Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Last Wednesday we headed to the "Living Desert" in Palm Desert.  This is basically a zoo in a park- like setting with the walks between exhibits through desert plants and scenery.  It was a nice way to spend a pleasant afternoon and the following are some of the wildlife we saw.

An Ibis.  Beautiful fine white feathers. 

One ugly vulture.
Couldn't believe how big these birds are.  At least as large a an eagle. 

Canadian Snowbird.  
They wander about everywhere.  
Most of them are native to BC and Alberta however this one drifted over from Manitoba.  
In fact, after California license plates the next most frequently seen is BC 
and then possibly Alberta.  
Makes one wonder how much the population of Canada depletes each winter.  
Perhaps we should get a refund on our taxes as we aren't using any
 Canadian infrastructure and have to get medical insurance to cover any issues.  
Just a thought. 

Beautiful little pond with lots of birds in the brush.
Great reflections of the reeds in the water. 

This duck kept falling asleep but he opened his eye in time for my pic.

Look at the thickness of his neck needed to carry around those prodigious horns.
We also saw a bull in the Africa exhibit but couldn't get a proper picture of him.
He was huge, more like an ox.  The span of his horns, tip to tip, had to be 6-7 feet.  

Can't remember his name but looked and walked like a bit like a cat but his 
tail is over 3 feet in length, longer than his body.  

The colours on this one were amazing.  
Generally dark black but highlighted by the blue on his face and neck and
 the feathers on his body were a nice copper colour.  
They almost looked like pennies.

Had to be the cutest and most intelligent looking creatures.  
If you look at their eyes you can easily imagine they are about to speak.
I nicknamed them Yoda. 

Beautiful baby blue breast.  
The tail was about 18 inches long but I cropped it out to get a 
better view of his body. 

The keepers placed the feeding station behind the tree.  
Not great for pictures however this one finally raised his head
 to play peak-a-boo and I caught him. 

For the most part the Zebra's remained prone, taking in the sun.  
This one raised his head to see what all the commotion was about.  
Just me snapping pictures. 

While not fast moving, once they get it in their mind to move they are very deliberate.  
I had to keep repositioning myself to stay ahead of him. 

Hard to try to get a good shot of these two camels through two rows of fencing.  
They were feeding at a trough and while it looked like they were kissing 
I think one was stealing food out of the others mouth. 

 Warthog.  Hands down the ugliest creature here and 
he had some tough competition. 

Too bad about the fence but if you can make out the expression 
on the kids face it is one of pure joy as he fed the Giraffe.  

Giraffe with a Kudu, I think, in the background.  

Now this was simply the best, hands down, model train exhibit I had ever seen.  
Covered the area of a city lot and as the pictures show it was very detailed.  
Trains coming and going from every direction.

Amazing detail in all the buildings.  
There were numerous little townsites like this plus sawmills, 
mining operations and of course train stations. 
Absolutely amazing. 

I'm having to do a little catchup in my postings as the RV Park we are in has been steadily filling up over the past month.  What started out as very good Wifi for an RV Park has deteriorated to Iffy coverage.  A trip to a Starbucks to get these blogs posted may be in order.

Thursday we spent the day at the Park, Lori did laundry and I attended a photography class that I signed up for.  $20 for 4 lessons focused on portrait photography which I always have found to be a daunting subject.   The instructor has been providing constant encouragement to take our cameras off of Automatic.  Like many other "pretend" Photographers, I paid good money for a DSLR with hundreds of fancy features and I set it up on Automatic, took reasonably good pictures, and never took it off Auto.
One of the real benefits of digital photography is that you can take thousands of pictures and it doesn't cost you anything.  A far cry from the days of film when you had to pay for the film and processing.  In those days I would be very judicious in my shot selection and seldom fill up a roll of 36 pictures in a days outing.  Now 200 pictures is not unusual, although I am trying to be a little more selective as I have found that on the flip side, one of the bad things about digital photography is that you can take unlimited pictures at no additional cost, except, as I'm finding, for time.  When I get back to the trailer, download the pics I am left with the decisions of which are keepers and which go to the trash bin.  Then there is the time needed to process the pictures.  Even with my very basic iPhoto processing program the choices for adjusting the picture can take some serious time.  When I finally do bite the bullet and buy a real program like Lightroom or Elements I'm sure the choices will expand exponentially.   One thing about viewing pictures on a computer screen is that due to the low resolution and small screen size, tablet or laptop, the difference between a simple snapshot and a true photograph is subtle at best.  That all changes if you ever decide to start printing the pictures, especially in larger sizes.
 2 years ago, after some tips at another photography class I attended I quit taking pictures in Jpeg format and went entirely to RAW and saw the benefits immediately.  This year I have left the comfort of Auto for the slightly more adventerous format of Aperture Priority in an effort to learn how to have better control of depth of field.  I will continue to experiment with Manual however  with most of my pics, being landscapes and taken on the move, the safety net of the camera making some of the decisions is very comforting.
One of the benefits of being retired and now no yard work back at home is the one thing I have in abundance is time.  Well at least until the "honey do" list starts to buildup.