Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 7.1 • 1/640 sec
“Nice kitty… good kitty… just don’t take my arm off, kitty.”
It amazes me to see full-grown lions and tigers acting like housecats, but they are related, after all! When they have spent their whole life around kind people, they also can learn “humans are friends, not food.” It still is wise to treat them with respect, as they will still play like cats and don’t realize their own strength.
So it was pretty funny in my mind to see this young lion (probably less than a year old, since his mane hadn’t grown in yet). He was just chillin’ on a rock in his pen, when one of the trainers walked by who obviously knew him well. When called, the lion jumped up, ran up to the fence, and started purring and rubbing his face on it just like an overaffectionate kitty. In return, he got his desired scritch behind the ears.
It kind of reminds me of an old video I saw once, of a guy with a lionness & cubs. A little kindness can go a long way!
Did you ever see a wild animal not acting like you expected?
“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?
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 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200 • f 3.5 • 1/1000 sec (both photos)
(Note: This panoramic was created by digitally stitching two photos together)
Everyone needs time to relax, and this globe-hopper is no exception! I took this photo at the Suan Bua Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, during a week of rest (and more exploration). While scenic pathways, Thai massage, and colorful butterflies & flowers are a good way to relax, Chiang Mai offers many more options for the more adventurous traveler.
Chiang Mai is the unofficial captial of northern Thailand, and a haven for Western tourists and retirees who want to visit somewhere with a temperate climate, good exchange rates, and lots of people who speak English. I had a tour guide who obviously loved her job, and she showed me some of the usual tourist destinations like the Tiger Kingdom, Maesa Elephant Camp, jungle zipline tours, a hill tribe trek, and a butterfly & orchid farm.
“The locals say you’ve not experienced Chiang Mai until you’ve seen the view from Doi Suthep, eaten a bowl of kao soi, and purchased an umbrella from Bo Sang,” claims one tourist site. When I was there, the locals talked about visiting the ruins of the old city wall and moat, shopping at the night bazaar, getting an authentic Thai massage, and checking out their most famous Buddhist temple, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. All of it sounds good to me! 😀
What is the most unique tourist site you’ve seen while traveling?
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?