Friday, December 18, 2009
Another set of shots from our trip to the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. In an attempt to post these in some sort of logical fashion, I've put up a set of predators.
This magnificent lion was camped out on top of an old SUV that is part of its territory in the Wild Animal Park. Each time we passed him by he was sound asleep, but for a brief moment he lifted his head to look around, and quite thankfully, I had my lens on him at the time!
The eyes on this beautiful cat just pull you in:
It was raining while we watched the otters, but clearly, they could care less.
While not as charismatic as the above predators, I've always been fascinated by our largest living lizard species. This guy was quite large, and happy to pose for shots behind the glass.
Isn't this guy cute? Not a baby, this is a dwarf crocodile. Taken by my darling wife, who was manning the wide-angle camera at the zoo.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
My true passion as a photographer is to try to capture an image of wild animals that can get an emotion to stir within a viewer, and up to this point, I've only posted truly wild animals both on this blog and on my Flickr stream. However, our recent trip to the San Diego Zoo was just too much fun to not share.
Two of the highlights of our zoo trip was to see the pandas and koalas at the San Diego Zoo. These guys were really cute to see in person, and a pleasure to watch. Two pandas were on display while we were there, and there was a live video feed into the den of a baby. The first time we stopped by the exhibit, the pandas were both napping, and while cool to see, it wasn't necessarily a highlight.
However, when we came back a second time one of the bears was up and active, and we got to watch her move around the enclosure and snack on a lot of bamboo.
The koalas were a real treat too! There were a surprising number of them sprinkled throughout the exhibit.
There was a surprising amount of wild birds spending time in the zoo. We saw beautiful hummingbirds like these all over the place, running from flower to flower, as well as a ton of egrets and herons in all of the ponds. I used to think it was special to get to see a night heron up close, but after this trip, I'm pretty used to them!
It was overcast with occasional rain showers while we were at the zoo, which meant I was shooting wide open and still had fairly long shutter speeds. I think in the end, it made these shots a little interesting with just the impression of those incredible fast wings.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We had a really nice short trip to the San Diego area at the end of last week to finally check out the world-famous Zoos down that way. It rained a fair amount, but we did have a fantastic sunset the first night we were there, as we explored the beach at Torrey Pines State Reserve. I took an awful lot of pictures at the San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park and at SeaWorld, and I'm hoping to find the time to make a few picture-filled posts here this week.
The sky was really quite dramatic throughout the sunset:
And we were treated to some of the local wildlife as well. It was great to see this young California sea lion come ashore at this really well used beach. We saw him hopping through the breakers for a few minutes before he came out to check things out.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
On the second day of our post-Thanksgiving road trip, we headed inland from the coast to Carrizo Plains National Monument, in hopes of finding some pronghorn antelope. We did find them, but I didn't get any good images (they were too far off) -- but maybe I'll tack one or two onto a later post, anyway. During the afternoon we drove a loop of what was basically the entire length of the park, and in the southeast corner, we crossed over what I believe is the tip of the Temblor Range. After driving for over an hour in what was more desert than grassland, it was a true delight to take this tiny dirt road over these hills. The view from the top was just spectacular!
As a note to anyone interested in visiting the park (which I do highly recommend!), the roads are not well marked, and we missed this turnoff, as it looked like any of the other non-descript dirt roads.
This is a place I would love to spend more time in -- it gave me a great appreciation for plains ecosystems (something I have not spent much time in), and it would be awesome to photograph these magical grasslands during the golden hours of light. While I don't have any pictures to show, I can tell you that the park took on a whole different and truly spectacular character as the sun rapidly approached the horizon. The tips of all of the grasses just lit up, and it almost looked as if snow had covered the ground. We got to experience this beautiful scene from the car, as we raced the last of the light to get out of the park and back to a farming field we saw on the way in that had the pronghorn in it. To our delight, they were in the same area at the end of the day, and we were able to watch them through the binoculars until it was finally too dark.