L.A. Zoo…Part 1

A few weeks ago, the woman who cuts my hair, and knows I’m a photographer, challenged me to take more animal pictures so last week I went with an old friend from Junior High and his 10 year old son to the Los Angeles Zoo.  It was my first visit in at least 20 years, I think….  They have a really big parking lot, with free parking.  It wasn’t that hot, somewhere in the 70s with a nice breeze, didn’t charge that much to get in, only $19 for adults, and they handed out coupons for free photo books from Shutterfly.com.  I figure that the reason for the low price and the free book is to make up for all the empty exhibits, a lot of the “enclosures” were missing occupants.  The ones that were occupied looked old and small.  So, it was basically disappointing.  Nonetheless, armed with my camera, I ended up taking about 150 shots.  Here are some of the better ones:

my friend's son led us to the

my friend’s son led us to the “petting zoo” first…

the little pony was tied up and cornered off, so you couldn't get close and pet...

the little pony was tied up and cornered off, so you couldn’t get close and pet…

a Prairie Dog was watching the people walking by...

a Prairie Dog was watching the people walking by…

His mother was telling him to get out of the sun...

His mother was telling him to get out of the sun…

she wanted him inside...

she wanted him inside…

nearby a volunteer was holding this Bearded Dragon..

nearby a volunteer was holding this Bearded Dragon..

around the corner were the Flamingos...

around the corner were the Flamingos…

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interesting coloring...

interesting coloring…

this was sitting outside the reptile house, where all the snakes and lizards were held.  It was hard to get a picture because a bunch of kids were  pushing their way in front of me...

this was sitting outside the reptile house, where all the snakes and lizards were held. It was hard to get a picture because a bunch of kids were pushing their way in front of me…

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this False Gharial, however was very real, as were the other two sitting in the pond with him/her. Nice teeth…

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I zoomed in a bit...

I zoomed in a bit…

That’s about it for now, I need more time to process the rest of the pictures.  I’ll have part 2 up in a few days…

Thanks for visiting, as I ask:

   HOW YOU DOIN???????

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Feeding the Natives…

Happy Holidays to everyone who reads this blog!!

All my life I have loved animals.  I had a dog from the day I was born, I’ve never been without one for more than a few weeks at a time.  When I was 11, we adopted a black cat, haven’t been without a cat in the house since.  Years ago, we had a bird bath/feeder in our back yard and the neighborhood squirrels came by to grad some pellets as well did the local wild birds.  The feeder left the yard a few years later as the mess of empty shells grew bigger to be tolerated.  A few months ago, my mom wanted to go back to feeding the local wild life, so I got some new bird feeders to hang on the fruit trees in the back yard, soon, the wild birds and local squirrels came back, and were very happy to have some munchies to grab.  I grabbed my camera to capture the “gatherings…”

 

we got a red barn, along with an "eating establishment..."

we got a red barn, along with an “eating establishment…”

 

 

I zoomed in on one of the little ones...

I zoomed in on one of the little ones…

a bunch of little ones came by to see what was available...

a bunch of little ones came by to see what was available…

 

this one was waiting to be seated

this one was waiting to be seated

I was being watched as I filled the feeders. He was only about 5 feet from me, so he wasn't scared of me...

I was being watched as I filled the feeders. He was only about 5 feet from me, so he wasn’t scared of me…

 

one of the local squirrels dropped by to see what all the excitement was...

one of the local squirrels dropped by to see what all the excitement was…

upon seeing there was food to grab, he/she gave thanks... zoom in for proof.

upon seeing there was food to grab, he/she gave thanks… zoom in for proof.

