Putting on a show

A white tiger at the 2013 Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, Colorado:

Putting on a show

Admittedly, white tigers are eye-catching, and maybe their presence at shows like this somehow supports or encourages conservation.  But the reality is that white tigers are Bengal tiger mutants not normally found in nature — and they’re only still around thanks to generations of human-induced inbreeding.  They are often used by zoos and other shows (most famously, Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas) to draw in visitors — but the breeding of white tigers has been banned by the American Zoological Association (AZA) since June of 2011.

Unwelcome visitor

This is a Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica), in case you’re unfamiliar with them — beautifully colored, with their iridescent shells offset against the flower petals’ colors.  But hell on roses (and grapes, and birch trees, and…).

Unwelcome visitor

Japanese beetles are apparently not a big problem in Japan — they have many predators that help keep their numbers under control.  But since their arrival in the U.S. early in the 20th century, they’ve been expanding their territory from their original “beachhead” in New Jersey.  Courtesy of the warming climate, they made it to Colorado a few years ago.  Luckily beetle traps are available via the internet, since local home and garden stores apparently haven’t taken notice of their arrival.  Yet.

Seen in the War Memorial Rose Garden; Littleton, Colorado.

Been places, seen things

I saw this on my most-recent trip to New Orleans, and just had to capture the scene:

Been places, seen things

This is one of the horses employed in pulling tourists around the French Quarter in carriages. I took this shot early (for NOLA) in the morning, which seems to be the best time of day for non-crowded street photography there. The sidewalks and streets have been washed, most visitors are sleeping off the previous night’s revelries, traffic hasn’t really started — a great time for a stroll.

At any rate, I still can’t decide if this is the horse’s “world weary” look, if he’s pondering the upcoming day’s work, or if he’s just lost in horsey daydreams of grassy fields and running free. In any event, a fitting subject for an environmental portrait…

Just waiting for breakfast to arrive

I spotted this little scene up in a tree at the Green Gulch Farm, near San Francisco, California:

Just waiting for breakfast to arrive

The spider didn’t seem to mind the soggy weather a bit. Should you find yourself in the San Francisco area (in particular, in Marin county), we’d highly recommend a stop at Green Gulch Farm. The people there are friendly, and it’s a wonderful quiet place for a stroll (even on a wet day)…

Bath toy

Grizzly bears are some really amazing creatures — smart enough to act a bit like humans, unpredictable enough to be hazardous. When we were in South Dakota earlier this Fall, one of the residents of “Bear Country, U.S.A.” was having a grand old time playing with a chunk of wood in his pond.

Bath toy diptych

It was almost like watching a kid play with their bath toy. A big, furry, lethal kid, that is. Should you like a closer look, I’ve included the two images making up the diptych below.

Bath toy 1

I was really happy with how these turned out, I don’t get much practice with splash photography — much less out in the real world (vs. in a more controlled setting).

Bath toy 2

Time for a quick snack…

There are times in life when you have to remember to stop and smell the roses. Or in this case, to pay attention to what your kid’s fixated on.

We were at the foot of Mount Rushmore, being fully impressed by the sculpture, when our little one started chatting away about a squirrel eating “a nut.” So after I broke free of my granite-inspired haze, I swapped to a long lens on my camera and zoomed in on the scene:

Time for a quick snack

Turns out it was a chipmunk, and it was eating a grasshopper. A nut would be tastier for us (my girl got disgusted when I told her what the main course really was), but the little guy seemed to be quite pleased with his insect meal…

Cubby hole

Just back from a Labor Day weekend road trip to South Dakota — here’s the first photographic fruit of our adventure:

Cubby hole

I saw this little red fox at “Bear Country U.S.A.,” just outside of Rapid City. He even picked a nice wooden “frame” for the image…

Iguanakeh

An iguana strikes a dramatic pose in the ruins of Tulúm, México:

Iguanakeh

The funny thing about this shot is that the iguana wasn’t nearly this well posed until somebody with a point-and-shoot camera intervened. I was working from a distance to get a good shot of the little critter, when the cruise-boat tourist started fiddling and fussing with his P&S, trying to get a head-on shot from about 3 feet away. He made such a sight that this little guy pivoted around to watch the show — lining up perfectly for a profile shot!

About the only time on our recent trip that I was grateful to see one of the cruisers…