sacramento photography blog said their group was going to be there this morning at 9:00. After making an 8:00 appointment for a tire rotation, we ate breakfast and drove up a little after 10:00 --- with the wind blowing out of the north at a sustained 40 mph! This is about the worst valley wind I've ever driven in an the car didn't appreciate it, either. Driving by the preserve on the freeway, we could see the flooded fields east of us. All of them had surf-size whitecaps that forced the few visiting ducks and geese to the southern shore of each pond.

A few varieties tried to brave flight and scooted right along with the wind, but when they turned around, the best they could do at altitude was barely maintain their position. Very entertaining.

There wasn't a photographer in sight at the main parking lot and viewing area. Wonder what Plan B was. Ours was to head back to Woodbridge Road and try to find some Sandhill Cranes. These pictures show you what it was like driving out to find them.

We've seen the peat dirt blow west of Stockton before, but this was amazing. Getting out of the car to take pictures was like being back in college in El Paso during a windstorm, with the sand pelting my face and the wind almost knocking me over. I don't do well with even the slightest breeze in the winter because of a left eye that enjoys tearing up, sometimes both. Then it's almost impossible to take a picture. Oh, well.

These poor newly planted trees were experiencing their first shock treatment after a warm and uneventful summer and fall. They'll survive and be stronger for it. I feel a 'moral of the story' coming on, but will spare you the all-to-familiar equation.

This road sign actually flapped violently in the wind, so I set my shutter speed at 1/20 of a second to get some movement. Almost fell over twice while trying to shoot it. Thankfully, no one drove by while I was standing at the edge of the little two lane road, or I wouldn't be writing this right now.

This turned out to be my absolutely worst photo outing to date. We drove back to the freeway and passed a gathering of cranes in a field. But it was too late. The damage had been done, and there was little possibility of redemption.

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