Playing Hookey

Desert LandscapeI probably shouldn't have done it - I have a mountain of stuff to do this week that's roughly the height of K2. But Monday was just one of those gorgeous, perfect days that occasionally comes 'round to Tucson: clear skies, temps in the 70s, light breeze, and it was just too nice to be cooped up indoors.So I played hookey from my mountain of work (and one of the nice things about taking all virtual classes is that I wasn't really missing anything), and headed for one of my favorite places in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which despite just having museum in the name is really a sort of combination of natural history museum, zoo, and botanic gardens. It also happens to be one of the very best places in the area to get out of the city for a little while and enjoy the wonderful weather. Coati I have to remember more frequently that the occasional break from school can recharge the batteries, and I think this one was needed (I may think differently during the next couple of days as deadlines loom, but probably not). It wasn't really even a total time-waster slacker activity either. I got a chance to take shiny new Canon Digital Rebel camera out for a bit of practice - something I desperately need, my last SLR camera was a 20 or so year old Minolta that didn't have such advances as auto-focus, and I haven't had a lot of time to learn all the bells and whistles on my new toy (sad thing is, it ain't all that new anymore - I got it in June, I just haven't had a lot of time to use it).

And although my primary love when it comes to digital photography is still landscapes, I also got a chance to practice photographing animals, and I think I'm getting a little better at that. Not good enough to go looking for a job at National Geographic, but better. The trick, of course, is to be patient (stop laughing, Mom, I can be patient when I want to). Of course, I think the other trick is really knowing your gear inside-out - I took a lot of really strange pics yesterday before I realized that I had somehow managed to get it set to a fairly slow shutter speed - not the best of settings for recording moving animals. But even some of the mistakes came out interesting, like this one of an ocelot:


The best of the photos are up on Flickr at: if anybody wants to take a look.