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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Malayan Tigers - Christopher and Connor

When I left the house this morning I told Heather that my plan was to only stay at the Zoo for about an hour. All I wanted to do was get a few pictures of Christopher and Connor, the San Diego Zoo's 20-month old Malayan Tiger cubs, together before they ship Christopher off to his new home at the other side of the country. I almost didn't go at all, as it was raining for most of the drive down to the Zoo, and even for a bit while I was in the parking lot. Luckily that was the end of the rain, and it turned into a really nice day, and I wound up spending 3 full hours just hanging out with Christopher and Connor.

They weren't actually together very long, and since all I had with me was a long lens, they had to be right next to each other in order to get them both in the frame. Over the 3 hours that I was there they alternated between napping and playing - mostly napping, but when they got up it was worth the wait.

It's going to be sad to see Christopher leave, but I do realize that tigers are solitary animals and that in the wild they wouldn't stay together much longer than this anyway. Plus, I'm told that they have a girlfriend lined up for Christopher in Virginia, and that they'll be bringing in a girlfriend for Connor as well. Maybe we'll have some new cubs in San Diego soon.

After a while Connor trotted on down the hill to play with a new toy that the keepers had put out for them.

He seemed to like sneaking up on it from behind the big tree in the center of their habitat. He did that a couple of times while I was there.

It wasn't until after I got home and looked at this next shot on a large monitor that I realized what was written on the top of this big plastic thing that was swinging from a chain. I guess now that these 2 are as big as their mother it's probably okay.

Christopher mostly just stayed up at the top of the hill while his brother played around. He did come down occasionally though.

Even though they look full grown, one of the keepers told me that they're still technically cubs until about 2 years old.

Click here to see more images of Christopher and Connor, Malayan Tiger cubs at the San Diego Zoo, on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Great Day at the San Diego Zoo

Heather and I learned something new today - if a hippo turns it back towards you and starts swishing its tail from side to side - run! I've seen lions and tigers spray to mark territory, but nothing compares to what a hippo will do. I won't even apologize for not posting any pictures of the aftermath - believe me, you don't want to see (or smell) it.

We had the opportunity to join a friend who works at the Zoo on an informal behind-the-scenes walk this morning. I didn't get any useable pictures in the back areas of the tigers or hippos, but it was fun to see. And, I mostly got out of the way of the hippo in time - just a couple of tiny bits on my lens hood. Luckily nothing on the glass, or on us.

Our friend was one of the primary keepers for the Malayan Tigers, and the cubs Christopher and Conner recognize her voice. These were taken from the middle public viewing area. They came running down the hill as soon as they heard her call their names. Here's Conner.

Here's Christopher. You can tell them apart by the marking over their right eye.

We stopped off to see what the Jaguar cubs were up to - not much, it turns out.

We had an opportunity to feed the Giraffes. Here's Heather giving one of them a treat.

It's more difficult than you might think to get a picture of a Giraffe, they really don't stay still at all, especially when there is food involved.

We thought it might rain when we left the house this morning, but it turned into a beautiful Autumn day in San Diego. It was almost too warm.

Click here to see more pictures from our walk around the San Diego Zoo this morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Afternoon Walk Around The San Diego Zoo - Tigers and Jaguars (and Some Birds)

The stormy weather from Friday and early Saturday didn't last long, and by Sunday morning it was pretty nice in San Diego. Actually, Saturday was really nice too, just windy. I spent Sunday afternoon wandering around the San Diego Zoo, mostly hanging out at the Malayan Tigers and the Jaguars. I probably spent more time talking with friends I ran into along the way, and with new people I met, than I did actually taking pictures - but I don't view that as a bad thing.

Dow the Fishing Cat was out, but the light was harsh and the shadows deep.

I spent the first hour and a half or so at the Malayan Tigers. After a while Christopher and Connor, the two cubs walked around for a bit. They'll be 2 years old in April, and they're now at least as big, if not bigger, than their mother Mek.

They didn't stay out for long, here they are heading back up to the top of the hill (where it's hard to get a shot of them).

From the Malayan Tigers I headed over to see what the baby Jaguars were up to. I ran into M'bari, the big male Lion, on the way. 

The baby Jaguars are getting bigger. I've not seen them in a month. This is the longest stretch of time I've gone between visits to see them, and you can really see the change. One of the cubs was pretty agitated, and they were chasing each other, and their mother, all around the enclosure.

On my way back back over to the Tigers I found some cool Great Blue Herons and Egrets at the lower bird pool.

I got back to the Tigers just as the cubs were getting ready to go in for the evening. That meant that one of the other tigers was going to be out shortly.

After Christopher and Connor went in a keeper came out and scattered some meat around the exhibit, and a few minutes later (after the keeper was safely out of the way) out came Danai, the Zoo's 19-year old female Malayan Tiger.

Click here to see a few more pictures from the San Diego Zoo on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

La Jolla - San Diego DSLR Monthly Group Shoot - November 2012

This month we met in the village of La Jolla, and wandered along the coast for a few hours before grouping up for lunch. It was a beautiful morning, but quite windy. Too windy, it turns out. I started out the morning wearing one of my favorite hats, a waxed cotton Australian-style hat. At one point I was standing on the rocks along the shore, at a spot where it's about a 10 to 20-foot drop straight into the water, when a particularly strong gust of wind took my hat. My hat now sleeps with the fishes.

When we first got there we saw quite a few sea lions on the sand at the Children's Pool.

It rained last night, so we had nice clean air and some fluffy clouds this morning.

I've think that it's always a good idea to look up and down, as well as behind you, every once in a while when out sightseeing with a camera. Many people tend to look pretty much only where they're going, and often wind up missing quite a bit. That said, I'm not sure for just how many years I've been walking over this marker showing the location of the Rose Canyon earthquake fault that runs right through La Jolla and out to the sea - and never noticed it. The four friends I was with had never noticed it either, until I pointed it out this morning. So much for being observant.

I can always find something interesting at the La Valencia Hotel on Prospect Street.

On our way down to the Cave we stopped into the store that sells Venetian Carnival masks. These are actually made in Venice, Italy.

No trip to La Jolla is complete without a stop at the La Jolla Cave.

The entrance to the Cave is in the back of a little wooden building called the Shell Shop (because they sell seashells by the seashore). The 145 steps down to the wooden landing inside one of the sea caves was carved out of the rock over 100 years ago.

This tunnel and stairway is certainly not for the claustrophobic. Here's the view on the way back up. It can get pretty damp in there, with water seeping in from the rock above.

This sign at the entrance has been here a long time.

On our way back to our cars we stopped to watch some sea lions up on a rock. With the early afternoon sun at our backs, our shadows reminded me of the old TV show Mystery Science Theater. I wasn't carrying my long lenses, so no close-ups this time. 

Click here to see more images from our morning walk around La Jolla with the San Diego DSLR Photography Group. You can see everyone else's pictures at the club website.

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.