Inspiration #3: Trip to the Zoo

This is my fourth post in a series that began with "The Winter Blues." February in Minnesota really challenges me to the core. In some years the month unleashes a flurry of artistic inspiration framed around a harsh and sterile landscape. Sadly, this is not the case for 2011. Winter began early with a heavy December snow, and has dragged on with a dreariness unlike years in the past. In my post on the winter blues I had hoped that the images conveyed the melancholy that now grips me. But winter is an ephemeral event, and spring now hangs like a ripe berry just beyond my reach. So on Friday, I challenged myself to think green

It is now Sunday afternoon and I traversed our sterile landscape in search of spring, but it was nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, I wanted to feel the richness of life that spring ushers in. This is when I recalled that a spring oasis exists within twenty miles of my home. It is a fragment of Central America; a rainforest enclosed by glass at the Como Zoo. I am a rainforest type of guy. I love the heat that seems oppressive to some and crave the humidity of a steam bath. I want my eyes to see vibrant green and trigger my memories of a tropical storm. 
So Tamy and I grabbed the gear and pointed the car south to Guatemala. We didn't make it past St. Paul, but we found green... we found a two-toed sloth hanging from a vine, snacking on lettuce. Sure, I have photographed wild sloths (see here and here) in Costa Rica, but for now... this one was as exciting to see as the ones I captured in the jungle. Armed with my Canon 7D and 300 f2.8L IS lens, I pushed the ISO to 800 and fired away. Ok... it's captive and not the real thing, but it's February in Minnesota, the clouds obscure the warmth of the sun, and nothing could have felt more real to me. 

Image #1: Two-toed Portrait, St. Paul, MN. Canon 7D, 300mm f2.8IS @ f2.8 ISO 800
Image #2: One-Eyed Sloth, St. Paul, MN. Canon 7D, 300mm f2.8IS @ f2.8 ISO 800
Image #3: Yum Lettuce!, St. Paul, MN. Canon 7D, 300mm f2.8IS @ f2.8 ISO 800
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