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Apr 10, 2014

It's Zoo Season and Four Months to Go

After another prolonged winter, and slower melt than I would like to see, I finally had the opportunity to go to the zoo for some photos and more real-life exercise than what I get at the track. Unfortunately, there were still many piles of ice that were just soft enough that I could not wheel through or over them. Where the snow had been cleared in the winter there was heavy machinery for annual tree trimming. Because of that I really only got a few photos of the bears, a few of the lynx on the new platform in their habitat, and some decent opportunities to photograph some geese.

 Being prior to their hissy-fit stage, which occurs when the babies arrive, this one was kind enough to waddle up on top of a snow mound which provided me a much more interesting background than I normally can get from my seated position. There wasn't much I could do about the seeds and sand on its beak.

Normally I think more of geese with a goofy expression like the one pictured above, or steaming on a platter accompanied by mashed potatoes. But, when they are friendly and easy-going I like them a lot more.

It was interesting to watch the geese walking and stomping on the ice trying to break it up. They had made a few holes for swimming in but I doubt there was much in there to eat, yet. I'm sure that after yesterday's wind and tomorrow evening's rain it will advance the melt a lot quicker.

What was more interesting to me was watching them walk and fall through the snow banks that are still around. A video posted by The Camera Store TV today had some B roll of exactly that, a goose walking on snow and breaking through up to its belly. I guess Calgary isn't that much more melted than we are.

Lastly, before I decided I had seen all that I was able to get to for the day, were the lynx. Their new platform gives them both a better view out and visitors a better view of them. With the snow receding I should be able to get a better angle, with less fence in the foreground (but the red branches of the red bush against the fence were intentional). Early mornings will be the best time to find the cats sitting up there looking out.

But, the biggest news is of course that Angie is due in a mere four months. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that but feeling our baby kick for the first time the other night brought me one step closer to it sinking in to my brain. We will continue with the regular series of photos and post a new composite periodically.

For those interested in the technicals of the above photos, it varies from each session to session, but the location is the same (hence the entertainment center in our snug living room creeping into the bottom left corner of each frame) and the light sources, though the power may vary from one to the other, are the same each time. The key light on camera left is a 90 cm soft box with the equivalent of a one quarter cut of CTO, the fill on the right is a small Pringles-can strip light with a one half cut of CTO, and one hair light at rear camera right with a full cut of CTO and a 20° grid spot. For each I was at about 90mm, shooting between f/4.5 and f/5.6, ISO 200, no ambient influencing the photo.

I don't know if I've ever received so many "shares" or "likes" on Facebook and I'm appreciative of how much people enjoy the photos. However, I have a feeling nagging in the back of my mind. I am almost as passionate and dedicated to Challenging Reality, and have been posting photos there for over a year, pouring much effort, emotion, time and money into that, trying to express how much it means to me to those who view it, but cannot seem to get the word out the way I am hoping to. So, next time you take a look at that site or see a post on Facebook, could you remember how much it means to me and take the time to share it, or even create your own new post linking to the site or article.

Thank you.