such a glorious day today, perfect sky, perfect sun, perfect temperature...perfect, perfect, perfect. so perfect that no one could stay inside. so i went to the zoo. our zoo is not very big but it's very nice with the habitats done very naturally. i took tons of pictures, well by tons i mean 212 but when you shoot in raw, that takes forever to download. (i finally made the commitment to raw but boy does it take up space due to the file size)
the white bengal tigers were gorgeous. this beauty posed for quite a while while trying to measure up if i was a tasty morsel that he could reach. in the meantime, his partner sized up the neighbors. (there is a fence between the tigers and the cage of gazelles and deer. and the deer enjoyed taunting the tigers.)
i also spent a lot of time at the elephant habitat. the little baby elephant was so very, very, very cute. when i first got to the area, he was in the corner and was routed out of hiding by mom. while dad had fun eating hay, mom and baby patrolled the enclave, with nudges back in line when he would stray off. this shot was so sweet of them touching noses. (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww)
how can your heart not melt at that?
now for the adventure part of the program. i carried my tripod today - a tripod is always good when i work with my 70mm-300mm zoom lens as the focus can get really soft at the long end, plus with the lowest aperture at f/6.3 fully zoomed, that is a very slow shutter. so, when i got the the lions, i moved back and forth with the tripod trying to find: (1) a clean enough place in the glass to see the lions; (2) an angle where i could see both of them; and (3) maybe a good place for a close-up. the lion you see in the shot is not a female lion as you automatically think. it's a castrated male - his mother died not too long after he was born, so he was castrated to help with severe separation anxiety he was experiencing. (sounds a bit harsh if you ask me - but i'm not a vet.)
anyway, as i worked with the tripod - he was watching me watching him. when i moved the tripod close to the glass, i suddenly noticed he was running towards me - well, a fast trot at least. all the time i was thinking, 'steady, steady, steady - square the shot, square the shot.' but all my hands would do is stand there in shock, getting off this one shot just before he roared. after, he went back and laid down with his brother. it was something like, 'leave me alone damn human' or maybe, (to paraphrase) 'do not meddle with the naps of lions because thou art crispy and taste good with ketchup'.
it was a good day...maybe if i closed my eyes tightly and imagined, i had a farm in africa.