For five weeks in May, the Wildlife Learning Center
hosted a Tuesday night Adult Zoology class. There are a few reasons that I took this class:
- I love visiting the Wildlife Learning Center and supporting the work that they do. In April of this year, they hosted an art auction to raise funds for the organization (it’s a non-profit) and I donated a framed print of this image of one of their Sulcatta Tortoises:
- I have been on the waiting list for this class for about a year. previously, they had only offered the five week class on weekends, and didn’t allow for the ability to make up missed classes. This weeknight class was perfect!
- I have always loved animals, and usually the weirder, the cuter. In fact, earlier this year, I had started the search for some type of zoology class to learn more about animal behavior in order to photograph them better. This class was definitely a step in the right direction to learning more about my subjects.
I couldn’t have been happier with this class. OK, maybe if I could have actually pet the porcupine. I digress.
Our instructor Marissa was amazing. She is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and was willing to share that information in each class without trying to overwhelm us, was very patient and direct, and let us take photos to our heart’s content (well, of course I could have spent five hours alone taking porcupine pictures). but most of all, her passion for animals and education about animals really shone through. if anyone is exhibiting doing what they love and sharing their enthusiasm, it is most definitely Marissa.
I’m sure that I drove Marissa crazy bobbing and weaving with my DSLR and Speedlite, but she was always very accommodating to my photography needs.
While looking through five weeks’ worth of images, here are some of my favorites– some may have been seen here on my blog before:
First and foremost, this is our instructor Marissa holding a California Desert Tortoise. She always handled the animals with great care and grace, and made taking an alligator out of a crate look easy.
This is a porcupine from our first class. Porcupines may very well be my new favorite animals, after spending some time in their habitat.
Getting up close with Lola the two-toed sloth was definitely a class highlight. I loved being able to get up close and detailed images of what made each animal unique. You can see here why these sloths are called “two-toed”.
I don’t know when or where else I’d be able to get this close to a Great Horned Owl.
This red Tailed hawk was recused because it was hit by a vehicle, and needed to have one of its wings removed. This is the type of work the Wildlife Learning Center does that I think is so awesome, and makes me happy to continue visiting and supporting them.
Well last week was my last adult zoology class at the Wildlife Learning Center. It was such a great class, and I learned a lot about animals. I am hoping that there will be more in-depth classes, or at least more classes like this in the near future.
We saw a few animals, highlighted below:
Great Horned Owl
California Desert Tortoise
California Desert Tortoise foot (isn’t it cute?)
This is week 4 of the 5-week class…so it was our second to last one. Every class has been awesome and has exceeded my expectations. However, week 4 might as well have been titled “Animals Kristina would love to have”. A macaw, a rabbit, a kinkajou, bonus time with the sloth, and….a hedgehog. Yes, I would love to own a hedgehog, but unfortunately they are also illegal to own as a pet in California.
Of course we saw lots of animals, but I will highlight just a few here.
African Pygmy Hedgehog
Cute little hedgehog face
Kinkajou peeking through the hole
And… we got bonus time with Lola the two-toed sloth! So of course I am showing you more pictures that I took of her:
I have to thank the Wildlife Learning Center for offering this amazing class. Tomorrow is the last of the series, and I am so very sad that it is ending.
Thank you for stopping by!
The Amgen Tour of California , which happens to be the largest bicycle race in the United States, breezed into Santa Clarita, CA with an exciting finish of Stage 3 on Tuesday May 14 and out of Santa Clarita, CA on Wednesday May 15. I had the opportunity to shoot this sporting event last week, and it was such a fun experience.
Here are a few photos from the finish line, where the cyclists finished the race from Palmdale to Santa Clarita. Peter Sagan won that stage:
The start of Stage 4 — from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara –was a much more relaxed atmosphere. I was able to get some candids of the riders before they took off:
It was really fun to step out of my comfort zone and try to utilize some of the concepts that I have learned from the likes of Dave Black and Scott Kelby. Of course it will take a lot of practice and shooting a lot more sports — but the main thing is that I had so much fun making these images!
Thank you for stopping by!
Week 3 of the Adult Zoology class at the Wildlife Learning Center exhibited a variety of animals, and a lot of the class about adaptation was spent in the reptile room. We saw a lot of neat animals, but I am highlighting just a few here.
We started off by seeing how the Fennec fox, native to Africa, adapted to the harsh temperatures of the continent by having huge ears (to release heat) and small paws (a smaller surface area to take up heat as it travels).
Our class then got to see some tricks from Merlin the Macaw. This bird’s personality was as colorful as his beautiful feathers — evident as he showed us his tricks to get treats.
Then we headed into the reptile room. Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive about this portion of the evening, but we met some pretty cool reptiles, like this Skink:
And I think one of the cutest little geckos I met was this Eyelash Gecko– named so because the ridges above his eyes look like, you guessed it, eyelashes:
This adorable little red-Eyed Tree Frog was our amphibian of the evening.
The highlight of the evening was seeing this little guy…Can you guess what he is?
