CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

The Grizzly Bear

Three month old Grizzly Cub

The Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) is second largest land carnivore, the polar bear being the largest.  They can weigh up to 1,200 pounds. The term grizzly comes from “grizzled” or grey hair in its fur.  Grizzly Bears are a subspecies of the Brown Bear.  They are generally found in western North America but they are also found in Asia and Europe.

They normally are a solitary active animal but during salmon spawn, they can be seen congregating with other grizzly’s along streams, lakes, rivers and ponds.

Their claws make them different from other species of brown bear.   Their claws are twice the length of their toes.

Grizzlies are omnivores since their diets consists of both plants and animals.  Grizzly bears also readily scavenge food, on carrion left behind by other animals

Female Grizzly Bears (sows) reproduce about every other year.  They have between 1 and 4 cubs (normally 2).  The newborn cubs weigh only about a pound.  Mother bears are notoriously protective of their cubs.    Mother protecting their cubs account for 70% of all fatal injuries to humans. Grizzly Bears normally avoid contact with people.

They are listed as threatened in the United Sates and endangered in Canada.

The Grizzly Bear is one of the many animals that you can adopt on World Wildlife Fund.

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May 23, 2010 Posted by | Wildlife | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bengal Tiger


On February 14, 2010, the Chinese lunar calendar moved into The Year of the Tiger.

Tigers are the largest of all the Asian big cats, at the top of the food chain.  Tigers are one of the most culturally important and beautiful animals on the planet but they are one of the most vulnerable and threatened species on Earth.

Bengal Tigers are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.  The tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh.   According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are approximately 2,100 royal Bengal tigers in the wild:

  • 1,411 in India
  • 200 in Bangladesh
  • 150 in Nepal
  • 100 in Bhutan

It is considered to be the second largest tiger next to the Siberian Tiger, though recent studies show that the Bengal tiger could actually be larger than the Siberian.

The total length for males from tip of nose to tip of tale is between 8′ – 10′ and the average weight is about 490 lb., females are a little smaller, they are between 7-8 feet and weigh about 300 lb.  Though in India and Nepal, Bengal tigers can grow to about 518 lb. for males. A Bengal Tiger’s coat is yellow or orange with black or brown stripes.  Their belly is white and tail is white with black rings.  There are also white Bengal Tigers which have white coat with dark brown or reddish brown stripes.  This coloration is caused by a recessive gene.

A tiger’s roar can be heard up to 2 miles away.

India has approximately 2/3 of the worlds tigers.  Tigers are found in 37 tiger preserves throughout India.  Habitat loss and poaching are serious threats to the tiger population.  Tigers are killed for sport, skins and body parts.

According to the World Wildlife Fund – If we do not respond to the plight of the wild tigers and the needs of the communities that share their homes with tigers – most of which is outside protected wildlife areas, we will witness the loss of one of the world’s most irreplaceable, natural wonders of our lifetime.   Tigers survive on 40% less area than they occupied 10 years ago.  The tiger population has fallen about 95% and its range has decreased over 93% over the past century.

Please sign the petition Protect Tigers from Illegal Trade Help WWF tighten regulations to protect captive tigers in the U.S. and prevent increased demand for tiger products that put wild populations at risk. Sign WWF’s petition to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking them to use their authority to close existing loopholes in the permitting and monitoring of captive tigers in the U.S.

World Wildlife Fund’s Goal Tx2 is to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Wildlife | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Majestic Tiger

Tigers (Panthera tigris) is the largest and probably most dangerous of big cats.    Native to much of eastern and southern Asia. They are also the most recognizable due to their dark, vertical stripes. Form and density of the stripes differ between subspecies.  Pattern of their stripes are unique to each animal, much like fingerprints in humans.  The stripes are not just on the fur, the stripes patterns are imbedded in the skin. Bengal tiger have the most numbers but it is the Siberian Tiger which is the largest member of the tiger family.

There are 9 species of modern tiger, three of those are extinct.  The remaining six species are endangered, some critically.  They are all under formal protection but poaching, habitat destruction and inbreeding has really reduced the wild tiger population to about 3200.

SUBSPECIES:

Bengal (Panthera tigris tigris) – the most common species of tiger.  Found in India and Bangledesh.  There are an estimated 1,411 wild tigers, drop of 60% in the past decade.  Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation movement initiated in India in 1972 to protect the Bengal Tigers.

