CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

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

Beach Portraits – Fun in the Sun

Eleven days ago I had so much fun taking beach portraits for a small family. I am a member of Independent Networking Group (ING) that meets once a week and this beach portrait session was for the family of one of the other members. Each week everyone stands and gives a minute elevator pitch on what kind of referrals they are looking for in their business and one member stands up and gives a ten minute presentation on their business. It was the day that I gave my ten minute presentation that Chad gave me a referral to do his family’s beach portrait.

On the day of the shoot, Chad called me and left me a voicemail message telling me that something happened and they might need to reschedule the shoot. I called him and he told me that one of the girls had cold sores on the outside of her mouth. I told him that it was not a problem, getting rid of cold sores is a two minute fix in photoshop so we did not have to reschedule the shoot.

One of my favorite locations to shoot is Huntington Beach State Park because it has plenty of beach and an area in the dunes which is perfect to set up a small family to shoot with the dunes and the ocean in the background. The one problem with Huntington is that it is a State Park so you need either a pass to get in or pay for each person. I meet with my clients at a grocery store a few miles down the street. I usually have a pass for me and an extra pass for my clients but because the season hasn’t really started yet, I haven’t gotten my extra pass yet. But since I knew Chad personally, I rode with their family over to the park and I left my car at the grocery store.

We arrived at the state park and after the youngest had to take a potty break, we headed to the beach to take the photos. For the next hour, I took all kinds of photos. I took photos of the entire family, just the parents, just the kids and each kid individually. For the last group of photos, I had the kids lay on their stomachs in the sand bend their knees so that their sand clad feet could be seen behind them and had their hands framing their faces. Then I did that for each child as well and it was some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. Chad then commented that he and his wife could do the same thing. Sam’s response was, “Cathie, please tell him that it is mainly for the children and adults don’t do it.” Not realizing that she wanted me to agree with her, my response was “No, parents can pose like that as well.” So they ended up laying on the sand as well and the photos turned out great. However, I got sand everywhere including inside of my belly button.

It was a great photo shoot and the photographs turned out great.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Perspective

I have been doing photography for over 15 years and been a professional photographer for three years. I have shot beach portraits, weddings to nature, wildlife and landscapes.

I have taken photos all kinds of wildlife from bald eagles to alligators to dolphins to mountain lions. I have traveled to Yosemite National Park while I was still using my film camera and shot over 9 roles of film in 2.5 days. I grew up 45 minutes from Washington DC and I love to travel to DC whenever I get the chance. This past February I was up in DC and took photos of all the monuments with almost a foot of snow on the ground. And I was finally able to get good night shots of the different monuments.

But it has only been about a month since my life took on a very different turn. About four weeks ago, along with my mother who is a social media specialist, I am doing social media for a candidate for US Congress SC 1st District seat campaign. What started out just doing social media has now broadened into also doing photography and videography for the campaign. I have gone from not knowing anyone and no one knowing me to being on a first name basis with most of the congressional candidates and with some of the other candidates as well. It has been an experience especially since it has only been the last few years that I had interest in politics and it has only been the last few months that I have even thought of getting involved with the campaigns. What is going on right now in Washington scares the living daylights out of me. I have no doubts that our current president is out to destroy this great country and that is why I am doing all that I can do to see that that doesn’t happen. There are eight Republican candidates running for SC 1st District Congressional seat and overall, it is a good group of people.

I am still doing other kinds of photography like beach portrait sessions and on occasion if I have the time I head down to Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park to take photos of the wildlife.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting My Vote

Once the primaries are over, it will be voters like me that candidates from both parties will be trying to sway. I am a registered Republican, mostly because I come from a long line of Republicans, but the truth of the matter is that I am probably what most people would call a moderate independent, due to my positions on some of the hottest issues – especially the following:

Abortion – This is a very contraversial subject. While I do not believe there are any circumstances that I could get an abortion, I do not believe that the federal government has a right to decide what I do to my own body. I also do not believe that abortion should be used as a birth control method especially as there are many couples out there who cannot have a child and are looking to adopt.

Death Penalty – I have no issues at all with the death penalty. In fact, I believe in many cases it is warranted. Ted Bundy is the first person who comes to mind. After killing at least 30 young women, he deserved the death penalty. Another person is Timothy McVeigh. In cases such as those where there was no reasonable doubt, and the crimes are so heinous, the death penalty is just. “Let the punishment fit the crime”.

Fair Tax – The income tax was created to pay for the U.S. Civil War and has long outlived its usefulness. The Fair Tax would replace the income tax. We would only be taxed on what we buy. Those who buy more, pay more. Everyone needs things like clothes and food. It might even make April 15th a day we no longer dread.

Politicians – I am for term limits for both Senators and Representatives as long as it is federally mandated instead of state mandated. Many people in Washington have been there far too long and have lost touch with their constituents. They have become so power hungry that they could care less about the people in this country. It is time for them to step aside. The Obamacare program is a perfect example of how Washington Politicans no longer care what the American people want. If this new Heathcare Program is so great, why do they refuse to be on it? One other thing is that there should be a cap on how many attorneys could represent us at one time – a good number is probably about ten in all. Personally I believe that the Supreme Court Judges should make up 9 of the 10.

And that brings up the last issue, which is Tort Reform. We do need tort reform and if we only have a few lawyers in Washington (and fewer special interest groups) we might actually get it. Frivolous lawsuits would all but disappear if the losers had to pay the costs of the case. Tort Reform won’t happen as long as Washington is run by politicians.

In the words of President Abraham Lincoln “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living in Iran

My first day of my Western Civilization class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Robert Porter had has go around the room and tell everyone our name, year, major, hometown and an interesting fact about ourselves.  Luckily he started with the other half of the room so I was able to think of what I was going to say.

At first I thought I would bring up that I am an avid movie fan and at the time I owned over 250 movies but then I realized that it was not interesting enough especially after one guy got up and told the class that he was in New York City on September 11, 2001.  I could have told the class that I had gone to Yosemite National Park in 1997 and took 9.5 roles of film or that I attended the games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the two nights that Cal Ripken tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.

But I had a truly unique experience, one that probably no one in the class had ever experienced, let alone most in the class were not even born at the time this happened to me.  I stood up, gave my name, year, major, hometown  and then “my family and I were evacuated out of Iran in 1978.”  There were a few gasps around the room.

I remember bits and pieces of our time in Iran. My mother kept a journal which she recently turned into a blog: http://americansiniran1978.com.  The United States really let Iran down in the late 70s and we are all paying for it now.

An interesting twist happened a few semesters later when I took another class with the same professor.  In the class were two Iranian girls (their parents were Iranian) but they had never been to Iran.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , | Leave a comment

No Batteries or No Camera = No Shot

I always carrying extra batteries in my camera bag so if they die, I still have extras.  A few months ago I was at Huntington Beach State Park taking photos of wading birds (egrets, herons). Deciding against carrying my heavy camera bag, I just grabbed one of my cameras, my extra memory cards and headed to take more photos.  I was on the other side of the causeway from my car when my batteries died.  As I was walking back to my car  to replace my them when I heard crunching near me.  I turned to look and five feet in front of me there was an alligator facing me munching on a blue crab.  It would have been a great shot but because I hadn’t brought my extra batteries, I did not get the shot.

A few weeks later I was sitting at a light when to my right I saw a Red Tailed Hawk 10 feet away standing on the ground.  Because I was heading to a meeting I had not thought to bring my cameras with me.

No batteries or no camera = no shot.  The moral of the story, just like the boy scouts, is “always be prepared.” You never know when you perfect shot will be presented to you and you want to be ready.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment