Photography . . . Travel . . .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Things That Live on the Bookshelf - And A Bit of Sicilian History Too

Continuing on from the earlier post, here are few more things that live on our bookshelves.

These 2 little Kachinas have been in Heather's family a long time - they belonged to her grandmother.

My younger brother works for the Montana Highway Patrol.  

We found the next one, a bear with a fish, while on a trip to Montana a few years back.

Several years ago I was involved in the construction financing for the Hyatt Regency Resort in Huntington Beach, California. This model of an old Woody was one of the mementos of that project.

The problem with having a lot of stuff is that after a while you forget where some of it came from. We think this next one was from a trip to New Mexico about 18 years ago. Or, like the one after it (a replica of a find at an Italian archeological site), it could have come from a museum store.

The next few came from trips to Italy.  I've had this little Leaning Tower of Pisa on my bookshelf for over 32 years. I got it during a quick trip to Pisa one afternoon while I was attending school in Florence, in 1980.

Our cousins bought this for us in one of the seaside towns in Sicily, in 2006.

We brought a couple of interesting things back from our 2006 trip to Italy. That trip included a visit to the town of Salaparuta, Sicily, where my father was born.  The original town was completely destroyed by an earthquake in January of 1968.  The ruins were left in place, and the town was later rebuilt in a different location.  This next object may seem a bit odd to some - it's chunks of marble from the floor of the ruined church where my father was baptized. 

Construction of the Sicilian Baroque church, dedicated to Santa Caterina de Alessandria, was started in 1610 and completed in 1762.  Previous churches on the hilltop site date back to the 12th Century.  Here's a shot of the front steps of the church.

Here's a shot of what was the interior.  You can still see the two-tone marble floor.  Even in ruins this was an impressive building, all the more so when you consider how small the town was.  I doubt there were more than 2,500 inhabitants in Salaparuta at its height, and today it's probably more like 1,500, if that. 

You can click here to see some galleries with more images from our 2006 trip to Italy.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Little Jaguar Cubs and (Not So Little Anymore) Tiger Cubs - San Diego Zoo

Anyone who's been following this blog for any length of time can probably figure out where this is going to lead.

First stop, the Jaguars.

I spent a few hours on Saturday morning at the San Diego Zoo. The first couple of hours were spent hanging out with the Jaguars. Not long after I arrived the keeper put out a fresh femur bone, brought in Guapo the male, and put out the cubs and their mother. The cubs got to spend a fair amount of time gnawing on it - after their mother first dragged it up to the a little cave.

There was also some time to play in the trees.

Nindiri, the mother, decided she needed a drink from the pool. The light on Saturday was a combination of very hot, bright sun and strong shadows. You can really get a feel for how these cat's camouflage works when you see them in this sort of harsh light. 

After a brief stop to check out the lioness, and an even briefer stop to see what the polar bears were up to (nothing - just napping in the heat) I headed over to see the Malayan tigers.

Along the way I found this egret up in a tree.

When I first arrived at the Malayan Tiger enclosure nothing was happening. I hung out for a while, chatting with a couple of other photographers, and after a bit Christopher, one of the now about-a-year-and-a-half-old cubs came down the hillside. One of the keepers told me that they are still technically cubs until about 2 years old. These guys are as big or bigger than their mother, and have been separated from her for little while now. It's hard to believe they're the same little cats I first saw not much over a year ago.

I have to say, Christopher and Connor are certainly 2 very photogenic big cats. I think they know it too - Christopher does seem to enjoy having his picture taken.

After a while his brother Connor wandered down the hill to see what was going on. In these pictures you can clearly see how to tell them apart. The marking over the right eye is unique on each tiger. Christopher's is a sort of connected triangle, while Connor's has a little gap at the top.

Connor decided it would be fun to bat around this big ball that is hanging on the end of a chain from one of the trees. He got it going back and forth pretty well, for quite a while too. Unfortunately I've not yet figured out how to use the video feature on my camera, and even if I had, my lens was probably a bit too long anyway. But it was a lot of fun to watch. Judging by the way he was hitting it, I think that ball is fairly heavy.

After he got bored with the swinging ball he decided to head down towards the stream and pond to munch on some plants.

