Tag Archives: animals

St Louis – Day 1: Forest Park, St. Louis Zoo

So yesterday my daughter’s mother was off getting Honeymooned by her new husband so we all took off for St. Louis. In general, when I vacation it tends to be simply going from place to place, wherever the wind will blow. In this case, with three kids along, I let them go wherever they would blow. Whenever asked, “Where are we going?” my steadfast answer was, “you tell me.” Simply put, it was my job to keep them fed and away from the police station. Aside from that, whatever the popular vote called for was in order.

The first destination requested was the zoo. I handled parking and after that the kids were in charge of selecting destinations, planning their time and, most amusingly to me, navigation.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

At some point Amanda will stop giving me these silly looks because inevitably they’re captured forever.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Eric is looking stoic as always.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

First order of business was the primates, I’m always struck by the soulful humanity in their eyes. It astounds me that any hunter could ever look into these eyes and think it was right to kill such a creature in cold blood.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Their hands are practically human.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And in some cases, their faces almost prayerful.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And touchingly somber. Pity they’re locked up.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Izzy, of course, finds a way to get attacked by a tree.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Little bowling pin prairie dogs. Amanda asked, “Are prairie dogs supposed to be that fat?!” Sadly my knowledge of prairie dog dietary needs is woefully insufficient to speculate.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

One mustn’t forget the flamingos.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

or the pelicans…(?) either.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

The penguin house was cool (no pun intended) but rather dark for much good photography. However there was no shortage of silhouettes.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

But the puffins were slightly better lit.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

I realized while editing a series of rather dull zebra photos, that I’ve neglected textures as of late. It seems well nigh time to put that to rights.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Mr. Camel has rather a grievous overbite.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And caught in the right instant, ostriches look to be laughing…

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

… but they quickly become shy after their outbursts.

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Since the children somehow showed up with no proper footwear and only flip-flops available for several miles of walking, this fountain was a godsend for tired, hot and grumpy feet.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Various St. Louis landmarks are in evidence.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

This scene struck me as rather apt, though depressing. All the children have run away to play, leaving only their shoes and water bottles behind…. well, that and all manner of electronic gadgetry.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Arches in relief.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

I put on my most friendly voice with the front desk clerk to move us up to the top floor. She stated categorically that “none of the rooms have a good view” but this view from the hallway is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll just set my alarm for 5:00am and we’ll see where the sun comes up amongst this tangle of humanity.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And that’s the day that was.

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Oregon Trip – Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

At 3:30 in the morning the alarm went off. At 3:35 in the morning the second alarm went off. At 3:40 in the morning the third alarm went off and at 4:05 we were out the door and on the way to the airport. Such are the rigors of air travel with a paranoid traveler who images the chaos of missing a flight.

Despite all the paranoia was still managed to board the first flight late since we missed a last-minute gate-change made by the airlines. Eight hours of children with annoying toys, children travelling alone who had no end of stories, cramped seats and 2/3 of a book (something about air travel always makes me a voracious reader) we settled our rather tired selves into the Portland airport.

Easily accessible from Portland we made our way to the Columbia River Gorge for a rather brief tour. It should be noted by any observers that our travels seem to be much more about breadth than depth. One could very easily spend a month exploring the falls of the Columbia River.

the first thing that leaps to the forefront of attention is just how GREEN the world is up here. The dustbowl of the midwest is as brown as any L. Frank Baum tale this year so the Columbia river is like a Munchkin’s dream by comparison.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge
From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

And the critters that live in the dark recesses here are a thousand times more entertaining than those musty mites we must endure back home.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge
From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

Walking along the trail to Angel Falls, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my strong sense of vertigo when it enters my awareness that one missed step and I’ll be plummeting down a cliff like Homer Simpson trying to jump the Springfield gorge.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

But oh the eager reaching of nature here.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

and her humbly bowed head…

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

These are among the shorter trees of the region. In the next couple days we’ll head south towards the Redwoods, the real old men of the forest.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

Through a quirk of misnavigation (but then, when you don’t really have any plan for where to go, how do you tell when you misnavigate?) we ended up walking half a mile to Multnomah falls while the rest of creation parked 10 feet away. (Oddly, according to the signage it was .25 miles to walk TO the falls but .5 miles to walk back) It’s about all my 8mm fish-eye can do to actually take it all in at once

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge
From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

Worth mentioning that it’s not exactly an intimate location though.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

One can’t help but be struck by the forces at work here. Tiny erosive forces from a thousand tributaries meet up with an epic one in the form of the Columbia River. Of course the river wins leaving the tiny tributaries chip, chip, chipping away at their own foundations one flake of rock at a time. These will go on long after we’ve ceased to be.

From 6-29-2012 Oregon Day 1 – Columbia River Gorge

In a search for hotel options, we found it 50% more cost effective to take ourselves back to Portland rather than try to find an overpriced spot near the scenery. One local purveyor of such things boasted, “it’s got a big TV, if you’re into that sort of thing.” It’s easy to see why in such an area one might not exactly partake of the Farnsworthian muse with much regularity.

That was yesterday and so today we’re up bright and early (as the locals would judge it anyway) and since Oregon seems to be under rather a cloud today we’re betaking ourselves unto the south. Crater Lake and the Redwoods beckon. The weather promises to be less oppressive later in the week.

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Filed under Landscape photography, macro photography, nature Photography, Uncategorized

9/6/2011 – Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, Indy Downtown

I took a random day off on Tuesday with the determination that I would have a random day out of the house wandering about. With that goal in mind I found myself in the zoo parking lot and ready to disembark at 9:03am. It is surprising just how easy it is to park at the zoo at 9am on a Tuesday.

First I took myself off to the oceans section of the zoo. Several times in the past I’d thought it would be nice to get some pics of the small selection of life aquatic but I completely failed to properly estimate the difficulty of the lighting conditions. It was all I could do after an hour to reel off a few even decent pictures.

From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06

Luckily, the giraffes did not share this problem. Their distinct chewing motions make for grand portraiture that reminds me strongly of the toothless bald guy on Benny Hill who was repeatedly patted on the head.

From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06

Not far off from the photogenic giraffes, we have the walking corpses of the animal kingdom, the Marabou Stork. These guys look like their faces are rotting off and their posture is comical to say the least.

From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06

The lawn at White River is a popular venue for concerts. The Indianapolis Nilharmonic was playing John Cage’s 4’33” the morning I was there. Quite magical.

From 2011-09-06

There is a small urban garden across from the Indiana State Museum. It’s interesting but I was most impressed by this artichoke flower.

From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06

In general, I despise parking garages but the views are astounding.

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And the Citizen’s Gas Thermal plant which supplies steam to many surrounding buildings is quite an eyesore.

From 2011-09-06

State Capitol…

From 2011-09-06

Further wandering, I found myself down by the circle only to realize that they were in the midst of an event. Apparently the statue at the top of the circle city monument has been down for repairs recently and on this day they’d planned to replace it. This never happened because the wind was too strong, but it did cause quite a crowd to gather.

Cops doing crowd control were certainly jovial…

From 2011-09-06

And there’s a lot of history in the face of this homeless gentleman…

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We’ve become a very camera-focused society. (no pun intended)

From 2011-09-06

And finally the lady herself. She’s a lot bigger than she looks.

From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06
From 2011-09-06

And that was the day that was…

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Filed under Indianapolis, nature Photography, Oddities, portraiture, Urban Photography