Indochinese (Panthera tigris corbetti) – Found om Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.   There are approximately 1,200-1,800 Indochinese tigers left but only about 100 left in the wild.  In Vietnam, almost 3/4 of the tigers killed provide stock for chinese pharmaceuticals.

Malayan (Panthera tigris jacksoni) – Found in the southern part of Malay Peninsula.  Population of about 600-800 tigers in the wild.  Smallest of the mainland tiger subspecies.

Sumatran (Panthera tigris sumatrae) – Found on Indonesian Island of Sumatra.  Critically endangered.  Population about 400-500.  The smallest of all living species.  Mainly located on the islands national parks.

Siberian (Panthera tigris altaica) – Also known as Amur, Manchurian, Altaic, Korean or North China Tiger. Located in far eastern Siberia.  Considered the largest of all tiger species.  At 6 months old, a Siberian tiger cub can be as big as a leopard.  Population about 450-500.  It has the largest undivided tiger population in the wild.

South China (Panthera tigris amoyensis) – The most critically endangered species. One of the 10 most endangered animals in the world.  One of the smallest species.  Currently only 59 known captive, no tiger has been seen in the wild since 1983.

EXTINCT

Bali (Panthera tigris balica) – Found on the island of Bali. Smallest of all tigers.  Last one killed in 1937. None was ever in captivity.

Javan (Panthera tigris sondaica) – Found on the island of Java.  Last sighted in 1979.

Caspian (Panthera tigris virgata) – Found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Caucasus.  Has been extinct since the late 1950s, though there has been some more recent alleged sightings. Genetic research the animal was identical to the Siberian.

Tigers need an enormous territory, sufficient cover, proximity to water and an abundance of prey to survive.  Unlike domestic cats and many large cats, tigers are very strong swimmers and seek out water.  Tigers are essentially solitary and territorial.

Reproduction – Mating can occur all year but most common between November and April.  Gestation period is 16 weeks.  The litter usually consists of 3-4 cubs about 2 lbs each.  Cubs are born blind and helpless.  Mortality rate is high, only about half survive.  There is one dominant cub in each litter.  Cubs are independent at 18 months but don’t leave their mothers until about 2.5 years old.

Tigers can live 10-15 years in the wild and can live longer than 20 years in captivity.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Wildlife | , , , | Leave a comment

Civil War Photo Tour

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War less than a year away, I thought that I would do a tour of Washington that every place had significance during one of the tumultuous times in our nation’s history.

THE WILLARD HOTEL washington.intercontinental.com

Metro Stop: Metro Center

the Willard has been the center of the social and political life in Washington DC since it first opened in the early 1800s.  On February 23, 1861, amid several assassination threats, detective Allan Pinkerton smuggled Abraham Lincoln into the Washington DC during the weeks before his inauguration; Lincoln lived at the Willard until his inauguration on March 4, holding meetings in the lobby and carrying on business from his room.

U.S. CAPITOL www.aoc.gov

Metro Stop: Capitol South

After leaving the Willard, head over to Metro Center and take the Metro to the Capitol South stop. Unlike today’s presidents who are swore in on the West Portico, then President -Elect Lincoln was sworn in on the East Portico of the Capitol (side facing away from the Mall) on March 4, 1861.  At the time of his inauguration, the dome of the Capitol building was still under construction.  Note: John Wilkes Booth was in attendance when President Lincoln gave his second Inaugural Address.

THE ULYSSES S. GRANT MEMORIAL

The U.S. Grant Memorial Statue is an equestrian statue honoring Civil War general and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant located at the base of Capitol Hill. The statue faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial honoring Grant’s Commander in Chief – President Abraham Lincoln.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES www.archives.gov

Head down Constitution to the short walk to the National Archives. As of this post, there is at least one exhibit pertinent to the Civil War – Discovering the Civil War .

WHITE HOUSE www.whitehouse.gov

From the Archives, take the metro to the McPherson Square stop.  On the third floor of the White House (part of the first family’s private residence) is the Lincoln Bedroom which has a bed that Mary Lincoln purchased that as far as historians know President Lincoln never slept in.  Also in the room is the last known hand written by President Lincoln copy of the Gettysburg Address .  The room was used by Lincoln as his office.

