This week’s photo was taken this spring at the San Francisco Zoo. Many zoos across the country allow peacocks to roam free amongst the visitors and animal exhibits. On this day I was lucky enough to witness 15 separate plumage displays, as the males were trying to catch the attention of the hens.
Although people “ohh” and “ahh” over the beautiful colors of the feathers when displayed from the front side, it is actually the tail and backside of the feathers that is meant to attract potential mates. When in full display, peacocks will often slowly turn in a circle, in order to show off its backside in as many directions as possible.
This week’s photo comes from a backpacking trip I did this summer with a friend. Emigrant Wilderness is a backpacker’s gem, especially once you get out of range of day hikers. Easily accessible from the San Francisco Bay Area, it is often overlooked due to Yosemite’s popularity. Once in the southern part of the wilderness which borders Yosemite’s northern boundary, it is not uncommon to go days without seeing another person.
This morning we had gotten up early and were on the trail by 6:30. We had situated our camp so that we would cross Emigrant Lake’s northern side just as the rising sun was cutting across the water at a low angle, bathing the southern mountains in beautiful light, and giving me a nice reflection in the lake. The lush grass along the shore was a bonus – the long shadows across the grass give a real sense of early morning stillness.
We see these birds all the time, throughout most of North America. They invade our parking lots and strip malls, and their calls are ubiquitous. However, when I happened upon this ring-billed gull standing alone at the end of a pier overlooking the San Francisco Bay, I saw an opportunity to turn the commonplace into an interesting shot. The sun was setting behind me, illuminating the bird with a soft glow. That, combined with the fact that this particular bird was clean and quite nice looking, gave me the ingredients needed to create a pleasing portrait.
This week’s photo is of one of San Francisco Zoo’s new prairie dog pups. He was busy pestering just about every other prairie dog in the exhibit. But it looked like he ran into the wrong one, because this adult wasn’t about to take anything from some little pup. This shot was taken just after the pup dove into one of the burrows for cover.