Photography . . . Travel . . .

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scripps - Stephen Birch Aquarium - San Diego

Heather and I went to the Stephen Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UCSD this afternoon. It's always a fun place to wander around for an hour or so. Here are a few pictures from this afternoon.

The jellyfish and the moray eels are two of my favorites to watch. They're also some of the toughest to get good shots of. I think I got lucky today.

I found this colorful little fish in one of the tropical tanks.

Most people seem to walk right past the sand eels. I think they glance into the tank, don't see any fish swimming around, and just keep going.

This was in one of the local waters tanks. Heather spotted it, and said she thought it was pretty cool looking, but neither of us remembered to write down just what it was.

Scripps has a great collection of seahorses, all sorts of varieties including the kind you generally think of, like this one . . . 

. . . and then there are the leafy sea dragons - which look like something from Dr. Seuss.

Click here to see a few more images from our afternoon at the Stephen Birch Aquarium.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Great Saturday at the San Diego Zoo

Bullet the Fishing Cat was alternating between sitting up high on a ledge watching people and cruising around his habitat this morning. He's pretty good at making use of cover.

When I first arrived at the Malayan Tigers they were all in a jumble, and to most people it looked like they were all sound asleep. But with a closer look you can see that mom Mek was keeping a close eye on all the people while her sons napped.

After a while the little guys wandered down towards the pool at the uppermost viewing area. There were so many people in front of me I couldn't see quite what was going on - but something certainly was happening.

I finally got a good look at the Red Panda, but the mid-day sun makes for some pretty harsh lighting.

This guy has some serious tusks.

The Grevy's Zebras were eating when I first got to them.

After a bit they decided it was time for a roll in the dirt.

I stopped in at the Gorillas briefly, but between the glare on the glass and all the people it's tough to get a decent shot.

I'll finish up this group with my usual last shot - the Crested Screamers. These guys are often my last stop on a day at the Zoo - partly out of convenience and partly because they are just such cool birds to watch. They live with the Flamingos in the large pool right by the entrance and exit. I generally stop at one of the benches there to put away my camera before heading out to the car.

It looks like this is my 200th blog post . . . I'm not sure if that really means anything, but it sounds like a lot.

Click here to see more images from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Evening Walk Around Little Italy San Diego

On Tuesday night I met up with a couple of friends from San Diego dSLR for a little "photo walk" around San Diego's Little Italy. We wandered around shooting pictures and checking out the various restaurants in anticipation of dinner.

This time of year there are lots of fall and Halloween themed decorations out. The weather was mild, and there were plenty of people out and about.

After dinner we stopped in to my favorite gelato (Italian ice cream) place - Pappalecco, located on the corner of Cedar and State Streets.

What would a walk around any Little Italy be without an Italian market - complete with a big pile of bacalla (salted codfish). (The weird red glare is because I shot this through a window with a big red neon sign in it.)

Click here if you would like to see a few more images from our walk around San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

San Diego Zoo - Saturday, Oct 22, 2011

Lions . . . and tigers . . . and bears . . . well, okay not bears, but I did see a bearcat. Otherwise known as a binturong. And, not really a bear or a cat - but they are cool looking, even when they're asleep.

The lions were both sleeping as well. Here's Etosha, taking a late-afternoon nap. Every now and then she would open one eye just a bit. Check the link at the end of this post to see a picture of the large male lion M'bari, or at least the little bit of him that I could see.

Keeping with the napping theme, here's Danai, one of the adult female Malayan Tigers. I wound up staying almost all day, and found her on my way up Tiger River at about 5:30pm. It was actually a lot darker there than it looks in this shot.

One guy who was definitely not napping was Guapo the male Jaguar. He was pacing back and forth like an expectant father - which from what I've heard is exactly what he is. His girlfriend Nindiri is due to give birth any day now. There are a few more pictures of Guapo at the link below. He's a bit blurry looking through the dirty glass, but you get the idea.

