St. Louis Zoo...... August 4, 2013
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Tom Ballard Photography
Isn't it amazing how fast a phone call can change your day!!!!!!!!! This is exactly what
happened on August 4, 2013. I have no plans for the day, even though my day will be full
without plans.. There is always a do list that is longer than the available time to do it!!! But,
it is a flexible plan, or at least is always has been, which explains why this list has gotten
so long and gets longer with each calendar day!

Now, for today! The phone rings, and on the other end of this call is a friend who has
checked the weather and has made the decision that they should be outside, doing
something. But, doing it alone was not part of the plan, I suspect, so they called me,
inquired as to my plans for the day, etc... Then, regardless of my answer, they had a
suggestion!! Grab a camera and meet them at the zoo for some discovery photos!!
Meaning, we don't have a clue what we will be taking photos of.. My do list just got put on
hold, again!


After a speedy "get ready" exercise, I am on the road and show up outside the St Louis
Zoo at the agreed upon time! Now what to do? Go see the giraffes! Where that
suggestion came from is beyond me, but that is the course we set. On the way there, I
spied the sign for the Sea Lion Show. Never seen it. So, today will be the day! I go buy
tickets!! In case you are wondering, the cost is 4 dollars per person, with no assigned
seating. The earlier you get there, the better the choice of seats! And, with tickets in hand
for the 1 PM show, we were off to find the giraffes! And, we found them, finally.

From the sea lion ticket booth, we could almost see the giraffes, but the zoo had one of
those big mister water fans blowing across the trail, which meant that with the camera
gear, we need another route, which proved to be a rather long detour, but we made it!!!


Having accomplished our mission of finding the long necks, and a few other critters, it was
time to head back, get in the line for the Sea Lion Show, and find seating that was good
for photos! And, we did. We got there about 20 minutes early, found a seat that pleased
us and got ready for the show!!!


First good point here is that the show started on time!!! And, once it started, it was
non-stop action until is was over about 20 minutes after it started!!! But, over is not over
here..


After the official show is over, the trainer brings the largest sea lion out to meet the people
and do the tourist photos!! Which, is/was awesome!!! You do not want to miss the show
or leave too soon and miss the personal time with the sea lion that does the meet and
greet after the show...


So, what happens during the show? First there is a routine for introducing the first sea lion
in the show, which is a female. Following her intro, she has some nifty tricks for the
crowd!! Then, almost in the blink of the eye, this actor is gone and the BIG BOY is brought
in. Actually, I think the trainer said these two actors are brother and sister, and both born
here in the zoo. But, no matter, the big fellow makes his entrance, and soon becomes the
star of the show!!!

During the show, this sea lion does most of the balancing acts that you would imagine to
happen, but then the one act that got my attention was the frizzbee toss. The story goes
that the trainers had been training this big fellow to "catch a frizzbee" as part of an act..
Then, one day, after he caught it, he threw it back!! Sort of, but with practice, he got good
at it!! In short, he had taught himself to throw the frizzbee, just from watching the trainers..
So, what to do with this? Yes, make it part of the act, and they did. So, now, they toss
grizzlies to the sea lion, then he throws them to the audience to keep as souvenirs!
Actually, the frizzbees have some advertising on them, so......


If you have seen my presentations before, you will know I include a lot of "look alike"
images. I do some of this on purpose, for people learning photography. They get to decide
which image is better, and, it cuts down on my stress of trying to decide which is better..
Just share both!!! Then you can decide.. The images shared here is a long set so be
prepared. To view the images from this day, click on
Sea Lion Show.