Word and Image

Animal

San Diego Zoo

_DSC7227It’s world famous! Until I had been to Africa, this was pretty good. Now that I’ve had a completely different experience in the wild, this zoo is and interesting series of images in retrospect. If you isolate the animal and the background, you might convince yourself you are in the African veldt._DSC7315 It’s like going to the aquarium. You can get a shot but you know it was from behind the glass in a tank._DSC7171


Greased Pig

_DSC6160It’s another event I came across at one of the Maine County Fairs. Throw a series of pigs into a pen and let kids try to catch one. Each kid gets a bag and the mission is to put a piglet into the bag. It’s pretty chaotic. Everybody wins. There are enough piglets, one for each kid. Cute? This is a lot of piglets all crowded around to feed from mama. They make their money/profit on the lottery to pick which kids get into the pen. I’ve heard of greased pig contests ….


Bullriding

_DSC6592http://rodeo.about.com/od/bullridingfaq/f/bullbucking.htm

Nothing is done to intentionally hurt the bucking stock.
This includes binding of testicles (a popular lie spread by certain groups against rodeo), drugging, beating, burning, etc.

It’s written in “bold” on the website. Where did I see this? In Maine in the autumn of 2007 at a county fair… It was a serious competition for points. It was not a mega event. It occurred on a very chilly evening in the dark, a highlight of the evening’s activity.

I arrived early to ‘scope out the venue and pick the best place from which to get photographs. I brought a flash expecting to need the extra light. I was really to far away to be in an ideal position. At the earlier hour of sunset the bulls were peacefully standing in the coral, perfectly docile and crowded together. To look at the bulls you would never consider them to be a ton of angry bucking muscle.

_DSC6594If you look closely there are two ropes. The first is for the rider to hold dearly hoping to make 8 seconds and get a score for a ride. The rope wrapped around the bull behind the rider is (not?) attached to the testicles (remember it’s bulls not cows). Whatever the rope does it certainly gets the bull’s attention. Riders are thrown and they are injured. This means an ambulance is on standby. Some of the riders now wear flak vests and crash helmets. It’s not too western looking but it’s a bit more protective. Stomping usually doesn’t involve head injury, mostly broken bones. I make this assumption because, by my estimation, access to a competent neurosurgeon is not high on the priority list. But please keep in mind no animals were hurt in the making of these images.

 


Camel Ride

1805 30 Julia DavidTo my kids: I bet you don’t remember this.

We didn’t go to the Bronx Zoo too often. But once upon a time we went and the kids took a camel ride. If you think about it (as I am right now), it’s kind of silly. Collectively, J, David and myself don’t remember this at all (I bet – see above). Otherwise somebody should have spoken up when they were here in December. I got the picture; they don’t remember. Who’s old now?


The Trip To Nowhere

IMG_3095David read about a place called Al Wahbah. There’s a crater of uncertain origin that is said to be a great place to visit. It is in the geographical middle of nowhere._DSC4903

I mean we drove until my calculated ‘drop dead’ time. J was leaving and we had to return in time for her to be at the airport. No crater!! The roads have no signs, signs in Arabic, and no one seems to have heard of Al Wahbah. No amount of stopping for directions helped.

Directions, me, never. But the kids have no qualm about asking. My motto, “As long as you never put the car in reverse, you are never lost.” Well, you make do with what is at hand…. We found a sand dune!? (one not too large one)_DSC4484

There was another side benefit; we had a camel experience. The last time J was here we saw a camel from a distance but never up close. This time we were face to face, nose to nose. Yeah! It was an alternative happy ending. And did I say that we more or less drove right up to the camels._DSC4989

 


Nudibranch

IMG_2624Now that I recognize the anatomy, I can say that it’s a nudibranch. I would otherwise I would have called it a snail. It was slowly moving along the bottom all stretched out and vulnerable. It’s soft bodied and seemingly unprotected. I have to credit Farid on seeing it. He is the best finder. I’m always missing things. And to think he wears glasses but doesn’t wear them when we dive. I have to ask him next time, whether he is wearing prescription lens on his mask. I found out that they make them but I don’t actually know if he uses a pair. He sure does find some great things.IMG_2625


Nudibranch

IMG_3792 aThere are thousands of different ones. We were down at about 90 feet. At this depth, color is almost monotone. It’s funny because my eye still sees color or at least I imagine color. When I get home and post process, it is amazing how much color is missing. Here’s where it is imperative to use flash. The problem is that my mind thinks faster than I can change settings. Flash requires changing back to daylight white balance setting. Well this critter doesn’t move quickly so I had a chance to get some shots. There is a strong tendency to overexpose. All too often the exposure is not quite right so I am thankful that digital gives me the opportunity to shoot more than one image.IMG_3793 a


