Amazing drawings, the N.C. Zoo, and some photos of butterflies

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Congratulations, to Jocelyn, who just graduated from the Columbia University publishing program. Now she’s hunting for a publishing job in New York, and we’re hopeful that she’ll quickly find one. (If you have any leads, please let me know.)

This week she sent me this link to a group of drawings and paintings that are astonishing in their photographic realism. Truly, the work is uncanny. I had no idea that there were humans with such technical facility.

But after the initial shock of astonishment wore off a bit, I wondered a little what was the point. If you could do the same thing with a camera, why wouldn’t you just use the camera? I suppose it might be like deciding to hike when you could drive, or building furniture with hand tools rather than power tools. There could be joy in the activity.

At any rate, I’m so glad I’ve got a camera, because it would take me at least another lifetime to learn to draw like these artists. Lately I’ve been learning more about my Nikon D3200, and having fun with it.
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Week before last, I took the Sally and the camera over to the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro. We took in most of the Africa section, which features a spacious layout for such iconic species as elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, and relatively humane enclosures for the lions, chimps, baboons, lemurs, and exotic birds.
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We saw an adorable and sociable ostrich (above). I was also particularly touched by a baby baboon, just 6 months old, who rode about on mama, dropped off to bother brother, and hitched another ride on top of an aunt. We also enjoyed the many swimming turtles, including snappers, we saw from the bridge at the entrance.

I generally associate zoos with children, and recalled with pleasure taking my kids years ago, but also was reminded of the many challenges of young children and their needs (“I’m thirsty.” “I’m hungry” “I’m tired.” “I’m bored.”) It was good for a change to have no worries of that sort, and freedom to just enjoy the animals and environments.
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Of course I have mixed feelings: it doesn’t feel quite right to cage these creatures up, even in nice cages. In the best of worlds they’d be free to live as best they could in habitat unmarred by humans. But in an imperfect world, I appreciate the chance to get close to these marvelous creatures.
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As a birthday present to myself I recently got a new tool: AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8G IF-ED. It’s a high quality macro lens suitable for extreme closeups. I’m interested in doing more with flowers and insects. Yesterday morning I got to Raulston Arboretum just after it opened at 8:00 a.m., and had good light, and proceeded thereafter to Fletcher Park. There were bees and butterflies hard at work, including these.
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