Late in the afternoon is a great time to see the hippos. When I got to the Zoo early in the morning, mom Funani and son Adhama were just hanging out by the glass, not moving, and I didn't even try to get past the crowds to get close. By the end of the day they were out cruising around their pool.

I caught these two Grevy's Zebras when they stuck their heads up from the feed trough.

At one point I stumbled on to a duck feeding frenzy.

The light was really nice all day. There was a bit of fog in the air which diffused the sunlight nicely. All of the shots above were taken in the late afternoon. The next few were taken earlier in the day, starting with this Flamingo shortly after I arrived.

I spent the first 4 hours or so of the day just hanging out with the Malayan Tiger cubs and their mother. As usual, the cubs alternated between lounging around . . . 

 . . . chasing each other around . . .

. . . and sometimes really annoying their mother.

I thought last weekend was going to be the last time I would get to see Miri the Fishing Cat. It turns out she's now leaving for her new home this coming week, and she was out all day on Saturday. I guess "out" is a relative term with fishing cats - they don't seem to like just sitting around out in the open. They usually seem to be hiding someplace where they can watch but not be easily seen. When they are out in the open they're generally moving pretty quickly.

I must have spent over an hour at her little habitat on Saturday, but it was worth it. She really is a photogenic cat - when you can see her.

Here's one last shot, and appropriately one of the last shots I got before leaving for the day. The Crested Screamers that live at the big Flamingo pool near the Zoo entrance were chasing other birds away from their nests.

Click here to see more images from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, October 22, 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some San Diego Zoo Images From This Weekend

It seems like I spent most of this weekend at the San Diego Zoo, and most of that at the Malayan Tigers. I'm not quite sure why, but I find it quite relaxing wandering around the Zoo taking pictures. I'll often spend an hour or two in one place, especially with the tigers, waiting for something good to happen. I rarely try to cover the whole Zoo, unless I'm showing an out-of-town guest around, but instead concentrate on just a few animals.

Christopher and Conner were sitting way up in the back of the habitat on Saturday morning, just watching the people walk by. Many of them didn't even notice the little beasties were there at first.

The little guys wrestled around with each other a bit, played with Mom for a bit, and finally came towards the front when the keeper showed up with some food for them. Here's Christopher watching intently.

Bullet the Fishing Cat was out and wandering around looking for bits of food the keeper had placed around his habitat.

The Malayan Tapir was in her usual morning spot. She doesn't move a whole lot during the day (since tapirs are nocturnal). Evenings in the summer are best time to see her up and about.

I got there a little earlier on Sunday morning than I did on Saturday. It was still a little overcast, which meant some great light on the Flamingos.

Christopher, Conner and their mom, Mek, were all three napping in the little alcove next to the pond at the uppermost viewing area. It's pretty dark in there, but I managed to get a few shots. I had to get down on the ground to get eye level with them. He was almost too close for my lens to focus.

Mom was sitting furthest back in the cave, watching - both the cubs and the people. I certainly don't know this cat all that well, but I have a feeling that look on her face is the "I wonder just how many of these people I can eat in one sitting?" look. 

After a while they wandered up the hill, and then all 3 started chasing each other around. More accurately, I think it was Mek chasing the cubs around.

When the keeper showed up with some beef heart they changed their attention from each other to the tasty snacks. Here's a shot of Conner this time.

On my way out I stopped to see if the Johnston's Crocodiles were in a good spot. I watched the darker one for quite a while, and then the lighter one crawled over and lined up behind him. The glass is really dirty, and there's a lot of glare and reflection on it, but these guys are fun to watch regardless.

Here's one last shot, a young Mandrill.

Click here to see more images from Saturday and Sunday, October 15 & 16, 2011, at the San Diego Zoo, including a couple close up shots of Mek that you would not ordinarily see, and a lot more of the 3 tigers wrestling around together.

About Me

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.