 

after saying grace , it was snack time, upside down...

after saying grace , it was snack time, upside down…

 

As I sat outside on our furniture, I watched all the birds come by for a quick snack, as the squirrels ate, I zoomed in to “catch” the action…:

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Over the next night, or early next morning, the “bar” fell to the grass and broke apart:

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one of the three squirrels that had been around came by to see what happened...

one of the three squirrels that had been around came by to see what happened…

 

then he/she proceeded to scoop up some of the food on the ground

then he/she proceeded to scoop up some of the food on the ground

 

and dove in...

and dove in…

 

Since the “bar” could not be fixed, I headed out to get some new feeders, my mom wanted 2, so the birds would have their own, and the squirrels would have theirs…

I picked out two Light Houses and managed to attached them to our Plum Tree which has stronger branches then the other trees

I picked out two Light Houses and managed to attached them to our Plum Tree which has stronger branches then the other trees

 

these are made of plastic, so they hopefully won't break if they fall...

these are made of plastic, so they hopefully won’t break if they fall…

 

didn't take long for the birdies to come back and gobble up...  So far, no squirrels, they'll be back in the morning...

didn’t take long for the birdies to come back and gobble up… So far, no squirrels, but they’ll be back in the morning…

 

I’ll spend some time outback in the morning, and see who shows up for breakfast…

I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season…

and of course, ask…

HOW YOU DOIN?

Arizona, Hardly knew Ya…

Back in August, 2011, I traveled with my sister and nephew to Cooperstown, NY to watch my nephew’s Little League Baseball team compete in a tournament at Dreams Park.  Last month, his Babe Ruth Team won the State Championship at their age level, and the team went to Surprise, Arizona to compete for the Pacific Southwest Regional’s.  With my sister’s invitation to tag along, I went too…  We set out about 5:15 am from Westchester, CA, where my nephew lives and the team is based.  One of my nephew’s teammate’s mother drove the 5 1/2 hour road trip, “Thanks Jane!!”  We made two stops along the way, the first after about 2 1/2 hours for gas, the other, 2 hours later for a much needed bathroom break and snack.  We pulled into a Burger King lot and sprinted (putting it mildly) toward the bathrooms.

we drove toward the rising sun

we drove toward the rising sun

as we got closer to the state line, the sun was higher.

as we got closer to the state line, the sun was higher.

After a quick wrong turn, we finally made it to the field where the games were being held, a little after 12pm, before their game was to start.  The tournament was held at the spring training facility of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers.  The main thing you notice in Arizona at the end of July is that by 12 pm, it is fracking HOT!!!  I made sure I  had used sun screen on my arms, but still managed to get a sunburned on both upper biceps.  Luckily the game ended quickly after 4 innings, due to the mercy rule as our team was ahead 14-2.  We then headed to the Residence Inn we were booked into.  I was supposed to share a 2 bedroom suite with my sister and the parents of my nephew’s teammate, sleeping on the couch in the “family room.  With most of the team hanging out in the room, I decided to see if I could get my own room, luckily there was a king suite available and was able to get it for a discounted price, again “Thanks Jane!!!”

After moving into the room, I went to the gym to work out a bit.  Then went back to the room to change and headed to the pool, the water was warm, but comfortable, as was the spa.  I got out, dried off in no time, due to the heat, then later the hotel had a buffet of their BBQ.

My room, on the 4th floor, just above my stamp...

My room, on the 4th floor, just above my stamp…

 

the pool was only 5 feet deep, so no jumping and diving in..

the pool was only 5 feet deep, so no jumping or diving in..

 

After dinner, went back to the room to relax and try to get some sleep for the night.  I woke up around 4:30 in the morning, got out of bed, went back to the gym for a quick workout, went back up, quick shower, by then it was time for the free breakfast buffet to start.  After eating, I waited in the lobby for everybody else to come down to head to the 8 am game.

the chairs were pretty comfortable...  The cups were left by kids who had sat there earlier...

the chairs were pretty comfortable… The cups were left by kids who had sat there earlier…

 

Luckily it was only around 7:45 when we got to the field, and there was a strong breeze blowing, so it wasn’t too hot.  Our guys put their best efforts forward, played their hearts out, my nephew pitched 3 scoreless innings, but they came up a run short in the bottom of the 7th and were eliminated from the tournament, as it was double elimination and they had lost a few days before.

