Animal favorites ~

Taking Watch, by Parker Macdonald

Taking Watch, by Parker Macdonald, Benson Sculpture Garden

I went to Benson Sculpture Garden to walk.

Really, I did. It didn’t even occur to me to take my Olympus along. The only reason I had my cell phone with me was that I was expecting a call from the vet. But I couldn’t seem to get very far down the path without pulling out my phone and taking photographs.

Benson Sculpture Garden is a very popular place for people to exercise, and in particular to walk their dogs. How they manage this, I don’t understand. I tried it once, not too long after moving to Loveland, and discovered that there is no “walking” my little dogs, Ginger and Punkin, at Benson; there is only hanging onto them, barely. The scent of other dogs is so strong that it acts upon them as an irresistible elixir, causing them to pull and tug and drag and stand rooted on spot after spot. My wrists and hands ached so badly by the time we finished our circuit that I’ve never taken them back. On Friday I watched in amazement as other people walked their dogs quite calmly along the curving paths and past the dozens of sculptures. Are my dogs really the worst? It would seem so, which makes me the worst dog owner.

Anyway, dogs aside, above and below are some of my animal favorites from the sculptures. It was the wrong time of day for the best view of the octopus, so I have a shot with a house prominently in the background. And I could have used a shallow depth of field for the cougar, but: iPhone.

 

The octopus lends itself to delicious closeups, some of which I’m including here to justify making this post. Hope you enjoy them.

 

 

Not scenery ~

Some non-scenic sights from my recent road trip to Wyoming/Montana.

 

 

Plumage ~

Plumage

Plumage

Sometimes an unsharp photo can be turned into an interesting abstract with the help of a digital filter—in this case, a watercolor filter—tight cropping, and some color manipulation. The original photo is a small detail of the plumage of an unidentified bird at the Denver Zoo.

Got my eyes on you ~

Rothschild's peacock pheasant

Rothschild’s peacock pheasant

This peacock pheasant looks nearly spherical because of its position, my camera angle, and the fact that its feathers are probably plumped up as well. This was an open enclosure, so some of the pheasants were down on the walkway. People don’t seem to alarm them much; after all, zoo visitors are constantly walking through their home. After this shot, birds will fly away from this blog for awhile and I’ll turn to other things.

Spangled cotinga ~

Spangled cotinga

Spangled cotinga

This little tropical fellow (only the males boast the brilliant turquoise-and-jade plumage) has a most excellent name. The word cotinga comes via French from the Tupi, an indigenous people living in what is now Brazil. (Interestingly, Tupi is also the name of a software program for 2D animation whose logo is very reminiscent of cotinga plumage.) There are several other species of cotinga, too, all of them gorgeous and apparently much sought out by bird-watchers.

Some good news: Wikipedia says that the spangled cotinga is “not considered to be threatened because of its wide distribution.” It lives in the rainforest canopy, however, so I hope this status continues despite deforestation, which does threaten some other cotinga species (again, according to Wikipedia). No bird species should be lost if it can possibly be helped—but especially not such a beautiful one.