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Category Archives: Photography

I’m an honorary Night Hunter, sort of.

Last year I was contacted by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens regarding a new exhibit opening this year, Night Hunters. Night Hunters is a tribute to nocturnal animals that hunt their prey at night. The exhibit included several species of big cats that I had recently photographed at Panther Ridge Conservation Center. I was asked specifically for some shots of ocelots. I had frequented Panther Ridge several times and had some great shots of Cody, Macho Man and Delilah.

Today I received these images via email depicting where my photos appeared in the exhibit. Aside from being presented on the wall of the exhibit, additional photos I sent are included in the interactive displays also depicted below. If anyone visits the zoo and would like to send me additional photos I would love it!

 

A trip to Butterfly World

I recently went with a South Florida Photographers meetup group to Butterfly World. I have been there several times before and was still amazed at all the facility has to provide. The one thing that always bugged me about Butterfly World is the people. You can imagine that this would seem a great place to bring kids, but with kids comes strollers. Photographers are not allowed to bring in tripods or monopods (a one legged tripod for supporting your camera), but stroller cause the same “blockage” as a monopod would.

While I stand there waiting for a butterfly to open, and spread its wings, I get slammed in the ankle by a stroller. So now I have to move, reposition my shot and hope the butterfly does not fly away.

It really is the only negative thing about the attraction and I wish they offered some kind of early entrance for people willing to pay a little extra to be “alone”.

Below are some photos I took during my visit.

For more information visit their web site at www.butterflyworld.com

Donating Time

As I stated in my last post, I have been donating my time to Panther Ridge Conservation Center as a host to many photographer meetups through Meetup.com. This past weekend we completed our 4th meetup, and there are 5 more scheduled.

Besides saving photographers from the claws and jaws of big cats (just kidding), I have also been working on a new web site for Panther Ridge, and a series of adoption kits.

I am gathering “materials” for the adoption kits at this time, but its a tough journey since I really have a very, very limited budget. When dealing with a non-profit, its imperative to keep costs at a minimum.

Side note, and shameless plug : If you know any person, or corporation that would be willing to help out to cover the costs of some of the adoption kit items, please let me know.  Also, corporations can sponsor an animal. Who wouldn’t want to sponsor an ocelot named “Macho Man!”

I’ve really enjoyed working on this project, helping out Panther Ridge, and meeting some incredible people who share my love of nature and wildlife.

Meetup.com and Panther Ridge

Those who know me know that I love photography, and nature. Recently I’ve been doing some volunteer work for Panther Ridge Conservation Center. They are a big cat conservation center in Wellington, Florida. I am currently helping them create adoption packets, and a new web site, along with a line of really cool t-shirts. All these items are to help them raise money to treat and care for exotic cats that needed a home.

I also belong to the South Florida Nature and Wildlife Photography group on Meetup.com. So, I arranged for group photo tours for 4 sundays in a row. Each group consists of 10 photographers, and we get a tour and some awesome photo opportunities. Judy Berens, the owner and operator of Panther Ridge, gives the tour and provides us with not only spectacular subjects, but also history, and a plethora of information about each species.

Here are some photos I’ve taken over the past 2 weeks. Looking forward to more big cat encounters!

Home to the sea

Yesterday my wife and I had the opportunity to watch three loggerhead sea turtles return to the sea. I’ve blogged before about the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. After all, that’s where I met Eartha and was inspired to write my children’s book. The gathering crowd was much bigger than previous releases. It looked like they called in every volunteer just for crowd control. So how do you get three loggerhead sea turtles to the beach, via turtle ambulance of course.

One by one each sea turtle was place on “turtle” stretchers and brought down the the beach. Rudolph was the first to go. Rudolph was admitted to the LMC after an encounter with a shark. There were lacerations on his flippers, and the flat part of his shell, from the sharks teeth. The volunteers placed him on the beach and he began his “walk” to the beach. Once in the water, Rudolph had a change of heart, he started heading back inland. According to one of the employees I spoke to later that day, their last meal was lobster. I don’t know about you, but lobster by room service sure beats having to hunt for your own food. I think Rudolph was thinking the same thing. Members of the LMC staff quickly helped Rudolph regain direction and he was out to the sea, after surfing a few waves first.

