trees are for snakes

Snakes on a Plane


Oh yeah, time to point out all the non-venomous species/poorly animated snakes and cringe at all the nonsense that runs rampant in this movie.

I saw this movie when it opened with a theater full of people ready to embrace its ridiculousness. Which made it really fun.

But outside of that environment (and now that I have snakes myself) I don’t think I could bring myself to watch it again. 


an Amazonian Saphire Pink toe tarantula Avicularia diversipes
image source

Shiny shiny!


an Amazonian Saphire Pink toe tarantula Avicularia diversipes

image source

Shiny shiny!

(via jennyrage)


Have you heard of the mystery of the sailing stones? It’s not a Hardy Boys novel — it’s the strange phenomenon of rocks leaving zig-zagging tracks across Death Valley.

Well, they solved the mystery at last.

Image: Momatiuk - Eastcott/Corbis / Video: Jim Norris

Not animal stuff, but posting it here anyway.

(via mindfncked)

Two more pics of Fido in his full glory.

Have to love that no feeding/cleaning up after him is required!

Here’s Fido. I’ll see about getting better pics before leaving the office today.

Here’s Fido. I’ll see about getting better pics before leaving the office today.

Possibly unpopular opinion?


I personally think it’s a horrible idea to bring your reptiles with you in the car. I don’t mean when you have to take them to the vet or move them and you have them in a secured carrier, I mean when you just let them roam in the car while you’re driving and you take ‘cute’ photos of them around the steering wheel, sitting on your dashboard, trying to get out a window, etc. 

I think this is a horrible idea for several reasons and I don’t really understand the point of doing it at all? I mean, what are you or the animal really getting out of it? 

If you get in an accident and they aren’t in a secured carrier, what do they have to hold onto? Nothing. They’re going flying right into that window or the back of the seat which is most likely going to be a fatal accident. Also, I don’t know about you guys but I would be pretty distracted driving with one of my snakes free roaming the car. I’d be constantly watching him/her and my focus wouldn’t 100% be on the road or my surroundings. 

Vehicles are in no way a good environment for a reptile to be in and I personally think they should be left at home in their safe, climate controlled habitats…but that’s my opinion.

What do you think?

Just letting your snake just wander around in the car is a horrible idea.

A week or so ago, a coworker told me that her husband (who works at a car dealership) got a call from a lady who was bringing in her car to try to get a snake removed. Apparently one her kids and a friend were sitting in the car (just in the driveway, not moving) playing with the snake, and it managed to crawl into the dashboard.

The info was being relayed to me by non-snake folks, so I don’t know the species, size of the snake, etc. But the lady drove the car to the dealership, they did some work to take apart the dash, but couldn’t find the snake easily. The labor costs to pull out everything/put in back in was going to be mid-to-high hundreds of dollars, so the lady said forget it. So the snake is still in the car somewhere. No idea if it’s alive or dead at this point, sadly.

Guess What?!



One year ago today Grumpy Egg hatched and turned into this cutie. So that means… Elsa is 1!

I’ve only had her for four months, but she has grown and changed so much during that time. I would have taken a photo of the birthday girl but she got her birthday meal before I thought of it. Oops. So have this instead, and I’ll take belated photos. Thanks for following Elsa on her not-so-grumpy-anymore adventures, there are going to be many many more!

This lady had her lump inspected again this morning. The determination was made to leave it be for now, but to continue to keep watch for any changes in it and/or her behavior.

She wasn’t happy about the trip, but she should be happy this evening when it’s feeding time.





Museum of Natural History - First Ever Sleepover for Grownups - New York City

There are a few places in New York City that are almost more New York City than New York City itself.

The American Museum of Natural History is one of those places.

Say its name in certain late-night conversations and you are bound to encounter a wide spectrum of responses most of which are accompanied by a starry-eyed look usually reserved for times when people think back to beloved childhood memories.

Even visiting the museum on frequent school trips during my own childhood, the museum seemed to be a portal into an alternate New York City reality tinged by nostalgia.

The museum started having sleepovers for children and their parents around a decade ago. But it wasn’t until last week that the museum decided to host its first ever "sleepover for grownups".

The allure of an adults-only sleepover was strong, of course. The sleepover’s tickets sold out within the first three hours that they were up for sale.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the 150 adults who got to attend the sleepover. It was a fascinating night.

Here is some of what transpired…


Sleepover guests were greeted by live jazz music inside of the museum courtesy of the 12th Night Jazz Ensemble


The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life was the setting for the actual sleeping part of the sleepover. Guests were guided to the hall to pick a cot under the 94 foot blue whale or away from it (I met quite a few people over the course of the night who seemed to share a fear of having the giant whale fall on them in their sleep).


There was also a champagne reception followed by a three course meal where sleepover guests nervously contemplated how the evening’s adventures would unfold.


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was happily surprised to find that there was an in-depth itinerary provided for us:


All 45 museum halls and the entire Rose Center for Earth and Space were open for free exploration. Some of the hallways were completely empty.


I took an empty elevator up to the 4th floor. I knew what I wanted to see most of all.

The dinosaurs, of course.


It was a stellar moment when I realized that the dinosaurs were lit up in a special way at night.

I had T-Rex all to myself for a good 10 minutes.

It was *spectacular*.


This night was also the first night I got to use the Sony A7S which has insane low-light capability. You can basically shoot up to 50,000 ISO with little noise. For those who don’t know what ISO is, ISO is the measure of how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. For reference, my first DSLR could only ever really shoot up to around 800 ISO. Anything greater than that and the photos would be extremely noisy.

This next photo was taken at 25,600 ISO with the A7S. It’s straight out of camera. If you want to view it really large, here it is: T-Rex at 25,600 ISO


I can’t wait to take this camera out on the dark streets of New York City at night.

