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 ~
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.
Crested oropendola ~
That bright blue eye!
Hawk-headed parrot ~
Another bird species that inhabits the Amazon rainforest. I finally had the luck of getting a catchlight in the eye, because this enclosure was so well lit.
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.
White-faced whistling duck ~
I probably shouldn’t post something this blurry, but I liked the spunkiness of this lovely duck. He/she lives in a walk-through room in the Denver Zoo bird house, with roommates that include members of several other bird species and even a couple of sloths slung like bundles of rags high in the branches of a tree.
Rhinoceros hornbill ~
At the Denver Zoo again, where the birds, except for the ubiquitous Canada geese roaming the grounds this time of year, have no room to fly. Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark II, 60 mm macro lens.
No bones about it ~
Well, no bones except in the clownfish. Sometimes I wish I had been a marine biologist studying invertebrates. These photos remind me of the old aquarium in La Jolla, California, right next door to the Salk Institute. That little Art Deco building housed a circular array of only a dozen or so medium-sized tanks, and those tanks were filled with anemones of many colors. The effect was breathtaking. These iPhone photographs were taken at the Denver Zoo’s Tropical Discovery building.
My 60 mm lens, despite its wide aperture, simply couldn’t let in enough light to capture decent photographs of the animals in the dark tanks of the Denver Zoo’s Tropical Discovery house. Things improved after I switched to my iPhone. I’m frequently disappointed in the performance of my iPhone’s camera, and then it pulls off something like this. A biological note: Lionfish, like so many other beautiful invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians, are venomous.
Lolling lizards ~
No leaping going on while I was present. I hope to return to get some sharper photos and get down a couple of identifications that I missed. Although a crocodile is technically not a lizard, I figure it’s close enough to fit with the rest of these. Although the one here appeared positively blissed out, there’s really no other way for a crocodile to look when its mouth and eyes are closed, is there?