For The Love Of Animals

I have always been an animal person. As far back as I can remember, I would get into much trouble with my mother for bringing strays home. A fish here, a cat or dog there.  It was always something. At the age of 7, my mother gave in and agreed to get a cat. A delightful orange tabby, I lovingly named Champagne.  Do not ask, I do not know, I was only 7. Perhaps my mother believed that by allowing me to have this cat, I would somehow be deterred from my seemingly endless endeavours of rescuing every and any animal around our neighborhood. Alas, Champagne only served to validate my purpose in life as an animal lover and rescuer.  Realize, the irresistible urge drawing me to animals was completely reciprocal. On more than one occasion, throughout my life, I have had animals literally walk through my front door, or jumping into my car. My mother said I was an animal magnet.

Flash forward, to my  teens. Many rescues and multiple pets later, I discovered a deep love for photography. Whether it be the fact my art was less than realism, or the fact I simply loved the idea of capturing a moment and making it last virtually forever, I was hooked. On my 15th birthday, my mother gave me a Kodak Disk camera.  I fondly remember torturing my classmates and friends. I took pictures of virtually everything. I can only imagine how much was spent on developing my film. I know I spent quite a bit of time waiting to get my pictures back.  My, how times have changed. Hoping the shot turned out okay, praying no one blinked! But the quality was superior to my old Polaroid, and thankfully I did not have to shake the pictures FOREVER to see an image!

Over the years one thing has remained, the subject of most of my photography; animals. Unpredictable, but always photogenic.

I am quite blessed to live on five acres of blissful solitude, amidst farm country, yet only a few  miles away from suburbia.  My yard, enriched with wildlife.  Birds singing their beautiful melodies, squirrels darting from branch to branch, gopher tortoises burrowing. And, much to my heart’s content, feral felines.  These wild cats have become family. They have accepted us, thankfully, and will allow me to photography them.

I have awoken to peacocks, horses, donkeys and even ostrich in our yard. I have learned now to ALWAYS have a camera handy.

The subject of this photograph is Pharaoh.  A loving feral beauty who recently lost a batch of kittens, one of which she brought to us in the hopes of saving it. Sadly, it was too late for the precious kitten. The one downside to my animal magnetism is this, I cannot save them all. Lord knows how I have tried to. I am grateful for what time I am granted with each beautiful animal.  I am also grateful to be able to capture them, briefly, making it last virtually forever.

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Florida Living

Pelicans

Living in Florida 99.9% of my life has helped me have an appreciation for parts of this amazing isthmus that perhaps many tourists may miss, parts of Florida overlooked that are slowly vanishing.

Many may not know that there are species of Pelicans that are endangered or threatened. This is not the only beautiful creature that sadly haunts the lists of endangered/threatened species.

While more towers of concrete masses congest the shorelines around this amazing state, more animals lose their homes.

Spectacular views are now shadowed by a concrete jungle of all too many seeking the Florida life.

I am not a true native. I was born elsewhere and brought to Miami when I was 18 months old. I remained in Miami for 20 years. When I recently visited Miami, it was unrecognizable. Although I am all for progress and understand change is inevitable, this was a bit different. This was not progress. To put it plainly, this was a congestive mess. I only wish I would have had a deeper interest in photographing nature when I was younger.  Instead, I then focussed on taking pictures of my friends.

I digress, I have strayed from the topic. These changes, this “progress”, is causing drastic side effects. This beautiful biodome we live in has a natural law and order to its existence.  Regardless of whether or not you believe in global warming, it is undeniable that more and more of our wildlife is slowly vanishing.

I have made it a mini mission to try and photograph all I can while I can.

A King On His Throne

king throne 1

Say what you will, but there is certainly a reason why the Lion is known as the king of the jungle.  As I watched these three lions in awe, I was simply too enamored to realize just what was taking place.  It was only thereafter, as my husband and daughter sat next to me, giggling, did the situation become clear.

Let us just say the king was on his throne, so to speak.

Here I was, believing I had captured the expression of a wise beast.  Holding centuries of knowledge. An amazing shot! I mean he was looking RIGHT AT ME….or so it seemed.

king throne 3

The guide remarked she would try to take us to a location where we could get a better view.  As she did, I was clueless as to why some of the safari members were giggling like shy school girls.

As we rounded the bed I was feverously taking photographs…all the while absolutely oblivious.

king throne 2

Now, considering what I shall mention later, I really should have know.

king throne 4

I am sure by now this image makes it painfully obvious. The poor lion. I mean, an audience as he relieves himself!

Here I thought I was actually capturing a beautiful moment, not a bowel movement.

The kicker is this, it would seem every time we (specifically me) are near an animal, no matter the species, they have to relieve themselves. Whether it be a zoo, a park, on safari, or even just walking in our own neighborhood. My husband is all too quick to point the animals out, in the off chance I somehow manage to miss this.  I probably should have never told him about the elephant ride I took as a child. Yes, the elephant decided to go then too.

