“Let’s go pet the babies! They’re so cute & sweet!” we thought. Even though we were intimidated by the thought of petting the adult tigers at the Tiger Kingdom, our group was excited to see the cubs. What we didn’t think about, however, was that the adults were trained – cubs aren’t!
When we walked into the enclosure, three cubs were sleeping. Cute. Two others were awake and wrestling, with little squeaks and roars (sort-of) as they tried to pounce and pin each other. Epi-cute. Suddenly, one of them noticed us and decided he wanted a better challenge. With a tiny growl, he started stalking towards us. The trainer shooed him off and distracted him easily, but it was a little unnerving. They are still wild, after all.
We went to hold one of the cubs that was sleeping, and he didn’t seem to mind too much, besides a few big yawns. He had huge paws for such a tiny critter, and I was surprised to feel how coarse his fur was. I expected tiger cubs to be soft! The little guy was pretty well-behaved, except for when he decided to get a taste of my friend’s shirt and started licking him. That’s a big no-no here, as the trainers don’t want the tigers to develop a taste for people. So we had to distract the cub and get him to stop licking. Pretty soon, he joined the other cubs in the wrestling match, and our group moved on to see the bigger cats. That was a different experience than I expected, but still fun!
When were you surprised by an experience that wasn’t exactly what you expected?
“Is that a purple crab?” my friend asked, looking over our balcony. Sure enough, a solid purple crab was clinging to the side of the building near the water. Indonesia is one of several countries that sports these colorful critters. The babies (pictured above) start with some orange on them as well before they turn all purple. So it made me wonder, what other fun animal species can I find around the world that would deserve a second glance?
The Mexican axoloxl salamander (Wooper Rooper) is so weird it’s kind of cute, so many people keep them as pets.
The aye-aye is a type of lemur from Madagascar.
If I ever met a star-nosed mole, I don’t know if I’d laugh of be creeped out. They live in Canada and the NE United States.
The leafy sea dragon lives up to its name by looking just like seaweed. Good luck telling it apart!
What can I say about the tapir? It’s just weird-looking, and inhabits jungles on three continents.
The dumbo octopus got its name due to the “ears” (fins) hanging off what looks like its head. Unlike Dumbo, however, it’s very tiny.
The frill-necked lizard looks like it came straight out of Jurassic Park, but it’s actually from Australia.
Here’s a blobfish. They pretty much look like their name, and they hang out in very deep water around Australia & Tasmania, so you probably won’t see one while taking a dip in the lake.
What’s the strangest animal you’ve ever seen?
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 7.1 • 1/160 sec
Hey all you photo enthusiasts! It’s a bonus photo lesson this month! Aren’t you excited?!?!? Previously, I shared about the Rule of Thirds and Framing. This week I would like to extend the lesson to Leading Lines, Active Space, and Simplicity.
Leading Lines are simply the way you use elements in the picture to draw people’s eyes to your subject. In my featured photo this week, notice how the tiger’s paw draws your eyes up to his face, then across to mine and my friend’s. Many people use roads, rivers, streams, bridges, branches, or fences as their lines. Anything can work! Straight, curved, or parallel lines are all good at promoting interest, and you can work them in horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Active Space is used when your subject is moving or looking off to one side of the frame. Most people’s minds automatically wonder what they are running toward or looking at. Therefore, the most effective photography often will leave extra space off that side of the photo, even if it’s just open field.
Simplicity is probably the easiest concept to understand, but can be difficult to photograph. The premise is: don’t put a bunch of stuff in your background that can distract you from the main subject. Sometimes this is done by the angle you take your shot, sometimes it is accomplished through creative use of aperture. A camera will flatten a 3D image down into a 2D photo, so things far behind your subject can instead look like they’re growing out of their heads, if you don’t pay attention. Remember: nothing should be in your photo that isn’t there on purpose.
Is there any photo topic or question you want me to cover in the future? Comment and let me know!
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 2.8 • 1/125 sec
The incidences of cultural drift have long fascinated me. I think I get to the point of understanding a phenomenon particular to one culture, and then discover the same thing traveling somewhere else! This little statue was no exception.
Years earlier, I was traveling in Okinawa & Japan, and I saw lots and lots of Shishi (also Shisa or “lion dog”), small statues that were placed on either side of building entrances, gates, homes, etc. Traditionally, the left one would have an open mouth, and the right would be closed. There are several theories as to why they are designed that way, the most prevalent being to let good spirits in and keep bad spirits out. They are mainly found in Buddhist or Confucian areas.
The Shishi were introduced to Japan through Korea from China back in the 14th century, and the Chinese likely got it from somewhere else, since lions are not native to that area. Each country has some mythological stories as to how the creatures arrived in their area, and each designs them a little bit differently. For example, in China, they look like lions. In Japan, more like a cross between a lion and a dog. This pair (only one pictured) I found at a retreat center in Thailand, and to me it looks more dog-like.
No matter what the design, they seem to be easily recognizable whenever I travel around Asia. I just don’t think they’re as cute as the Japanese money cat. 🙂
What cultural icon are you familiar with that did not originate in your own country?
Happy Thanksgiving! We’re taking a break this week to celebrate the holiday, so do the same and tell someone why you care!
What are you most thankful for this week?