Another Mystery

 

IMG_2517 bI don’t know if this is plant or animal. It is attached to the coral. I have not seen this until now and on this particular night dive we saw several. I can’t find an example in any catalog yet. I got a few pictures. The first were partial images. The larger picture was fortuitous. I had just shot a fish image and noticed the subject in my LCD. So I backtracked and shot several more to come up with something sharp. They look a bit dangerous. The rule is not to touch anything, that might sting or bite. Good rule.

IMG_2463


Plant or Animal

IMG_2141 aThere are some pretty amazing things you find. So far there are some things I have been unable to identify. I keep trying and eventually I may be enlightened. This is a shy plant(?) which is seen sticking out of the coral. It retracts and is completely hidden whenever there is a threat. You have to swim up slowly in order to get a shot.

IMG_2469 aAs an aside the Red Sea is so named because of the red coral. It doesn’t seem so red because underwater the first color that is lost as you go deep is the color red. But at night with a flash and restoration of the natural colors, I cannot understand the naming of the Red Sea.

IMG_2503This other object is or maybe a nudibranch or not. It is something I’ve only seen at night and it is certainly hidden under the coral. But I’ve looked during the day and you don’t see this. It’s tiny, pretty, and so delicate looking.IMG_2504


Four in One Day

_DSC2522 copyI’ve been on a dive binge. It’s my chief hobby right now. For those of you in colder climes in the Northern Hemisphere, I have almost forgotten that it’s halfway to Christmas. The weather is colder and the frost is on the pumpkin. I lived in Maine for a time. All the while I was hoping to shoot a moose. I gave a medical talk and mentioned that I had finally shot a moose and one son of a gun actually asked me how it was to shoot it (with a gun). That got me to thinking that I should refrain from literal language (or stop talking to NRA Republicans).

Up until this particular day I was, shall we say sadly and completely unsuccessful. I had loads of advice from locals about how and where to go. Perhaps they were just playing around with a city guy? Up in the wilderness of Maine, way up past Millinoket, and near to Mt Katahdin my travels brought me on a journey and a last ditch search.

Yes! I passed three photographers idly chatting, tripods deployed, and telephoto lenses pointed off toward a far point on the lake. Their wives were with them. They pointed to a brown dot on the horizon hidden in the trees and told me it was a moose. They had to tell me because we were too far to identify anything except that it was animal not plant. Yeah!? This was a non starter.

Pretty much resigned to defeat I continued through the park on this cloudy day. Two cars were parked on the side of the road and I sensed there might be action. Walking into the woods I saw my first moose no more than 30 feet away calmly munching on whatever it is that moose munch. The first photographer was decked out in hunter clothes and appeared to be a real photographer. The other was an idiot approaching the moose from uphill. He had a maniacal grin and was edging down with a simple point and shoot camera. I felt sure this dude would soon be killed when he disturbed Mr Bullwinkle. Moose don’t see well and when startled they can make an awful mess in a hurry. It helps to stand behind a tree since it might help that the tree will slow down an angered moose. (Let it be a big tree.) I turned to the first photographer to ask about an exit strategy and he replied the moose in front is not the problem. It’s the three behind us that I might want to take care to watch. I regret not taking the picture of that idiot photographer on the uphill side. But then again he never did get hurt either._DSC2610 copy

The other bull moose and mama with baby were more interesting. None of them cared that I approached but I did so cautiously and kept to staying behind the trees. The first photographer and his wife came up to stand with me. He stayed behind and began to make his city version of moose calls. Meanwhile his wife stood next to me sharing my tree. This couple had driven to Maine that day to participate in a moose photography class. The just happened to be wandering the woods. Meanwhile they didn’t realize that they had hit the photographic jackpot. My exit strategy quickly formed. If the fool behind me wanted to make moose calls, it would be his wife I would push out from behind the tree in the event the any of the moose made a charge. It pays to think ahead. My presumption was that he didn’t like his wife too much since I had only just met the couple. Oh, and she didn’t know how to use her camera and asked me to shoot some images for her. My reason to photograph anything is to know that I shot the image myself. Otherwise who needs another picture of a moose. And remember when I say shoot, its photograph not gun._DSC2590 copy


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