Sunday, February 24, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
For a really nice photo of the eclipse, see this one.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Lee and I were at the Oregon Zoo yesterday and saw some very cool animals, including Vasayan warty pigs from the Philippines and two young babirusas from Indonesia. We always check out the gift shop, and I fell in love with this beautiful stuffed pig. Lee bought it for me, and we talked about getting some for my online gift shop. It's interesting to look at the stuffed animals in comparison to the real Vasayan warty pigs we saw yesterday.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I'm starting with two portraits. The one above is my favorite, because of the wonderfully expressive eye and the telltale dirt on its nose. (Please click on the picture for a better view, then use your Back button to return.) But the next pig portrait is more resplendent, showing the gorgeous mane. Too bad I didn't get the top picture framed as nicely as the bottom one.
Follow this link to the stuffed version of these pigs. It's a beautiful animal. Althought the coloring is inexplicably different from live warty pigs, it is totally charming and artistic. The red coloring is luscious, and the ivory-colored tusk is the icing on the cake.
If you like these pigs (and who wouldn't), please come see the babirusas on this blog.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
We thought we were out of luck when the day, predicted to be warm and sunny, was instead overcast and cold. We thought the babirusas would stay in their warm den, but one of the zoo guides told us they'd been out a few minutes before, so we stuck around. Sure enough, they emerged. First one of the two young brothers came out and strode through the yard and returned to shelter. Then they both emerged, ready for play. They chased each other back and around, one pinned the other on the ground in something like a wrestling move, and then both trotted into the water and climbed back out. They went inside their den, re-emerged, and started again. The pigs seemd affectionate and playful, and were a joy to watch. We felt ourselves lucky. They of course reminded me of tapirs, to which they are not closely related except that all have hooves. Still, their movements were reminiscent. Unlike most pigs, babirusas do not root, but eat leaves, like tapirs.
Signs at the zoo show the tusks of an adult babirusa and show their origin on the island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) in Indonesia. As with so many wild animals, babirusas are under threat from humans. Check them out on Google's search. There are a number of excellent sites with photos and descriptions. Until today I didn't know babirusas were so interesting or CUTE (unlike the drawing below, which makes them look like something deformed from outer space - sorry, but I don't think the picture does them justice!).
Click the photo to read the text
Babirusa links I especially like are: The St. Louis Zoo, Wallacea (nice photo), Wikipedia, and some videos. Especially don't miss this this video from the Oregon Zoo! Also check out Ultimate Ungulate for the babirusa's family tree. Here's another good link I just found.
Next door to the babirusas were some ultra cool Vasayan warty pigs from the Philippines. They ended up on one of my other blogs.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
tapirs have been my work. They are still a passion and part of my fun, but I need to approach them again from another angle. Ideas are beginning to flow again. That's good.
World Tapir Day. Anthony from Australia and Kendra from the US brought up the idea, I checked it out and liked what I saw - for myself as well as for the tapirs. So I was talking with my brother (Gary Todd), who was also needing to find an outlet in something besides work, and he put up a couple of products while I was still noodling around with research and thinking. I especially love his "Corporate Helpers" slogan. It's subtle. One of the jokes is, he IS from Corporate and he has been travelling to the satellite companies. But he gets it. He's got a few more, too, and I hope they sell. That would be fun. [Edited March 2, 2008: Another favorite is Buzzword Bingo. Follow the same link to his store.]
Monday, February 04, 2008
I step up on the curb out of the street and take a second shot. The ship still looks big and quite close. Then I begin walking fast toward the boardwalk to get another photo quickly before the ship goes too far up river, but I need to get close enough to the water so my sight line has cleared the buildings. Watch what happens. . . .
Huh? Honest. I didn't fix anything and there are no tricks here. As soon as the ship clears the buildings relative to the viewer's sight-line, everything changes. I haven't moved to a new position, and I didn't wait for the ship to move away from us. Yeah, it's turning a bit north into the river and away from us now. It makes a little difference, but not nearly as much as it appears. It's truly an optical illusion. If I had run at full speed straight onto the boardwalk when I first saw the ship, it would be the same. I'll try to get more of these on "film." They're fun. Usually I'm in my car driving when I notice them and I can't get the photo.