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Lessons from the zoo…

The tiger in my feature photo was snoozing the entire few minutes that I stood there taking his picture. I’ve only watched him pace before, pace and pace, and it distressed me to see him so full of tension. But not always apparently, so that made me feel better.

And I sought out the snow leopard because he is a usual favorite and I didn’t get to see him last time. I thought he always slept on one of the branches in his enclosure, but he was in a different spot. I checked the photos in the camera and thought that my camera was not ignoring the mesh fence so I was disappointed. But what I was seeing was the shadows from the mesh ceiling of the enclosure. It was probably noon when I got to the zoo that day, and that wasn’t a good thing. The sun was higher, casting shadows, and the parking lot was maxed out and you had to drive around hunting for a parking spot. Earlier is better.

I forced myself to walk the rest of the zoo and I took a few pictures but the lure of the orangutans was awfully hard to resist.

The giraffe wasn’t cooperating so this photo will have to do.

But I can’t help myself, it’s always going to be about the orangutans for me. Mother and baby spent a long time huddled off in the shadows with another adult. I took pictures without knowing for sure if they were even facing us. I did get a few shots though. It was a good day.

The informative onlooker wasn’t at the orangutan enclosure on this trip, so based on what she has told me in the past I believe that that’s grannie’s hand, giving her daughter an encouraging pat to let her know she is doing a great job with her little one. We all could use a little encouragement now and then.

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I had orangutans on the brain the other morning, but instead of dropping everything and heading to the zoo I dithered and it broke the spell. Later I saw pictures of a brand new baby orangutan taken by a friend that same day and I was disappointed that I hadn’t gone. So when the thought crossed my mind yesterday I was out the door in no time flat.

With so many pictures to go through I decided that it would be easier to look at the pictures of other than orangutans, but fair warning, there will be so much orangutan cuteness to come.

The macaw fly through happened just as I entered the zoo. There was barely time to get the camera out of my bag.
I would never have cropped so close except I had zoomed in on my pictures to see if they were sharp and this one popped in and startled me, in a good way, so I kept it cropped.
The baby elephant is getting so big.
I thought they were piping in the sound of a tiger roar, but no, it was this guy.
And a meerkat just because…
Another new baby, a white rhino.
This zebra was nice enough to walk into the sun and get his picture taken.
Getting a full length close up of this guy just wasn’t in the cards…
a second look, friends, fun, Just do it, learning, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, second chances, technology

Speed racers…

My friend’s handsome grandson was the reason for Sunday’s trip to the speed skating competition. He hasn’t been competing for the last couple of years, but so far his record for one of the races still stands, and the announcer welcomed him back to the races.

It’s always fun to go out and take pictures, but in this instance it was an exercise in trying to get decent images of subjects in motion. And when we got there and the kids were just warming up I took a few shots and thought okay, not so hard. Then they started racing for real and I just set my focus on the track and started shooting when I thought they were about to zoom through. I had no idea what I got. The leader of our photography group calls that ‘spray and pray’, just keep shooting and hope you got something. That’s exactly what I did.

The races were called in order by age groups, starting at 6 and under, and some of the races included both girls and boys. The longer races required multiple trips around the track, as many as 15 in one case, but inevitably the slowest racers would be overtaken by the faster contestants in the race and they would have to finish their last lap after the race had actually been won. In this picture the fastest racers are bearing down on our last two.

My heart went out to them, especially the little kids who had to finish their races alone, but finish they did. I saw no tears, and no grandstanding over the wins. Well, except for this guy.

The longer distances had the racers all in a pack, and so close together I don’t see how they didn’t trip each other, but they didn’t. It was amazing how in step with each other they were.

Betty said that her training in sports photography taught her to try to catch their facial expressions when possible. So I liked these guys.

Some kids killed time by sitting on the podium where the trophies would soon be handed out.

This race ended in a photo finish…

And still more more racers…

The checkered flag means it’s the end…

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Back to the eagles…

Finally I was up early with heading to the eagle nest as my priority for the day. One lone photographer was there when I got there. I hadn’t met Dan before, but as we tend to do we started discussing places we knew of to go to take pictures. He said he’d been there about 15 minutes when I got there and nothing much had happened. He had a huge lens on his camera and no tripod, so I knew he was going to hand hold that thing. I had a problem with my big tripod so I switched to my usual 400mm lens and moved closer to the nest than he was standing. Suddenly two birds came up from behind the trees and flew away too fast for either of us to get a picture. A few minutes later I saw the eagle come back to the nest and managed to get a picture before it settled down, and again there appeared to be nothing happening at all. Dan said that it had been one of the eagles from the nest that had chased off a juvenile eagle, but he hadn’t seen it come back to the nest. He gave up shortly after that, after all we had been there at least 90 minutes by then. And then I left too, but I decided to head to the fishing pier nearby.

The parking lot was full, many more cars than usual even if it didn’t seem to be more people than usual. It was low tide, I mean really low tide. I wonder if this egret was wondering who stole the water, because that’s what I was thinking. Lots of fishermen were wading, but these boaters were on their own, almost. The joys of a zoom lens is that I found another boat way off in the distance. And a bird was circling overhead, but it wasn’t until I looked at the pictures in the computer that I wondered if this was that juvenile eagle Dan had seen, based on the size of the head and the shape of the beak.

This great blue heron was standing by the path as I walked back to the car. Seeing him made me decide to drive past the nest again, just in case, and guess what. There he was, or she, but where was the light that had been so nice?

After a few shots I switched to the big lens with the extender and used it hand held, so I’m surprised that I got any usable pictures at all. Now it was time to go home so I turned the car around but I had to pull over one more time to take this last picture with the sun on him, or her. It was a nice morning after all…

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Fred’s story…

When I get up early enough to go out for the sunrise I usually open my front door to look outside to see what the sky looks like.  But lately I think I’m hoping that it looks overcast enough to stay home.  Then I can pat myself on the back for not wasting time, but then I waste time at home so really all I would save is gas.  When I look out and see a crescent moon in a clear sky, especially when it’s in the eastern sky, then I can’t resist going out.  In my mind I see a nice sunrise with the crescent moon above, but in all honesty I don’t think that shot has ever presented itself.  The moon is too high, and the sunrise colors were developing slightly to the north.06-16-20aripekamoon

There are two bridges to shoot from in Aripeka, and the first has houses that I hope will have lights on to give extra interest to the shot.  This morning there were no lights, but there were plenty of no-see-ums, so I moved on.06-16-20aripeka1stbridge

The second bridge is where I always hope to see One-Foot Fred, but he wasn’t out today.  But one of the neighbors walked out to watch the sunrise and it turned out that he is the guy I recently heard call Fred’s name, and when Fred flew over he was treated to breakfast.  I mentioned to him that I used to see Fred whenever I came for the sunrise, but then didn’t see him for a long while.  He told me that the Great Blue Herons are very territorial and the two-footed heron that I did see had run Fred off.  But as happens so often when these birds co-exist with fishermen, that heron got tangled up in fishing line, and someone cut the line instead of untangling him, so he flew off, but only barely, and it was surely a death sentence for that bird.  Sad news for that bird, but good news for Fred who is back, and comes for breakfast every day, he said.  Finger mullet, about $10 worth a day.

Fred was luckier than that other heron.  He also became tangled up in fishing line, but this gentleman and another one worked to cut him free, all except for that foot, because Fred became so violent that they had to let him go.  He said it was awful to watch as that foot became useless and eventually just wasn’t there anymore.  It does seem that human interaction with wildlife is usually not in the animal’s best interest.  But for now Fred seems to have it made, I hope it lasts…


And always check the sky behind you for reflections in the clouds.06-16-20aripekareflection

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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…