Back to the sleepover though.

There were a lot of events on the itinerary. I took a break from the dinosaurs to go and attend a presentation about toxicology in the Power of Poison exhibit.

The exhibit was fun to walk through. Here is a representation of the witches from Macbeth.


This is the table at the presentation with all sorts of ominous things like a giant cell display, a tea kettle, a skull, and Arsenic.


And here is the curator of the Power of Poison exhibit who is an author and one of the world’s top leech experts, Dr. Mark Siddall. He is demonstrating the effects of Arsenic. :)


Before the next event on the itinerary, I ran back to the 4th floor to gawk at the dinosaurs again for a few minutes. If this is what the kids at the sleepovers have been experiencing for years, I am supremely jealous. I love these exhibits even more at night.


I also took a little detour and visited a new exhibit called Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. There is a simulation game where you can flap your arms to fly like a pterosaur on the screen in front of you. You can then fly over the ocean and try to catch fish, or fly through a forest and try to catch bugs. It is surprisingly (or not surprisingly) hard to catch fish or bugs while flying around with an enormous prehistoric wingspan.

This is another museum guest attempting to fly like a pterosaur.


My dinosaur visit was short-lived since I had to book it to get to the Live Animal presentation. No one really knew what live animals would be featured but the speculation was quite amusing over dinner. My dinner table guests nearly lost it when someone suggested that there would be sloths. Sloths!

Alas, there were no sloths. But that’s ok because there was an owl:


…and a lemur eating a banana.


There was also a bird of prey, an alligator who urinated all over the trainer and the stage, and a Burmese python.

Before the midnight showing of the current space show in the planetarium, I quickly made my way to the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. When I was really little, it was one of my favorite places in all of New York City. It’s really hard to beat. Not too many other places can boast a trio of large dinosaurs in action poses.

I was surprised to find the room totally empty. If you have visited this museum, you will recognize this room as one of the main entrances. It’s usually full of people since it’s one of the places you can enter the museum and purchase tickets to the exhibits. To experience it empty was truly sublime.


I always thought that the dinosaurs looked a bit like they were dancing.


That tail…


The planetarium show ended somewhere between 1 am and 2 am. I had lofty goals of sleeping under the giant whale but I wanted to visit the Lunar Lounge first.

The Lunar Lounge was the name given to the adult-sleepover-decked-out Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth. It was a space for those adults who preferred to skip sleep. With non-stop films, electrical outlets to charge devices and dim lighting, it was a pretty cool place to hang out for a bit.


At around 3 am, I decided to make my way back to the whale.

Decked out in an oversized hoodie and leggings (the instructions were to bring comfortable clothes for sleeping in sleeping bags but no pajamas: one of the most puzzling requests related to the event), I marveled at how eerily beautiful the museum was at night.


And as I nestled into my sleeping bag under the giant whale, I knew this would be a night I would never forget.



Some notes about the sleepover:

1. Sleep was but a dream. As I mentioned, I had lofty expectations that I would be able to sleep. In truth, they remained lofty expectations. We were warned that the cots would be extremely uncomfortable. That was an understatement.

But it wasn’t the cot that did me in sleep-wise. And it wasn’t the noise or low-level of light in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. As a travel photographer, I travel with ear plugs and an eye mask and I had both in my possession for this sleepover.

It was the bone-chilling cold.

I guess something that you never really think about when you think of museums is how incredibly cold they get at night. While I had my comfy sleeping bag and I was wearing a hoodie and leggings, I was still uncomfortably freezing for the few futile hours that I attempted to sleep. In retrospect, I should have just kept roaming around the museum. If I were to do the sleepover again, I would actually bank on not sleeping at all.

2. The crowd. I was actually a bit surprised at how restrained the guests were throughout the night. I think I expected that there would be more…revelry. Everything was very, very subdued though which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was shocked when I entered the sleeping hall at around 3:30 in the morning to find many people sleeping soundly (how did they sleep in that cold?!).

There seemed to be many couples and groups of friends. I was solo on this adventure and so perhaps I was just keenly aware of how paired-up everyone else seemed to be. It’s a great event to attend with someone special, that’s for sure.

3. The itinerary. As I mentioned in the photo-set above, I was pleasantly surprised to find there was a planned itinerary with events and presentations. The presentations and events were pretty fantastic. The only thing I think could be improved would be to space the events out a bit more to allow for more free roaming of the museum. If you wanted to attend all of the events, you would have been left with only a little over an hour to explore the museum.

4. The price. The price was quite steep. At $375 per person, it definitely wasn’t a budget-friendly choice of an NYC outing. The price seemed to cover quite a bit in terms of events, food, and drink (unlimited wine at dinner, champagne reception). One quibble I had in regards to the food was that I felt that the breakfast could have been a lot more than muffins and juice for that price.

The children’s sleepover price is $145 per person. Of course, the children’s sleepovers don’t come with unlimited wine at dinner, a champagne reception and quite a bit of live music, I would assume. It will be interesting to see if the price stays at $375 per person for the adult sleepover in the future. The museum already indicated that they will try to host more of these adults-only type of events so time will tell.


I hope you enjoyed my museum sleepover recap!


Looking for these (and more) photos of the museum sleepover for adults to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Museum of Natural History - Sleepover for Grownups


P.S. - Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


View: My New York City photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

Bucket list.

Seriously, I think this would be like the ultimate date night.

Just when I decided I would be unlikely to travel ever again….. I’d love to do this.

Then again I elected to go in to a big tank of sharks and paid a fairly steep price for that too. Terror and tranquility in equal doses. But whale sharks. And they had no fear and neither did the saw nosed shark that I should would take my leg off… I had one or two nibbles/fin nudges.

But a night at a museum with non-avian dinos and other giant animals? Yeah.