The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

People and Critters: Photos

Yesterday I spent a few hours reorganizing some of the thousands of digital photos I've taken since I got my first digital camera back in 2000. In the course of doing so, I came across a few photos that include as subjects people sharing the spotlight with an animal or bird. I thought a few of my faithful readers might enjoy viewing them. In most instances the stories behind the photos are just as interesting. (Clicking on a photo will take you to the copy I uploaded to So here goes...

I took the above photo on a sidewalk in downtown Key West in January 2008. Talking with Diane while leaving a shop, I really wasn't paying attention to where I was walking and literally ran into this man with his large pet constrictor wrapped around his neck and shoulders. Even after being inadvertently assaulted the two of them very kindly permitted me take their picture. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but man and snake seem to share the same expression. Only in Key West!

I especially like this photo (above). While visiting family and friends on Cape Cod this past May, I decided to rise bright and early one morning and photograph some of the things you see only in the early morning hours. The above photo was taken across the street from the Chatham Light. As I got out of the car I noticed the gull perched atop the warning sign. The fellow in the picture, enjoying his morning coffee before heading off to work, spotted the bird at about the same time. As he raised his coffee cup in a mock salute, I snapped the picture. The gull ignored us both.

I took the above photo this past March while Diane and I were on a Western Caribbean cruise. During our visit to Panama, we took a side trip to Portobelo. Amidst the ruins of an old Spanish fort, our friend Joe (also a brother deacon) happened upon this interesting bird. I'm pretty sure Joe was so focused on the bird that he was unaware I was snapping away with a telephoto lens. I played around with depth of field but ended up preferring this photo to the others I took, with the bird slightly out of focus in the foreground and the emphasis on Joe's expression.

Since Deacon Joe seemed to attract birds wherever he went, I couldn't omit the above photo taken in Cartagena, Colombia. As we roamed the streets of the old quarter of the city, Joe was accosted by a man looking for a dollar or two in exchange for a photo-op with his colorful parrot. This photo is the result. Once again Joe's expression says it all.

As shown in the above photo, I also contributed to Cartagena's obviously booming underground industry of tourist-animal photography. As I stood in the parking lot of an old monastery atop a mountain overlooking the city, a man just handed me this three-toed sloth who immediately made himself comfortable. A cute little guy, he did, however, have a rather severe body odor problem. And if you look closely you will see some long, sharp claws at the end of those toes. I noticed them as well, and was a bit concerned, until I realized I could probably move quickly enough to avoid any attack. He was, after all, a sloth.

I took the above photo of a girl and her goat at the Sumter County Fair here in central Florida in March 2006. Although she didn't win a blue ribbon, this young lady was very excited about showing her animal at the fair.

Having been brought up a city boy, I'm always amazed when I see these young farm kids handling these huge animals. The above photo, also taken at the Sumter County Fair in March 2006, says it all. There's no question who's the boss.

God has certainly supplied us with some interesting creatures. Blessings...

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