FORD’S THEATRE/PETERSEN HOUSE www.fordstheatre.org

Follow the same path that President Lincoln followed whenever he went to the theater – head down E Street to 10th Street.  Turn left onto 10th and the theatre is right next to Hard Rock Cafe.  Petersen House is right across the street.  Ford’s Theatre is still a working theater.

On April 14, 1865, President and Mrs. Lincoln attended the play Our American Cousin when John Wilkes Booth snuck into the Presidential Box and shot President Lincoln in the back of the head.  Booth then jumped onto the stage and yelled “Sic Sempter Tyrannus” (Thus Always to Tyrants) and escaped into the night.  He was cornered and killed after a 12 day manhunt.

President Lincoln was carried across the street to Petersen House where he died early the next morning.  After his death, Edward Stanton declared, “He Now Belongs to the Ages.”

LINCOLN MEMORIAL www.nps.gov/linc

Unfortunately there is no metro station near the memorial.  Dedicated in 1922 honoring the man who saved the union.  Directly above  the statue the words, “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Lincoln’s two most famous speeches – The Gettysburg Address and 2nd Inaugural Address are etched in the walls of the memorial.

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY www.arlingtoncemetery.org

Metro Stop: Arlington Cemetery

The final stop on the Civil War Photo tour appropriately enough is just over the Arlington Memorial Bridge – Arlington National Cemetery.  The good news is there is a metro stop at Arlington, the bad news, its the closest stop to the Lincoln Memorial.

The house and land was once owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee but it was confiscated before the end of the war and was made into a national cemetery.  Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son Robert Todd Lincoln is buried there.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Early America Photo Tour

Since I did the Federal Government photo tour yesterday, it is only fitting that the next tour be how this country was started – The Early America Photo Tour.

NATIONAL MALL

President Washington appointed Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the new capital city.  In his 1791 plan for the future city of Washington, D.C., L’Enfant envisioned a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide, in an area that would lie between the Capitol building and an equestrian statue of George Washington to be placed directly south of the White House. The National Mall occupies the site of this planned “grand avenue”, which was never constructed. The Washington Monument stands near the planned site of its namesake’s equestrian statue.  The term “National Mall” commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center. The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES www.archives.gov

You can not talk about early American History without talking about the documents that formed this country.  Check out yesterday’s blog The Federal Government Photo Tour for more information.

CONSTITUTION GARDENS www.nps.gov/coga

After leaving the National Archives, walk down Constitution Avenue to the Constitution Gardens, between Constitution Avenue and the Reflecting Pool. Constitution Gardens is a living legacy to the founding of the republic.  It has a memorial for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence on the small island in the lake.

WASHINGTON MONUMENT www.nps.gov/wamo

The next stop will most definitely have to be the monument dedicated to our first president. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles.

Admission is free but does require a ticket.

JEFFERSON MEMORIAL www.nps.gov/thje

The next stop should be the Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and the principle author of the Declaration of Indpendence. The words written more than 200 years ago, have shaped American ideals. Today, many of these impressive, stirring words adorn the interior walls of his memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and endures as a site for reflection and inspiration for all citizens of the United States and the world.

One of the best times of year to visit the memorial is in the spring with the Cherry Blossoms which surround the Tidal Basin are in bloom.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DC Photo Tour Series – The Federal Government

Whether or not you agree with our current administration, as an American you need to take a tour of the buildings that represent our government.  Your tour should start with the National Archives and then follow through to the buildings that represent the three branches of our federal government: legislative, judicial and executive.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES www.archives.gov

Metro Stop: Archives/Naval Memorial

Your first stop should be to view the documents that helped form this country.   The Declaration of Independence started the whole movement that resulted in our being freed from British Rule.  Then came  the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, – this is the document that formed this country, and that every elected official swears to uphold – .  All three can be seen in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives.   As all are old, they are preserved in a dark room under thick glass.  You are not allowed to take photographs.  However, you can purchase replicas in the Archives store.

Hours: Spring/Summer (March 15-Labor Day) 10am-7pm
Fall/Winter (day after Labor Day-March 14, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas 10am-5:30pm

Admission: Free

U.S. CAPITOL www.aoc.gov – The next stop should be the legislative branch

Metro Stop: Capitol Metro South

Leaving the archives you can walk to the Capitol or hop on the Green Line (toward Branch Avenue) one stop to L’Enfant Plaza and then hop on the Blue Line (toward Largo Town Center) to the Capitol South stop.

