Latest Challenge of Zoo Photography

White-breasted Cormorants at Lowry Park Zoo 12-26-14 by Lee

 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isaiah 34:11 KJV)

With my new Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera in hand, off we went to Lowry Park Zoo the day after Christmas. I was itching to try out the 600 zoom compared to my 450 on the FZ47. I was content with the older camera, because as I have said before, I am a birdwatcher, not a photographer. I don’t know an “F-stop” from a “bus stop”. I shoot in Program mode.

That aside, I use the camera often, probably more than binoculars. Why? Maybe I am a little bit of a photographer because I like to see the birds when I get home. Many times I keep my bad shots because they are at least “proof shots” that I really did see the bird or to help ID it later. I leave the real good shots for Dan to take.because he knows what a “F-stop” is.

First Attempt - See the neat knots?

First Attempt – See the neat knots?

Back to my challenge. Taking photos at a Zoo can be quite challenging to say the least. Especially for “program mode” photographers. For some reason, zoos like to keep something between you and the birds, unless you are in an aviary with them. That “something” is usually a fence, bars, netting, or something to try to shoot through. They seem to like to keep their birds safe. :)

Another Attempt - Nice knots!

Another Attempt – Nice knots!

I tried again,

Nope - Not yet!

Nope – Not yet!

I backed out the zoom and tried to find the other one.

There he is

Different color netting, but same blurry bird photo.



Then, I finally got through the netting enough to see that beautiful bird.

Look at that beauty!

Look at that beauty!


I got through the netting.

Even got the chest and some feather design.

Yeah! I got through

Yeah! I got through

Look at those eyes!

What pretty green eyes

What pretty green eyes

Our Creator gave the White-breasted Cormorants a beautiful eye color and overall neat appearance. Just this one encounter, trying to get a photo takes you through a wide range of emotions; frustration, wanting to give up, then determination and joy when you can finally see the bird clear. Reminds me of what I have been reading in Ecclesiastes.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: …A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; …A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away (blurry photos); …A time to love, And a time to hate; …What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 NKJV)

Enjoy all the photos of the cormorants and even some from a previous trip:

The white-breasted cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is much like the widespread great cormorant and if not a regional variant of the same species, is at least very closely related. It is distinguished from other forms of the great cormorant by its white breast and by the fact that subpopulations are freshwater birds. Phalacrocorax lucidus is not to be confused with the smaller and very different endemic South Australian black-faced cormorant, which also is sometimes called the white-breasted cormorant.


Birdwatching Trips

Lowry Park Zoo

White-breasted Cormorant – Wikipedia

White-breasted Cormorant – Dallas Zoo

Wordless Birds


Dot’s Christmas Tree

Leaning Tree, but not Dot's ©Internet

Leaning Tree, but not Dot’s

Dot’s Christmas Tree ~ by Dorothy (Dot) Malcolm

The schedule says on Friday, December 6th, I’m to get my Christmas tree. In spite of the fact I’m nearly “sick as a dog” (whatever that means), I tell myself it must be done!

There were only a few trees left but I selected one that was supposed to be 6 feet tall. What made it 6 feet, was a single 12 inch needle sticking up at the top. Oh well, onward with the task at hand.

Earlier in the day I had gotten the stand out of the shed and cleaned it up. There were 3 of those things that you turn to help hold the tree in place. Family helped me by putting the tree in the stand and securing the 3 things and putting water in it. I could hardly wait to get back on the couch with a heating pad and fuzzy old blankets.

I spent two days looking at the tree and finally decided I could muster of enough “oomph” to put a couple of strand of lights on it. I had finished 2 strands when I felt the tree going over and I didn’t have the strength to stop it!

Oh yes – water and needles were on the floor! Two big water-soaked bath towels and a little sweeping up with the broom took care of the mess.

I told the tree I didn’t like it because it wasn’t big and full as trees in previous years. From my place on the couch I kept letting it know I didn’t like it!

Pondering about what to do about the imbalance problem, I came up with a great idea! Get some stones and put them around the top of the stand! I did this the next day and “Wow!,” it worked. I was real proud for thinking it up!

In between resting on the couch, and pulling boxes of decorations out of the closet, I managed to place a few decorations. It was days later before the 50-year-old paper houses were put under the tree.

As I slowly recovered, I had fewer negative feelings for the tree. It seems the tree and I have made a truce. I am accepting it for what it is. After all it got stuck with me!

by Dot Malcolm (2014)

Man looking at leaning Christmas tree

Leaning Tree, but not Dot’s

Lee’s Addition:

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:18 NKJV)

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Romans 14:19 NKJV)

When Dottie told me about her not liking her tree on Sunday, I suggested that she write it up so I could share it. She gave it to me this evening at our fantastic Christmas Candlelight Service. I trust you enjoy this as much as I do. Dottie is Emma Foster’s grandmother. You can see where Emma may have picked up her creative writing. Dottie has been a Sunday School teacher for many years. Thank you, Dottie (Dot).

Other writings by Dot:


Guest Writers


(Photos added by Lee)