"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Animals in the City

Silvery-Cheeked Hornbills, Cheetah and Camel Rides at the Columbus Zoo

The new Heart of Africa  region (43 Acres) is open at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

I have mixed feelings about zoos but know that they do important animal conservation work and support programs around the world that assist in this effort. The weather was cool for a July day so we kept taking our jackets and sweaters on and off.

I can tell you that  the grandkids LOVE going to the zoo to see the animals.

There is always something interesting to learn and experience.  A first for the kids was the camel ride.
Six camels are rotated to give the rides.

Aunt Lala was remembering a lengthy camel ride she had in Egypt that she didn’t really enjoy but everyone had fun on Monday.

Yes, it was a bumpy ride.





The Stripes Looked Brown to Me

I never saw a zebra this close before. A relative to the horse and donkey. Love that mane!

These photos were taken last Friday at the Food Revolution Day, Pittsburgh.

Zebra foals are supposed to be brown and cream at birth according to what I could google. Depends on the breed.

The hair might be brown but the skin is black underneath?

This one didn’t look that young to me.

But I was so surprised to see the brown color in the light.


goat and zebra The petting zoo goat tries the grass on the zebra’s side of the fence.





zebra stripes in light

Looked brown to me




Thinking about petting the zebra

reach to pet the zebra

Reaching to pet the zebra

pet the zebra






There!  Petting the zebra.



lines and zebra

Lots of lines and patterns with zebra stripes and chain link fence.  On my way home…..



Back Sleeper and the Rule of Thirds via Anna

Are you a back, side or stomach sleeper?  Anna texted me and sent this photo and said the lion is lying the same way as Henry (Airedale Terrier)          Maura (almost 5) her sister, asked her other grandma if this is how she sleeps!

See the different positions and suggestions at the Mayo Clinic site about sleeping positions. Back sleeping is supposedly good for back pain relief but not so great for snorers.

Photographed by guest blogger, granddaughter Anna (10) , at the Columbus Zoo Wednesday afternoon.  It’s always fun for me when my family contributes to the blog effort.

Last week I was teaching the HS photography students about the Rule of Thirds and even made a grid on a transparency so they could see the  lines splitting up the picture frame , get the idea.  Information on how they could compose the strongest photograph by knowing about this concept of composition.

The Rule of Thirds  comes to mind immediately when I look at Anna’s photo.  And she wasn’t even in the class.


Lion Sleeping on his Back



So went to check out The Lion Sleeps Tonight, original by Solomon Linda 1939 but covered by many famous singers and groups




When a Dog Smiles at the Camera

You have to take a picture. I asked the owner’s permission.  She looked as if she had just been on a run or about to go on one with some friends.

His name is Oliver!

Oliver is a Heinz 57 mutt and he was smiling for the camera!

He’s six months old and has that puppy energy and enthusiasm.  What a happy guy.

I’d just come out of the end of the year faculty meeting/gathering at the Hofbrauhaus on the edge of  South Side Works near the riverfront trail.

So thanks Oliver (and your owner also- sorry I didn’t get your name)

I know Murphy smiles for the camera, too.

What a great personality!  

Sea Lion Viewing Window at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo trip with K-2 grade.

The Sea Lion seemed to enjoy looking at the students!

I could have stayed there a long time to watch the sea lions swim by and blow bubbles at us.

How Many Deer Do You See?

Three is the answer.

Steve says he is glad he is not a deer. These are woods IN the city.

What I Saw Out the Window at School

The cropped version and the original.   You get a better feel for the place in the second, original, full size.

WILD turkeys but they seem fairly domesticated and brave ( or not too bright?). There are a lot of them in the area (remember my first day of school post with the family of turkeys on the sidewalk.)

Urban turkeys.

Make Way for the Wild Turkeylings

#1 Rule for Photographers.   ALWAYS carry a decent camera.  Even if not your best one, a GOOD one.

#2 Rule for Photographers  Refer to Rule #1.           ALWAYS  You might miss that shot.

