Friday, September 21, 2012

Hogle Zoo Close-ups - Abstracts In Nature

Green Tree Python at Hogle Zoo

Every time I go to the zoo, I take my camera.  I can't help it.  But how many pictures of the giraffe or elephant do you really need?  Certainly, I have amassed enough for a lifetime or two.  But still, the lure of trying to get a really great shot beckons, and I carry the camera around and click away.

Cottonmouth snake

So, this time around I decided to zoom in a bit and focus on the amazing colors and textures in nature.  The reptile house in particular gave an abundance of patterns and shapes.  The variety of art in nature is truly amazing.

Tiger at Hogle Zoo

This tiger's coat would blend in with the sandstone of southern Utah.

Indian Star tortoise

From fur to feathers, shells to skin, the lines, shapes, and textures are an inspiration.

Can you guess what this is?

If you said porcupine quills, you are right!  These spiny shafts trail after the porcupine as he walks by me in his enclosure.

Beaded texture of a gila monster

The gila monster is a particular favorite with his contrasting colors and bumping skin.  It is almost as is he has sequins.

Giraffe at Hogle Zoo

The patterns on the giraffe probably act as camouflage in the savannas of Africa. They stand out in sharp relief in the mountain region of Salt Lake City.

Snake at Hogle Zoo

A snake's skin, when amplified, doesn't look smooth.  The texture of artfully placed scales forms incredible patterns and designs.


My personal favorite is this abstract canvas formed by a colorful butterfly wing.  It could hang in any museum.  So, next time you are going to a familiar place and are facing the choice of "to photograph or not to photograph," consider a different angle.  You might be surprised what you find if you take the time to zoom in!

Monday, September 3, 2012

When Clouds Get In the Way....

Clouds in Alberta, Canada

Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out.  This year, my summer got derailed.  Here is what I had planned: a great family vacation, followed by many family activities around home like hiking, camping, cookouts, game days,  zoos and aquariums,  painting the deck railing, gardening, and more.

Here is what my summer turned out to be: great family vacation followed by a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, MRI, surgical consults, another MRI, more surgical consults, surgery, PET/CT scan, and post-operative follow-up appointments.  My plans for the next several months will now be centered around chemotherapy and radiation.

Hollyhocks at home.

Sometimes the journey we plan and the journey we take aren’t exactly the same.  But, it doesn’t mean the trip has to be terrible.  Although my path this summer has had many unexpected twists and turns, I did manage a couple of easy hikes, and I also soaked up as much family time as possible.  I learned that the things that mattered most to me before cancer, are still the things that matter the  most.  Some things don’t change.  I learned about the overwhelming kindness of people.  And I learned that life is full of beautiful things all along the way, even when your travel plans change.