Back to the zoo


Tiger at Memphis Zoo

Click on the tiger to see our original Memphis Zoo story and pictures

Back in June 2010, I made a trip to Overton Park, AKA The Memphis Zoo. The zoo was featuring a couple of pandas whose presence created a temptation I could no longer resist. Though I went for the pandas, I got more than I  had bargained for including the climate.

I have sweltered in my time, but that weekend pegged the needle for a combination of heat and humidity the likes of which I had not experienced since the early sixties when I was traipsing about in the jungles  of northeast Thailand. At the end of the day, I decided that the price of seeing some fine critters do their best to act up was some sweaty discomfort which I survived. Looking back, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

panda at memphis zoo

Click on the Panda for more pix and a story.

The trip afforded energetic performances by bears, big cats, gorillas, monkeys, and the people who were watching the critters. You can see the start of the story with some panda, polar bear,  and tiger pictures pictures on the original Corndancer Photo of the Week page.

See the rest of the story on our original Weekly Grist post. I also created an album with 42 critter pictures including tigers, pandas, monkies,  gorillas, and more from the trip in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

A bear, a monkey, and a locomotive redux


Fuzzy monkey on a limb

Click on the monkey to see the original post

Back in November of 2009, I ran shy of current subject matter and was compelled to dig into the archives to populate the Weekly Grist and Corndancer Photo of the Week pages.

Mind you, these were film archives, 35mm transparencies, no less, so we are talking late eighties and early to mid nineties. Lots of fumbling, loupe looking, page turning, and head scratching as opposed the modern alternative of “scrolling down.”

I found the ones I wanted, mostly unrelated, including a fox, some alligators, a bear swimming in deer grass, a locomotive, and one super cool monkey. I put the fox and gators on Corndancer. I put the bear, monkey, and locomotive on Weekly Grist. Click here to see the original post and marvel.

fox at new orleans zoo

Click on the fox for the Corndancer Photo of the Week

The fox and the gators bear inspection on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com, where we discuss the conundrum the fox versus the gators: How we consider warm and fuzzy versus low, long, toothy and perhaps slimy — while both are God’s critters. There is no good answer, but it is a pretty good read.

Given that these critters were adults when I shot them years ago, most have probably ascended to the big critter home in the sky, so this is a memorial to them. Well maybe except for the gators who can live up to 50 years and still may be scaring the socks off of those with weak stomachs. I guess that’s how God makes up for ugly.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

A bear, a monkey, and a locomotive


bear in pond at Audubon Park Zoo

It ain’t the slime from Hades that ate Brooklyn surrounding the bear. It’s common duckweed.

This critter compendium started on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot com with a gray fox and some ‘gators. To get in on the start of the festivities and see the critters, click here. We’ll wait while you look.

The black bear is swimming in the pond of the swamp area at Audubon Park, otherwise known as the New Orleans Zoo. Mind you, this shot was made with film around the mid nineties, so the bear and the pond are not the same, if at all.

When you first see the image, you say, “  … yuk, gah-rohss, eeetch!$#@! look at the bear in the slime. The green stuff is neither algae nor slime; it is duckweed, a prolific, emerald green aquatic plant that will cover a pond quickly. What appear to be green freckles on the bear’s muzzle are duckweed leaves.  It is an inordinately warm day in mid-April and brother bear has opted for a dip to cool the savage beast, duckweed notwithstanding.

primate in tree at Audubon Park Zoo

Now where in the $#@!!!^%* did I leave that lottery ticket?

Not far away, perched high above the ground is a monkey, the genre of which escapes me. He looks like he is wearing a roaring twenties raccoon coat. One thing I do know, it appears that his left ear is itching because he is vigorously scratching in that direction.  He looks like he has just lost his lottery ticket. Folks, these critters are why we go and gladly pay to get it. Go forth, learn and enjoy.

All steamed up

Cotton Belt Engine 819

Cotton Belt Engine 819, built, retired, and restored in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

What, you say, do monkeys, bears, and locomotives have in common? At first blush, nothing. Howsomever, these three do. They share a residence in my film image archives. This week, in-lieu of plying the highways and byways for Grist matter, I groveled through the archives. From a technical standpoint,  for those of you interested in photography, this image took a bit of unconventional chicanery. I knew I would not get to see the engine until the afternoon of that day, which, unfortunately meant the business end, which you see above, would be in the shadows. So I took a couple of 600 watt studio strobes and about a 175′ of extension cord to the rail yards and blasted 819 with a sterilizing dose of strobe to get the shot. I got some really weird stares and a couple of mild electrical shocks since steam engines cast off water, but, in the end, I got the shot and that was what counted. The images on this post are all in the 14-15 year old range, shot on Fujichrome 100.

The 819 was built in the Cotton Belt Shops at Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1943. The locomotive was in regular service on the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, more popularly known in theses environs as the Cotton Belt Line, until 1955 when it was retired. The mighty locomotive was placed on permanent display in a city park in Pine Bluff where it remained until December 1, 1983 when a group of enthusiasts put the engine back on rails, returned it to the shops where it originated and meticulously restored it to the last minute detail. There is much more to this story than this synopsis, most of which you can find here. The 819 is currently housed in the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

May 6, 2012 update. The 8i9 is now disassembled and “on hold.” See a Corndancer article and a companion Weekly Grist article from 2010 which give some explanation of the 819 dilemma.

Where is this building (or where was it)?

auto auction barn

This old build is (or was) in plain sight, visible for a long way in either direction on the highway where it was located. Where, was that, within 100 miles?

Who will be the first to tell me where this building is, within a hundred miles, or so, a generous latitude of locations? I have passed this old structure a number of times and finally photographed it about 15 years ago. It’s been seven years since I have been past the building, so I am not certain that it is still standing. Who knows, it could have been razed or simply collapsed. For those who want to participate, email or post a comment below? Hint: It is west of where I live. I will reveal the answer (within a 100 miles or so) next week, it not sooner.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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