The day after my friend and I visited the Crown Valley Tiger Sanctuary, we decided to end my weekend with her at Horseshoe Lake, looking for blue herons and any other wildlife we may run across. I first spotted several turtles sitting on logs in the middle of a pond near the lake.
We also spotted several blue herons and great white egrets.
The most unique and unusual bird we spotted was a juvenile bald eagle. I spotted a large bird across a field and my first thought was "well, that's a big bird... can't be an owl, it's noon, can't be an eagle...holy crap it's an eagle". We trekked a little more than halfway through the field before he took flight to get away from us.
A few weeks ago, a friend took me to the Crown Valley Tiger Sanctuary in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. The sanctuary has one lion, Alexis. She looks meaner than she is. I caught her mid-yawn that looks more like mid-growl, but she mostly ignored us and napped during our tour.
Several of the tigers were also out, though they were sleepy, and too close to the bars to get anything great.
After the Tiger Sanctuary, we made our way to the Crown Valley Brewery for lunch and a tasty hard cider. The scenery on our way to and from the sanctuary was beautiful.
We ended up on some never-ending back roads and discovered a few barns along the way as well.
Wow, what a busy month May was! I went to the Crown Valley Tiger Sanctuary and did some back road driving with a good friend. Unfortunately, things have been so busy, I haven't had time to properly edit any of them. Here's a sneak peak of what's to come!
Last weekend I participated in a holistic fair where I sold my photos and made bath salts and sugar scrubs - something I discovered I enjoyed doing over the holidays. I won't lie, I could pretty much bathe in the coffee one.
This coming weekend I'm doing a show in Charleston, Illinois. If you're in the area - come say hello. Otherwise wish me luck and expect some more tiger and barn photos soon!
For my birthday last month, I took the day off to visit my mom and make a trip to one of our favorite places, the St. Louis Zoo.
We headed straight for the big cat area where we spotted most of the big cats taking naps and ignoring the onlookers. One exception was the lion enclosure.
Not realizing the zoo closed at 5:00, we had taken our time grabbing a late lunch and chatting, so we didn't get to the zoo until just after 3:00.
While this didn't leave us a lot of time to explore, we were able to spot some pretty neat animals, including the flamingos above and the red panda who seemed a little restless and did not want to stay still long enough to pose for a photo.
The weekend before last, I had a senior photo shoot with Rebecca, a senior and drama student.
For the location for our shoot, we got to explore the currently vacant Miner's Theater in Collinsville, Illinois that is currently under restoration. If you would like to donate to that project, please visit their website and check out what they're doing!
The building had some great locations for photos, including in front of their original stage curtain, which seemed especially appropriate for a drama student...
And just to prove how crazy we were, we (yup, including myself) crawled up to the top part above the stage where the curtains could be controlled from. I got back down to take this shot before she made her way back down.
The upstairs also had a number of large windows which provided ample lighting (I'm a sucker for natural lighting).
Earlier this month I did a band shoot with Spooky Action at a Distance (AKA The Spooky Action, AKA SAaaD). The band consists of three members, Tory (left), Les (right), and Brie (middle). Check them out!
I always have fun on creative shoots like this, and this was no exception. Creative shoots also mean I get to play around with post-processing more and work with unusual color schemes.
But my favorite moments to capture are those when everyone is goofing off a little.
Overall a great shoot and a pretty awesome band!
For our anniversary, my husband took me to the botanical gardens before grabbing an early dinner at the Melting Pot (yum). It is officially Spring and so many beautiful flowers were in bloom at the garden. I have rarely seen so much pink!
All over the garden, the crabapple trees were in full bloom.
As were my favorite flowers, bleeding hearts.
The day was so windy, I spent most of my time essentially doing squats, bending to get the right photo only to sit patiently for the wind to die down long enough to snap a photo. My thighs hurt for three days after this trip! Still worth it.
The Friday before Easter I went to St. Louis to spend the afternoon thrift store shopping with my sister. Before I met up with her, a friend and I decided to do some urban exploring around downtown St. Louis.
The above building is the Cotton Belt Rail Depot, originally built in 1911 this building is now more than 100 years old. Since the last time I visited this spot several years ago, the building has been painted with a flowing, colorful mural. A look around the building reveals some equally colorful and intriguing graffiti.
One of my favorite spottings was a swing hanging from the ceiling of the depot, though I would not be brave enough to sit in it!
Last weekend, some friends and I visited the Missouri Butterfly House for their March Morpho Mania event. During this event, thousands of beautiful morpho butterflies surround visitors. During our time inside, four or five had landed on my shoulders, back, and even on top of my head.
The morpho butterflies' exterior wings are covered in brown, yellow, cream, and pink eye spots. It takes patience to catch them with their wings open long enough to take a photo, but when they do, you are met with a brilliant blue interior with white dots speckled over the black border of their wings.
Some of the wings take on a purple hue while others have a deeper blue.
While the morpho butterflies were the star of the event, many other butterflies were fluttering around the sanctuary.
The Missouri Butterfly House remains one of my favorite places to visit!
Last weekend I had a rare slice of free time and used it to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden's Orchid Show with my mother. I am always blown away by how many orchids they fit into the space and the array of colors.
That orchids have such variety between breeds always impresses me. From the colors to the varying textures and smells, orchids are easily one of my favorite flowers. Some have curly petals.
Some have such tiny blooms you almost don't notice them at first... like these blooms that grow out of big green leaves, or these mini purple orchids about the size of my fingernail that look like they have wings.
Some have little buckets to collect rain water.
Some grow in bunches, looking almost insect-like, others look more like leaves. Whatever the variety, they are always unique and a pleasure to experience in person.
I look forward to this show every year and it is always a treat.