A Love for the Zoo
Ever since I can remember I have loved wildlife. Growing up I wanted to be a either a zoologist or a marine biologist. All throughout high school my passion for wildlife was present, if only a little less prevalent. I was really good at math and physics, however, so people said I should be an engineer. I listened. And even though I became that engineer people recommended I become, I held on to my affinity for wildlife. In fact, after college when I picked up my first camera in 2007, that affinity grew. It was the zoo and its animals, not the Pittsburgh skyline, that I had a connection with as my interest in photography began to bud. I would go 15 or so times a year and spend hours going back and forth between exhibits. My favorite animal(s) generally speaking are the big cats so I spend the most time at their habitats – lions, leopards, and tigers primarily which is great because I have access to them. When you spend enough time at the exhibits like I do, you’ll tend to have better luck seeing them up and moving about as opposed to laying there like a lump, which is all too often the case. I also learned that winter is the BEST time to go. The animals are active, the snow (if there is any and hopefully there is otherwise backgrounds for photos tend to be very….well BLEH!) provides a calm scene especially if it’s falling, and it’s empty! I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve been the only one at the zoo, or so it would seem at least. Unfortunately, though, my trips to the zoo have dwindled in the past two years. Life has a way of taking over and we somehow forget to make time for things that are important to us. I wanted to put that to an end so last Friday, Valentine’s Day, I set out for the zoo while my wife was at work. It was cold and snowy and I was all alone, just how I like it. I figured maybe there’s no better day than Valentine’s Day to reconnect with an old friend. I was right!