When he unrolled himself and peeked his little head out, we saw this:
He turned out to be a Three banded Armadillo!
I have never seen an armadillo in person, so meeting this guy was definitely a treat.
Thank you to the Wildlife learning Center for this awesome five week class! Check out my experience with the first two weeks of class here.
And thank you as always for stopping by!
Last Tuesday night
‘s adult zoologyclass at the Wildlife Learning Center
was my favorite so far. I know that I only have two to choose from, and the sugar glider from last week’s class
was pretty awesome, but this week held porcupines and Lola the two-toed sloth, among other awesome animals. I took lots of pictures and we saw lots of animals, but I am going to highlight four here.
We visited with the — leashed — Serval to start the class off. No petting this gal. Every breeze and rain drop were picked up by her large ears, and she was intently looking for the source of unfamiliar sounds. Our instructor, Marissa, gave her kitty food to get her to face in our direction.
Next were the porcupines. Every time I visit the Wildlife Learning Center, I have the best time watching these little guys waddle around, climb their tree stumps and cage, and bump into each other. We were also treated to the juvenile porcupine’s special way of begging— by throwing punches into the air.
I had been dying to meet Lola the two toed sloth for quite some time. She is usually in her little warm habitat to mimic her natural environment, and just the average visitor isn’t able to get into the house. However, our class got to squeeze into her little — and very warm– house.
In order for us to be able to pet her, she had to be distracted with a special treat of sweet potatoes.
Exerting all of that energy was so very taxing for this little sloth, so after eating and getting her photos taken, she was very tired and gave us a huge yawn:
And then she curled up for some much needed sleep (hey, life is tough when you’re a sloth):
Again, while we sat in our chairs during the lecture portion of the class, there was something a crate really itching to get out. It turned out to be this Arctic fox, which came to the WLC because it was in a fur house and did not have fur up to their standard.
Thankfully for us, and even more thankfully for the fox.
Again, I have to say thank you to the Wildlife Learning Center for offering such a great opportunity! I look forward to this evening’s class!
And thank you for stopping by!
I have always loved animals, and love visiting the Wildlife Learning Center. Imagine my excitement when I found out that they were offering an interactive adult zoology class for five weeks!
Last week was my first class, and of course I took some photos to share with you all. We started learning about the different animal classifications, starting with insects such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach:
This Indian Stick insect:
And this scorpion (I did not touch this little guy):
We moved onto learning about amphibians by looking at this African Bullfrog:
And then moved onto learning about reptiles like this baby American Alligator:
We then learned that birds are closely related to the reptile family, and saw this blind screech owl that was rescued:
The softest little animal that was brought out for us to learn about was the Sugar Glider, a marsupial (there were actually four rolled up in a blanket, I was able to catch this one as he got out — yes it had to be held so that it wouldn’t glide away):
And out night ended with a showing of this grey fox:
I look forward to the next month of classes. Thank you to the Wildlife learning Center for offering this type of outreach to adults, and for doing great work!
And thank you, as always, for stopping by!
It has been a long time since I have posted–I have had some personal health obstacles within the past 10 months, and am finally getting back to blogging!
I have some exciting news to share with my wonderful readers, I have recently gained interest in having my images hanging in a few different locations. Currently, I have six images hanging at a spa in Santa Clarita, CA– what is more calming than some beautiful macro nature images?
Here are the six images that were chosen to hang:
Night Blooming Cerus
Cana Lily with Water Drops
Of course you can contact me about ordering any of these images for the walls of your home of to give to someone you love!
Thank you as always for stopping by!
Gates stand at the entrance to a home that is no longer there after Hurricane Katrina.
Bay St. Louis, MS
Hurricane season is always a question mark for me. Yes, I live in Southern California and am no stranger to natural disasters, but have roots in the South. Namely, New Orleans.
Most of my family lives in and around the New Orleans area, and so I keep the TV on the Weather Channel when a hurricane comes knockin’, like Hurricane Isaac has the past couple of days.
I have only been around one hurricane while visiting New Orleans, in which the area was in the outer bands of a hurricane, cancelling all flights that day due to wind. Yours truly was scheduled to leave that day.
I am more familiar with the aftermath of hurricanes. I visited New Orleans in July 2006 for a family wedding, not long after Hurricane Katrina. What amazed me was the areas that were (and still are) devastated.
The area that had a huge impact on me was a visit to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Before I had any type of DLSR with nice zoom lenses, I had point and shoot cameras to communicate my vision. These photos are from that trip in 2006 to survey the damage.
The sensory that has stuck with me all of these years later is related to this image.
Drapes still whip in the wind of this destroyed home after Hurricane Katrina.
Bay St. Louis, MS
I can still hear the sound of the fabric whipping in the wind. I can smell the sea air. And I remember how absolutely desolate it felt to be standing in front of this property.
I am happy to report that my friends and family in the area are safe, although at the time of this post, many are without power.
To my Southern readers, be safe!
Thanks for stopping by!