Eyes of the tiger – resting in his den and watching visitors at the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Tampa Florida.
Neither place is intended to be a good photo-op (lots of fences and obstructions) – you have to be lucky to get a good image. The geometry and light in the scene above worked well, but it’s the only animal photo I made that day that I like.
Volunteer caring for residents at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary
So why am I writing about these if they’re not good photo ops? This is supposed to be a blog about photo ops, right? Well, we met several volunteers at each place and learned a great deal from them about wildlife in captivity. If you care about wildlife then there are things about captives that you should know.
Killer whales are captured or bred in captivity and separated from their families. They spend their lives in small tanks performing for audiences.
Seeing wild animals such as whales in their natural habitat is exciting and inspiring. Seeing them in captivity, knowing some of the background on how they’re captured, bred, and kept is depressing. The tiger in the photo above was well cared for and kept in nicer conditions than many others. Although sometimes big cats can be returned to the wild, this tiger will never be released. Wouldn’t it be better if they’d never been captured at all? Places like the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary and the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary are doing their best to care for large, wild animals that can’t be returned to the wild. But there are so many of these animals that they’ll never be able to keep up.
I know you don’t come to this site for editorials and commentary, but thanks anyway for stopping by and reading this. And if you care about this subject, you should click on the links in this post to learn more.
We went to Seaworld again at the invitation of the United Way group here in Orlando. They very graciously organize the visit each year to thank people that contribute to the charity. We almost didn’t go due to the weather.
The harbor area at Seaworld
There was a cold front coming through with a strong line of showers ahead of it. When we got out of bed, it was north of us but moving south fast. We decided we’d go anyway and timed our arrival for just after the rain came through. The park wasn’t very crowded. I think the weather discouraged many people from going. As you can see above, it cleared up nicely.
We’re not into roller coasters any more so we didn’t do many of the rides and spent most of our time just walking. I practiced with the D7000 and a wide angle lens. The photo above was made at an 8mm focal length – it’s a challenge to frame a scene with an 8mm lens and not have everything tilt in from the edges.
Today was our annual pilgrimage to Seaworld, courtesy of United Way. It’s always enjoyable to stroll around the park. There are a lot of images waiting to be made. I posted the ones I made on my Flickr photo stream in the Seaworld November 2009 set. Here’s one sample. This fellow is watching me very intently, and I think he’s starting to realize my D700 isn’t a fish. Nikon D700 @ ISO 200, Nikon 70-300 @ 270mm, f/5.6, 1/320 sec, cropped
Seaworld again graciously hosted the annual United Way Leadership Appreciation Event yesterday and Lynn and I enjoyed a few hours at the park. It was a very pleasant day full of sunshine starting in the high 40s, and warming into the 60s after lunch. Seaworld is a favorite of ours and there are lots of good photos there.
This year, I carried a quite a bit more photo gear, although I didn’t use everything. The equipment I enjoyed using the most was my Canon G9 inside the WP-DC21 waterproof housing. I brought this out at the stingray lagoon. The rays in this pool are used to people and will come right up to you when you put your hands in the water. This first picture is a close up of an approaching stingray.
And click on the link below to see a short underwater video of the stingrays swimming by and then trying to eat my camera! Stingrays eat my camera!!!
I will post the rest of my photographs from yesterday on my website as soon as I finish editing them (hopefully later today – I want to try to process a 360 degree panorama). They will be at this link: http://edrosack.com/seaworld2008/
I took my new Canon G9 to Seaworld to get used to it and see how well it works. First impressions are very positive. The photo quality / color is about the best of any point and shoot I’ve owned. The features and controls are plentiful and relatively easy to use. Noise does get noticeable when you use a higher iso, but it does pack a lot of photography creation tools into a very portable package.