Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, NY

It was Spring, the weather was clearing up a bit and this was my first visit to a zoo since being on safari in Africa six months earlier. Seeing lions and elephants in a zoo setting won’t be the same after seeing them roaming free in the Serengeti but I did enjoy the visit to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Location). They have used the available space and terrain to provide plenty of viewing spots for the visitors without giving an impression that the animals are ‘caged’. This is especially noticeable in the enclosures for the mountain sheep and the tigers.
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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website. www.megapixeltravel.com, with my son, Graeme, was one of the major milestones for the year. Graeme had been prodding me to think about a blog format for my photo postings for quite some time so this was the year that it happened. I like to add text to the photos that I post. Although that works fine on Flickr for single photos, a blog format provides me with a better sense of continuity of thought and sequence of events when uploading a series of photos. In 2011, I intend to continue uploading to Flickr but will likely leave the story-telling here with my blog uploads.

Boxing Day 2010 has arrived with sunny skies and -10C temperatures a far different situation than Boxing Day 2009. Icicles on the Thule.

Rather than seeking out one “best” photos, here are some of the highlights of my year and some of the memories that keep me attached to my camera. Clicking on the thumbnail images in this annual review will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream or to the specific blog entry associated with that photo.

New Year's Eve Fireworks - Mont Tremblant, Quebec Photographing fireworks on the ski slopes of Mt. Tremblant in Quebec to end the old year (2009) and start the new year (2010).

With hands out they waited Kanata Badminton Club meeting on Jack Pine Trail Flickr Wakefield outing - March 16, 2010 - Unabridged Yup! Definitely tastes like Introducing complete strangers to the enjoyment of feeding the Chickadees or meeting friends out on Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails and enjoying the company of like-minded souls on outings with Ottawa’s Flickr groups

The creation of a masterpiece - Winterlude ice sculptures - Feb 2010 Crocuses in shock! +27C/81F today! Where there are dreams there is hope. Watching artists at work carving large blocks of ice into masterpieces at Ottawa’s Winterlude and then seeing another Spring arrive and being able to use my camera to help out in a small way at the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.

A project of Mairin Peck in Oregon Stonehaven Drive Fire - Kanata, Ontario Helping students achieve their goals and being glad that not all fires take lives.

Last campground site - Obatanga Provincial Park -  Breeding Bird Survey Road to Dubreuilville, Ontario 5AM Awaking many, many mornings at 4:30AM to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys for Environment Canada.

Full Moon - VMC 50th - Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg (Fort Garry), Manitoba Participating in some of the craziness of my school’s 50th anniversary reunion under the watchful eye of a full moon.

 The group The hosts of the show - Jennifer Podemski and Don Kelly - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! 2010 - Ottawa, Ontario Kinnie Starr - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario Inez - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts readies for greetings and opening ceremonies - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario David Usher - Canada Day 2010 - Kanata, Ontario Photographing local events and concerts. I don’t normally take photos of people, so this was a new challenge for me. “Sloan” and “Monkey Junk” at Ottawa’s Westfest; “The Initial Reaction” and “Insensitivity Training” and “The Duck Wife” at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival; “Jennifer Podemski”, “Don Kelly”, “Kinnie Starr”, “Inez”, “Lucie Idlout”, “Digging Roots” and Algonquin elder, Grandfather William Commanda, at the APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) broadcast; “David Usher” and “Elliot Brood” on Canada Day: and “Blue Rodeo” later in the year.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Finally taking my camera to the Museum of Civilization, a much overdue totem pole experience.

Osgoode Medieval Festival 2010 -  Am I missing something?   :-) Taking Aim - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY Land Battle  - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY From the staircase - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Pump House - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Taking a step back in time at medieval festivals and re-enactments and restored “castles”.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider Christina and the butterflies Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks Running out of light! Experiencing the excitement of finding a bug, flower, bird or animal that I haven’t seen or photographed before or successfully testing my recuperated Achilles with a nice mountain climb with my wife, or just enjoying the thrill of another beautiful sunset.

Lion cub out for a morning stroll - Serengeti, Tanzania Lion in the Serengeti Lilac-breasted Roller Licking the lips. Mmm. Good. Of course, spending two weeks in Africa looking at lions, elephants, giraffes and exotic birds with Graeme does have its benefits and plenty of high points.

Photographing lights at night is always a favourite pastime especially when winter approaches and I don’t have to stay up all night to do it!

Shades of Nudity - Sculpture Garden - City Park, New Orleans Alien Communication Device - Canada Day 2010 , Kanata, Ontario And, finally, to finish off this rather long post, there is the enjoyment that I get when wondering what people think when they search on words like “nude men” or “alien communication devices ” and arrive at my on-line offerings :-).

Fireworks - Canada Day 2010 in Kanata Not sure where I will be on New Year’s Eve but, hopefully, I will find more fireworks to photograph where ever I end up being.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

African Safari – Serengeti – Lion Cubs

African Safari – Serengeti – Lion Cubs

Our first interesting sighting of the morning was a large hippo meandering across an open space on its way back to a pool of water where it would spend the rest of the day submerged in its own version of heaven – a mix of mud and water of just the right consistency.

Soon after, we came across a family of lions. Of particular interest were the young cubs who put on quite a display of tree climbing for our enjoyment and amusement.

African Safari – Serengeti – Morning Drive part two

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

African Safari – Serengeti – Morning Drive part two

We moved from the grasslands into a damper area where we were able to observe some wading birds including the Black-winged Stilt and the Goliath Heron. At up to five feet tall, the Goliath Heron is the world’s largest heron and up to a foot and a half taller than North America’s Great Blue Heron.
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African Safari – Serengeti Leftovers – Digging Right In

Marabou Stork, (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) + White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

African Safari – Serengeti Leftovers – Finger-lickin’ Good

Once the lions have had their fill, all of the clean-up crew arrives at the table and squabble over what is left behind.

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus: Gyps bengalensis)
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African Safari – Out into the Serengeti in search of LIONS

African Safari – Out into the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a vast nature preserve and one of the natural wonders of the world. It wasn’t long before we had left all of the world behind as we traveled a road that seemed to go on forever. The weather stayed behind us and the animals cooperated. A great way to finish a travel day on the way to our accommodation for the evening.

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African Safari – Oldupai Gorge to Serengeti National Park

African Safari – Oldupai Gorge to Serengeti National Park

As we left the Oldupai Gorge, our vehicles left a plume of dust behind at every corner. Looking off into the distance, it looked like we might be in for some rain. When on safari, a little rain is a good thing as it helps to keep the dust down and gets the grass growing. On the other hand, rain can make everything rather slippery, wet and messy. We had been blessed with perfect weather. so far. As we approached the Serengeti portion of our safari, we had our fingers crossed that the showers would be beneficial and not downpours.
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African Safari – Masai Mara – Evening safari

African Safari – Masai Mara – Evening safari

This was our last evening safari on the Masai Mara and we were still hoping to locate that elusive Leopard or one of the rare Black Rhinos. We didn’t see either of those, but did manage to see a few more elephants and another lion or two and added another bird species to our ever-growing list.
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African Safari – The big sale

African Safari – The big sale

During our period of R&R, I wandered down the pathway from the lodge to the small, three hut model Maasai village nearby. I was interested in buying a small mask. Seven Maasai women were interested in selling me cloth, masks, bracelets, beads and all manner of handiwork. After much discussion and bartering, I left with their picture and a mask and they kept some of my money :-).
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African Safari – A restful afternoon at the lodge

African Safari – A restful afternoon at the lodge

After our early morning outing on the Masai Mara, we returned to the lodge for breakfast and a bit of R&R.
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