This Summer was my first visit to New York and one of the things near everyone said I HAD to check out was the Museum of Natural History – a recommendation not without merit. I ended up spending hours upon hours checking out a rather impressive collection of varied and almost disturbingly lifelike exhibits (including the newly acquired and famous Titanosaurus and the legendary Blue Whale).
Two large Dinosaurs at the entrance of the American Museum of Natural History
A large replicated Triceratops at the American Museum of Natural History
Mammoth or Cyclops?
The new Titanosaurus at the American Museum of Natural History
A large Caribou at the American Museum of Natural History
Two Brown Bears at the American Museum of Natural History
Mountain Goats at the American Museum of Natural History
The legendary Blue Whale at the American Museum of Natural History
It was an exhausting and enriching experience trolling the halls of the Museum with my trusty SLR and while I was impressed with the state and volume of the AMNH’s collection, I was a little disappointed to see that some of their literature/signage was desperately in need of updating and/or fact-checking (I even tweeted one such image at them at the time but it seems they took no notice). I’m sure in the larger scheme of the cultural and educational service institutions like the AMNH discharge, such errors or oversights are negligible. At the same time however, I wondered how many of the kids running around that Museum that day, or indeed any other, would go home having learnt something somewhat ignorant, and mildly insensitive, through someone else’s goof. Still – not to make a mountain out of a mole hill – such minors slips aside, I left that day feeling richer for the experience.
An Indian Elephant at the American Museum of Natural History
A Sea Turtle at the American Museum of Natural History
A lone Baboon at the American Museum of Natural History
Two Lionesses at the American Museum of Natural History
Antlers at Attention
All Your Ducks in a Row
An African Witch Doctor at the American Museum of Natural History
A vicious looking Monitor Lizard at the American Museum of Natural History
The Gorillas at the American Museum of Natural History
Lions at the American Museum of Natural History
If you’re going to go I’d chalk out at least 3-4 hours to really appreciate the collection they have. And it’ll be worth going online in advance and checking if any of the exhibits are closed (like the Butterfly House – which is seasonal and was sadly closed when I made my visit).
It won’t be a terrible surprise to any followers that yet again, following a hiatus post the April poetry-writing flurry, the thing that brings me back to posting is an urge to share more photographs from yet another Zoo visit : )
A Patagonian Mara pops up
A lone Chimpanzee sulking in the sun
A couple of Cheetah lazing in the summer sun
A Common Sergeant landing on a nearby leaf
A wonderfully playful Meerkat at Whipsnade
This post features shots from a visit to the Whipsnade Zoo which I first visited back in 2015. There were wonderfully familiar sights, but also some new experiences with the Zoo having finished renovations and extensions that were still coming up in 2015. Not to mention the acquisition of a few new animals – such as the beautiful new Amur Tigress (unfortunately not pictured here as she spent a majority of the time having a nice little nap in the corner of the enclosure).
Come at me bro!
A rather insidious African Dwarf Crocodile gives us the evil eye
A Tailed Jay
An Amur Tiger licks his lips in anticipation of lunch
This Ring-taiedl Lemur looks like its seen some things!
Watchu Lookin At!
It was a wonderful day… for many a reason. A gloriously sunny day. Some fun sightings. Fresh air and (relative) peace and quiet… Though I hope these humble offerings help highlight at least one, the most important one even – these glorious and gorgeous and amazing creatures!
A Crystal Clear Chrysalis in the Butterfly House at Whipsnade
A gorgeous Banded Orange Butterfly at Whipsnade
A gorgeous Tiled Jay at the Whipsnade Butterfly House
Alright I definitely have to get more organised about posting my photographs after a session/trip… Because here we go again. Posting from the back log – This time from my visit to the Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens (again sometime in 2016 while I was living in England). Hopefully from now on I learn my lesson and post more regularly. As a bonus though, this post is particularly Otter-heavy… So gets ready for the awwwws : D
What is this Oriental Small Clawed Otter shielding its friend from?
Hey I have a rock! High Five!
A Cotton Top Tamarin having a cheeky scratch
Does this Frilled Lizard remind anyone of an iconic movie scene?
A vibrant and (I’m sure misunderstood) Tarantula
This Burrowing Owl does not look happy to be caged up!
A wise old looking Six Banded Armadillo
I wonder if my painter can reproduce the funky markings of this Tokay Gecko
If you don’t see a Ring-Tailed Lemur performing Hamlet, you’re mad!
This Prevost’s Squirrel is terrifying!
I’m just a sucker for a cute group of Meerkats
Compared to the other Wildlife Parks and Zoos I had occasion to visit the Cotswolds was definitely one of the better ones. Being somewhat out in the country meant that it had large spaces and bigger enclosures for most of the animals, and a really large selection too. Though if you’re a “completionist” like me be sure to pack a lunch and some comfortable walking shoes, because it will take you all day to check out the park… and there are many animals you’ll want to visit repeatedly depending on the time of day.
A pair of Oriental Small Clawed Otters… kissing?
An African Crested Porcupine, just out for a stroll in its enclosure
A rather angry and determined looking Male Galapagos Giant Tortoise
An Oriental Small Clawed Otter rolling around in the sun
Pardon the date in the post. As it should make evident, I took these pictures a while back on a visit to Chester Zoo in England. The trip was a fun from what I recollect. Unfortunately it was also cold and shaky hands make for bad photography. So while it was somewhat memorable, it wasn’t all that successful.
A Sumatran Cub enjoying his lunch
A straw chewing Radiated Tortoise, out on a stroll
Looks like Human aren’t the only ones with dirty habits, as this Great Sumatran Orangutan shows!
A magnificent (and huge) Great Hornbill, shot through its mesh enclosure
An interestingly spotted Salvador’s Monitor lizard
A large Bornean Orangutan just swinging about
A rather sad-eyed Emperor Tamarin
A rather grumpy looking Baboon, with his beautifully marked blue snout
A hungry Andean aka Spectacled Bear noshing down on some yummy cucumbers
Still I’ve picked out a few worth publishing from the batch. Certainly a few gems in there I’m happy to add to the collection. Hopefully next time, if there ever is one, I’ll do the Zoo and its “Islands” justice.
A pair of Radiated Tortoises
A beautifully camouflaged green Dart Frog
A pair of vibrant blue Dart Frogs
A vividly coloured Caiman Lizard
A young Great Sumatran Orangutan
A gorgeous Blue Morpho Butterfly perched on a branch overhead
I wish I had more to say on the visit. But time and other factors nudge me away from reminiscing. So hopefully these few shots speak for themselves.
Right, well, another Zoo post… I’m really making a habit of these aren’t I? Well… No regrets!!! : D
Here are some of my favourite shots from a visit to Marwell Zoo, in the English county of Hampshire. Tickets were quite affordable, compared to say ZSL, but then it was quite a drive away to get to. It wasn’t the sunny day one hopes for on a visit to the Zoo, but then it is England ; p
A lonely little Dyeing Poison Frog
An Amur Leopard blending seamlessly into the “jungle floor”
A Family of Desert Mongoose
A speedy little Egyptian Tortoise
A shy White Rhino
A Beautiful Amur Tiger
An inquisitive looking Red Ruffed Lemur
A sleeping Madagascar Tree Boa
A sleeping Madagascar Tree Boa
An Ocelot has a nice mid-day nap
A Stern Looking Secretary Bird
Quite honestly, Marwell was amazing. The animals had great enclosures and I’m sure during the summer it must be quite a sight to see many of them roaming in shared habitats. If you love near by or are planning a trip in that direction, take a day and go. You won’t regret it.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll know that I like, once in a while, to try my hand at photography. Now, I am by no means a professional. Barely even an amateur. But I do manage to get the odd picture or two that I can look at years on and feel quite pleased with.
One of my favourite things in the world to photograph is animals, and while I’d much rather photograph them in the wild, being a city a boy I rarely get the opportunity. So it is a delightful treat when I convince a friend to accompany me to the local Zoo.
An inquisitive looking Meerkat
A female Sea Lion leaps though the air
A European Brown Bear out on a walk
Lynx on a Log
A playful Wolverine tosses about in his enclosure
A Red Panda munching on some bamboo
A lone European Wolf snoozes in the sun
A sleepy Lion wakes from his 21 hour nap…
An African White Rhino grazes nearby
Knowing of my love for the furry, slimy, scary and cuddly, a very dear friend decided to take me to Whipsnade Zoo, located in Bedfordshire. And I must say, if you haven’t been, you really should try to get out there. It is just breathtakingly gorgeous and seeing so many of the animals roaming in their large enclosures really warmed my heart. Many of the smaller herbivores were even roaming free about the whole compound, which was an especial treat! It may not be the great plains and jungles many of them are accustomed to, but it’s nice to see them being treated well. Or as well as can be hoped.
A Red Panda snoozes in the tree home
A Wallaby stares me down…
A Sea Lion breaks through the surface of his cool blue pool
An African White Rhino striking an epic pose on the horizon!
A Cheeky Ring-Tailed Lemur
A rather stern looking Pink Flamingo.
A Ring Tailed Lemur out at play.
A Ring-Tailed Lemur mid-jump
I hope some of these pictures inspire you to patronise this establishment for yourself. And take it from me, if you’re a real animal buff, get the ZSL Membership – 3 trips to either Whipsnade or the London Zoo and it’ll have paid for itself.
Despite spending a wonderful year in Oxford I had not, much to my chagrin, visited the two linked museums in oxford – the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers. So a few days past, thanks to the prodding of a very dear friend, I finally made the excursion to see the muss and fuss (and of course the Shrunken Heads!)
I rather realistic looking stuffed Deer
The humongous jaw of a Sperm Whale
Hello Mr. Badger!
The famous Oxford Dodo
Right, now where is Alice?
What followed was a realisation that these two museums are severely lacking in space. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that they were by any means shoddy or architecturally minuscule… Rather I make such a comment simply to make more dramatic the point (as is my habit ; p) that the institutions are absolutely bursting with an amazingly diverse collection of artefacts, fossils and various bits and bobs. While I have had the pleasure of visiting many museums, none made so vigorous an effort to catalogue the minutia of human existence as did the Pitt Rivers. And the Museum of Natural History can boast many wonders of its own… From masks to games to arms to cosmetics – the various displays house thousands of little pieces of the human story.
Some exquisitely carved bone and wood horns
An intimidating Sabre-tooth Cat skull
A fabulously colourful Tribal Headdress
But it’s not all tiny puzzle pieces of the grander human experiment (apologies for the mixed metaphor). There is also much for the less anthropologically inclined, such as dinosaur fossils, various extinct species of animals and a fairly decent collection of stuffed animals. Admittedly I did not spend much time in Natural History Museum, owing most to the fact that I found it difficult to stare at the stuffed remains of so many beautiful creatures, which I would have given much to see in the wild. Sadly for many of us, and especially generations to come, stuffed and mounted is probably the only way many of them will ever be seen.
My personal thoughts on conservation and preservation aside, the Pitt Rivers is a wonderful family friendly afternoon that I encourage all of you in or about Oxford to drop in on. Admission is free and you can even enjoy a nice picnic in the garden out front.
So I recently went to a gig by a friend’s band – Jester – where the opening act was a college band called ‘Nice Weather for Ducks‘, though they really could have fooled me. For a college outfit they have a really tight sound and their vocalist has some pretty decent chops. So I didn’t miss the chance to catch them again at Lodhi Garden Restaurant on Saturday, the 26th of August.
Left to Right: Amar Paney (Bass/Vocals), Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitars)
Left to Right: Amar Pandey (Bass/Vocals), Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar), Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals), Kabir David (Guitar), Nirvan Athreya (Keyboards/Vocals)
Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals)
Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar)
Left to Right: Kabir David (Guitar), Nirvan Athreya (Keyboard/Vocals)
Left to Right: Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar), Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals)
Left to Right: Amar Pandey (Bass/Vocals), Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar)
Left to Right: Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar), Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals), Kabir David (Guitar)
Left to Right: Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar), Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals), Kabir David (Guitar)
Ishaan Gandhi (Drums/Percussion)
Left to Right: Amar Pandey (Bass/Vocals), Sharan Subrahmanyam (Guitar), Aranya Sahay (Lead Vocals), Kabir David (Guitar)
Though their set was short, it was entertaining. They played well and, all-in-all, the crowd, a majority of which was not there to listen to any live music, self-composed or otherwise, gave them a pretty decent ovation. In my opinion, if this was a TC gig, they would have walked off to a pretty decent roar.
The band bills themselves as ‘experimental’ and I suppose to some extent they are – they have elements of fusion, a little punk-ishness and some old school alternative vibes – though they wouldn’t match what most of us, or I at least, would think of when envisioning experimental rock. But this is not a bad thing.
If you haven’t heard them yet I suggest you check them out – Nice Weather for Ducks – I hear their EP is dropping soon!
With the dust settled, the clouds parted and a good night’s sleep finally had, I sit down to reminisce about the third and final day of Comic Con Delhi 2014… Oh how I miss it already. Contrary to my beliefs Sunday’s crowds weren’t nearly as intense as I imagined. Indeed Saturday probably saw a lot more people fluttering in and jamming up the aisles. But despite the crowds being lesser than my expectations, the Con still had an amazing day – the Cosplayers (though they seemed to congregate much later in the day than before) came strong and proud and the panels were hands down the best of the Con (save the best for last I guess!).
Despite how encouraging yesterday was the three amigos at stall C12 could not have been prepared for the reaction that Delhi showed today. People came out in droves to check out Comic Con ok its second day. And they came ready and happy to spend many hours browsing the offerings and supporting the exhibitors. The independent publishers saw massive crowds pretty much all day and from most accounts, people saw the works and wares practically flying. And Meta Desi saw the surprising turn of events when our Cubees, which were put out simply as a novel gimmick, sold out of all but one character! (On a personal victory, Cowzilla and Dara – from “Holy Hell” – were amongst the most popular).