You may remember my post from May about Disney’s Animal Kingdom . Disney also has the Animal Kingdom Lodge co-located with the park. It is an African style lodge / hotel with over 700 rooms and several restaurants. Lynn and I enjoyed our visit to Animal Kingdom so much that when we heard about the Lodge, we decided to go to the Boma Restaurant there for brunch on our anniversary in mid June.
Rooms at the Lodge overlook an area modeled after an African savanna, where 30 animal species roam about. There are also several viewing areas where guests can walk a short distance out into the savannas to observe what’s going on. When we were there, we saw Giraffes:
And African Spoonbills:
For this "expedition, I traveled light, took only my Canon G9, and shot hand held. A little more reach would have been welcome. I think you could bring and use a tripod – I didn’t see any signs prohibiting their use. We were there in the heat of the morning – about 11 am. Most of the animals had more sense than us and were out of sight somewhere cool. If you go, take the weather into account, it will certainly affect the animal behavior, as well as your comfort.
The breakfast at the Boma Restaurant was delicious and enjoyable. We also had fun wandering around the grounds afterward.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a unique experience. There is no where else in Central Florida that you can stay in the middle of an African savanna. Is it worth the premium over other hotels in the area? Since we didn’t stay in the Lodge, you will have to decide that on your own.
I was at Orlando Wetlands Park again this morning with a few friends and saw a bird that I hadn’t seen before, there or anywhere else that I remember. Here’s a photograph:
These birds were different from other ducks I’ve seen in that when we first saw them they were perched in trees. Fortunately, I have a copy of iBird Plus loaded on my iPhone. iBird is an interactive field guide to the birds of North America. It has a search function and by entering the location (Florida), the shape (Duck-like) and the Color Primary (Brown) iBird presented me with a list of 16 possible birds out of the 914 birds in its North American Database that match these criteria.
Scrolling through the list, I read descriptions, and looked at drawings and three photos of the Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck that pretty much clinched the ID for me. There’s also other info like range, similar birds, and links to Birdpedia. If you are interested in birds or bird photography, you should take a look at this app. I enjoy using it.
Here’s a few more photos from this morning. First we had the bird, now here’s the bee:
And of course, what would Orlando Wetlands Park be without a gator photo:
Unless you’ve investigated the links to Lynn’s blog and web page over on the right, you may not know that my lovely and intelligent wife is quite an expert and author on collectible trivets, stands, and sad irons. I was the "photographer in residence" for her A-Z Guide to Collecting Trivets published in 2004, and have helped her with various collectible photos since. She has a second book in the works and I only have a few more photos that I owe her (although it seems that more trivets arrive in the mail all the time).
She has also written several articles in various other magazines that I’ve done the photos for, so I’ve had my photos published with her words several times before.
Recently, she was interviewed by Melody Amsel-Areili for the monthly magazine, Collectors News and the article appears as the July 2009 cover story. You can download a PDF of the article from their site. Lynn provided 8 of my photos for them to use with the article. They used three, and I was very pleasantly surprised yesterday when she showed me her copy of the magazine with one more of my photos used as the cover image!
This particular photo is one that I took in February of 2003 with a Minolta DiMAGE 7H i camera. In looking at it again after more than 6 years, I’m impressed by the quality of the output. It does have quite a bit more noise than my modern cameras, but it’s easily handled in Lightroom. I remember the 7Hi very fondly: 5MP, with very SLR like controls, including a manual zoom ring and even raw output. I tried using the raw files but the work flow tools were still pretty primitive back then, so I shot in jpg format. I still have the camera, although I haven’t used it in quite a while. This particular photo was of one of the walls in our home where Lynn had displayed a number of her trivets and stands. We made it to include in her first book, but ended up using a different version that showed a larger portion of the wall. I’m really glad this one eventually found such a nice use!