Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baltimore Aquarium

I am working on a new book and my favorite part of this process is the research. My current research is taking me to zoo's and aquariums. I was very lucky to find an enthusiastic aquarist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

I made a trip to the beautiful waterfront of Baltimore for a visit.  Though I can purchase photographs from many digital resources, it is much more fun to take my own. It is not always easy, but part of the adventure.

My enthusiastic aquarist went above and beyond. He let me come into the aquarium before the doors opened to the public. This was special because if you have ever been into one of the big aquariums, you now how crowded that get. And the creatures I was hoping to photograph are among the most popular - the Giant Pacific Octopus, the sea horses and the jellies.

Clearly the octopus was the pride and joy of this aquarist. I got an opportunity to photograph him both in the exhibit and behind the scenes - where I even got to shake the octopus's hand. When an octopus touches you with it's suction cups, it is sort of smelling you. It was really a wonderful creature. And they are very smart, so they have to be kept entertained with toys and challenges so they don't get into mischief. The aquarist gave the octopus a treat, which was in a jar with a screw top lid. The octopus easily unscrewed the  lid to retrieve his reward.

I was very intrigued by the behind the scenes spaces of the aquarium. We walked out over the shark tank on a cat walk. They would circle below us with the classic fin out of the water. We needed some JAWS music playing for the full effect.

So, my next trip is to the Bronx Zoo to find a few more interesting creatures.

Here is a photo of my new octopus friend: