I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. There are blog posts for photographers, blog posts for potential clients, blog posts for clients, and then there are blog posts that are just for me. They’re for my memory to remember things that I love. This is one of those blog posts for me. I’m going to warn you in advance. This is horrendously long with 82 photos in it… I know I’m a little late with this one, but what can I say. I’m backed up on the blogging. Moving on.. My mom’s birthday is October 31st (I’ll spare her by not telling the year! hahah) aka Halloween. Since I moved away to Chicago, she and my dad usually go every year to the Spooktacular that the Jacksonville Zoo puts on every year. I believe my little brother and his girlfriend, Corrie, go every year with them too. Anyway, this year I was really happy to be able to be a part of it, now that I’m living back in Florida. We had a great time! What’s even better? I got to use my D700 for pictures and it is just amazing at high ISO’s. I can’t stop bragging about that camera. It’s just so amazing. Anyway, I’ll continue writing the blog as I show the pictures. They sort of tell a story :) Most of the photos are SOOC (straight out of camera) which I’m super proud of because the way they look is exactly how my eyes saw the zoo that night.
There was a ghost. That’s right, Internet. Every so often when I’d take a picture, a creepy blur that wasn’t supposed to be there would appear. It appeared throughout the night. It looked like a guy that kept trying to scare me with his teeth… Or eat me. I wasn’t quite sure which.
He creeped me out for awhile, but I moved past it, but was met with another fear of mine. The spider. Now, I have something I’ve appropriately named Spy-dar. It’s a radar for spiders. It’s build into me. I can usually always know when one is in the area. Ask my husband. It’s crazy but true. When my spy-dar goes off, I start looking for it and I always find a spider. Maybe that means I have a true phobia but, yes. I have a spy-dar. Naturally, these HUGE nasty spider toys grossed me out. So… enjoy being grossed out if you don’t like spiders. They’re obviously not real, but my fear of spiders is just THAT irrational. They were everywhere. Even on the elephant.
My little brother ended up getting caught in their webs. That’s right. He fell victim to them. I cried until he started saying, “Sorry I’m not home right now, I’m walking in a spider web so leave a message and I’ll call you back. A likely story, but leave a message and I’ll call you back.” That’s when I knew he was ok, well, because he was singing No Doubt. :)
It was really nice to be there with my family. The zoo was decorated beautifully. There were SUPER LONG rows of carved pumpkins that were so cute. There were lights everywhere and eyes watching us. I figured they were the ghost but wasn’t sure, until the ghost popped up again. Stupid ghost was more annoying than scary at this point.
We headed to the Giraffe Overlook. Before we got there, we were met with some crazy bright goblin looking things. They were kinda cute, so I took pictures of them :) The giraffes kept to themselves in the corner, but one brave soldier decided to make a circle around part of the enclosure, so I blasted my ISO up to 26,500 with my zoom lens (which unfortunately starts at F4) and was able to get these terribly grainy photos, but these are way better than no photos. :)
We made it past the giraffe overlook and followed a path that led us to a party. The lights were so pretty. Let’s just say, where there is music, there is a mother who, at the last hours of being 52, was shaking what her momma gave her….
***They started playing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and my mom busted her first move… It continued later on. :)
This is where the booty dancing began as my mom made her way towards the colored ball on the dance floor. Oh Internet. I only hope I’m that way when I’m approaching 53. I know the photos are blurry, but they’re still priceless to me :)
Especially this one. :)
After my mom’s booty shakin’ song was over we headed over to the jaguar enclosure. Again, the way the zoo decorated for the Spooktacular was just gorgeous. The jaguar was really cool. It was funny. Kevin started mimicking moves from the Thriller dance and the Jaguar decided to get up and get closer. He laid down and crossed his paws and Kevin said, “It’s like he’s saying, ‘Now dance!'” It really cracked me up.
We traveled through a few haunted houses, one of which had a window that led to the ant eaters. They were super cute. Then when we exited the haunted house (which was not scary) there was the enclosure for the capybaras and something that I had no idea what it was, but it had gorgeous eyes.
After that, we went to rest for my dad’s back. The area was so pretty. I just can’t get over what a great job the zoo did at decorating for the Spooktacular. I swear the best part is coming up next ;)
This isn’t the best part… At least for me :) My hair was NOT cooperating this particular night because, well, it’s Florida. AKA hot and humid. My hair made me look like a cave woman. Corrie grabbed my camera while I was making funny faces and caught me laughing. These were the lesser of the evil pictures…
Ok. This is the best part. As I said, my mom likes to booty dance. We happened to stumble across another dance party with a tiger mascot. Of course, being a wedding photographer, my wedding photographer nature kicked in, I busted out my flash, put it in slave mode, had Corrie hold it at different angles and photographed my mom dancing with the tiger… Here comes the best part…. My mom is a nurse practitioner. She’s super professional and has a straight face at work but certainly a goofy face and personality outside of work. OMG, Internet. One of her coworker doctor’s was there and came up to say hi. I BUSTED out laughing and was like, “I guess everyone is going to know about this on Monday morning!” OMG, I was laughing SOOOOOOOO hard!
I admit it. I don’t know what she was making the below face at, but I like to think it was because she was caught by her coworker dancing with the tiger. Awesome!
The rest of the night was a hoot. We went through Alice in Wonderland and got to see the gators. I’ve posted the rest of the photos below, well, because I could go on forever, but this is already a super long blog post. I hope you had a great laugh…. at my mom’s expense! lol! jk mom! I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!
And Internet, one more thing. The ghost? Turns out it was my little brother. I’m not sure why he feels the need to haunt my photos, but I decided to haunt him back. I’m now his monster under his bed that grabs his ankles at night. Let’s face it, a monster under the bed is terrifying enough, but ME being the monster, that’s just crazy… We had such a great time! We danced to Thriller, ate soft pretzels, sang the Monster Mash, and celebrated my mom’s 53rd birthday! Oh yeah, and on the way home, Kevin and I sang terribly to every song we could. It was epic. :)