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Week 24 of the 52 week challenge brings us to the theme of “Monster” a fun choice and one that had me thinking of a ton of set up shots involving stuffed animals, Halloween masks, tents and flashlights and more, however it also had me thinking about the excursion to the Zoo we had planned for that weekend to spend some time with visiting family. What better place to find some “monster” than the Zoo? I was thinking specifically about the great reptile/creepy crawly exhibit that Hogle Zoo has, what’s more monstrous than a 6 inch tarantula or spiky lizard, or 12 foot long Croc?

Well a Zoo’s a big place and I got sidetracked along the way by some big furry creatures…

“Monster Bite” This big Amour Tiger was actually yawning but with teeth like that does it really matter?

I’ll have some more tiger shots farther along in the post, for now let’s explore some of the other animals we were able to see.

An ice block full of fruits and veggies is a welcome treat on a hot sunny day.

Usually very active we must have gotten there at nap time as this River Otter poked his head up looked around once and then dropped down again.

A Schmidt’s Guenon or as my daughter called it the Green face monkey.

Does this remind anyone else of the movie “Gremlins”?

A black Howler this guy was very acrobatic (I missed those antics as I was too far away to get a clean shot through the glass and he must be camera shy because he stopped as soon as I got closer)

I love these guys, they’re so cute and tiny, no really they’re very tiny like fit in the palm of your hand tiny!

A Capuchin monkey, when shooting at the Zoo sometimes you just have to embrace the fences.

He was staring at an image of himself as it was projected onto an ipad held up by someone to my right.

One of my personal favorite animals is the Giraffe, Hogle Zoo has a great Giraffe exhibit where you can walk in to their ‘house’ and go up the stairs to be eye level and only feet away from them while they feed.

Mug shot!

My what big eyelashes you have!

Less than favorite but cool nonetheless are Bats, it was feeding time when we came so they had their eyes open. High iso and a steady hand were called for here.

A quick break for a drink at my favorite drinking fountain ever (I used this way back when I was a kid)

Lions head fountain, a classic at Hogle Zoo!

A colorful spoonbill in the free roaming bird exhibit.

I love the textures you find on Elephants! (This is Dari it was her 51st birthday)

This year the Zoo opened up the new “Rocky Shores” exhibit which includes many new animals in much improved more natural settings including a Polar bear, Seals and a Sea Lion, Bald Eagles, Grizzly Bears and River Otters (we got a peak at on e of those earlier)

Here are a few:

A harbor seal doing laps

The exhibit allows you some great underwater viewing. These guys love to swim upside down.

Our new Sea Lion who is partially blind was all about swimming in circles this day

The Polar Bear on the other hand was into the backstroke

He’d come up right in front of the glass before swimming away on his back.

This Polar Bear was on the loose…

One of the three new Grizzlies at the Zoo. These bears unlike the polar bear are not so close, thank goodness for 300mm lenses!

After this we went to the Asian Highlands exhibit where they house the big cats and specifically the Amour Tigers, I’m totally in love with these big cats and must have burned through a 16gb card on them alone but I’ll try to keep it to a dozen shots or so..

Getting a drink.
This particular spot is behind a fence and some bushes/trees and about 7 feet away so it’s really close.

-Eye of the Tiger-
(you started singing it huh?!)
After drinking he looked right at me!!

How about a Black and White version?

Then he looked away…

The Black and White version:

I think I like this version better (at least today I do, tomorrow might be a different story)

Seriously if I ever meet a tiger in the wild I’m a dead man (and not just for the obvious reasons) simply because I become transfixed by those eyes, it was otherworldly staring at them through the telephoto, I could not stop myself.

Not all the wildlife was behind fences…thought I’d sneak in one candid shot of the local wildlife 😉

And Finally this single male Amour Tiger, who is the owner of that monstrous (yet beautiful) bite I showed at the beginning.

It’s like he’s thinking “Thanks for visiting please come again!” or was he thinking “hmm lunch”…?

That’s it for today’s visit to the Zoo, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Happy Shooting!