Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Giraffes at the San Fransisco Zoo: Judy Butler

I have been reminiscing about my trip to San Francisco in 2005. After working hard presenting at an educational conference it was time to play. I set out for an adventure by myself on a beautiful California Saturday morning to explore the “Nature Trail” in San Francisco. After taking the ferry across the bay from Alameda, I boarded a trolley then transferred to a bus. Finally an hour later I arrived at the Pacific Ocean. The trip with all these forms of transportation let me see a lot of the city with the iconic up hill and down. Along with beautiful vistas of city views the trip was lined with row houses of every imaginable color, people in wetsuits with surfboards tucked under their arms and other unexpected & unusual sites you might find in this unique city.

Once at the ocean the Sea Gulls were everywhere, really big Sea Gulls, the size of small dogs. I bought lunch at a deli inside the grocery store across from the beach. The Sea Gulls patrolled the grocery store parking lot, sat on light poles, and blanketed the beach. I sat ate my sandwich on the beach frequently protecting my morsels from the marauding birds. While enjoying the spectacular waves crashing on the beach and surrounding rocks and watching the surfers, I took bunches of photos and sketched the gulls.

It was difficult to tear myself away from the beach but I jumped on yet another bus and traveled down the highway to the Zoological Park. The Zoo is a lovely place, small compared to many zoos I have visited. Most exhibits are large enough for the animals to move around freely in quasi-natural settings. Of course lots of amazing west cost plants and blooming foliage. As I moved around the park I found comfortable spots to draw. My experience is that when you sketch in public you attract attention from children who always want to see what you are doing. That is a fun part of drawing in public. Young children always think your stuff is good even if it is not.

Zoos are a wonderful place to sketch. They usually have common and local animals along with exotic animals we might never have a chance to see. I spent a lot of time with the giraffes that were in a savanna-type setting with lots of other grazing animals.

I realized how obsessed I am with giraffes when looking back through my photos and journal entries during my trip to the San Francisco Zoo and trips to other zoos. See my giraffe post on June 12, 2008, “Giraffes: What is it about those long necks?” In that post I feature photos by friends from all over the world that are worth giving a look.

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