A walk to the wild

We stayed with our friend, Jo, who lives a short distance from the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Since the zoo is free of charge (like all the other Smithsonian Institutions), we often took our daily walk there to see animals (and observe people watching the animals). How lucky are we to stroll in with no payment and decide which exhibit we’d like to see on our daily walk?

Last visit it was birds and elephants. This day we chose the Small Mammal House, cameras in hand.

DSC04421

The most easily photographed animal was the Dwarf mongoose, native of Africa.

Practice makes perfect, they say, and photography in the Small Mammal House is challenging, so we need more practice. Most of these critters move quickly, stay up high, and are behind (smudged) glass. Did we also mention the lighting is usually pretty awful for photography?

The sand cat stepped up to the glass and peered out. That gave us the perfect moment to capture this portrait. Sand cats look like house cats but live in the desert and endure temperature ranges of more than a100 degrees. The paws leave no imprint in the desert sand due to thick fur padding.

The sand cat stepped up to the glass and peered out. That gave us the perfect moment to capture this portrait. Sand cats look like house cats but live in the desert and endure temperature ranges of more than 100 degrees. The paws leave no imprint in the desert sand due to thick fur padding.

We took our time to photograph the tamarins, meerkats, lemurs, and monkeys. Still, the light was too dim and the action too fast to get any photos we really liked.

We thought this portrait of the white-headed marmoset captured a certain regal attitude.

We thought this portrait of the white-headed marmoset captured a certain regal attitude.

Since we need more practice we will go back. Outside the Small Mammal House, we happened upon a clouded leopard at feeding time. What luck! The trainer told us about this beautiful animal as tidbits were offered on the end of a skewer and poked through the opening of the fence.

The clouded leopard watched the trainer carefully and in anticipation of the skewered food, stretched to the fence with front paws from her perch on the wooden branches. 

The clouded leopard watched the trainer carefully and in anticipation of the skewered food, stretched to the fence with front paws from her perch on the wooden branches.

We don’t often set out to photograph people and hardly ever animals. It’s an interesting challenge for our new year.

 

December 2015

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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5 Responses to A walk to the wild

  1. Sand cats! Never heard of them. Of all the patriotic feelings, Stanley’s biggest is his pride in the fact that all Smithsonians are free. At first, I thought this was silly, but the more I think about it, the more significance it has to explain us as a society. Sand cats and free museums – great post!

  2. icelandpenny says:

    wonderful images & a tender story about beautiful creatures

  3. Marti Weston says:

    Lovely photos that remind me to visit the zoo occasionally.

  4. plaidcamper says:

    These are some delightful little animals! Good luck with photographing more of them – looking forward to it!

  5. Lovely photos. It’s often difficult to get good shots because they just don’t keep still long enough but you’ve done a nice job here. That cat is a cutie.

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