Sunday, February 26, 2012

Its All Happening At The Zoo !

Another weekend and what to do, what to do? A friend gave me some tickets to the Zoo awhile back and since it was a decent day I thought now might be the best time to use them. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

I sometimes marvel at my ability to marvel at things. So, when I saw this poster near the entrance I could imagine myself much like this little boy, ready to be amazed.

There are multiple directions to take based on your interest and the Zoo's layout. I decided to just wander and just see what caught my eye as I jumped from one section to another.

These guys instantly caught my eye based on their flaming red coats and white strips. I have to confess that in my haste to take the picture I forgot to take a picture of what they were as I usually do to help my memory once I am ready to do the blog. I know they are some form of antelope but am at a loss after that. However, I got a great shot of them relaxing in the shade don't you think?

This Okapi really got my eyes popping much like the kid in the poster, because it is so unusual. It seems cross of a couple of animals. The dark striped hindquarters makes it resemble a Zebra. But, it's head has the strange look of a Giraffe without the marking. The exhibit directions indicate that it is a cousin of the Giraffe but does not explain the Zebra like markings. It did however state that it's long black tongue was long enough to reach up and clean it's eyes and ears. I didn't witness this feat but I did wait around hoping to catch that shot. No such luck...

And on to the snakes! There were several different species but this guy definitely got my attention. Everyone I think is familiar with that deadly predator the Black Mamba (which really is not black but brown and has a black tongue from which it derives its name), but I had never encountered a Green Mamba. While it has the designation of Mamba it is actually in the Cobra family because it has a hood that it will open when threatened. The rope like pattern that covers the entire length of the body I thought very distinctive and helps it blend into the foliage. I could just imagine roaming around in the brush and stumbling upon this guy. Eek!!

And what visit to the Zoo would be complete without seeing a Lion or two. I was really impressed that these two had room to roam around but for the moment had decided to lounge in the shade on a rock mound. As I stood there quietly taking shot after shot, they seemed to give me a look that said "Are you dinner or are you glad to see us?" They seemed just as interested in me as I was in them and I was glad there was a barrier separating us.

But then, their interest faded and it was back to sleepy time.

Another section that actually made me smile was the Silverback Gorillas. In this shot, the big guy is taking a nap and two troublemakers are making their way over to him looking like they plan a sneak attack to disturb his slumber.

But, just when they are ready to play their little trick; the big guy shows why he has risen to the top of the pack and looks up. I love the way the two troublemakers are looking away almost saying "Who us, make trouble? We're just hanging around."

The Bird Walk was another really exciting area for exploration. I say that because once inside this enclosure, there are no cages or netting and you walk freely among the birds.

This is Florida and it was a lovely sight to get up close to a flock of Flamingos.

But the scene stealer was the Mandarin Ducks. They seemed unafraid as they walked around in their habitat and were more than willing to allow me to get unbelievably close.

I took shot after shot because they were such wondrous creatures.

This one is my favorite based on the detail you are able to see and how colorful they are.

I hope you were as thrilled as I was by all the animals I encountered. By now I hope you too realize that its all happening at the Zoo!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Look Of A Day

It is quite true that over the last several months I have been more than busy. However, I wanted to share with you pictures of the quiet moments I spend each day in preparation to go out and tackle the world.

It hit me a few days ago that those precious minutes every morning are sometimes what keep me sane as I think about how good it feels to just slow things down and enjoy the potential that a new day brings. I have titled it "The Look Of A Day". While it is only a little over a minute, it covers several days and sometimes into the night.

I hope it provides food for thought for you as well. Oh yes, I composed the music as well.

Ahhh... a new day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Rich... They're Not Like You And I

It seems of late that my life has been swallowed up by all my work at the school. So this weekend I made a vow to get out and DO SOMETHING! I heard that the new owner, Shalid Khan, of the Jacksonville Jaguars (the local football team) had sailed his yacht into downtown and thought that would be an interesting adventure on an 80 degree winter day! As usual, click each photo for a better view.

It was well worth the bike ride down to the Landing. This baby is huge! Huge as in 223 ft long and is said to be able to hold 200 people quite comfortably. Aptly named "Kismet", it is a sight to behold.

To see it in all it's glory sets the mind racing as to how the inside must look. But, as I was not invited inside, you and I will simply have to let our imaginations work a little overtime.

A panoramic view provides a glimpse of the fact that it is 4 levels. This I guess provides lots of room so despite the fact you may be traveling with others, you don't have to see them all the time just because you are on the high seas.

Two covered decks allow sunning in varying degrees depending on with whom and how you wish to tackle that chore.

And, each morning and afternoon you get to take in views like this one.

Fitzgerald was right, the rich are not like you and I. But if you have a spare $112 million lying around you can live like this all the time. Rumor has it that the yacht is for sale. Better hurry!