Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 26/11/2011

Bad Hair Day

Crowned Crane, originally uploaded by

D’youknow… I don’t think today could actually get any better if it tried… well, I guess I could find out that I won yesterday’s Euromillions (without having entered, of having to have a relative from Africa who needs to share millions with me!) but as the later is a flight of fantasy – I will re-itterate.. I don’t think today could actually get any better if it tried (another way of filling up a few more lines!). Contrary to my last blog, we didn’t actually end up at London Zoo! Fickle aren’t I? In about the same time as it takes to reach Regents Park* by car, we ended up at it’s sister zoo (are zoos female? why not brother zoo… Bro’ Zoo, Hommie….. Word!) Whipsnade Zoo, on the edge of the Chilterns it has the luxury of large open spaces the one in the centre of “Town” doesn’t and as such the animals have much more space to roam around in.

Since we were there last, which must only be a month or so, there has been the patter of tiny feet.. well… that’s not quite true.. (I seem to tell you so many untruths, Dear Reader.. so next time I ask “would I lie to you”… please remind me that I possibly would**!).. patter of rather large feet would be a more fitting description, as after a 2 year gestation Azizah, a female*** Indian elephant, gave birth to her third offspring a 16 stone male. Sixteen stone new born… holy moley! Anyway the, as yet unnamed, male and mother were out in the main paddock and as the winds were gusting up the ridge on which the zoo sits, the elephants were close to a side of the enclosure I’ve not seen them near before, a side that is sheltered from the wind by an expansive row of incredibly tall evergreen trees. Having reviewed the photos quickly on my laptop just now, I may have one or two rather nice images of mother and calf.

I’ve said before that as much as the taking pictures, meeting new people, sharing stories, tips and advice is as much fun on days out and today was no exception. Having started out taking photos of the Lynx^ when I first arrived, with the last hour of sunshine left before closing time, I hot-footed it back to their enclosure and I’m so glad I did. A crowd had gathered as I had arrived just as the keeper talk was about to start, but it was two other photographers there that really enhanced my day out.

Quite often when out and about with my wildlife kit there are the types who seem to think the 600mm is some sort of male challenge and that we need to fight to the death to see who the best photographer is, even revelling if they have something they think is better; I can’t be bothered with this type. I prefer the types who are interested and interesting and just want to swap stories, techniques or shoot the breeze as were these two ‘togs. I didn’t take that many photos but enjoyed discussing the animals, our gear, anything and everything – and best of all… they’re regular visitors to the zoo so I may well have company on future visits. If I do look a bit strange, however, Dear Reader, it may be the greenish tinge that is just about fading from my face.. I don’t often have camera gear envy but with one chap having a 300mm prime and the other having a couple of Leica’s – well, I’m only human (with a bit of animal thrown in!)

The bird? Oh I nearly forgot.. it’s a Crowned Crane and was taken on the Masai Mara, Kenya earlier in the year. Lovely Plumage.

(All that and I haven’t even mentioned what was the icing on the top.. you’re going to have to wait until things are a bit more finalised.. such a tease aren’t !).

*Where London Zoo is located.
**But not intentionally, Dear Reader (as if that somehow makes it better).
***Well, it’s not likely to be a male is it (where would you keep it, in a box?****)
^Great Effect!


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