adventure, facing facts, friends, fun, go with the flow, learning, making memories, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Milky Way Photography…

Honestly, the timing could have been better.  My cousin and I had gotten up at 3 AM to take my uncle to the VA Hospital for sinus surgery (all went perfectly), but in these days of social distancing we weren’t allowed in, and even though we had a nice breakfast out, we endlessly waited in the hospital parking lot.  Part of that waiting period included me thinking there would be a bathroom somewhere for people who were also in this situation.  Port-a-potties were out there, somewhere, they said.  I was pointed in various directions, and in .93 miles, during which I briefly considered climbing a fence, but instead opted to backtrack to where I started from and skirt a retaining pond instead, I was finally back in the car.  And still we waited.  And that’s when I got the message that friends were meeting at 2 AM on Pass-a-Grille beach to take photos of the Milky Way.  Like I said, not the greatest timing exhaustion-wise, but too perfect of a chance to learn something new to pass up.

With lots of hands-on instruction from my very helpful friends, I tried, I really did.  And even though my best (also heaviest) tripod was in the car I chose the lighter one.  And my best choice of lens wasn’t ideal, but adequate for the moment at least.  I say all this to distract myself from facing that it’s on me that instead of sharp stars in the sky my photos resembled a sky full of commas, flocks of birds, and tadpoles.  But in the photos you do see the Milky Way instead of the faint smudge in the sky, which is how it appeared to me in person.  It’s a start, and I hope to get a lot more practice on my next adventure.06-20-20milkyway406-20-20milkyway106-20-20milkyway7

a second look, adventure, friends, fun, life goes on, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

More monkey business…

I thought these monkeys were adorable when I was watching them scamper around their enclosure in person.  Their faces were so cute, but it wasn’t until I looked at my pictures that I realized that they were wearing hearts on their noses.  I honestly don’t think that I had ever noticed them before.06-03=20heartnose06-03=20heartnose206-03=20heartnose3

I had noticed these black and white monkeys before, who wouldn’t with such dramatic markings? 06-03=20blackandwhite06-03=20blackandwhite2

And then we came to this orange monkey, which again I don’t think I had noticed before.  I think the color distracted me from noticing that extremely long tail. 06-03=20orange

Maybe they cluster the most entertaining of the animals at the zoo together, or maybe it’s a coincidence, but the penguins were next as we walked.  Their area was so cool and inviting looking.  We got there as a keeper opened a door and walked out calling “Come on penguins,” and a line of penguins marched out of the building and joined some that were already out.  They were quite entertaining, the one playing with the rubber ducky really caught my eye.06-03=20penquns06-03=20rubberducky

I’m usually on my own when I’m out somewhere hoping to take some pictures.  And that has it’s advantages since I hardly ever plan these excursions in advance.  But it is also nice to be out with friends, seeing things through their eyes as well as my own.  I’m pretty sure that’s why I felt like I was seeing some of these animals for the first time.  A day out with friends is so much more of a treat these days than ever before.  I feel guilty for wanting to get back to normal, I don’t want to rush things and then regret it.  But a day out with friends is good for the soul.

a second look, following the rules, friends, fun, life goes on, making memories, memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Monkey business…

When I was a kid swinging on the monkey bars at the playground I’m sure that I thought I looked just like these ‘swingers’ at the zoo the other day.  Their acrobatics were amazing, they were constantly in motion.  I still remember what it feels like to swing like that, but my swinging days are in the distant past.

05-28-20swinger205-28-20swinger505-28-20swinger105-29-20swingeragain

05-28-20monleyview05-29-20thinking05-28-20swinger305-28-20swinger4And then they sat and posed, and seemed to be thinking.  Maybe about Herman?  I was attracted to the color in the feature photo and then realized it was a memorial to Herman, “A Gentle Soul and a Friend to Many”.

'scene' along the way, a second look, friends, live and learn, memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Mixed feelings…

Mixed feelings is what I had when we saw our first animal at the zoo and stopped to take pictures.  It was the clouded leopard, which we see in the feature photo.  Of course he is beautiful, and on my first trip to the zoo with the photo group I was so happy to get pictures that looked right through the glass or the bars of the cages and only saw the animals themselves.  The excitement to find that you could do that was the take-away for me on that first visit.  But this time when I saw this leopard he was in exactly the same position laying on that log.  The pictures I took on Tuesday are nearly identical to the ones I took a couple of years ago.  I thought of all I had done in those years, and it broke my heart that such a magnificent creature was still in the same place.  I understand the good that zoos do, but for a little while my heart broke for this one creature.  He is safe and cared for, but I wanted to see his eyes.  I wondered what he was thinking…05-29-20leopardeyes05-26-20cloudedleopard205-29-20leopard2

And the next creature we came to continued this theme, because I took this same picture of him several years ago also.  It’s not an alligator, and when I took it’s picture I made a mental note of what it’s actually called, and promptly forgot.  Twice.05-29-20notanalligator

Soon we came to this bear, and again, I took nearly this same photo before.  Actually I think he didn’t look up at me last time.05-26-20bear

And the Malayan Tiger pacing in and out of it’s den was distressing.05-29-20malayantiger

But any mixed feelings I was having left me when we got to the orangutans.  Maybe it’s their interaction with each other that made the difference, but it cheered me up to see them.  We can’t know for sure what he was thinking, but is that a smile?05-29-20orangwithleaves

friends, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, second chances, technology

Zoo babies…

I love orangutans, I’ve said it before.  The babies especially, for obvious reasons.  They weren’t very active when we were there on Tuesday.  This little guy was hanging on the underside of a rope ladder beside his mother.  It made for challenging shots, and I had hoped to stop by their area again before we went home but we didn’t get the chance.  Thanks to Lightroom there are a few usable ones.05-26-20ontherpes2 05-26-20ontherpes305-26-20ontherpes405-26-20ontherpes505-26-20ontherpes605-26-20ontherpes05-26-20rangutan

I hope I get to visit the San Diego Zoo again one of these days.  That’s where I saw orangutan newborns in preemie diapers playing in the nursery.  I fell in love on the spot and it stuck with me all these years…

adventure, following the rules, friends, fun, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Safari…

I’m pretty sure that this safari at Zoo Tampa is the only sort of safari I will ever experience.  I’ve been there before of course, but this was the first time the animals in the Africa section ever caught my eye so much.  Usually the giraffes are more interested in the people feeding them, and I usually take a picture or two of elephants standing around and then I move on.  But not yesterday.  A friend got tickets to a limited admission event for seniors held at the zoo yesterday.  The social distancing mandates weren’t a problem with the 500 ticket limit in place, and despite the heat even the animals seemed to cooperate and we had a great day.05-26-20rhino05-26-20safari305-26-20twoheads05-26-20giraffe

And the  elephants were also doing their part.  Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a baby elephant, even if you have to take a lot of elephant butt shots to get a photo?05-26-20babyelephant

We especially enjoyed it when they moved on to their watering hole.  Seeing the baby elephant frolicking in the water was so fun, even if the adults were making photos a challenge at times.  But perseverance pays off now and then.05-26-20wateringhole05-26-20wateringhole205-26-20babyfeature05-26-20wateringhole3

Trust me, we weren’t wishing to join them in the water even with the heat.  Nope, it was a bit aromatic as we watched…