I was reminded today, as I so often am, how valuable our zoo volunteers are to our community. I admit I have been asked to join their ranks by staff and volunteers. I feel my time is better served, at this time, being the zoo’s biggest fan, biggest promoter and advocate for the work our zoo does for wildlife preservation and care. During the Halloween/Birthday party today countless hours were donated by these tireless folks that give up their time so that you can have a meaningful, fun time at your local zoo. This picture of one of the volunteers today pretty much sums it up.
This was a special day indeed. Not only was it Halloween today but Mikki & Nikki’s Birthday as well. In case you don’t know it Mikhail & Nicole are twin Amur Tigers at the Portland, Oregon Zoo. They had treats galore as their outside environment was royally decorated for the festivities.
Kids dressed in Halloween costumes were photographed by a young lady from Velour Photography, Jamie Wilkinson. Jamie had a mascot with her, a giant tiger to sit with the children as they were photographed. All in attendance played games that were made available by The Craft Factory at: CraftFactorypdx.com.
Kids lined up to have their picture taken sitting with the giant tiger. Some of the kids were so young they were scared to death of the giant animal until they warmed up to him. One little guy wouldn’t go near the tiger until given time to “high five” him first. Then he slowly inched closer until finally he was sitting on one side and his mom was on the other side of the smiling tiger. This whole episode took at least 15 minutes to play itself out. This whole birthday party/halloween party was put on by the zoo, The Craft Factory and the Portland Child Art Studio.
Zawadi Mundo is actually his full proper name. If you could see his photos when he first came to the Oregon Zoo you might just laugh. He was so young he didn’t have his mane yet and frankly looked rather pathetic. He certainly didn’t look like the majestic “King of the Jungle” much less like the proud new father of three female cubs. Look at him now!
I find it interesting how some plants will continue to grow berries late in the season. Maybe these are actually a form of seed pod rather than true berries. They certainly caught my attention as I walked the paths through the Oregon Zoo. The two different color berries against the dark green of the leaves and stems made for an interesting macro type shot.
I was about as far away from Gus, a newborn De Brazza monkey, as I could be when I took this photo yesterday. He was just sitting at the very entrance to his outside entrance to his habitat. That was a very dark area so with the heavy crop this isn’t the sharpest photo I’ve ever taken.
Still, after processing, I like the portrait enough to keep it. The expression and body english just capture a serene moment of introspective deep thought that I find appealing. He looks so very young, alone and vulnerable here.
I processed in two different ways, as a pure black & white and as a partial monochrome image. The color shift in the dark enclosure caused a blue cast picked up from the pad on the enclosure floor. I removed the cast and kept the blue pad in one version while removing all color in the second. You can see the color cast I spoke of in the back wall of the partial color version.
The zoo staff has been busy “baby proofing” the lions outside habitat lately. The pond has been drained and the waterfall turned off. Here’s the latest video with Neka and her three cubs exploring the outside. There is still no schedule for the public viewing of the cubs but the zoo is spontaneously allowing them out when conditions are right. I doubt I’ll be fortunate enough to catch them outside as I’m always there when the zoo opens at 9:00 a.m.. It’s been right at freezing at that time of the morning and doesn’t warm up to the 50s until 4-5 p.m..