Christopher, meanwhile, found himself a shady spot under a rock ledge. It was pretty hot out there on Saturday. I think he had the right idea.

By the way, that sign in the first picture actually points the way to Cat Canyon, where the Amur Leopards, Snow Leopards, Mountain Lion and a few other big cats live. The Jaguars and Tigers are in other parts of the Zoo. Call it artistic license.

Click here to see more images from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, August 18, 2012, including more of the baby Jaguars, the Malayan Tigers, the Lioness, and a couple of Dow, the female Fishing Cat.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

San Diego Maritime Museum and Waterfront - San Diego dSLR Monthly Group Shoot

For our August monthly "group shoot" on Saturday we met in front of the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. After taking a group photo we all wandered off in different directions, basically just spending a few hours around the waterfront and Embarcadero area, and then met back up for lunch afterwards. I joined a few friends and we went on board the various boats at the Museum. 

That's the periscope of the submarine USS Dolphin. Commissioned in 1968, it was used primarily as a research vessel, and still holds the record for the world's deepest dive. Here's the view through that periscope.

The angle of view here does look a little strange, since the steam yacht Medea is right behind the submarine, which is also sitting on the surface, and the raised periscope of the USS Dolphin is much taller than the Medea.

For comparison, this shot of the USS Ronald Reagan, as seen through the periscope of the Maritime Museum's Russian B-39 submarine, looks a lot more like what you might expect to see. I took this in May of 2010. You can see more images from that visit here. For some reason the periscope on the Russian sub is pointed downwards a bit right now, and on Saturday you could barely see the aircraft carrier that it is pointed at across San Diego Bay.

The 139' foot schooner America is a replica of the first boat to win the America's Cup trophy.

In addition to the US submarine, they also have a Russian sub.

Here's the forward torpedo room of the Russian diesel-electric B-39 submarine.

Afterwards we gathered for lunch.

The fish and chips at Elephant & Castle, an English-style pub at the Holiday Inn San Diego, are quite good.

Click here to see a few more images from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and along the San Diego Bay waterfront, from Saturday, August 11, 2012.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Morning at the San Diego Zoo - Jaguars and Tigers (and more)

Brothers . . . .

Christopher and Conner, the Malayan Tiger cubs born last April at the San Diego Zoo, are now as big as (or maybe even bigger than) their mother. They were napping up in a far corner of their enclosure when I got there this morning - Christopher has his arm around his brother.

Later in the day, as I was leaving, I ran into one of the tiger keepers, who just happened to have a plate full of cut up beef heart, on her way to give the little beasties an afternoon snack. Of course I had to go back to watch. She only had to call their names once to get their full attention.

This next shot is blurry, but you can see the piece of meat in the air just in front of Christopher.

Earlier in the day I stopped in to see how the baby Jaguars were doing. They're getting bigger.

Here's kind of a different view of a mother jaguar (Nindiri) and one of her cubs.

The jaguar cubs were taking turns chewing on a fresh rabbit, but not really getting very far in terms of actually eating it. More like just chewing and dragging it around. Eventually their mother got it back from them - it was supposed to be her's in the first place - and ate it. Since not everyone might want to see those pictures, you'll have to click on the link to the gallery at the end of this post if you want to see them.

In the meantime, here are a few shots of Nindiri, the cubs' mother.

I really don't think you would want to run into this out in the jungle.

Here's are a couple of bird images - just to end up with something different today.

Click here to see more images from this morning at the San Diego Zoo.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Things That Live on the Bookshelf

I'm sure I'm not the only one who keeps little trinkets and things picked up along the way on my bookshelf. Here are a few images I shot earlier today. Maybe I'll start a theme going and continue this with future posts - I certainly have enough subject matter to last a while. When I can remember where something came from, I'll label it. Some of this stuff I've had so long I can't remember.

I think I found this first one at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard (Seattle).

The netsuke of a cat wearing a kimono came from the bookstore at the San Diego Museum of Art.

I had a close-up shot of just the lion netsuke, but it looks funny because I didn't notice a piece of lint on his head - but my macro lens didn't miss it, so this will have to do.

(All shot with a Pentax K-5 and Pentax DA35 Limited Macro lens, using Live View and a sturdy tripod. Minimal processing in Aperture.)

About Me

My photo
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.

Blog Archive


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.