Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Memphis Zoo Review

A Zoo You Must See!

The Memphis Zoo Review - Red Panda Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The Memphis Zoo is definitely worth the drive! No matter where we go on vacation, we always take a day to visit that city's zoo.

From Florida to Hawaii we have visited zoos across the U.S.  By far, my favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN.  

The city of Memphis may be home of the Blues, Beale Street, Elvis, Graceland, Sun Studios and the Mississippi River Bluffs, but I would add the Memphis Zoo to their list of places you must see when you visit. As a matter of fact, if you ask me, it should be at the top of the list!

If you find yourself traveling through Mississippi, Arkansas or Tennessee, I would highly recommend a side trip to Memphis for a day at the zoo. 


Entrance of the Memphis Zoo at Christmas - Photo by Sylvestermouse
Entrance of the Memphis Zoo at Christmas


Entrance to the Memphis Zoo


Before you even buy your ticket and enter the zoo, you are greeted by Egyptian style architecture which is in and of itself a vision.  There are large concrete animals in rows out front where we saw parents taking pictures of their children proudly "riding" the animals.

This is your first indication of the adventure that awaits you inside the gates of the Memphis Zoo.



Tigers in Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo Review - Tigers in Cat Country Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse



Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - White Tiger Photo by Sylvestermouse
White Bengal Tiger Photo by Sylvestermouse
You Can Learn More about Bengal Tigers at Amazing Wild Animals
This is one of the areas that make the Memphis Zoo spectacular. These gorgeous cats are not behind bars! They are in open fields created to mimic their natural habitat. Believe me, these "cats" can definitely make you feel like you are the prey in an African savanna with just a look.

Cat Country is the home of some of the most beautiful specimen of big cats. In addition to tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguar, this is also the area for a red panda, a gorgeous lynx and a family of meerkats, which are my daughter's personal favorite.

If you want to go on an African Safari for a reasonable price, this is the place for you! 

The Memphis Zoo Review - Meerkat Photo by Sylvestermouse
Meerkat Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Click Here for Meerkat Facts & Photos


Animals of the Night at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Cacomistle photo by Sylvestermouse
Cacomistle Photo by Sylvestermouse
This is where I first fell in love with a vampire. Step aside "Twilight", the bat was here first!

There are so many wonderful creatures in this house. This exhibit is full of nocturnal animals. I doubt we even saw them all. In addition to the bats, they have an Aardvark, a Mole Rat, a few Porcupine, several different species of Loris, a Sloth, a Wombat, a Cuscus and a lot of other night time beauties. I have never seen a better nocturnal exhibit anywhere.


The Komodo Dragon at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo Review - Komodo Dragon Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Komodo Dragon Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

This dude is huge!  He made me feel like I was on exhibit for him instead of the reverse.

While the Komodo Dragon is not normally dangerous to humans, it was obvious to me that he eats mammals. Ironically, I was not the least bit intimidated by any of the big cats or the bears, but this guy scared the dickens out of me.

But don't worry, he has a gigantic fan club. I'm just not a member. 


Tropical Bird House at the Memphis Zoo


Memphis Zoo Review - Bird House Photos by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
This is another house where we could spend hours. So many beautiful birds and so little time. 

The colors on these birds are so bright & vivid.

Seeing them up close truly is better than seeing them through binoculars. In spite of the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them up close, I honestly had the desire to set them all free, but logically I know that they are healthy and well cared for by their keepers at the Memphis Zoo.

While there are lots of gorgeous birds behind glass enclosures for one to view up close, the fabulous attraction in this house is the vast open room with trees and water literally filled with birds. The sounds and sights in this area are breathtaking.

This really is a birdwatchers fantasy come true! 

Nicobar Pigeon

(Do you see the little Yellow Headed Blackbird in the background left?)



Hippos at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Hippopotamus Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Hippos can be viewed daily at the Memphis Zoo. These awesome Hippos recently moved into their new home, "Zambezi River Hippo Camp" 

This section of the zoo also features other animals found near the Zambezi River such as the Nile Crocodile and Okapi.
Memphis Zoo guests are able to enjoy seeing hippos both on land and below water.

Did you know that Hippos are considered the deadliest animals in Africa?  You can find out why by visiting Amazing Wild Animals!


Aquarium at the Memphis Zoo


This is another building one could explore for hours. The Aquarium is home to 156 species of marine and freshwater organisms from around the world.  The Memphis Zoo currently breeds and exhibits two species of cichlid that are extinct in the wild.

If fish, turtles, or aquatic wildlife are your passion, this is the place to be!


The Memphis Zoo Review - Aquarium Photos by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Herpetarium at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Poison Dart Frog Photo by Sylvestermouse
If I ever lost my son at the zoo, the Herpetarium is where I could find him. This building is literally packed with frogs, spiders, snakes, lizards and small alligators.

While there are plenty of faces crowding around the snakes, I am glad to say that we crowd around the frogs. The colors on frogs are so bright and vivid. It is hard to choose, but I think our favorite would be the Poison Dart Frog.

However, the Memphis Zoo is reknowned for being the first zoo to successfully breed the endangerd Mississippi Gopher Frog.   The Memphis Zoo has produced 93 Mississippi gopher tadpoles, a number nearly matching the 100 frogs still living in the wild.


 

Penguin Rock, Round Barn & Once Upon a Farm


The Memphis Zoo Review - Penguin Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
These are a few areas that little children especially enjoy. My daughter would never allow us to visit a zoo without locating the penquin. She adores the little "tuxedo" babies and believe me, there are plenty of penguin on Penguin Rock.

Close by is the Round Barn, an exhibit of smaller exotic hoofstock and birds. It is the home of the gazelles and warthog.

Once Upon a Time is an exhibit where visitors can learn about the basics of farm life. This area is built to resemble a farm in the 1900's. They even have a working well that pumps up fresh water and everyone can enjoy a ride an old-fashioned train around the exhibit. 


China Exhibit at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo - Panda Photo by Cynnthia Sylvestermouse
The Memphis Zoo has built a big, beautiful home for the Giant Panda Bears. 

As you enter through the gates of the China exhibit, you follow a path that leads to Ya Ya and Le Le, but long before you get to them, there are huge ponds of fish, a variety of birds, ducks and several other species native to China. There is even a little Otter. 

No question the Panda's are fantastic, but the other animals in this "house" are fascinating as well. 

The Memphis Zoo Review - Asian Small-Clawed Otter
Learn All About the Asian Small-Clawed Otter on AmazingWildAnimals.com


Primate Canyon at the Memphis Zoo


Primate Canyon is another area that features naturalistic, outdoor exhibits. This large open area is home for a variety of monkeys and apes. Monkeys, Orangutans and Gorillas abound in this exhibit.
Primate Canyon is in the center of the zoo. As a result of its location, you call hear the monkeys howling through out the park. It opened in 1995 and has been a top favorite of Zoo visitors ever since.


Butterfly Garden


The Memphis Zoo - Luna Moth photo by Sylvestermouse
This extraordinary Butterfly Garden is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It is absolutely filled with gorgeous flowers graced by lovely butterflies. Some were so exquisite that they didn't even look real, but they were definitely alive.

Not only did we see hundreds of butterflies, but my son found a Luna Moth. Because a Luna Moth has such a short life, it is rare to sight one. Clearly, seeing the Luna Moth was the highlight of our visit to the Memphis Zoo.



African Veldt at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Giraffes Photo By Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The African Veldt is an area dedicated to Giraffes, Rhinos, Zebras, & Elephants.

We were there at just the right time to see the whole Giraffe family. Mother, father & baby giraffe all came out to eat while we were standing in front of their enclosure. While the baby may not be little next to one of us, she was absolutely dwarfed by her parents.

The African Veldt is where the ostrich and the antelope play. Okay, I admit it, this is usually the point where I start singing "home, home on the range."  Seriously, you know those little antelope look like deer.

Oh, well, at least Memphians are accustomed to various styles of musical talent and my family learned decades ago to either laugh with me or to ignore me.

The Memphis Zoo Review
Grant's Gazelles & Bongo Antelopes (laying down)



White-Naped Crane Photo by Sylvestermouse
White-Naped Crane

World of Waterfowl


This area is a more peaceful area than the rest of the zoo. It is aptly named because there are indeed a world of waterfowl!

There are two bridges to walk across and watch beautiful Swans,
Pink Flamingos or a variety of geese and ducks swimming or view a Crane just standing around.

The area around the waterfowl lake is lovely too. It would make a great background spot for photos. I have often imagined a wedding party enjoying this wonderful opportunity for outstanding and original pictures. Or, perhaps, an anniversary party.

Like all of the photos in this article, the picture of the White-Naped Crane is from my own personal photo album. I was thrilled to be able to snap this shot! 


Northwest Passage at the Memphis Zoo


Memphis Zoo Review - Polar Bear Swimming Photo by Sylvestermouse
He is Almost Close Enough to Touch!
Another one of my favorite exhibits at the Memphis Zoo is the Northwest Passage. In this exhibit there is an air conditioned, indoor viewing area where you can watch the Polar Bears swim. There are even a few stadium benches for you to sit and rest a while.

The Polar Bears are beautiful. Who would ever imagine such a large bear could be so graceful when it swims? These giant animals seem so playful and cuddly when you have a thick piece of Plexiglas between you and them. What a magnificent way to enjoy the company of bears.

Northwest Passage is also the home for the sea lion observation bubble and a 500-seat amphitheater for daily sea lion shows.
Outside the viewing area, are the Bald Eagles and the Ravens. Both of my children "talked" to the Ravens and they answered. They are beautiful, majestic birds with attitude.

This is also the area of the Black Bear. I loved this beautiful, big pawed, pacing baby! I would swear he was waving to me every time he lifted his big paw to turn around. 

I been back to the Memphis Zoo several times since this photo was taken.  I always go by to visit this guy.  I think he is probably my favorite animal in the zoo.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Black Bear Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo - Teton Trek Building Photo by Sylvestermouse
Home of the real Memphis Grizzly! 

In February, 2008, the Memphis Zoo began construction of the zoo's gorgeous Teton Trek exhibit. The four-acre Teton Trek exhibit is now home for animals native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem such as Grizzly Bears, Elk, Gray Wolves, Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Crane.

I was among the guests at the Teton Trek in the Memphis Zoo the very first week it opened. Let me tell you, it is the most beautiful zoo exhibit I have ever seen, arguably the most beautiful in the world!

The entrance to the Teton Trek lodge is not only inviting, it is charming with a rustic appeal befitting it's occupants. A lovely 25 foot geyser greets visitors and even allows children, or adults, to cool off in it's spray and surrounding pool.

The Great Lodge, itself, is a two-story, 5000 sq. foot multi-purpose building suited for a gathering or dinner party and features a fabulous large fireplace. A spacious upper mezzanine provides a photo and artifact area the leads to a outside deck for animal viewing at a safe distance.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Teton Trek Lodge Photo by Sylvestermouse


For the truly adventurous, you are free to walk around the actual grounds via the boardwalk. It is extremely safe, so fear not! Don't miss the opportunity to walk through the entire park.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Grizzly Bear Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Read More about the Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo

  • Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo
    I absolutely love zoos! My all time favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN. They have been improving and adding new addtiions to the Memphis Zoo for years. Every time I go, it is like a new adventure. Their most recent addition, called Teton Trek,...



The Photos in this article are the Exclusive Property of ©Sylvestermouse.
Please Do No Copy, Reproduce or Use the Photos without the written permission of Sylvestermouse Cynthia.

Many of the photos are available for purchase at Zazzle.com if you would like to own a legal copy.

The Photos by Sylvestermouse Available for Purchase at Zazzle.com



 
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© 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse - This Article was originally published on a website that has closed.


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Photographing Reflections

One of my favorite things to photograph is reflections.  They can add beauty and interest to any photograph.
The photograph  above shows reflections in a nearby lake.  It was taken early on a foggy morning.  In this post I will review reflection photography techniques and show you some of my results.


Where Can You Find Reflections

The good news is that reflections are everywhere.  As a photographer you just need to train your eyes and camera to look for them.  You can find reflections in water, metal, glass, ice and many other surfaces.  A rainy day when many people might avoid photography can also be a great time to photograph reflections.  

In researching tips for this article, I found many different ideas of how to shoot reflections.  In fact some were contradictory to each other.  So here is my best advice on taking reflections.

It matters more on how you look at things than the type of camera you use.  I have taken good reflections photos with my DSLR, a point and shoot and even my camera.  Train yourself to look for reflections in everything and Practice, Practice, Practice.  In doing this you will learn what works best for you.

Reflections on Water


Water reflections on a still, foggy morning can really add interest to your photograph.  As you can see in the photo above the air was very still and the water was like glass.

On the other hand a little movement in the water can add an interesting abstract quality to your photo as in the photos below.



Water reflections are also a great way to capture a different view of landmarks as you see in the photos below of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.


Reflections on Buildings

The cities are full of buildings  with lots of windows and other reflective materials.  When you are taking a photo of a scene take the time to look at the nearby buildings and catch the reflections in them.  In this photo, I was shooting the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.  I turned to go and noticed the reflection of the courthouse in the nearby building.  I think it gives an interesting look to the photo.


Glass Reflections

Glass picks up lots of reflections.  As I looked in store windows in historic St. Charles, I noticed the interesting reflections I was getting of the street and historic buildings along with the items in store fronts.  I did have to be careful as I shot so I did not capture unwanted images in the reflections.

Here is another interesting reflection in glass.  I was shooting a glass full of jelly beans.  When I look at the photo, I noticed the reflections of the jelly beans in the top half of the glass.  To enhance this look, I played with the sliders in Photoshop Lightroom to bring out the reflections.


Unwanted Reflections

Did you ever take a photo and capture yourself reflected in the item you were photographing?  Sometimes this is good, but mostly it is unwanted.  To prevent this you need to be aware of items that will cause these images and move so that you will not be in the photo.  Here is a photo I took of some Mardi Gras ornaments and captured myself in one of the ornaments.  It was not the look I was after.

Enjoy Yourself and Experiment

I do think that getting great reflection photos is a matter of taking your time, looking at your surroundings and experimentation.  So relax, enjoy your self and happy shooting!!

Zazzle Products from My Reflection Photos





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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Review of Historic Stonington Lighthouse and Museum

Stonington Connecticut is a delightful small town built around Stonington harbor.  We visited there on a beautiful July afternoon and parked in the lot along the harbor.  I then walked back up the hill to photograph the historic stone lighthouse.


History of Stonington Lighthouse

Stonington lighthouse was built in 1840.  It is a wonderfully preserved example of a mid-19th century lighthouse. The tower sits on a hill just up from the harbor and is 35 feet tall.  It was used for navigation until 1889, when it was replaced by another navigational aid out in the harbor.  The lighthouse is now used as a museum that explores the life and history of Stonington's seafaring people.  


Visiting the Inside of the Lighthouse

The museum is open seasonally and when you tour the museum you may also climb the 29 steps up the tower.  I climbed the steps and enjoyed taking photos in the museum and around the lighthouse grounds.

The brochure I was given when touring the lighthouse states that the seaside village of Stonington has been the " home to farmers, and fishermen, sailors and sea captains, explorers and entrepreneurs for more than 360 years."


Walking the Lighthouse Grounds- Views from the Back


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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review of Lighthouses Seen from Avery Point


On a July visit to Connecticut, we made a stop at the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) to photograph the lighthouse that I had heard was located at the edge of the campus.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful campus that along with the lighthouse had some beautiful sculptures.  Just offshore of the campus we had a wonderful surprise when I located two additional lighthouses.  On this page I will share my photographs of all three lighthouses and some of the sculptures I saw while walking along the paths on the campus.

Avery Point Lighthouse



Avery Point is the last lighthouse built in the state as an official navigational aid.  It was completed in 1943 but was not lit until a year later because of concerns about a possible Nazi attack during WWII.

As I strolled along the paths of the university I could see the lighthouse in the distance.  It is a distinctive beige brick tower and is a beautiful icon overlooking the water.


New London Harbor Light


Across the water from the campus I noted what I thought might be a lighthouse.  When I put on my longer lens, I was delighted to find this stately structure, which I found out was the New London Harbor Light.


In reading a brochure on lighthouse cruises, I found out that this is the oldest lighthouse in Connecticut. It was said to help to guide colonial privateers who sought shelter up the Thames River during the American Revolution.

New London Ledge Lighthouse


In the water, not too far off shore from the campus, I spotted a third lighthouse.  This lighthouse has some rather unique architectural features.  I read that it is a French Second Empire structure that is architecturally unique for a lighthouse.  It is also reported to be haunted by a former keeper.


There were lots of sailboats in the harbor and I was able to capture one just before it passed the lighthouse.


