Posts Tagged ‘animals’

A Day at the St. Louis Zoo

September 3, 2010

A few months ago Alida and I shot a wedding at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Although it was pretty hot outside, the ceremony was great. The reception was at the Drunken Fish, where I gave sushi a serious try for the first time. I had a lot of fun, and did enjoy the sushi, but I think I”ll be sticking to fried rice in the future.

Another neat aspect of this wedding, on top of the outdoor garden ceremony and the sushi reception, was the fact that it was on a Friday. That meant that Alida and I could spend Saturday enjoying our favorite part of St. Louis: the zoo.

We brought in the 5DMKII, and Alida took tons of photos, but was generous enough to let me play with the video while we were making our way through the zoo. We saw some really cool stuff, so I’m excited to share it.

Watch this and then find some time to visit the zoo yourself. Admission is free!


Make it snappy

July 19, 2010

As Alida was driving home from work, she saw a baby snapping turtle about to wander into a busy street. Before she could finish asking me if I wanted to go with her to save it, I was already putting my shoes on and running for the driveway to wait for her.

Now, I always want to get in and fidget with nature. I’m tempted to pet it, hold it, follow it around, etc., so Alida was extra protective and kept warning me not to grab it with my bare hands.

So I scooped the little guy up in a styrofoam cup that was littered a few feet away from  him, and tossed him in a bag that we had in the trunk. We took him over to a nearby creek and let him go where he would have a better chance of keeping away from traffic.

Hopefully my interfering with nature didn’t set off a series of events that shifts the local ecological system. If it did, I’ll delete this post and deny any involvement with the turtle rescue.

NOTE: I feel the need to explain the bad quality of the video. When I ran out the door, I didn’t think about filming it. So, I used my phone for this one.

Illinois Raptor Center

May 11, 2010

The Illinois Raptor Center is a nonprofit organization that has specialized in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education since 1991.  Visit their website for all sorts of cool information! Right now, 21 injured birds are full-time residents, and are included in educational programs around the state, which means some really cool opportunities for me, the news videographer.

A couple posts back I included a picture of the huge cicada killer wasp. That was a part of a new IRC bug collection. See the H&R video HERE!

A week after shooting that video there was another story involving the IRC, so I made sure I was there. Program Director Jacques Nuzzo brought a few birds of prey to Baum School for an Art and Nature demonstration. Along with all of the wings and feet the students got to feel and pass around, they also got to see a live Kestrel, Red Tail Hawk, and Barn Owl. Check out the video HERE!

And for those of you who just want to skip to the good part, here is a clip from the H&R video that features Banshee the barn owl eating a dead mouse… in three gulps.

After shooting those two videos I vaguely remembered interviewing Mr. Nuzzo in the past. Turns out I filmed him with an injured Bald Eagle during my first month working for the Herald & Review, in June 2006. Apparently that eagle is named Ruby, and is now a permanent resident at the IRC.

While we normally don’t allow embedding of our videos on other websites, this one was old enough that I was able to grab it and throw it on YouTube for nostalgia. Below is the very low-res video I dug up from my first days at the H&R. When you’re done watching it, check out Ruby’s page on the IRC site for more of her story, and information about donations!

A wolf spider and his buddies

May 6, 2010

I don’t really have any clever anecdote or back story this little video. I just saw these little critters while I was outside and did what came natural- grabbed the camera. Enjoy!

I know some people treat the web like I treat books and go straight for the pictures, so here are some stills I pulled from the video!

Little jumping spider wandering around my patio

Fly on a mushroom

Ants carrying something... I have no idea what it is

Wolf spider that tried to dart into my living room

Wolf spider, out of my house.

Nice yellow-green toad

A bit closer on the toad. See the sun's reflection in his eye?

Bugs, bullets, and burning boxes

April 23, 2010

The past few weeks have been pretty action packed, so I’ll try to keep the words to a minimum and make my point with photos and video. Here we go.

Last week  I shot a video about a huge collection of bugs being donated to the Illinois Raptor Center here in Decatur. I highly recommend taking a look at the video HERE. In it you will see just why they call this terrifying Illinois native the Cicada Killer:

Hint: it doesn't kill them right away...

Moving on. What’s the best way to prove how great sprinkler systems are at fighting fires? Build two identical rooms outside and light them on fire in front of a large crowd. Check out the video HERE. In it you will see this neat tornado-like flame:

I probably should not have sat as close as I did...

And to top it all off, I finally got a chance to use my helmet cam! Take a look:

Patrol officer Shawn Guenther with the camera on his paintball mask

A first-person view of the training exercise.