But there I was off to the first day of school, wondering how I would get two art rooms ready for Monday’s students and Matthew was coming with me to lift and haul and help set up.  JB came later and knew what to do to prepare.

And what did we see on the the way to school? A Wild Turkey family (gaggle, flock, covey???)  And did I have a decent camera with me?  No.  I broke the rules.

Had to photograph the mother turkey and her 5 chicks(?)/children with the trusty iPhone.  I kicked myself all the way to school afterwards.  You just can’t predict what will be in your path..  Moving right along up the sidewalk. Turn the corner down the alley.

A fun sighting.  Wish I had the old 70-200 mm lens, too. They are some strange looking creatures.


Somehow the Face Felt Familiar……

Columbus Zoo “My Barn” resident

Penny the Golden Doodle keeps cool in the brick fireplace at home.

Cat Out of the Bag at Panza Gallery

The other day I took this watercolor painting to be matted and framed.  I painted it at least twenty years ago.  I found it in a closet and thought I would frame it to remind myself why I use photography to express myself instead of painting.  But I like the way the bag looked in the light. So did Panza’s cat in residence at the Gallery.  Oh my.  Maybe she thought it was a 3-D bag and not a 2-D bag.  She really went for it.  Knocked it on the floor twice and I am sure if it had been a precious artwork it would have been a concern but it was pretty funny.  Just liked the painting of the bag so much.  Art critic feline?  It definitely spoke to her.  You know how cats love it when you introduce something new in the house and they think it is for them.

Pug Guard Dog in Shadyside Shop Window

Yesterday was a very happy birthday and thanks for the emails, cards and nice comments! Laura baked a homemade angelfood cake and it was delicious.  We had strawberries on it and some vanilla ice cream. James grilled out bison burgers and bratburgers, some tomato mozzarella salad and broccoli slaw.

You know how dog lovers have their specific breed they prefer?  (Right Sarah and Amber?) And my cousins and their dachshunds and the Payer/McGraths and their Airedales.  Laura and James have gone Golden Doodle.  I know Debbie loves Golden Retrievers.  Anyway, it’s a theme I’ve examined before. My animals in the city series.   E and I were walking on Walnut Street after a summer breakfast last week and we stumbled upon this pug in the shop window.  I think she was snoozing on the job!

Blog Gone to the Dogs Today

Ellie the Chihuahua. Up on Uncle Frank and Aunt Linda’s porch. She was watching that 1933 Plymouth pull out of the garage, too. Erika’s Aunt Georgeann has a new Chihuahua, about a year old. Rescued from somewhere out west.  I thought the capture of light on the fur was especially nice.  Thanks Ellie. Aunt Theresa calls her Ellie Mae.  She seemed to enjoy all the attention.

So many varieties of dogs.  People enjoy big dogs, little dogs, fluffy dogs, short and  long dogs, short hair and long hair.  Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Boxers, Collies, Setters, Airedales, Italian Greyhounds, Schnauzers, Terriers, all sorts of Doodles, Retrievers and  Labs-  there are some fancy named dogs I can’t even spell.  Plus all the dogs who do service and work for and with humans.  Companions.

Some people aren’t into dogs at all.     Allergies.

Some prefer a cat.          More allergies.

Some people are afraid of dogs.   Some dogs,  you should be afraid!

Some people prefer no pet at all.     The very idea of  “pet dirt” makes them cringe.

But lots of people LOVE (and I mean LOVE) their dogs.

My co-worker Bonnie is partial to chihuahuas and my Illinois cousins and also my  friends J and M love their dachshunds- long or short hair.  From generation to generation some families have the same breed of dog.  But some dogs come from the shelter or the pound or are lost and found, no particular papers or pedigree but much loved by those who rescue them.  Another lucky dog today!

p.s. WordPress  updated the comment box method below.

