Friday, April 2, 2010

This out of focus photo started it all

Tumbling Pandas

This is the first photo that I posted to Flickr. I liked this photo because of the moment it captured, and I did not care that it was much less than perfect. If you read the about me page, I warn that the photos that I am writing about might not be good, but instead, be special to me. This is one of those cases. I was just trying Flickr, I told myself. I love taking photos, and I thought it would be a good entrée into social networking, much like I am trying to use my love of photography to make a serious try at blogging. I was not completely sure what I was going to do with my flickr stream.

When I started with Flickr, the ideal of social networking environments was still fairly new, and I was trying to figure them out. And, I still am. I created a user name that I could use and disavow later, if I need to. For a long time, I did not use my name in association with this user name. When I started with Flickr, in the pre-Yahoo days, it was small community. If you tried hard, you could see most of the photos added each day. For the most part, people were putting selected photos into their collections, rather than dumping every photo on their camera. I communicated and became connected with people who were interested in what I cared about and what I liked to photograph. My contacts are all over the world. It was a very encouraging environment, and generally continues to be one. I have drifted away from posting as much, but I still take time to add carefully selected images and to see what my contacts are posting. My association with Flickr has been very positive, and has helped me better understand the power of social networks, and become a better photographer.

Okay, now a bit more about the photo. These two are Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the parents of Tai Shan, the pandas at the National Zoo in Washington DC. This was taken in the months leading to Tai Shan's birth. It was amazing to watch these two interact. They were wresting, pushing each other around, and more, if you know what I mean.

If you have been to the older panda enclosure at the Zoo, you will remember that it is sloped towards the viewing area, much like the new enclosure. In this photo the couple were part way up the slope, and one would give the other a push sending its mate rolling down the hill legs extended. This happened several times, and each time the one that had been pushed rolled with its legs extended. I wish this had been in focus, but I still love this image.

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