Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reid Park Zoo

It seems that I'm trying to get all of my sight-seeing done before it gets too hot, or I hit the road again. Which ever comes first. People in Tucson take their kids to all of the places that I frequent for picture-taking. That's fine. I like to try and capture some of their facial expressions and antics, but I worry that the parents will find me suspicious. Not to worry; I haven't gotten any shots worthy of publication yet, but I'm working on it. As soon as I understand my new camera better, nothing will be safe or sacred. These parrots were extremely colorful and cooperative. It seemed as if everyone else was on go-go juice.

Mr. Anteater is a perfect example of one who wouldn't keep still. He had two other buddies; maybe it was a family. Their fur is so shimmery and brilliant. I wonder if they groom each other like monkeys do.

Mr. Hippo all but posed. Toward the end, he became bored and mostly showed me his butt. Unfortunately, I didn't include that picture. Ladies who worry about how big their behinds are should spend an afternoon at the zoo. I almost forgot his other most distinguishing feature: I really think he's proud of his snout. Perhaps, I should Google hippos, and gather some more information before my fertile mind goes off a cliff.

At first, I didn't even notice the lion, but then he picked up his head and allowed me to take his picture. Handsome fellow.

Ducks aren't any big deal, but, like birds, I never tire of them. I felt the swirling of the water in this shot was interesting.

Mr. Tapir was another guy who wouldn't be still. Would they be that restless in the wild? Just a thought.

I was slightly in love with Mr. Giraffe. Aren't I bad, assuming all these animals are guys? He was busy eating grass and leaves off the trees. Starting next month, the Desert Museum and, I think, the zoo also will have night events taking advantage of the coolness of the evening. Tomorrow evening, I'm doing a night walk at Sabino Canyon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tucson Botanical Gardens

In the heart of downtown Tucson, this site was originally a home, but then became a nursery. Then the owners took the 5 acres and embellished on the gardens and plantings that were there. This is some of what I enjoyed trying to capture in the moment.

Other than the pansy and the blooms on the cacti, I don't know the names of the other plants and flowers.

I have almost OD'd on saguaro blooms, but everyone seems to present a different photographic challenge, not to mention the fun of post-processing.

I had never seen an artichoke plant, so that was a treat.

I do know this is an amaryllis.

So in the Children's Garden, which I thoroughly enjoyed, there were some bird houses made out of strange things. To the lower left is a white cowboy boot made into a birdhouse. This is an upscale mansion with a corrugated roof. There were plenty of beautifully decorated gourds turned in bird residences.

This a bit of whimsy, perhaps out of Alice in Wonderland. It was a great time and I will no doubt go back in the fall.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cathy and Bob's Visit

These friends go back about eight years, and again, we always visit when we can and have a really great time. They pull their travel trailer back and forth from Greece, NY, outside of Rochester, to Wellton, AZ each year. That's where we became friends; we were next door neighbors and Bob's Italian was the clincher.  I took Bob to morning coffee here at the park, because that's his deal at Pioneer in Wellton. He really fit in and had a great conversation with the guys. Met someone from around Rochester, of all things. Rv people always find that it's a small world.

This gives you an idea of the saguaro cactus's role with Mother Nature in the Spring. She produces her beautiful flowers, and provides food and shelter for the birds and insects.

You can see how the birds make the holes for their nests. You can just barely see a cactus wren with his head sticking out. He's the state bird.

Desert Museum

When my friend Judy stopped to see me on her way East for her Dad's 91st birthday, we visited the Desert Museum. I became a yearly member, because I love to go out there and take pictures.They have added an aquarium. Does that make sense?  Borrowed from some popular phraseology!  One might think that strange being in the desert, but the Baja is only a few hours from here. One of my favorite places to go before it became unsafe. These are some pictures that I took before it reached 90.

An agave plume, huge and impressive!

Just another cactus bloom!

They had an enclosed bird area and the docents were especially proud of their hummingbirds, and how they helped them build their nests by providing them with spider webs.

I had never seen a yellow ocotillo bloom; I always thought they were orange.

Sometimes I get lucky with my shots.

And here's JUDY! We met in Utah about four years ago and have been friends ever since, trading visits in our travels. After this it was time for lunch at one of my favorite places in Green Valley, Los Agaves. If you caught our Facebook posts, you saw her chicken fajitas. Shared a great visit getting our exercise, counting calories and drinking wine. Thanks, Judy. Life doesn't get any better!

Sam Hughes Historic Neighborhood

A gentleman from the photography meet-up group told me about these neighborhoods scattered in the older sections of Tucson. We were going to do a joint shoot some time, but I haven't seen him at any of the meetings. One Sunday about a month ago, I heard about touring the homes. I got involved accidentally, so I wasn't really part of the tour. A few people in charge were very gracious and allowed me to wander through two or three and take pictures. The first place is actually a garage that was converted to a guest house that reminded me of an old motel room that was completely up-dated. The bathroom/pullman kitchen was the most interesting.

This is a wall grouping that I found particularly interesting, and I might try doing one of my own,

This was a little cabinet in the kitchen area. It seems more of a decoration than being functional.

This is such a clever idea. These succulents were planted in dirt and grew through the screen that is holding them in place. Then they placed the ornate frame around it. It was hanging on the patio wall: one of the most interesting things I saw all day.

It's a real live cactus even though it looks like velvet. I touched the bloom to assure myself that it was real. Same original, just two different renderings in Elements. I've since seen the same cactus elsewhere.

This is just to give you an idea of what most of the houses looked like. They were classed as bungalows, but since they are around sixty years old have had to be completely updated. The rest of my time was spent outside. Most houses had spectacular garden areas with big old trees for shade.

These trees just happen to be orange trees on the divider between the sidewalk and street.

The lady of the house is an artist and she painted all sorts of benches, walls, and other yard art in her garden. This is a real door, but she used it to frame her painting. Notice the tile around the window and flowers painted on the bench. The next time they offer a tour of one of these neighborhoods, I'm going to sign up and do it the right way. That probably won't happen until fall when it cools off.