 

Here’s a couple of the better pictures of the action:

Joe F. played 3rd base, and blasted a few foul balls into Right Field.  Here he using his "powers" to slow the ball down...

Joe F. played 3rd base.  Here he using his “powers” to slow the ball down…  Talk about lucky timing to capture the shot…

then he connected...

then he connected and sent a foul ball that fell out of reach of the Right Fielder

 

my nephew watching a low ball fly by...

my nephew watching a low ball fly by…

then popped up..

then connected on the next pitch…

 

another teammate asked me to take his picture as well.  This was his second at bat of the game as he was hgit by a pitch before I was in place to shoot his first at bat...

another teammate asked me to take his picture as well. This was his second at bat of the game as he was hit by a pitch before I was in place to shoot his first at bat…

 

warming up to come in to relieve...

My nephew, warming up to come in to relieve…

my nephew pitching relief during the second game.

My nephew has both Loyola Marymount and USC coaches scouting him already…

 

Since the team lost the game and were eliminated, we headed back to the hotel to pack and then head home, back to Los Angeles.

some cactus in the Palm Desert on the way back..

some cactus in the Palm Desert on the way back..

This time the trip took nearly 7 hours due to traffic…   Again, “Thanks Jane!!!”  After we finally got back to my sister’s house where my car was sitting in their driveway, I soon realized that I couldn’t find my car keys.  I got a ride home from my brother-in-law and sister, found my spare key for the car, then went back the next day  and called a locksmith since the key to unlock my club was with my car key somewhere in Arizona (theory).

after 45 minutes of sawing, the locksmith was able to break it off, and I headed home, with the advice not to replace it..

after 45 minutes of sawing, the locksmith was able to break it off, and I headed home, with the advice not to replace it..

 

With my summer break coming to an end this week, I ask:

HOW YOU DOIN?

Bear Hugs and a Fluffy Mustache…

is how I will remember the man I always considered my godfather  who would take care of me if anything would happen to my parents.  Guy Anthony Adams II (aka Tony/Big T) and my dad met at an accounting school in the early 70’s when I was just a baby, they became good friends and stayed friends for over 40 years.  Tony was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), the same condition that Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts had and beat.   He underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant earlier this year, after undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and blood transfusions,  fought a brave battle before passing away last week at the age of 67, surrounded with family and friends.  He leaves behind 3 children, 4 grandchildren, a former wife, a loved girlfriend, countless friends and family members.

stood behind me as I was showing him something on my computer...

standing behind me as I was showing him something on my computer…which I often did.

 

doing what he loved to do, sailing...

doing what he loved to do, sailing…

 

one of my favorite pictures that was on display at his memorial service...

my favorite picture of those that were on display at his memorial service…

 

my dad ordered a "surf/Hawaiian" themed cake for the service reception, and this is what they produced, dad didn't have time to complain as we were on the way to the services... we did the next day though...

my dad ordered a “surf/Hawaiian” themed cake for the service reception, and this is what they produced, dad didn’t have time to complain as we were on the way to the services… we did the next day though…

 

after leaving his long time job with the state, Tony worked as a train conductor at Disneyland..

after leaving his long time job with the state, Tony worked as a train conductor at Disneyland..

 

So, as I, we, bid aloha to our dear and loved friend, I ask:

HOW YOU DOIN???

 

 

37 Years ago…

Sometime in 1976 (I think), my parents, my sister and I were watching an ABC special about Vietnamese children fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam war.  My sister turned to our parents and asked, “can we do something?”  My parents, who had always considered adopting said “we’ll look into it.”  After making some phone calls, my parents hit a brick wall and soon considered adopting from another country.  They called the Children’s Home Society in downtown Los Angeles and were soon given an opportunity, a small child who was discovered abandoned on the doorsteps of a South Korean orphanage, which happened to be next to an American army base.

