Monday, 20 January 2014


We went with daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter to Howletts Animal Park on Saturday.   When they visited us last Autumn we bought annual tickets so we can visit as often as we like within the ticket validity period.     Last visit we spent most of our time watching the Gorillas, and one of my entries for this year's UKCPS exhibition is based on a photograph taken at Howletts.

On Saturday the weather started out showery and very cold and all the Gorillas were indoors and difficult to see.    At just 3 years old Sophie (Grand-daughter) has a short attention span so wasn't bothered about not seeing animals - she just wanted to visit the childrens' play area and play on swings etc.

But Nanny Sue (me) wanted to photograph something!   Actually once we'd had lunch, the weather brightened up and we saw quite a few animals.   Some of my pictures:

 Lots of pics of this lovely cat ... he/she is a little lopsided on the ear-tuft front - looks very comical in some of the photos

I'm pleased with these pictures because I had to focus my camera through the wire fencing until the wire  'blurs out' a bit.  

Obviously you can still see where the 'blurs' are but by taking lots of photos I can piece together enough to make a good reference for future drawings

This little chap will definitely be at the top of my 'to draw' list.     He is a 'Langur' and was outside on his own.    All the others were indoors enjoying a tasty meal.  So I'm not sure if he was just not hungry or had been sent outside to amuse the visitors but he looked so dejected  :-(

He's a real redhead with freckles!   

David preferred this one - he liked the hairstyle (probably because these days he can't grow his own quiff)

and these lion tailed macaques – who also go by the phonetically fun name of ‘wanderoo’ (from the old Sinhalese word for ‘monkey’) are wonderful characters.    Mother love here:

Having a good gossip here:

But for me, the highlight of this visit was watching the interaction between young tigress and keeper.    Apparently, the keeper took the tiger home to look after her from day 2 of her life, and now he spends many hours with her 'playing' with toys and water games to keep her occupied and stimulated.  She is still fairly young (but big)  It was lovely to watch them together, but I'm very conscious of how very large and powerful those paws are and even in play she'd do a lot of damage if she lashed out!

Again, these photos were taken by focusing through wire fencing - frustrating, but far safer than being inside the play area I think! 

I must have taken around 50 pics of this tiger .... my reference photo files are growing rapidly!

We're off to India tomorrow so I'm hoping to get lots of  'Indian Character' ref pics.   We will visit wildlife and tiger reserves but not sure I'd get close enough to get pictures I could draw from.    Just about finished packing and now have tomorrow morning to clean the house as the 'sitters' arrive lunchtime just about the time we leave for the airport.

Not sure when/where we will get internet connection but I hope I may be able to make a couple of posts during our trip.

If not, see you in 18 days' time!


  1. OMGosh, Sue...these pictures are fantastic and I really look forward to seeing you painting one of these...Love it! You have an incredible camera...

  2. Thank you Hilda. Its a Lumix Panasonic DMC FZ200 camera which is a 'bridge' camera. Bridges the gap between 'point & shoot' and more complicated SLRs. I couldn't cope with changing lenses and carrying lots of equipment round with me.

    I'm pleased with this one, although I haven't worked out how to use it properly yet. I have seen a new model which has a much more powerful zoom but hubby wouldn't be happy about me upgrading camera just yet LOL

  3. I agree with Hilda; the photos are just gorgeous! I love everyone and my goodness but that zoo keeper is a handsome one! I'd bring him home. And he must have a good heart loving animals as he does. Anyway, Sue, I hope you have a great trip and I look forward to your next post!

  4. Thank you Sherry. Not sure you should take the keeper home, I think you've got enough going on in your life at the moment LOL
    We only spoke briefly but he is clearly besotted with this tiger and really loves his 'job' at the zoo.

  5. have a great time in India!!

    so interesting seeing the tiger, she looks just like a domesticated cat in some of those shots, just bigger :p

  6. Wonderful photos, Sue! You know they're far, far better than some of the ref photos you get from commissioners!!! If you can't work from these, then you need to hang up your pencils! lol

    Hope you have a wonderful trip - can't wait to see the pics from India!

  7. What a fun day! Your little Langur fellow is precious, and I love the photo of the two looking out the window. You've got some excellent reference photos and precious memories!

  8. I absolutely love the third picture that cat's face is perfect. I love all the pictures really, but that one, to me, is particularly special.

    Hope you are enjoying yourselves, will look forward to your blogs and pix of India.

  9. Hi Sue
    Really great pics you've taken ;)


Thanks for visiting my Blog. Let me know what you think :-)

I have disabled the Captcha requirement at the request of followers who find it irritating when posting comments. However to stop the subsequent flood of spam posts I can no longer accept comments from Anonymous sources.
Apologies if this is a problem
Thank you