Phoenix Zoo: April 2015 Revisited Wednesday, Apr 29 2015 

Matching Hands

Matching Hands

Our visit to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday provided an opportunity to visit on a weekday and, as members, to enter before the normal opening time. It was interesting to wander the pathways for forty-five minutes and observe zoo staff cleaning animal exhibits. After the 9 a.m. opening time, we encountered mainly mothers and young children exploring the zoo. One of the most interesting interactions was between a young boy and the Borneo mother orangutan and her young son. Bess was holding Jiwa while sitting and looking intently at the boy as their different sized hands touch each side of the window. Bess then picked up a sheet and ambled farther away from the window where she breast fed Jiwa while modestly covered by the sheet. Another image only available in my mind involved a female baboon nestled in a corner adjacent to a window and a curious young girl wearing sunglasses and a colorful yellow outfit. The young girl was too bashful to pose for my picture. I did capture a closeup of the baboon. A nearby mandrill was also next to a window while munching on leaves. The Siberian tiger chewed a hunk of meat. The African lion briefly posed before assuming his place atop a prominent rock and napping with his face turned away from us. The lioness, however, was licking the base of a tree. The cheetahs were gathered near the center of their enclosure, but one of them held a standing pose. The komodo dragon, out-of-doors, surprised all observers by leaping toward a bird. The birds in the Tropical Flights aviary were open to my photography, I took pictures of a straw-necked ibis, western crowned pigeon, pied imperial pigeon, great argus pheasant, and a white-faced whistling duck. It was a great day to not only observe animals, but also to enjoy the blooming roses, hibiscuses, and other flowers.

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Yavapai College Sculpture & Iris Gardens Tuesday, Apr 28 2015 

Royal Storm Iris

Royal Storm Iris

The Sculpture Garden, according to the Friends of Yavapai College Art, “is a place of beauty, inspiration, and thoughtful reflection.” This past Sunday we visited this gem in order for me to try out a new camera, a Canon PowerShot SX710. My first digital camera was the Canon PowerShot S45 and the new camera replaces a Canon PowerShot SX200. The zoom on these cameras has increased from 3X to 12X to 30X. My first digital camera did not have image stabilization, an improved feature on my later cameras. Some functions such as photostitching and a preset for sunsets, however, are not included in the latest edition. Dick Marcusen’s “Community Gothic” (1986) is one of my favorite sculptures in this four acre plot adjacent to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. The best reward was finding many of the irises in bloom, and the scattered rain showers added to their beauty. The Prescott Area Iris Society should be commended or their loving care of this delightful garden. A couple of the special collections of irises include the Dykes Medal award winning iris from 1926 to the present and a Black Iris Garden. The following irises were in bloom during our visit: role model, royal storm, desert sonata, American master, circus stripes, double exposure, about last night, bonjour, eye magic, private treasure, leaps and bounds, and screenplay. The month of May is said to be the best time to see irises in bloom. Plan now to visit the Yavapai College Sculpture and Iris Gardens.

Paul Jacobs & the Phoenix Symphony Sunday, Apr 19 2015 

Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs returned to Phoenix as the soloist for Felix-Alexandre Guilmant’s Symphony No. 1 for Organ and Orchestra. Jacobs has played with the Phoenix Symphony on several occasions, most recently in 2013. For me, however, this was the first time that I’ve heard an organ with a symphony. Last night’s featured performance is a work where the orchestra and organ don’t play at the same time. Most organ pieces, including visits to European churches last summer, emphasize the organ and how many pipes it has. I’m left wondering what kind of organ Jacobs used last night and whether he travels with this instrument. It didn’t take much for an encore, but what an impressive encore! I believe he played Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. Jacobs, on the faculty of Juilliard since 2003, is well known for having memorized many works, including all of Bach.

The evening of music started with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72b and concluded with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. Another interesting, if short, evening of music.

Phoenix Zoo: April 2015 Sunday, Apr 12 2015 

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn Sheep

We arrived at the Phoenix Zoo relatively early and were surprised to find the parking lot almost full with some vehicles leaving. Because we parked farther away than usual, we observed a fishing lake and picnic area outside the zoo grounds itself. We passed the newly completed Philip JoEllen Volunteer and Administrative Center. Once inside the zoo we discovered multiple events in progress such as a fundraiser walk for Crohn’s and Colitis diseases. We took advantage of an early showing of “Grizzly Bears 4-D Experience,” a new zoo offering. The 3-D photography was great and came with occasional surprises such as mist and gusts of air as well as a poke from the back of the seat. We found many active animals including a sunning desert spiny lizard, a turkey vulture who circled a peopled area, a Galapagos tortoise munching a meal of greens, desert bighorn sheep seemingly playing king of the hill, grazing Arabian oryx, the graceful gerenuk, zebras, and giraffes. Many flowers were in bloom ranging from domesticated roses and hollyhocks to desert varieties such as prickly pear and yucca. Another great day at the Phoenix Zoo.