We had a family discussion, and we all agreed, he had a home with us.  A few weeks or months later, I can’t remember since I was only 6 at the time, my mom when picking me up from kindergarten, gave me a picture of my soon to be brother that was sent from the C.H.S.:

the woman was one of the caretakers at the orphanage

his “foster grandmother” after leaving the orphanage (according to mom)

 

Fast-forward to April 11, 1977 and we headed to LAX to join other families who were adopting as well.  The Pan Am flight landed and taxied to the gate, but nobody got off.  They made an announcement that one of the children had gotten sick on the flight over and the rest would be brought out momentarily.  My mom’s response to the announcement: “that poor family…” After a short delay, social workers came through the walkway and spread out bringing the children to their new families, but no one came to us.  Mom started to worry and wonder if David (mom and dad had picked the name earlier) ever made the flight.  Soon, a social worker approached us, carrying him.  He was wearing p.j.s and his clothes were in a ziplock, as he was the one who had gotten sick…

We gave him a big lollipop and a wooden plane, he seemed happy to be with his new family.  We went home, and when he stepped in the house, he saw our black labrador, Ebony, though the window, and promptly threw the plane at her.  He wasn’t used to seeing dogs, as in Korea, they eat them…  But he soon warmed up, and learned to love her as we all did.

After he settled down, we all went out front to introduce him to the neighbors, and take some pictures:

our first picture as brothers...

our first picture as brothers…

 

a year later we all attended a "reunion" picnic at the Children's Home Society.  Notice I had a "camera"

a year later we all attended a “reunion” picnic at the Children’s Home Society. Notice I had a “camera”

 

Well, I’m off to enjoy my spring “staycation”

HOW YOU DOIN???

 

 

2 years, 8 months…

The title of this post refers to the time span between my most resent trip to the Disneyland Resort and the last time I was there.  This latest trip was a birthday present from my sister and her family, she gave me a “park-hopper ticket” and invited me to go along with her, my brother-in-law, my niece and nephew, and their cousins. In one of my previous posts, I admitted that I am a “mouse junkie,” so in preparing for this visit, I charged up my camera’s battery, and set out to take as many pictures as I could.  I was looking forward to this visit as none of us had seen the new changes at California Adventure, which include Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

In the 12 hours that we were there, we visited both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA).  We arrived at the parking structure about 10 minutes after the parks opened (8:10am), but it took almost 20 minutes before we were directed to a parking spot (5th level, all the way at the end), then we headed down to catch a tram to get to the plaza between the parks.  Since there was seven of us, in 3 different age groups, we mostly split up and enjoyed the parks in pairs, I was the “third wheel”.  My sister, brother-in-law, and I first headed to DCA to get fastpasses for the Radiator Springs Racers.  We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes just to get to the fastpass distribution for the ride, and we were able to get 5 of them (two of our party were leaving early and wouldn’t be riding).  Then we walked all the way back to the entrance of the park, and exited to head over to Disneyland.

Once we got into Disneyland, we realized that this was one of the most crowded day we have ever seen there in all the years of going.  It seemed that everybody and their grandmother was there…  But all in all, we were able to enjoy rides such as The Haunted Mansion (the holiday version), Gadget’s Go Coaster (mini coaster, goes less than 20 mph, and last about 45 seconds), Indiana Jones Adventure (way too jumpy for my likes, but I went anyways), and the Matterhorn and Space Mountain (I sat these two out as I’ve been medically advised to avoid rides like these, with sharp turns and possible G-forces).

We were limited to what rides we could get on as the park was basically filled and most lines were way too long to wait in, in both parks.  But we enjoyed the ones we were able to ride, and I was able to take a little over 130 pictures…

Here are some of the better ones:

on my last visit in April 2011, the population was 500,000,000

on my last visit in April 2011, the population was 500,000,000

soon after we entered Disneyland, my sister mentioned to a cast member that I was there for my birthday, and soon after that, he ran up to me and wished my a happy birthday...

soon after we entered Disneyland, my sister (unbeknownst to me) mentioned to a cast member that I was there for my birthday, and soon after that, he ran up to me and wished my a happy birthday…

I took this shot as we were walking towards the front gates.  Because of the crowd, I couldn't maneuver myself to get a better shot.