Next up was Lennon. I don’t recall what Lennon was admitted for, so if you do know, please leave a comment. Unlike Rudolph, Lennon couldn’t wait to get back to the sea. He  scootched his way down the beach and right into the water.

Morgan was the big dude. He was brought down to the beach on a cart pulled by an ATV. With all the spectators, it looked more like a parade float than a turtle release. Morgan was carried down to the water by two staff members. Like his friend Rudolph, he was a bit reluctant to head out to the sea (Note to the LMC, don’t give them lobster during the last day of rehabilitation.) After a struggle with a wave or two, he was off.

During each release I noticed a lot of people shouting toward volunteers to “move”, “sit down” or “get out of the way.” People need to realize this is their job. This is what they do. The event is not a show, or a theme park attraction. This is life. This is people dedicating their time to a cause they believe in. If a person cannot respect the fact that this is the way it is, then leave and go to a theme park.

Not everyone was displeased with the event. After each release the crowds cheered and applauded. It was hard not to. You could look in the eyes of the staff members and volunteers and know that those magnificent sea turtles touched their hearts. I can relate to that feeling with Eartha. I have a large 16 x 20 photo of her on my wall and I find myself asking, “I wonder where you are now. ”

How I spent my birthday.

The Life, Universe and Everything. Those of you fans of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know the answer to that, 42. Forty two just happens to be how old I am. For my birthday I woke up early (But Dan, it’s your birthday shouldn’t you sleep late? ~Settle down, let me tell the story~) I drove 250 miles north to Ocala. (But Dan, it’s your birthday? ~ I said settle down!~)

Okay, enough interuptions from my psyche.

Cindy and I drove to the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala, Florida, and there we met some amazing people, and some amazing animals. Greeted by Winston and Lilly, two farm dogs, we approached the sanctuary and were met my Logan, one of the care takers of the residence of KSS. Read more »

Hey Dan, How was Vegas?

Okay, first, Vegas was awesome. I had a great time with my brother and brother-in-law. The helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon was fantastic, and I DID walk out on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The down side, when I got home, I had a sinus infection, and as I write this is may be turning into bronchitis.

We stayed at the New York, New York resort which was great except for the check-in problems. Also, if you ever plan on staying there, just keep in mind that there is a roller coaster that goes around the entire resort … day, and night.

The Haulapai Native Americans were extremely friendly during the Grand Canyon tour. You can see they are still working on developing the entire Skywalk area. They are planning a restaurant with a view, and a museum.

Me at the Grand CanyonThe Sundance Helicopter tour was great, but it was a bit cramped in the helicopter. We took off from the helipad, and flew over the Hoover dam and then down to the edge of the Colorado River. (Note: our pilot said we were going about 140 MPH). We then exited the helicopter and took a short trip down the Colorado on a pontoon boat. The boat captain then shut off the engine and let us drift back to where the helicopter was. It was extremely peaceful and serene.

From there we took off toward an area called the Terminal, where helicopters and airplanes converge on a bus terminal. The buses take you to the Skywalk and other viewing areas.  The views were spectacular, and I took tons of photos (to come later).

The entire tour, which I will detail later with photos, was amazing. If you have the opportunity to do it, I recommend it.

The Vegas strip is like a cattle run. There are so many people its almost impossible to walk, especially during outdoor shows like the Bellagio fountains, the Mirage Volcano, and the Treasure Island “Sirens of the TI” shows. Night time doesn’t exist with all the outdoor lighting and TV screens. Anywhere they can plaster an “ad” for a performer or show, they do. There are even billboard trucks that go up and down the strip, only adding to the congestion of taxis.

From the look of it, Vegas went from a gambling town, to trying to be a family vacation destination, and now seems to be trying to get away from the “family” part. The last time I was in Vegas was 1990, and the one thing I remembered is that you had no idea what time it was. Now, with all the shows, and restaurants and other entertainment, everyone is on a schedule. I think this is hurting the “casino” business.

Every resort has a mall, and a crap-load of restaurants, oh, and at least one Starbucks.

I’ll write more once I feel better and have time to go through all the photos.