The Decatur Police Department did some training exercises with paintball guns, and I used the helmet cam for a couple sessions. You can see the footage included in my video for the Herald & Review HERE!

And, as a special bonus, you can see Huey Freeman trying his hand at shooting police with a 9mm paintball gun. Enjoy!

Prehensile lips and cameras

March 25, 2010

Every once and a while I get on here and rave about how cool my job is, or about how much I love animals. I guess I pretty much did both in my last post about the snake. Sorry to be one-note, but I’m doing it again.

This week, Scovill Zoo director Ken Frye took reporter Ashley Rueff, photographer Stephen Haas, and myself around the place to see some new faces, as well as a few animals that they suspect are preggers.

While we were there, we learned about the prehensile lips that camels use to maneuver their food. We learned they can also use them to grasp would-be food, such as a camera. Although Ashley and I got to pet Seymore the camel, Stephen Haas earned the title “Camel Whisperer” here at the Herald & Review. See for yourself:

After that episode, I couldn’t help but pay very close attention to the llama in the petting zoo, since it belongs to the same weird-lipped family of the camels. Enjoy this close look at the way those smackers work:

Check back April 1 for a link to the full story and video on!

I want one…

March 18, 2010

My wife is terrified of snakes. Horrified. Indiana Jones has nothing on her fear of snakes. Needless to say, she wasn’t around for one of my recent shoots for the Herald & Review:

Did I mention my job rocks?

11-year old Trey Roof has had his snake for a year now, and is doing work around the neighborhood to pay for snake food (mice). The kid was awesome, and a hilarious interview.

UPDATE! Here is the story and the video on!

Allerton Park

October 8, 2009

I mention my wife on this blog pretty often. That’s not only because she rocks, but it’s also because we do a lot of stuff together. As a photography teacher, she spends a lot of time trying to get her students out of the classroom and shooting photos. When they do fun things, I usually tag along.

Monday, we all took a trip to Allerton Park in Monticello. While the students were wandering around shooting landscapes, I was looking for something to point a macro lens at. A while ago I promised to film more spiders to make up for the butterflies. Well, I found a spider, but I also couldn’t help shooting another butterfly.

The spider was about the size of a dime, and unlike the big, lazy spiders I filmed before, this one wouldn’t stop moving. The butterfly I expected to be jumpy, but I think it was injured. After taking advantage of his limited mobility for a while, I took him off the pavement and set him in the grass.

Later in the week, Alida took her class out to do ghost photos. I filmed some of that, so that should be up fairly soon.


October 3, 2009

I don’t have the best luck when it comes to being in the right place at the right time. If something cool happens, I probably don’t have my camera. If I have my camera, breaking news and action tends to avoid me. Lucky for me, I enjoy filming other things that don’t demand such luck.

One day, when the garden was still colorful and nice, I was taking out the garbage and saw tons of butterflies on one of the plants. I walked over to it and was happy to see that they were so busy pollinating that they didn’t care who was around. So, I ran in and grabbed the 5D Mark II and the macro lens and sat myself down. I spent most of my time following the big yellow butterfly, but did get a kick out of the brown moth who was hanging around. I  love how he scares himself when he steps on another bug. I know this isn’t anything spectacular or deep, but I like being able to look at the fuzzy mohawk and giant green eyes on the butterfly. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

More animals? Why not?

September 20, 2009

I promise, I really do have other things going on. Real projects from real clients. But while those large edits and bigger deals take up most of my time, I keep running into these quirky things that I can’t help filming. These are actually a bit older, but I just finished clearing photos and video off my phone and thought I’d share.

Remember the woodpecker I was griping about? The one that landed on my window and I didn’t film him on time? Here’s the photo I got.

Stupid bird

Stupid bird

The relevance the bird has to this post is my phone’s role. I was so upset that I missed the chance to use my phone to film something that you don’t see every day. These two clips were shot on my phone when I saw something funny.

This one, like the owl video, is from the Illinois State Fair. Alida and I were wandering around the pig building and saw this little guy sleeping. You know how a dog will run and move its mouth while it sleeps? I never knew pigs did that when they slept.

As far as I know opossums are nocturnal. Still, this little lady was standing out in the middle of the street in broad daylight. I stopped my car in front of it, and it moped its way onto the nearest lawn. As it did, I saw a baby clinging to her belly. I pulled my car into the oncoming lane and grabbed my phone. If you look closely at the back leg, you can see the baby’s tail wrapped around it.

Soon I’ll have wedding videos, conference videos, music, and all sorts of new work up. For now, just believe me that I don’t just spend all of my time playing with spiders and butterflies. Although that doesn’t sound too bad…