“It’s All Happening At the Zoo . . . .”

My friends and I recently took our “heavy glass” to photograph at the Seneca Park Zoo. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for getting sharp pictures, even though the mid-day sun creates harsh contrast. The last time I was here was many years ago with our young nieces. How the time goes by.

Today’s zoos meet higher standards to keep their accreditation than in the past. The animals’ physical and emotional needs are better met.

Elephant’s Eye

Zoos often provide safe haven for injured and nearly extinct animals. Zoos are especially great for kids, particularly since fewer of them see animals in their natural habitats.

Still, I wonder when seeing the animals’ expressions, if they are happy being fenced in. Separated from their natural habitats, they are not free to roam, associate, and mate as evolution has shaped them. According to Wikipedia:

The welfare of zoo animals varies widely. Many zoos work to improve their animal enclosures and make it fit the animals’ needs, although constraints such as size and expense make it difficult to create ideal captive environments for many species.[41][42]

A study examining data collected over four decades found that polar bears, lions, tigers and cheetahs show evidence of stress in captivity.[43] Zoos can be internment camps for animals, but also a place of refuge. A zoo can be considered an internment camp due to the insufficient enclosures that the animals have to live in. When an elephant is placed in a pen that is flat, has no tree, no other elephants and only a few plastic toys to play with; it can lead to boredom and foot problems (Lemonic, McDowel, and Bjerklie 50).[full citation needed] Also, animals can have a shorter life span when they are in these types of enclosures. Causes can be human diseases, materials in the cages, and possible escape attempts (Bendow 382).[full citation needed] When zoos take time to think about the animal’s welfare, zoos can become a place of refuge. There are animals that are injured in the wild and are unable to survive on their own, but in the zoos they can live out the rest of their lives healthy and happy (McGaffin).[full citation needed] In recent years, some zoos have chosen to stop showing their larger animals because they are simply unable to provide an adequate enclosure for them (Lemonic, McDowell, and Bjerklie 50).

You can see more of my photos from the day’s shoot at my online gallery.

CVNP’s Soft Scenes

First Signs . . .

During my six days at Cuyahoga Valley National Park I hiked about 18 miles. Getting away helps me put aside all the “baggage” of my hometown so I can focus more on my surroundings. How we


photograph is strongly influenced by our personal histories and current states of mind, as well as the settings in which we find ourselves.

Indigo Pond

This series is one that I don’t normally shoot. But recently I’ve been influenced by a fellow photographer who shoots this way, though her work is far better. But,

Indigo Pond

temporarily released from the “bonds” of my history, I gave it a shot, several in fact. Also different, I took the first image with my Tokina 11 – 16mm lens, and the remainders with my Canon 100 – 400mm lens, instead of my usual Canon 15 – 85mm lens–I might as well be completely different.

Day Four at CVNP

This morning saw a squall line ahead of a cold front pass through around _p3a15496 AM. Rain came down “horizontally” at speeds up to 60 MPH. I looked at my phone and saw an extreme weather alert–tornadoes possible until 6:30. Whew! No tornados, so I slept in until 7:30. I’m now waiting it out as the rain falls. Clearing is _p3a1576expected around noon so I’m going to try for some weather shots; I have to check with the Visitors’ Center to learn where the best views might be. Winds will be high so I might be able to get some long exposures to blur the clouds.

After that, I’ll be going to the Kendall Lake area.

-From the river of fire

First Day at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Today was mostly scoping things out. My first foray was to find the eagles’ nest, which I did. I also saw the look-out eagle, perched atop a dead tree. The rangers tell me there’s one egg (I’ll confirm this and ask how they know). Then he flew and circled around before taking off for what I assume was the hunt. Of course, I didn’t have the long lens with me. After that, I drove to the other end of the park to locate the beaver marsh and the heron rookery. No beaver, but I got some good shots of a pair of nesting swans. There were also lots of herons, as you can see in the accompanying photographs. Unfortunately, they roost in a marsh next to _p3a1455a busy road. They are still reinforcing their nests; they should be laying eggs, soon. I also took a number of other shots with my short lens.

Tomorrow will be overcast; I’ll go back for eagles, then to the Ledge untitled-1476Trail and its overlook to shoot some B+W landscapes. Wednesday promises a lot of rain so I’ll have to figure that one out.

-From the river of fire

Little Ice on the Lower Great Lakes

Lake Ontario coastline near Sodus, NY Bay
Lake Ontario coastline near Sodus, NY Bay, Feb 2017 (Courtesy: Robert DePuyt)

As we flew along the Lake Ontario shoreline near Sodus Bay, NY this past Friday, we got a quick shot of the shoreline using a mobile phone. As you can see there is no evidence of pack ice along the shore. Compare this with the second photograph showing the more typical ice pack, taken on January 2015 from Durand-Eastman Beach. It is only about thirty miles west of this location; you can see a dramatic difference.

Lake Ontario pack ice
Lake Ontario pack ice, Jan 2015

Year-to-year ice levels will almost always vary. However, the overall trend is for less Great Lakes ice. You can the view graphics showing change over the years, based on scientific data at NOAA’s website.