I was lucky to be at the zoo watching the lions when this shot presented itself. This is the youngest, littlest of the new cubs. He let out a mighty roar that was so cute I couldn’t stop laughing. Fortunately I had the camera setup for continuous shooting so I caught the widest point in his roar. I give him an “A” for effort!
No matter how much time I spend on any single photograph I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as perfection. I can go back to a photo months later, have learned new trick or just having improved my skills and work on the same photo again.
Still, when asked to show my favorite shots I gravitate to certain pictures, ones I know are the closest thing to perfection for me. You always want to put your best foot forward which is why the “It’s good enough” mentality of some cellphone photographers irritates me. The same folks love to take “selfies”. LOL
So here I sit, in the wee hours of the morning, revisiting some of those favorite photographs looking for ways to improve them. I may zoom way in and remove dust specks, noise, stray hairs or feathers, whatever! Then I compare the before and after to see if I’ve gone too far, making the edit look artificial. If so, I trash the edit and move on. It is a labor of love after all!
I’m still going back to my archives adding shake reduction to some of my favorite zoo pictures. It does make a difference to the final image, elevating the sharpness another notch without overdoing it. It’s an amazing new feature in Photoshop CC 2015 that has become indispensable. By the way, Kia is the oldest Amur Leopard in the world. Soon to be 21 in October she doesn’t look old to me. 🙂
How can I begin to say goodbye to all my family and friends pictured below? This collection is just a drop in the bucket when you start adding pictures of friends and acquaintances in stores, zoos and around me every day. They are part of our daily lives. There’s the young man that works at Trader Joe’s that always has a warm greeting and a smiling face or the lady that works at the Safeway Deli who always asks to see my latest zoo captures. The same can be said of my favorite waitress, hair stylist or pedicure specialist. They all made my life better with their conversations and smiles.
I’ve started saying my goodbyes but am still seeking out special people I’ve met the most like a couple that frequents the zoo who always tells me I’m an inspiration to them because I walk to help myself stay healthy in my senior years. I don’t have pictures of any of these folks, yet they’re important to me. I’ve got one more month left in Oregon to capture some of their pictures. Time to start carrying my camera with me everywhere with that in mind. 🙂
Looking back on my collection of lion cub photos I was reminded just how short a time they remain babies. Since we were blessed with two sets of cubs a year apart I got to witness the process twice. The cubs are so cute, so playful in their first 6 months on this earth! They romp and stalk each other in mock battle but then you’ll see them using each other as a pillow to take naps. In the process of learning how to become a fierce lion they learn how to snarl, roar and listen to mama. I’ll have a lot to share with the people I’ll meet in the Boston area zoos soon enough. These are treasured shots that will remain in my collection as I reach out to a new community, new zoos to capture.
Mother Nature put on quite a show Friday night and Saturday.. There were thunderstorms and rain combined with 45 mph winds tearing up the trees that hadn’t seen rain in 4-5 months. I got up in the middle of the night during the storm that briefly interrupted our power. The Northwest is famous for its wind storms particularly in the Portland valley and the Columbia River Gorge. Winds over 100mph are commonplace. There were downed trees everywhere. It felt like a taste of Fall with green leaf debris collecting on our front entrance slab. The swirling winds deposit piles of leaves there in Autumn and Winter.
We didn’t get nearly enough rain, in my opinion, during the past 48 hours but there was a marked drop in temperatures from the onslaught of 90 degree days we’ve had this Summer. Hopefully we’ll stay in the low 70s for a few more days. The winds are dying down already so the cleanup process will begin. I fear Eastern Oregon didn’t get nearly enough rain to put out the fires still burning there. I didn’t hear any reports from Washington on their terrible fires.
Still, we can hope this weekend was a harbinger of favorable changes coming. I, for one, love the rainy season we have here. It’s so peaceful hearing the slow rain coming down on a bed of fallen leaves. Now that’s a sound you could record and use as white noise for great sleeping.
I read complaints from amateur photographers all the time about their lack of inspiration. They whine about not having anything to photograph. I’m a strong believer that if you start with your own environment and work outward you’ll never run out of material. Start with the big stuff like your backyard.
It seems like a lifetime since I did the “Frameable Keeper” series of pictures around my home at Rock Creek Apartments. It’s a beautiful place with leafy trees that change to postcard material in the Autumn. There were canals and ponds all over the huge complex that had dozens of Mallard ducks that lived their year round. We even had a resident family of Canadian geese that gave birth to goslings year after year. I lived there 4 years and never got tired of my backyard.
I even enjoyed my tiny balcony there. I made it home by planting flowers that I photographed from the day they popped out of their potting soil. I gave progress reports on their miraculous growth. Nature is amazing and always a good source of photographs.
So the photo below is a fond memory of my backyard from a few years ago. When a greedy outside investment company bought out the complex it was a sign things were changing, and not for the better. I could tell because the first thing they did was fire all the folks that worked in the management office a week before Christmas. I try not to think about the Godless people whose only God is money.