You will want to take photographs of both sides of the Capitol building.  You can book tours (8:50am-3:20 pm) through the Advance Reservation System or by contacting your Senator or Representative.  Gallery passes are also available through the Senators or Representative.  No cameras are allowed in the galleries.  The main entrance is East Front at First Street and East Capitol Street N.E.  For more information about touring the Capitol including restrictions, visit: www.visitthecapitol.gov. The restaurant is on the lower level and it is open between 8:30am-4pm Monday through Saturday. There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.

Note: Photograph that side that faces the National Mall first so that after done photographing the Capitol, you can head to your next destination.

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8:30am-4:30pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day and Inauguration Day)

Admission: Free

U.S. SUPREME COURT www.supremecourt.gov – The judicial branch of the federal goverment.

Metro Stop: Capitol South

The highest judicial body in the United States.  They consist of The Chief Justice and eight associate judges.  No photography or videography is allowed inside the courtroom.  Eras of the Supreme Court history are named after the chief justice of that time. The Taney Court (1836-1864) is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, the case which may have helped precipitate the Civil War.  The Warren Court (1953–1969) made many rulings, sometimes celebrated, sometimes controversial, expanding the application of the Constitution to civil liberties: it held segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Decision.  The BurberCourt (1969–1986) ruled the Constitution protected a woman’s right to privacy and control over her own body, thus striking down outright abortion ban, controversial Roe vs. Wade Decision.  There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4:30 pm except Federal Holidays

THE WHITE HOUSE www.whitehouse.gov – The executive branch

Metro Stop: McPherson Square

Walk down to Union Station and hop on the Red Line (toward Shady Grove).  You will either need to get off at Metro Center and walk several blocks west to the White House or change trains at Metro Center and hop on the Blue Line (toward Springfield) for one stop and get off at McPherson Square. McPherson Square Metro stop is on the north side of the White House.  Now if you get off at Metro Center, you will have further to walk but you can stop at the White House Visitor’s Center at southeast corner of 15th and E Street, open 7 days a week from 7:30am to 4pm.

Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through your Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays). Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance but no less than 30 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation. Admission is free. There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.  Definitely get photos of both the north and south side of the White House.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Nation’s Capital

I was an army brat growing up so I have lived in a few different states and even a foreign country but I spent most of my life living in Maryland.  Being only about 45 minutes away, many of my school field trips to were to Washington DC.  I have always loved wandering around downtown DC. I am a history buff, was an American History major in college so Washington DC is the perfect place for me to go especially because I am such a huge admirer of President Abraham Lincoln.

You do not realize just how big the National Mall is until you walk from end to end.  The National Mall extends from the U.S. Capitol (with the idiots that occupying the building now) to the Lincoln Memorial.  In between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial is the Reflecting Pool, The Jefferson Memorial, The Tidal Basin (which in late March, early April is surrounded by beautiful Cherry Blossoms), The White House, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Veterans Wall, Korean War Veteran’s Memorial,  Constitution Gardens,  FDR Memorial, the Museum of American History, Museum of National History, National Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, The Smithsonian Castle, African Art Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, American Art Museum, American Indian Museum, and the National Archives.  The Smithsonian Institution makes up for 19 Museums (most of which are listed above), 9 research centers and the National Zoo which is in the Woodley Park. To make up for their horrible traffic that DC has, it has a wonderful Metro System.

I try to make it up to DC at least once a year just to wander around the city and take photographs.  This year I was lucky enough to go when there was still a significant amount of snow on the ground so I got some great photos, the downside of course was it was rather cold.  You can check out my photos at my website:clcrowphotography.com The photographs are in the gallery labeled Washington DC – Winter.  As I said before I am a huge admirer of Abraham Lincoln so a majority of the photographs are of the Lincoln Memorial.  It was a great trip but I walked the full length of the national mall twice in one day and half of it twice so I virtually walked the entire length three times so by the end of my trip, my legs were feeling it.  If you have never been before, I would definitely recommend going but try to stay for a few days because there are so many things to do.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Experiences, Walkway Into History | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment