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

Friday, April 3, 2020

Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo Review

The Teton Trek

I absolutely love zoos!  My all time favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN.  They have been improving and adding new additions to the Memphis Zoo for years.  Every time I go, it is like a new adventure.

The Teton Trek opened on Oct. 2, 2009.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when my husband took me to Memphis the very first week it was open
for my birthday.  

The Memphis Zoo really outdid itself with this gorgeous exhibit.  The Teton Trek is stunning!   Not only is the lodge beautiful, but the Grizzly Bear and the Grey Wolves are delightful and mesmerizing to watch.

I wish they had rooms in the lodge to rent.  I would move in today!



The Teton Trek Lodge at the Memphis Zoo


Early on this beautiful, glorious day, I donned my new black Keds tennis shoes, jeans and blouse that my daughter gave me for my birthday, grabbed my new camera which was a birthday gift from my son, snatched my sunglasses and jumped in the car for our new zoo adventure.


Let me tell you, this place was breathtaking! The entrance to Teton Trek is through this huge lodge. The entire area is surrounded by magnificent trees and there is a water fountain in front of the lodge were several people were wading.


This is the perfect setting for Grizzly Bears and Grey Wolves. I was so excited to see the animals, that I practically ran through the lodge when we first got there, but I did go back in hours later to explore. The picture on the right is actually the last picture I took that day at Teton Trek.

Even now, I find myself wanting to skip over writing about the gorgeous lodge and get right to the animals on exhibit, but I will try to contain myself long enough to describe the inside of the lodge.

It is a two level structure with second level decks on both the front and the back of the building where chairs have been placed so you can sit and watch the animals from afar. There were a lot of Moms with their small children on the deck facing the Bear exhibit. I didn't blame them. It is a nice, shaded area out of harms way where they can rest and watch both the children and the animals at the same time.

Downstairs, there are tables and chairs sitting around the vast, open area. This would make a great meeting room or party area. There are also indoor restrooms in this lodge. A necessity when you spend the whole day hangin' with the Grizzly Bear.



Grizzly Bear Habitat in the Teton Trek


WOW!!!

Step outside the lodge and the first thing you see is an expansive enclosure with a beautiful waterfall.  The entire area has been designed to replicate a wilderness most of us would not traverse without a ton of provisions.




The Teton Trek Path

The entire Bear exhibit area is surrounded by a paved walking path. On the outer side of the path, are additional animal exhibits. Since we were there the first week, some of the animals, like the elk, had not arrived so their new homes set empty, ready and waiting for their future inhabitants.

The Trumpeter Swan and the Crane were already in residence by their pond. There were also a few ducks and a lot of area birds filled the trees.






Gray Wolves on Amazing Wild Animals
See More Photos, plus read Grey Wolf Facts on AmazingWildAnimals.com

Grey Wolves in the Teton Trek


I have always loved wolves. They have such an intelligent look and they often seem to be trying to communicate something. 

The Grey Wolves at the Memphis Zoo appeared to be like playful dogs. 

One was busy tearing up the new square of sod while two others were busy fighting over a stick.  But I was not fooled.  They knew we were there.  They're just not as interested in us as we are of them. 

Take a look at my pictures and tell me they weren't posing for the camera.

Grey Wolf Ripping up Sod
Two Wolves Playing
Beautiful Grey Wolf


Grizzly Bear in the Teton Trek


Baby Grizzly Bears at the Memphis Zoo (2009)
These are the little guys I had to see and they were definitely worth the trip!

There are currently three Grizzly Bears in Teton Trek.  


When they first arrived (2009) they were babies and were absolutely adorable.  I knew that even the babies would be dangerous up close, but I found them captivating.  Like all babies, they were sleeping when we first entered the Teton Trek, so we waited. When they woke up, they were ready to play.  They ran back and forth across the enclosure at a shocking speed.

They chased each other.  They swam.  They slapped, splashed, snorted and roared their way into the hearts of everyone present.


We were all completely enraptured with their every move.

The Game of Chase
Searching for Fun
Swimming Together

One Sad Thing


This was such an excellent day!  Very little could have rained on my birthday trip parade.

However, when we got back home and I had a chance to upload the hours of video that I took of those precious grizzly bear babies, I made a sickening discovery.  My brand new video camera records when the light is red.  I thought is was recording when the light was green, thus all I video taped were my feet walking on the pretty walkway.

Dang!  I guess that means we just have to load up the car and go back to Memphis to video record those grizzlies.

One good thing I discovered:  My video camera makes great still shots.



The Babies Have Grown Up
And, I have been back!


Adult Grizzly Bear
Adult Grey Wolves
Still Enjoying the Limelight







Read More about the Memphis Zoo

  • The Memphis Zoo Review
    The Memphis Zoo is one of the best zoos in the United States, actually in the world. Outstanding habitats for animals with safe viewing for visitors...



The Photos in this article are the Exclusive Property of ©Sylvestermouse.
Please Do Not 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



 
Thank you for stopping by!
Do Come Back and See Me Again!




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


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review of Facts and Photos of the American Robin

Robin after a Bath

To celebrate the start of spring, I thought I'd share a bit of information and some photos on one of my favorite birds, the Robin.  Here is a poem that I found that celebrates the Robin and the start of spring.


Robin Poem by William Warner Caldwell


From the elm-tree's topmost bough, Hark! the Robin's early song! Telling one and all that now Merry spring-time hastes along; Welcome tidings dost thou bring, Little harbinger of spring: Robin's come!

 Of the winter we are weary, Weary of the frost and snow; Longing for the sunshine cheery, And the brooklet's gurgling flow; Gladly then we hear thee sing The reveille of spring: Robin's come!

 Ring it out o er hill and plain, Through the garden's lonely bowers, Till the green leaves dance again, Till the air is sweet with flowers! Wake the cowslips by the rill, Wake the yellow daffodil; Robin's come! 

Then, as thou wert wont of yore, Build thy nest and rear thy young, Close beside our cottage door, In the woodbine leaves among; Hurt or harm thou need'st not fear, Nothing rude shall venture near: Robin's come! 

Swinging still o'er yonder lane Robin answers merrily; Ravished by the sweet refrain, Alice claps her hands in glee, Calling from the open door, With her soft voice, o'er and o'er, Robin's come!


Robins and Bird Bath


I have found that Robins love to take baths in our bird bath.  Other birds will stop for a drink, but a Robin will plunge right in for a bath.

In the photo below the Robin has just finished his bath and I caught him sitting on the edge of the birdbath, shaking his tail feathers.  They are so much fun to watch.


Robins Features




  • Pot Bellied look
  • Brick Red Underparts
  • Yellow Bill
  • White Chin
  • White Eye Arcs
  • Male has darker head and deeper red underparts than female
The Robin's song is very cheerful.  I often see a lone Robin sitting on the peak of our neighbors roof just singing away for hours on end.  It is always a joy to hear.


I have found the National Geographic book Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America to be a wonderful guide for information on the birds I find in my backyard. I know I can find all kinds of information about birds online, but sometimes it is just good to hold a book in my hands and look up information on the birds I find in my backyard.



Robins in our area Year-round



Robins are migratory birds, but although we seem to have more in the spring and summer, we do have Robins in our area in the Midwest all year round.  The photo above shows a Robin in the snow.

My Photos on Zazzle Products









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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review of Designing Collages and Composites in Photography


Putting photographs into collages is a fun way to display a grouping of photos.  In the grouping above I show a simple collage with a group of my bird photos.

Create a Simple Collage in Lightroom


The above collage is one that I created in Adobe Lightroom.  To make this collage I moved several of my bird photos to the Print option at the top left of the Lightroom screen and then followed the directions to add the framing and sizing.  You also have options to change the color on the frames and the background and to add some text.

Here is another collage that I made in the same way.


Composites


I belong to a Facebook group called "Create 52" where each week we have a theme to create a photograph and post it on the page.  One of our recent themes was called Collages/Composites.  I posted one of the collages that I made on Lightroom.  I then decided to try to stretch my knowledge and try some of the composites.  Many of the other members were posting some very interesting composites.  Composites are a very creative way of using your photographs.  For my first try I went to Photoshop and opened the collage of the Cardinals and then opened a texture that I had of snow.  I combined the two into one photograph and then changed the opacity to get the desired effect.  Here is the resulting photo.


More Advanced Composites


After seeing some of the other posts in our "Create 52" group, I decided to try some composites using multiple photographs.  I had been on a field trip with a group I help mentor in photography and we went to a local college and several students displayed their musical instruments for us to photograph.  I took several of the photographs and combined them into one design and then used a photo of some sheets of music for a texture.  Here are two of my designs.  Remember, I'm just learning but I think you can get the idea.



Creating your own Collages and Composites


If you are interested in trying one of these procedures there are a lot of tutorials that will help you online.  If you have Photoshop just search for tutorials for creating composites in Photoshop.  If you use other editing software just search online and I'm sure you will also find tutorials for them.  Many of the tutorials are on YouTube and are free.  You can watch them and pause whenever you need to review a step.  I have learned a lot on YouTube.


Zazzle Design from my Collage





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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Review of Bird Photography in the Snow


I love photographing birds and in the winter a snowy day can give a wonderful backdrop for my bird photographs.


Female Cardinal


As I reviewed articles online in preparation for writing this article, I found many tips on photographing in the snow.  Most of these talked about protecting your camera, wearing gloves with the fingers cut out and that type of tips.  I have a different setup for photographing birds right from the comfort of my own home and that is what I will be sharing in this article.

Photographing through Glass



The photograph above, as well as all of the photos on this page were taken through glass.  I have tripods set up in my home that I use to photograph the birds in our yard.  The photograph above was taken through our sliding glass doors in the kitchen.  I often get a surprised reaction when people hear that I photograph through glass, but it has worked well for me.

               When photographing through glass
                be sure to keep the glass clean.

I keep a cloth handy to quickly wipe away any smudges on the glass.  On a snowy day I will frequently open the door to wipe away sleet or drops that have formed on the glass outside.

                Set up the camera as close to the
                glass as possible.

I have my cameras set up on a tripod just inches away from the glass.

My Setup


I have two cameras that I use to take my bird photography.  Both are set up on tripods.  
  • Sony A57 DSLR set up with a Tamron 200-600 zoom lens.  This camera is perfect for getting the birds that are at a bit of a distance.  I use these when the birds are at my far feeders, up in the branches of the trees along the back of our property or in the bushes.
  • Sony a6300 mirrorless camera.  This camera set up with a 70-210 zoom lens is perfect for the birds on the deck and in the closer feeders.  I use it in connection with a wireless remote so that I can sit at the kitchen table and trigger the shutter release when I see a bird.  I used this setup in photographing the BlueJays pictured below.













Bright Colored Birds on a Snowy Day


I love to photograph all birds but catching some of these brightly colored birds against the snowy backdrop are my favorites.




















Dark-eyed Junco or Snowbird


Another favorite of mine is the Junco which is commonly called the snowbird.  It has a dark top and white underside which looks great on a snowy day.


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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review of Mockingbird Information


Mockingbirds have long been the subjects of songs, literature and even movies.  When an early December snowstorm brought the first Mockingbird I had seen to my backyard feeders, I was curious to find more information about these popular birds.

Some Facts about the Mockingbird

From Miriam Webster dictionary I learned that Mockbirds are" a common grayish North American bird (Mimus polyglottos) related to the thrashers that is remarkable for its exact imitations of the notes of other birds."

I did some more research using Wikipedia and All About Birds online and the National Geographic book "Backyard Guide to the Birds".  Here are some additional facts I discovered.

  • Mockingbirds are a New World group of passerine birds. (Passerines are distinguished from other birds by the arrangement of their toes-three forward and one back-which helps them in perching)
  • They are best known for their habit of mimicking other birds, insects and amphibians.
  • There are actually 17 different species of Mockingbirds.
  • Only the Northern Mockingbird is normally found in North America.
  • Mockingbirds are well known for their fun personalities of mimicking other birds songs.

 Mockingbird in Music


As I was researching Mockingbirds, I kept coming up with song lyrics and music with references to the bird.  Here is one of the most popular ones, a lullaby sung by many top musical artists.  Here is the first line.

Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird won't sing, Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

Does that sound familiar to you?  I found this cute child's book that features that song.




Mockingbird in Literature

I found several references to the Mockingbird in books.  The most famous is a Pulitzer-prize winner by Harper Lee.



Another book I found with a reference to Mockingbird in the title, is this fun sounding book on cocktails.  The books teams up various classic books with a cocktail.


I took the three photos of the Mockingbird about a month ago and I have not seen the birds since.  I'm hoping they come to visit my backyard again soon.


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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Explore St Louis - Visit Missouri- Review of Zoo Lights

The St. Louis area has many beautiful light displays during the month of December and one of my favorites is the Zoo Lights.
On a chilly night in mid December my friend and I spent an evening at the St. Louis Zoo enjoying the lights and taking photographs.  We had never been there before and wasn't sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.  We spent about 1 1/2 hours out in the park enjoying the lights before we went inside to warm up with some hot chocolate.  In that time we didn't even begin to see all the beautiful lights.  The displays were wonderful and all focused around the animals in each particular area.  

Information about Zoo Lights

The Zoo Lights display is open from Thanksgiving through December 30th.  It starts at 5:30 each night and there is a nominal fee for entrance which includes free parking.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.  Besides enjoying the lights you can was a 3D movie of Rudolph the Reindeer, roast marshmallows over fire pits, enjoy hot chocolate and other snacks at several stands around the park and have your photo taken at several different displays.

Photographic Tour

I enjoy taking photographs and shooting the zoo lights was a real pleasure.  I found that I was able to get wonderful shots without a flash.  I hope you enjoy my photographic tour.








Zazzle Poster from my Photos




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