Other Interesting Features on the Avery  Point Campus of UCONN


Here are some of the photos I took of a building and a few of the many sculptures on the grounds.




Zazzle Products from my Photos


I enjoy sharing my photos on products made at
Zazzle.  Here are a couple you might like.






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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Moonstone Beach in Cambria: A Review in Photos




Moonstone Beach Is My Go-To Place When it's Hot


I live about forty minutes from Cambria, California. When it's hot, Moonstone Beach is my favorite place to beat the heat. It seems people visit for a lot of different reasons. Most people just walk the boardwalk as my husband is doing in the photo above. Others like to play on the beach or visit the tide pools. Some fly kites. Some build things from the driftwood they find on the beach. And some hunt for jade left on the beach by the waves. I mostly walk on the beach and boardwalk and take pictures. Below is a another beach walker.

Man walking the shoreline at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, © B. Radisavljevic

Most of the people I see at Moonstone Beach are not sunbathers. The weather is generally cool and often windy, as you will see in some of the videos below. The people I see in the water are generally not swimmers, but surfers. Most people don't venture deeper into the water than knee high. A lot of people build sandcastles near the water's edge.


Moonstone Beach is a Family Friendly Place


We once saw a family having a reunion there. The activity of the day for intergenerational fun was flying stunt kites. I'd never seen one before, and it was fascinating. In case you haven't seen them in action, either, I took a video with the family's permission. The grandfather was teaching his teenage granddaughter to fly the stunt kite with him. In between watching the action in the air, there are plenty of views of the beach, the commercial/residential area across the highway from the beach, and the structures people have built and left on the beach. Enjoy.




Sometimes as I sit at my computer trying to tend to business, I remember how much fun this family had that day. It might be fun to try it myself. Here's the kite I might get if I had a grandchild to share it with. It appears to be simple enough for me and a child.




Nature is On Display at Moonstone Beach



I enjoy watching the waves and those trying to ride them. I also like to watch the wildlife -- especially the ground squirrels. They star in two portions of the video below. You'll also see a boy trying to figure out how to catch a wave on his boogie board and another climbing the rocks in the tidepools. It only looks like I'm in the water. Take a few minutes, unwind, and watch the waves with me.



As you saw in the video, there are quite a few ground squirrels, and they can put on quite a show. They aren't really tame, but they don't run away and hide until you get a bit too close for their comfort. I was happy to see and get to snap this.


Those two appear pretty skinny in comparison to the one below. I'll bet it does a lot of begging from beach goers. You can also see some of the  beach flowers in bloom.





In all seasons but winter there's usually something you can find in bloom or even dispersing seeds. When I was there in August this bush lupine was forming pods.



I think the pods look a bit like caterpillars. What do you think?

The buckwheat also blooms in August. It almost makes the beach look like a garden, unlike the beaches I used to frequent in Southern California.




Seagulls seem to be everywhere, but they seem to really like hanging out on the tops of streetlights.


Sometimes, though, they like performing close to the water. This is part of the Santa Rosa Creek Watershed you see on Moonstone Beach.



Now the gulls have taken to the sky.  The watershed captured the sky's reflection so that it looks like an island of sky surrounded by the sand.



Make Some Memories on Your Visit 

Then share them with somebody.








There's so much more to see than I've room to show you here. But there are a couple of things I should tell you before I post this. The beach does have some public restrooms. They are near the parking lot.



If you want a really private place to take someone special, this is not far off the boardwalk. Behind this tree is a lone secluded bench facing the ocean. You can see a couple enjoying it now.



Although one can usually find a place to park in the lot, if you're driving a long trailer, be careful. This lot, the one by the restroom, wasn't really designed to handle parking something as long as this man is driving.  He obviously got it parked, but  getting it out of the space he parked in presented a problem. You can see how much difficulty he's having. I had to go over and help direct him so he wouldn't hit anything or get stuck.





Our Central Coast is Full of Beaches

Our Central Coast beaches each have a distinct character and people visit them for different reasons. A lot of the sunbathers prefer Pismo Beach. Surfers especially like Cayucos and Moonstone Beach. You can see a how different Cayucos is from Moonstone Beach in Enjoying the beach at Cayucos, California. Get a brief look at most of our beaches and coastal towns here



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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