January 25, 2015

On The Trail // Fort Worth Nature Center

Matthew and I recently made a trip out to the Fort Worth Nature Center.  We hadn't been there in a while, and because the weather was decent-it turned out to be super crazy busy.  We were stuck in line for probably 20 or 30 minutes just to get in, but it was definitely worth the wait.  It's always nice to get out and enjoy fresh air on the trail.

I've heard a lot about alligators around these parts, but I've yet to see one.  There were plenty of people out kayaking, and I'm really excited about renting one sometime and trying it out.  I've never been in a kayak in my life, but it's something on my list to do this year.  I have a feeling I'm going to be addicted.  Gators or not-I'm down.

The only wildlife we came across (aside from a few birds of course) were a couple of Armadillos.  I seriously love them-they're one of my top 10 favorite animals for sure.  This one was the only one I could get fairly close to without scaring it off.  There's no way the sounds of my shoes crunching on the leaves went unheard, but this little guy didn't seem to mind at all.  He just rooted away-paying us no attention at all.

What's your favorite local animal?

January 17, 2015

At The Zoo // Dallas Zoo

Mandrill's have the most beautiful facial coloration!  Did you know they're the world's largest monkey?
For the first time in 4 years, Matthew and I visited the Dallas Zoo!  We normally visit the Fort Worth Zoo because it's closer and we absolutely love it, but we're challenging ourselves to visit all of the Zoo's in Texas this year!  One down and nine to go!  The weather was on our side at a breezy mid-60s, and admission was only $5 because of a January special they have going on.  How perfect is that? 

Anytime we visit the zoo, the very first place we venture off to is the Herpetarium.  It's my favorite.  I would love to someday turn one of the rooms in our house into a private Herpetarium/Insectarium!  I took my 40mm lens thinking that it would be great for dealing with the low light and close ups.  The only photo that turned out was this one of a Crocodile Monitor.  I have been putting off learning to shoot my camera in manual mode, and after going through my favorite part of the zoo and only coming out with one photo is more than enough motivation to finally educate myself.  I was so disappointed!  I am thrilled that at least one of them turned out though and this guy was such a cutie!
Crocodile Monitor
I'm a sucker for anything pink, and so it's no surprise that I love Flamingos!  I love the color contrast of the reflections on the water :)
This baby Giraffe was so adorable!  She never left mommy's side.
Of all of the exhibits that we visited, the Chimpanzee's were definitely the most interesting.  They all had such distinct personalities and expressions.  The younger one on the left was so energetic!  He was constantly finding treats, swinging around on ropes, and trying to play with everyone.  The older one on the right sat quietly alone most of the time with his arms wrapped snugly around himself.  While most of the others were interacting, he never left his spot and definitely seemed like a loner.

I didn't realize that this pretty lady had a baby with her until it peeked it's little face around the side.  Baby chimpanzees have got to be one of THE most adorable baby animals on the planet.  Those big ears and inquisitive eyes...what a heart melter!

My favorite photo of the day!

Equipment Used:

What's your favorite exhibit to visit at the zoo?

January 13, 2015

Backyard Adventure // A New Lens!

For the past few months, I've been intent on saving and purchasing a 105mm macro lens, but with the cool weather and lack of wildlife photo ops, I decided I would be better off ordering a new zoom lens!  I still plan on adding the 105mm to my gear collection sometime this year, but I'm so happy with my choice to get the zoom lens.  I ended up saving a few hundred dollars, and I can now take photos like the one above without disturbing the subject!  Yay!

My dream zoom lens is the 70-200 f2.8, but I'm not even close to having something like that in my budget this year.  I ended up going with the 70-300 f4.8-5.6 which was a lot more affordable.  I'm so happy with it so far!

Unless the weather is bad, I'm planning on taking it to the zoo sometime this weekend and I'm beyond excited about it :)

Equipment Used:

What's your most recent lens purchase?

January 11, 2015

At The Park // Desolate Times

As someone who enjoys nature photography, I get a wee bit discouraged during the winter season.  I love capturing images of insects, reptiles, flowers, and a multitude of other subjects that hunker down and stay out of sight until Spring rolls around.  I decided to venture down to the park today and see what I could find.

I remembered a photo I took at this location a few years back, and I can't believe how much change has occurred due to drought.  So sad.  We used to visit this part of the lake regularly to feed ducks and geese-which have since migrated to another part of the lake that's in a residential area.

There was no shortage of litter strewn about the park today, and I picked up quite a bit including a Walgreen's bag, 2 empty cans of Monster, some broken glass, and plastic soda rings (not sure what they're called).

All in all, I feel like I captured the atmosphere of the park pretty well: Cold, Dead, and Desolate.

I did manage to capture a photo of a gull flying low over the mud, and I've kind of fallen in love with it.  I love photos that capture the beauty of life in a seemingly dead atmosphere.

 Equipment Used:

Are you experiencing drought in your part of the world?
How has it affected places that you visit or the wildlife that inhabit it?

January 1, 2015

Scavenger Hunt // January 2015

Happy New Year everyone!  I don't know about you, but I didn't do so well with my December scavenger hunt.  I'd like to blame the busy holidays on my lack of effort, but I'll be honest-I was super lazy about it!  I decided to change this months scavenger hunt a bit by excluding the color category.  Here's what I checked off of my December list:
Single Leaf and Green


Animal Tracks


Quite disappointed in my lack of commitment to my own scavenger hunt, but I'm really looking forward to starting the year off right and working hard to get everything on my January list!  If you participated in my December hunt I'd love to see what you got!

Happy New Year and good luck on January's Scavenger Hunt!

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