I took this shot as we were walking towards the front gates. Because of the crowd, I couldn’t maneuver myself to get a better shot.

heading into DCA, you walk under the monorail line, the new "overpass" is based on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge featured in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

heading into DCA, you walk under the monorail line, the new “overpass” is based on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge featured in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”

not sure if he was waving "hello" or "get out of the way"...

not sure if he was waving “hello” or “get out of the way”…

The Carthay Circle Restaurant with a Red Car Trolley in front.

The Carthay Circle Restaurant with a Red Car Trolley in front.

Walt and Mickey circa the 1930's...

Walt and Mickey circa the 1930’s…

headed into Disneyland, with the crowds, this is as close I could get to the Walt and Mickey statue, with the castle in view...

headed into Disneyland, with the crowds, this is as close I could get to the Walt and Mickey statue, with the castle in view…

we got onto the holiday version of The Haunted House, and as the "stretching room" expanded, Jack Skellington appeared above us.

we got onto the holiday version of The Haunted House, and as the “stretching room” expanded, Jack Skellington appeared above us.

A little later my brother-in-law and I checked out an attraction we both had never experienced: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

A little later my brother-in-law and I checked out an attraction we both had never experienced: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

we then headed back to DCA to explore Cars Land.

I was very impressed with how Disney brought the movie "Cars" to life...

I had to aim high as there was a huge crowd walking down “Route 66”

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As we were leaving the Pier area, and heading out of DCA for the night, I grabbed a shot of Mickey's Fun Wheel with it's reflection on the water.

As we were leaving the Pier area, and heading out of DCA for the night, I grabbed a shot of Mickey’s Fun Wheel with it’s reflection on the water.

To close up the night, we went back into Disneyland to get a shot of the castle...

To close up the night, we went back into Disneyland to get a shot of the castle lit up…

As I said at the beginning of the post, both parks were very crowded, so it was challenging to stop and take a picture without getting in someone’s way who’s walking behind you.  I really liked Cars Land.  I was very impressed with how Disney brought the movie “Cars” to life.  I did my research and found that the Racers ride only goes about 40 mph at it’s highest speed, so I went on with the rest of the group.  This is now one of my favorite rides at the resort.  I didn’t take any pictures of it, as I wanted to experience it fully without having to stop for a picture.  Maybe next time I go…

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

and, of course, ask:

HOW YOU DOIN?

There’s an App for that!

On some of my previous posts, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been taking pictures since I was in the 6th grade.  I’ve used a variety of cameras over the years, starting with the Kodak Disc camera and have progressed since then and am currently using the Panasonic Lumix DMC Fz100, which has a great zoom.
I might be upgrading to the Lumix Fz200 soon…

For the last few years, as I’ve had smart phones with good cameras as well, taken screen shots of live cameras online, and have also taken pictures with my iPad.  The other day I found a photo app (CamStar) that allows you to “manipulate/frame” the shots you want to take, here are a few of my first trials…:

this is one of the 3 orange trees we have in our backyard.  I used the "art museum" feature to take the shot.

this is one of the 3 orange trees we have in our backyard. I used the “art museum” feature to take the shot.  I loved how this turned out…

here's the cube feature shot of our fish tank

here’s the cube feature shot of our fish tank

Before I discovered the CamStar app, I played around with the Photo Booth app that comes with the iPad:

used the "Light Tunnel" option to shoot the fish tank.

used the “Light Tunnel” option to shoot the fish tank.

I think this is either the "squeeze" or "mirror" feature, can't remember which one...

I think this is either the “squeeze” or “mirror” feature, can’t remember which one.  Makes the tank look like a lava lamp…

That’s about it for now, I’m gonna go explore what other shots I can take.  Of course today, my iPad tricked me into upgrading to IOS 7, so I have to spend some time to figure out what new features it has, and what it’s changed…  Today also marks 4 years since we lost my brother.

So, HOW YOU DOIN???