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Lean On Me
Photograph - Digital Photograph
My first visit to Khao Kheow Open Zoo was a few months after I moved to Thailand in 1990, and as much as I was already in love by that point with the country, the climate, the culture, and the people, the proverbial cream on the cake was this wonderful place that I was only later to discover happens to be the worlds largest open zoo, with an approximate land size of 2,000 acres or eight square kilometres.
I had just recently purchased my first real camera (a model of Yashika; film not digital) and, though I knew virtually nothing about photography or the camera itself it, other than how to point and press the shutter release, I was walking around with a huge, silly grin on my face taking snaps of what appeared to be a never-ending variety of exotic animals, all the while imagining I was a National Geographic photographer on assignment!
At the end of that most wonderful day, my imagination was still running wild, and the beginning of a new dream began to take shape: of one day finding a way to make Khao Kheow Open Zoo my home-away-from-home so I could help promote their name and raise public awareness to the great work that is being conducted in animal welfare, conservation projects, and specialised breeding programmes.
All manner of things passed in the years ahead that kept me from pursuing this dream, but the dream remained in tact, and though it took a good couple of decades I finally found my door of opportunity in November 2011. Having immediately taken a liking to my portfolio of wildlife images during a presentation, and evidently also appreciating my passion and enthusiasm for animals and KKOZ, the zoo's directors invited my wife and me to open our Nature Impressions photo gallery in a prime location just outside their enormous bird aviary.
Since then, we've been greatly fortunate in the many friendships we've established with the zoo's veterinarians, veterinarian assistants, and animal handlers, which has brought about the additional reward of gaining special access to KKOZ's new born and young animals enabling me to document their growth and development, and of course in turn I make my pictures available for the zoo's marketing, public relations, and education departments respectively.
Within my portfolio here on FAA you can see some of my favourite images and more will be added over time. This adorable couple I'm sharing with you today are two of three sister African lion cubs born at KKOZ on 24th February 2012, which I got to photograph at intervals from when they were six days old until they were moved to their new home, Songkhla Zoo, five months later in the southern part of Thailand.
For anyone that has ever noticed my avatar, that little princess is the same one you see here in this picture sitting on the left, a photo I captured during a session about two weeks later. Naturally, more images of these siblings will follow!
Many more of my pictures can be seen over on my website - www.ashley-vincent.com - and if you see one there that you would like to purchase as a print but you do not find it over here in my FAA portfolio, please send me a message or email to let me know the picture title and reference number (both of which you will find under all photos in the galleries on my website) and I will post it up here for you immediately.
PLEASE NOTE: The "Fine Art America" watermark only appears on photo you see here online, it will not appear on any printed version you may chose to order.
May 20th, 2013
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