Chihuahua Dog

Different Families Have Breeds They Prefer

..of a Different Color

Today I went for a spontaneous “meeting” with Cj at Buffalo Blues in Shadyside.  And I found the long lost relative of yesterday’s horse I posted. Today’s horse bright and well cared for, but no freedom as he is corralled in his wooden frame which is probably to deter theft.  So I don’t see a single old rocking horse for years and then two in two days??? If one were to believe in signs… Looked up horse sayings seeking the origin of this Different Color phrase and we all know about the gift horse.  A quote about switching horses in the middle of the race and the kids at school like to horse around. Horseplay is actually one of the boxes you can check on the discipline referral.  We know about leading horses to water and on occasion I have eaten like one.  If you missed the old gray mare she was posted March 31st. This spot outside the Oh Yeah! Ice Cream & Coffee 232 South Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (412) 200-5574 ‎ Open 7AM-11PM

I can’t believe my eyes.
Friday and it’s April Fool.
How many kids will tell me
there’s a spider on my shirt?
Is the predicted inch of snow
for the morning just a
cruel joke?

I like to change up the blog post themes from day to day but two rocking horses in two days? There was no other possible post.

Nike the Service Dog, Named For Greek Goddess of Strength, Speed & Victory

A gentle spirit, kind eyes.
She travels to nursing homes
makes people smile. Feel better.
Especially Ms. P’s first grade Friday!
Ms. P’s class had a visitor today.  The Art Room is just across the hall. Lucky me!

Email Kirk Sciarretti to arrange a visit- kasciarretti@live.com

Count the Crows

At four o’clock the crows gather near Hillcrest Street. This is just one tree of many where they roost.  I was waiting for Steve to pick me up at school. Their cawing sounds are loud and remind one of the movie The Birds. This is a color photo.

There were more but as I approaced the tree some flew away!

Spot the Turtle is a Star!

At school I have a nice neighbor.  It makes a difference when someone is glad to see you and says hello. Cares about how you are… I get to school and the room is undone cause the music teacher moved all the tables(we share the room) and my neighbor, Ms. P, comes over and pitches in,  lends a hand to get it set up in two  minutes flat! WOW!   And today Ms. P had a sub for later in the day when she went to a training/ her sub, Ms. H offered to clean the turtle’s aquarium, just needed an apron and some gloves. So Spot was out of his home for a time and I went and got the camera. At first he was shy and seemed uninterested in my attention and then he started to open his mouth in a threatening/welcoming(?) gesture.  Spot lives across the hall in the First Grade Classroom- 214.  He is a shared pet.  A Duquesne U professor has him part of the time.  Spot is an interesting creature and looks like a remnant from prehistoric times..

Not sure if he wanted a close-up!

What an interesting creature. His underside is covered with the most wonderful pattern.

Tasha Nicole, Rat Terrier, Flies DELTA- Exclusively!

Flight from Spokane to Minneapolis- ready to be stowed under the seat in front of her to prepare for takeoff.   I met my traveling companions. Turns out Delta Airlines is Pet Friendly. Must weigh under seventeen pounds, though.   A first for me (to see a dog on a plane) seems Tasha Nicole is a seasoned flier.  Very well behaved I will add. Not a sound, she slept the whole way unlike the kids in the row across the aisle and up one!  Oh my.    And Sunday August 15th is TN’s 9th birthday, too.

I asked permission to photograph and blog and her gracious owner agreed.

I heard about a book on the radio last year, One Nation Under Dog by Michael Schaffer.   When I was growing up I remember some dogs lived outside in a doghouse.

Other airlines charge $150 each way! DELTA deemed "Pet Friendly".

Pittsburgh Marathon Shark Sighting @ Mile 20

You don’t expect to see JAWS running in a marathon.  More Pittsburgh Marathon photos in FB album click on underlined link

Must have been hot inside! Rounding corner at Highland Ave & Bryant Street- Highland Park,

Watch Your Lettuce!

Steve and I picked up Dorothy to go to her daughter’s for dinner. As she got in the car, the rabbit hopped across her front lawn to her tulips. She’s planted lettuce in the back garden.  It was late in the day, the light coming from the side. When I see a rabbit I think of Watership Down(click link for more info).  I liked the book but not the movie.

Rabbit in the front yard by the tulips.

Looks like a postcard for Spring!


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