Friday, December 24, 2010

All But the Snow

Continuing our walk through the displays at the Phoenix Zoo's ZooLights' displays with Jesse and Raina, we passed some impressive individual figures.

Here a lion with its mane highlighted presented a striking pose.

Lighted birds were shown in trees; other trees had stars in them.

And once again, we marveled at the number of lights used to cover this tree.

In this display, a monkey was shown in a progrssion of five figures swinging from one vine to another. With a time exposure, I was able to capture four of these steps in the swing.

I think this lighted Komodo dragon was introduced a couple of years ago to celebrate the opening of the new Land of the Dragons exhibit.

While standing by the Polar Slide (an inner tube ride down a polymer similar to the material Olympic skiers train on during warmer months), we caught this scene across a lake in the zoo.

A sphere, which seemed to hover over the lake, and lighted trees presented a "shoot-now-because-you-might-not-get-any-closer" opportunity. Add to a scene that already had us mesmerized, brilliant color changes and color sequences on the sphere and rapid light changes on the trees that gave them a "dancing" quality, and we felt like Jason being drawn to shore by the Sirens, a moth to the flame, like.... Anyway, we were drawn to the images--without disasterous results.

When I first saw the trees close-up, I thought, "How can a still photograph do justice to the light show of the 'dancing trees'?"

Eight to 10 trees, each about 30 feet tall, were wrapped in colored lights. A later closer look showed that one clear bulb changed colors (fiber optics or LED technology?) from among four or five colors. The lights were synchronized with a computer-generated compilation of several holiday songs (I thought one of the song segments was Mannheim Steamroller's arrangement of "Carol of the Bells"), and in essence, the trees dance to the music, sometimes appearing to change color three or four times in one second. Not surprisingly, the show takes about four months to install and prepare.

After their dance, the trees resumed their white-light dress, and our attention was directed across the walkway to the sphere which appeared to hover just above the lake.

The longitudinal lines would begin in one color and the latitude lines would change in bands from north to south. As I maneuvered my tripod to get closer, Raina served as an advance person scouting out better and better camera angles.

From the angle of the photograph left, I had to shoot through some fern-like leaves.

In this photo and the one below, I was struck by the difference in the color of the lights between the sphere and its reflection.

However, the photos here do not begin to cover the color combinations and light patterns.

Before leaving, I wanted to show one more photo of the effect of the glasses distributed upon entering the zoo. (In the photo below, Jesse has a pair on top of his head.) The lower half is photographed through one lens of the glasses; the upper half is the normal view.

The enjoyment of discovering this display was topped only by the enjoyment of the company of our hosts--Jesse and Raina--shown here with Kate. (No one was injured by the giant spider.)

The evening brought a glimpse of winter--the only thing missing was the snow, but we managed to capture the emotion of the season in spite of that missing ingredient.

Merry Christmas!

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