My husband and I accepted early on in our marriage that we would probably be considered "old farts" by many people our age when we realized that neither of us had any particular affinity for "going out". It's just not our thing. Both of us would rather kick back on the couch on a Saturday night with a glass of wine or old-fashioned, watching a DVD and going to bed at 10 than dress up, pay more money for one beer than a whole six-pack should cost, and stay up till the wee hours getting grumpier all the time. If we're feeling really wild, sometimes we'll play a board game or have some friends over for dinner. But just because I prefer my fuzzy socks to hiking boots, doesn't mean I don't like a good adventure, and my husband's often up for the challenge.
So a few weeks ago on a Sunday morning, we woke up and decided on a whim to skip church (I know, we're heathens), drive to Columbia, South Carolina, and do whatever our happy little hearts desired. I want to interject here as well that days like this are what I consider to be the highlights of marriage. Seriously, they're just the best.
So about halfway to Columbia we figured we should probably decide where we were actually going to go. With about half of everything being closed since it was a Sunday, and taking personal preferences into consideration, we decided on the zoo. Neither of us had been to one in a few years but it had been one of the first dates we went on and thought it would be fun.
We weren't wrong! I'm such a sucker for learning and I love the educational aspect of the zoo. There were so many kids running around and it's neat to consider how much they're learning about our world while they're there. In my opinion, a good zoo extends the educational aspect of their exhibits beyond the animals to the environments that they're placed in. Obviously it's not optimal for a naturally wild animal the be contained though I do understand that it is sometimes necessary for rehabilitation, health, or because the animal is born into captivity, among other reasons. But it is so cool to see how well zoos use their resources to make the captive habitats mimic wild ones as much as possible. I love seeing the grasses and trees and shrubs and flowers that grow in foreign places.
And obviously I love photographing them as well. With film, flowers are one of my favorite things to shoot. Part of that is because they're just pretty (surprise, surprise). I also love photographing them because they don't move. I focus manually and being an armature, sometimes it takes me a while to get the focus right where I need it. Lastly, plants especially often create really beautiful patterns. Perhaps it's my right-brained mind but I love finding the patterns in every-day things and trying to present them from a different point of view.
I must share with you the only bummer from the entire trip: Of the two rolls of film that I shot (a total of about 72 photos), only one came out. I've been shooting film for about 6 years now and this is the first blank roll I've ever shot. I'm still not sure whether the breakdown was on my end or the camera's end. The camera is older than I am after all. But either way I missed out on some neat close-ups of a flamingo's face, some shots of children playing with a bubble machine at the zoo entrance, and a cute older couple who seemed to be on a date like we were.
That is the nature of photography though, especially film photography. And life is about experiences, not the capturing of them. My husband and I had a really great time and if you're ever on the hunt for a something fun to do, whether you have children or not, I highly recommend the Columbia Zoo.