I am starting to edit my backlog of images and found this white orchid that I took in January at The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. Orchids are appreciated anytime but in the dead of Winter when it is seven degrees they are even more beautiful.
When I think about large birds I think of condors, pelicans, eagles and the albatross. I forget about the ostrich. Yes it is a bird but it does not fly. Thank god! They can weigh up to 400 pounds and be up to 9 feet tall. Can you image a sky full of these?
They can also sprint at almost 45 miles per hour according to the National Geographic. They are weird but fun to watch. They have a strange gait and when they sprint they make your jaw drop. They share a large habitat in the Highland Park Zoo of Pittsburgh where this picture was taken.
As I posted earlier this week, “I was kind of nervous about seeing the Pittsburgh Zoo remembering the cages where animals would just pace. I remember the caged Gorillas would spit at the people and throw their scat at the crowds.”
Now the Gorilla Family ranges over a whole hillside and can be seen from multiple locations. I saw at least five gorillas included this guy who followed me with his eyes as we walked around the hill.
At the Pittsburgh Zoo in Highland Park I was struck about how fierce the Flamingos were when they squabbled. I was also struck at how little they looked like the plastic ones that adorn people’s lawns. I did not alter the color on this images but can honestly say I remembered Flamingos as being less vibrant in color. It may have something to do with what their diet is but I honestly don’t know. Maybe its because I had cataract surgery.
Our rediscovery of Pittsburgh continues as we ventured to the Highland Park Zoo for our first visit since the 1970’s. This is the Zoo we grew up with. We both remember walking up the ramps and steps before the giant escalator was built.
I kind of soured to Zoos as an adult. We took our daughter to zoos as a child but I ultimately would become depressed after seeing neurotic animal behavior from being in captivity. As adults we went to the San Diego Zoo and The San Antonio Zoo which are both world class in construction of animal habitats that are more nurturing to the captive animals.
I was kind of nervous about seeing the Pittsburgh Zoo remembering the cages where animals would just pace. I remember the caged Gorillas would spit at the people and throw their scat at the crowds. Who could blame them. However they have done wonders with this zoo and Pittsburgh can be proud of this space.
They still need to do some work on enlarging some of the habitats like the Sea Lion and Otter exhibits. However the new habitats and the Aquarium are really wonderful! For a small city Zoo it is worth the visit.
This is a baby gorilla in the new habitat for these animals. A far cry from the old smelly gages.
The U.S.Capitol is currently being renovated inside and out. They are working hard to have it ready for the inauguration next January. Too bad few inside the building are working at anything except making themselves richer and being errand boys for the lobbyists that own them. Sigh. Sorry, I really do try to keep politics off this blog.
The building is beautiful and so is its history. This is an HDR merge photo of the exterior front.
Washington D.C. has a lot of wonderful monuments. The Lincoln and Jefferson are fantastic and so are the newer monuments. However, The Washington Monument is our Eiffel Tower and iconic of our democracy. It is also fitting since George Washington was the father of our country. Not just because he was the first President.
People wanted George Washington to be King but he said we had just worked to overthrow a King and we didn’t need another. People wanted him to rule the country as a General but he resigned his commission and insisted that the Military and The Government had to be separate. Along with Jefferson and many others he developed our Constitution and resigned his Army commission to become our first President. In his final speech he warned us about political parties and oligarchy. Too bad we didn’t listen.
It all started with The Kids in the Hall, in the early 1990’s. The sketch comedy show started by Crushing the Heads of their bosses. The sketches were so funny they continued using faux photo perspective to crush everything. Everything is puny when you hold it between your fingers. So here is my lovely wife, crushing the sun! It looks puny and insignicicant between her fingers.
On our recent visit to The Nation’s Capitol we were given a personal tour of Congress by an aide to Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH). Our own Senator never answered our request and my great nephew arranged for the tour. I want to thank Mr. Tiberi’s office for arranging the tour on such short notice. I learned that if you want to visit go through your Representative or Senator rather than arrange a tour on your own.
There are many perks for doing this. Your group will be small, it was just myself and my wife. Your tour guide can save you hours in line. If Congress is not in session you will be allowed on the floor of Congress. You can only do this with a personal guide. It was really inspiring to sit in on one the chairs and have the view that congress has when listening to the State of The Union. Also the Representative from your home district will be knowledgeable about your state and the history as it relates to the Capitol.
You will be allowed to visit The Speaker’s Gallery which offers one of the best views of Washington DC. This is where the Speaker of the House can sit outside and enjoy a private lunch with his colleagues or a cigar. This is the view that the third most powerful person in our government enjoys every day.
I don’t normally write reviews on equipment or techniques. There are many people who do it much better than I do. I did write a series of technical How To articles for eHow a few years back but when they stopped paying me, I stopped writing them. Since then I have been more concerned with creativity than technology.
I have been disappointed on how difficult it has been to create HDR images. I don’t travel that much with a tripod which has been a prerequisite to do these sorts of images. I have tried HDR plug ins but have been disappointed with the results. GIMP made a pretty good plug in but the images were usually noisy or ghosted beyond repair. However, today I tried the new Merge Photo tool on the new Lightroom.
I took this picture, edited and posted it in less that 30 minutes without a tripod! I used auto bracketing on the Nikon 5200 with three images one f-stop apart. Easy to use with a great how to video on YouTube that takes four minutes to watch. Once again Adobe products continue to amaze. Wait why do I need Photoshop again? Oh yah its bundled with Lightroom.