Oct 22, 2010

Hungry Hungry Hippos

St. Louis has this terrific tradition of free and inexpensive cultural and educational facilities. There's the Arch, the Art Museum, and, not to be missed, the Zoo. I remember visiting these places when I lived there as a small boy, and was hoping to visit some again while I was there this week. I only had a little bit of time before my flight home yesterday. I used a little bit of it at the Art Museum.

That was a good choice--probably the best choice I could have made. I saw an exhibit on photography commissioned by the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. There were some really moving photographs there, like this one by Marion Post Wolcott (click on it to see the biographical info).

The reason it was a good choice was that seeing some terrific photographs, not to mention paintings and sculpture, stimulated my own eye to start seeing some art around me. I walked around the museum and explored some very nice light pouring through high windows, but there just weren't very many people in the museum on a Tuesday afternoon. I was itching to see some living art.

So I walked over to the Zoo.

It's a great zoo, and it's all very modern and kids and parents alike enjoy visiting there. I asked the gal at the desk if there were likely to be any animals active at that time of day (not likely)...she just stared blankly back at me. I tried a different approach, "If you were visiting here at this time of day and only had about an hour, what would you go see?" The unhesitating answer: Zebras. She pointed me down the path and away I went.

On the way I talked with the docent at the insect house and butterfly-arium (the butterflies were a bit...flighty, but the flowers were pretty good (see Flower Friday below)). I also saw a couple of giant anteaters eating ants, and a cheetah, and a red hog. But they were all pretty lazy.

Then I came around the corner and saw an elderly lady's hair aglow as sunlight poured under the pavilion she was sitting under and lit her up like an octogenarian angel; then a giant pig swam by.

So, I cleaned my lens, but when I looked again the giant pig was still there.

 Are you a product of the eighties? I am. And it shows. There were lots of things from that era that just stick with a guy. So the whole time I was standing there watching these leviathans swimming about, there was just one thing on my mind.

Anyway, one couldn't help being enchanted by these big, lumpy animals with mysteriously dry looking skin. There is really nothing else like a hippo. Look at that jaw!

Fortunately, I wasn't the only one enthralled with the river horses, and these two images are the result of going to the art museum before the zoo.

 Nikon D700, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 1000

Nikon D700, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens, f/5.6, 1/1600s, ISO 1000.

I never did find the Zebras.


  1. Love them. Those are fantastic. The first photo is my favorite. I love how dainty the hippos appear while swimming in the water. Its like they are in denial

  2. Thanks, Dion. Theyreally were quite graceful. The water, moving and changing directions with ease. Pretty incredible.

  3. I didn't know you lived here when you were younger?! Was your dad at Scott AFB at one time too?

  4. Kaleena, He was. It was right after we left you guys in Ohio...though you may not have been born, yet. Sorry I missed you this trip; I hope you're feeling better!

  5. Thanks. I am finally felling better, but it was a long one!