Shortly after these images were taken we visited a petting zoo…..

I will leave this here.

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells Hacker Image

 

Because taking a 14 day cruise in the heart of December did not make me behind h enough……

I come home to discover that on Christmas Eve I was hacked.

Why anyone would want to hack my site is beyond me. Apparently I am not the only one.

With severe memory issues redoing my entire site is similar to repeating your final year of education 15 years later…..I have forgotten virtually everything.

Silver lining, I like my new set up better.

In happier news, Santa thought I was good.  I have received a new DSLR. I am looking forward to learning it’s ins and outs and creating with it soon.

For now I am composing my resolution list….at the top will be having a super secure website!!!!!

Here is looking forward to a 2017 that is memorable for good reasons unlike 2016.

 

Caribbean Holiday

caribbean holiday

 

I am slowly settling back into normalcy after taking an incredible 14 day aquatic journey. For two weeks the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Jade was my home. Formerly the Pride of Hawaii, this ship was adorned with Hawaiian themed decor. Although sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, the ship’s contrasting pacific decor was quite lovely. Sadly, the Jade lacked the beautiful murals most NCL ships adorn on the Promenade deck. I imagine it at one time had images of a Hawaiian nature as well.

The staff were absolutely AMAZING. I have never met lovelier people than those who work aboard NCL’s ships.  Each staff member was kind and made this experience all the more incredible. An extra special surprise was having the same cabin steward we had on our second NCL cruise 10 years ago! I never forget a face. At first no one believed that we had the delightful Armando tending to our cabin previously. I was able to find an image of him (courtesy of the cloud) to remind them!

There was never a hungry moment with the endless food being served. A bit salty for me, as I do not use salt, but delicious nonetheless! There really is something to eat for everyone’s taste as well. Children were delighted to find endless pizza, pasta, burgers, fries, and ice cream. Oh and the cookies….I have never seen so many cookies in my life.

I have been blessed to take many cruises in my lifetime.  At least 15 that I can vividly remember. I must say that cruising during the winter holidays is quite wonderful. The ship being fully decorated with Christmas trees, lights and even hand crafted gingerbread houses make it extra special. One downside however, is that Christmas is 3 days away and I have not done any shopping! I think souvenirs would have been a bit tacky as Christmas gifts.

The ports we visited were in Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. Each absolutely beautiful. An endless array of sights…a photographer’s dream.

14 sunsets to photograph!

Four epic ports of call.

Even after being home 4 days I have yet to sort the endless photographs.

This photograph was taken shortly after departure from Roatan, Honduras. Our sister ship, the Norwegian Dawn sailing past a glorious sunset.

I captured this image on my Nikon L810.

Garden Friends

garden friend

The other day, as we were pulling out of our yard to shop, a late blooming canna lily caught my attention.

I screamed, “STOP!!!”…my husband is used to this as I do it routinely to photograph.

Of course, this would be the one time I actually did not have my camera in tow.

I was a bit lazy to ask for the keys and to run back to the house.  We have a long drive way….and well, we were in a bit of a hurry as well.  Nonetheless, with my Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 in tow, I began trekking across our front drive towards the bright reddish bloom to capture at least one image.   I have learned all too well that if I do not take it as I see it, either the flower will somehow vanish by the time I have my camera or even worse…..I will absolutely forget!

My husband calls this my “butterfly effect”…because I am easily distracted by butterflies and other shiny objects! *Insert giggle here*

At first I did not see her….this beautiful green garden friend.

As I zoomed in on the but I gasped!

I personally had never seen such a spider.  Her vibrant green color was absolutely stunning against the red lily.

I could hear my family in the distance growing weary of my (once again) photography obsession. I quickly ran back to the car to show my daughter.  Even she found this little spider, “cool”….which from a 12 year old is actually a big compliment.

garden friend 2

garden friend 2

I took this second image when we returned from our shopping trip.

Now, I do not know much about spiders quite honestly.  I do know I only appreciate them OUTSIDE and at a distance.  I do respect them however. But I cannot imagine a living spider would allow itself to be covered by gnats.  I am assuming the spider had passed.  Mind you again, I have no clue as this might be a ploy to lure in her dinner!

I found it interesting and decided to share.  Although the pictures are not great at all, I did think others might enjoy a look.

On a side note, I had only just received the Galaxy 7 Edge and have not had ample time to explore the wonderful features it’s camera has.  The settings were all factory when I took these images.

My Website Is Up

iPhone-Mockup-PSD laptop my screen website

I finally have managed to set up my website. It is far from perfect but I am pleased with it. I hope to tweak it up and learn all the ins and outs soon!!!! Have a look http://alysathena.com/