An autumn walk

I’ve been taking up daily walks whenever possible. Because fresh air is good and the outdoors is free and also I have taken up Pokémon Go again. This even means that sometimes the kids will come with me, but most of the time I am alone and take the camera with me.

I usually take the wrong lens.

This time I had the wide angle and the small tele (55-250 mm) and kept changing.

Cat outside

One of the neighbourhood kitties
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pond

Da pond.
Not that impressive at 55mm
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creek

Wide angle: the creek
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creek

I basically dangled the camera over the creek here.
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creek

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creek

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long tailed tit

Change of lens. I found my long tailed tits. I hope they will return to the garden soon.
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Spider web

Fairy lace
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thistle

Thistle
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drops

Droplets
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drops

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Top of the World

Because the views were so epic, mountains for everyone! Most photos behind the cut, because… I seem to have the same affliction when handed a camera as several other people around here. Anyway, epic views being epic, the flight in (and then, out) was probably the most epic experience of the whole trip. Turbulence? Ya. Although I was told if the overhead compartments aren’t popping open, then I’ve had the easy trip. But what remains most about the flights in and out is that strange juxtaposition of feeling pretty terrified (understatement) yet reassured – the way the pilots handled the airplane through the turbulence was strangely comforting. Even with all the shaking and the bouncing, I never once had the feeling that things were actually out of control. And that is a powerful skill. I tip all my hats to the training and experience of those pilots.

Also I have included pictures of some fluffy horses between the epic views. Rather epic horses, actually – I can’t name the breed, but they were so beautiful, exactly my favourite in terms of size and general shape. Very beautiful horses.

Today’s musical selection is Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, because I wanted to capture the dread of flying in through turbulence like I have never had the privilege to experience before. And there was a bald mountain looming over everything. And since playing the piece in my second season with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, I have a special attachment. This version is performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.

The bald mountain – I’ve forgotten its name, and I really shouldn’t, as all the mountains have names.
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Onwards for more mountain views!

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Macedonia 4 – Terrible Butterflies

Terrible picture butterflies, that is – the butterflies themselves were amazing, and everywhere! Very few of them were ready to co-operate and pose for me, so I was lucky to get these three at all – and from a distance, playing around with the zoom. There were at least two more varieties that I didn’t even try for, else I would get stuck in the burrs.

Blue butterfly
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Orange butterfly
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Yellow butterfly
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Sawfly larvae

I have been wondering about who’s eating the beech leaves in the front yard and last week I found the culprits: Sawfly larvae.

Not that I mind, I don’t want a beech tree in front of the house so any help in keeping it small is appreciated. Though in these pictures they’re devouring the redflower currant, which I don’t appreciate that much.

Sawfly larvae

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Sawfly larvae

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Sawfly larvae

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At the Zoo d’Amnéville

No particular order:

Prairie dogs, wallabies, secretary bird, kid (goat version)

 

Prairie dog

Wanna come in for a cuppa?
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Prairie dog

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wallabies

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Secretary bird

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goat kid

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Yes, we had to visit the goats three times. There#s something about them that draws the kids (human version) to them like a magnet

Funny Animals

The finalists of the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are out, and they’re a blast. Here’s a couple of my favourites:

© Achim Sterna/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018

 

© Mary McGowan/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018

 

© Roie Galitz/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018

 

© Kallol Mukherjee/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018

 

And lots more

Today’s piece of music is more of a dance showcase, in the theme of colourful animals. Below the fold because spiders.

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At the Zoo d’Amnéville 1

It’s the autumn holidays here and we decided to go for one nice family excursion before we’re bogged down in postponed work again. We’d been promising the kids to visit that zoo in France for ages and finally decided to go. I know, for Americans 100km one sounds like your weekly shopping trip, for us it isn’t.

The zoo is in a smallish town near Metz that seems to consist of a thermal fountain, an amusement park, and a giant complex with restaurant, hotels, cinemas, parking and the zoo. The entrance fee is prohibitive, because in France most zoos are private enterprises and not public institutions, but we decided that we can afford it for a special trip, especially since we always bring food and drinks and therefore don’t have to pay the prohibitive prices inside.

To be honest, I don’t regret the money. It was a wonderful day and the zoo is amazing. There are no holidays in France, it was a Monday in October and there were at the most 150 visitors in the whole zoo. I guess in summer the people push you through, but now we had the leisure to enjoy the animals and the shows.

Of course I took a ton of pics. Original count was 2200, after weeding out the really bad ones there are 1300 left. I won’t post them all ;).

First part is the white lions. They are gigantic, at last 30% larger than the “normal” lions in the next enclosure. The couple has some juvenile cubs and as you can see, in the pics, the male was very interested in making some more…

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Lioness, lying

Lioness, standing

Juvenile lions

juvenile rolling in the sand

Snuggling lions

Male white lion

Male lion trying to mount lioness

Male lion tryinmg to mount lioness

Lioness fighting off lion

Lioness fighting off lion

Lioness fighting off lion

After his third attempt ended like this he threw himself against the glass of the enclosure…