Did you ever have one of those magical days when everything just falls into place? Where the trains are running with no problem, the weather is perfect, and every photo you take is a winner? Well, maybe not all and maybe not all winners but, a good portion you can be proud of. Anyway, that was the kind of day I had on Sunday.
My photographic objective that day was to get images of monkeys as 2016 is the Year of the Monkey and I need a photo for my Chinese New Year card. My sister-in-law, Tracy is from Chengdu China and my nephew, William is half American and half Chinese so I always send them a card each year. Now, the only place nearby that I know that has monkeys, Japanese macaques or snow monkeys to be exact, is good ole Central Park.
I knew it was going to be a good day for photography when I exited the N train at 5th Avenue and 60th Street and looked over the stone wall into the park and was greeted by a gorgeous late autumn scene over looking the reflecting pool and stone arched bridge. The park was still in full color, with deep gold, green, red and orange. For once it wasn’t super crowded, as I think many New Yorkers were out of the city visiting family for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
I captured terrific reflections of wavy, shimmering, swirling colors in the water and two sweet little mallard’s mirror reflections as they basked in the warm sun. Pulling myself away from the beauty of the pond and heading toward the zoo, I spied in the distance, ice skaters gliding and twirling on the cold pure white ice of Wollman Rink, now open for the season. If people weren’t skating they were climbing like so many ants, on the giant scoured smooth boulders left behind by an ancient glacier that are scattered around the entire park.
After purchasing my ticket at the zoo entrance I wandered into the low light of the tropical zone and was face to beak with a brightly colored Macaw and his two buddies goofing around on the vines and mugging for the camera. It was took dark for my lens so I did not tour the whole area but, made my way out in the sunshine to where the monkeys roam. Again, the magic of the day was still in full force as for once, when I was there, all the monkeys were out and running about and I was able to capture their bright red faces and golden fur glowing in the sunlight. I had good luck with the lightning fast seals, being there during feeding time. One seal though was very happy to just lay with her head on the edge of the pool “getting her bronze on”, while a more wily fellow seemed to be negotiating for the best piece of fresh fish.
The highlight of my day was meeting the two gorgeous, though elusive snow leopards. The entrance and viewing space behind Plexiglas were also in low light and, the excitement to photograph this beautiful animal, got the better of me. At first I saw nothing and then I heard someone say “there he is!” I could see nothing but, then I saw him (or her, not sure, I didn’t ask.) At first I had trouble focusing and fumbled with the exposure and shutter speed (Nat Geo wont’ be knocking on my door anytime soon) so my first few shots were soft, blurred and grainy but, I just love them and so I included them in the slide show below. Chalk it up to artistic license. When I finally calmed myself down one of the leopards climbed a rock and was now in the sun, I had better luck but, was only able to get two good shots as it seemed everyone surged forward just as I brought my camera to my eye and before I knew it I was completely enveloped in a mass of pushing shoving humans.
I was also lucky to get two shots of the new Grisly bears taking a Sunday afternoon nap and was very happy that there was Plexiglas separating me and them, when I got a good look at their long sharp claws, tucked sweetly under their huge shaggy heads. I ended my day in the children’s zoo and was smitten by two squat little pigs who were in a grumpy mood but, after some coaxing one of them finally favored me with a toothy smile.