Picture of the Week 18 – Climb!

Small Cheetahs – as all other small cats – love to climb. Once they grow up it is much harder to get onto trees with their “semi-retractable” claws. These claws are designed like spikes to aid fast acceleration.

Nevertheless, in the picture below an adult male Cheetah climbed a low branch for a better look around in the morning mist.

Enjoy the pictures 🙂

For more Cheetah images go to http://www.sperka.biz/cheetah

Last Orders!

Because of my move to South Africa I will take my last orders for my Signed Animal Art Prints next Monday (April 30, 2012). I will order the prints on Tuesday and they will be available for pickup at my place in South Nashville between Monday, May 21 and Thursday, May 24.

If you would like a print just select an image from my selection online (www.sperka.biz) and email the picture number and gallery name to me. I will then order the print for you.
You can find the available sizes and prices below.

If you have already placed an order in the last few weeks your prints will be ready at the same time. These prints are not available for shipping, so if you would like to get one, you have to pick them up in Nashville.

My Online Gallery/Store will remain unchanged and you can continue to order prints online. They will be shipped directly to you (Anywhere in the World). In case you are looking for a specific animal/species and you cannot find anything you like on my site please send me an email and I will make any pictures I might have available to you online. I will continue to upload new images from South Africa to my online gallery/store: http://www.sperka.biz

Also, a selection of my prints will continue to be available in the Nashville Zoo Gift Shop.

Thanks to all of you who have purchased my prints in the past or who will purchase them in the future online 🙂

ART PRINTS (lead time 5-10 days)
8″x10″ – Animal Art Print by Christian Sperka (metallic paper / mounted on 12″x16″ board / signed) – $39
11″x14″ – Animal Art Print by Christian Sperka (metallic paper / mounted on 16″x20″ board / signed) – $59
16″x20″ – Animal Art Print by Christian Sperka (metallic paper / mounted on 20″x24″ board / signed) – $89

16″x20″ – Animal Art Print by Christian Sperka (metallic paper / mounted on 20″x24″ board / signed) – $129

Timeout :-)

From now until end of May I will be preparing my move to South Africa. This will leave me less time than usual for shooting pictures and posting blog message.

Once I have arrived and settled in at Thanda (South Africa) I will be posting again regularly (probably end of June 2012).

Thanks for subscribing to and reading my blog!

PS: I will post as often as possible during the move and let you know how it is going 🙂

Picture of the Week 17 – Smack!

These two Cougars cubs were smacking their lips when I took the picture(s).

This picture is a merger of two almost identical images with one of the cubs smacking the lips in the one picture and the other in the another picture.

The picture series was taken at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

More about Cougars:

The Cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America.

Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines and is closer genetically to the domestic cat than to true lions. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, as when it competes for prey with other predators such as the jaguar, grey wolf, American Black Bear, and the grizzly bear. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people.

For more Cougar pictures go to http://www.sperka.biz/cougar


Commendation by the Mayor of Nashville

It is not often that I get caught completely by surprise.

But the proclamation signed by the Mayor of Nashville, which was presented to me at this week’s Nashville Photography Club meeting, was a great surprise.  I am very honored by this commendation from Karl F. Dean, the Mayor of Nashville.

This document will get a special place on the wall in my new home in South Africa.

Thanks to the Mayor, to all my friends at the Nashville Photography Club and to all my friends at the Nashville Zoo.

Picture: The proclamation  document was presented to me by Randy Harris (President, Nashville Photography Club / not in the picture) and Linda Hulsey (Member, Nashville Zoo Photography Club /left). Amiee Stubbs (Nashville Zoo Photographer /middle) and Dr.Heather Robertson (Senior Veterinarian at the Nashville Zoo /right) were also present at the presentation ceremony at the Nashville Photography Club meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

Pictures of the Week 15 – Browse and Graze

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

Black Rhino and White Rhino

This weeks’ pictures are in honor of two of my favorite mammal species which are under the threat of extinction by humans. If the poaching madness is not stopped these creatures, which were on this planet long before us, will disappear forever!

The main difference between Black Rhino and White Rhinos is the shape of their mouths. White Rhinos have broad flat lips for grazing and Black Rhinos have long pointed lips for browsing foliage. A popular theory claims that the name White Rhinoceros was actually a corruption of the word weid (“wide” in Afrikaans), referring to their square lips.

“Rhino Dawn”

More about Rhinos:

Rhinoceros, often abbreviated as rhino, is a family of five species of knee-less, odd-toed ungulates. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to southern Asia.

The Rhinoceros family is characterized by its large size, with all of the species able to reach one tonne or more in weight; a herbivorous diet; a thick protective skin; relatively small brains for mammals this size; and a large horn.

Rhinoceros are killed by humans for their horns, which are bought and sold on the black market, and which are used by some cultures for ornamental or (pseudo-scientific) medicinal purposes. The horns are made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails.

Click here if you would like to help the “Save our Rhino” effort on Thanda Private Game Reserve.

Click here is you would like to know more about the “Rhino Poaching Issue”.

Click here if you would like to see more of my Black Rhino pictures.

Click here if you would like to see more of my White Rhino pictures.

Call for Help!

Today, Thanda Private Game Reserve – my future workplace in South Africa – has lost a Black Rhino to poachers.

This is the second Rhino killed by poachers on Thanda (the first one was a White Rhino).

If you would like to help you can email melanie@thanda.co.za. Any donations, cash or items are very much appreciated. We need radios, camping gear, binoculars, cellphones, solar panels, …

If you live in the USA you can also send your donation to me and I will make sure that the money will go to Thanda’s “Save Our Rhinos” efforts. You can contact me at christian@sperka.com

Thanks for your support!

My last Animal Art Photography classes at the Nashville Zoo

There are still a few places available in my last APP1 class this Saturday (from 8:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.). Here is the link in case you would like to book: http://www.nashvillezoo.org/education/animal-art-photography-i-adult

There is one more advanced class scheduled before I leave:
Animal Art Photography II on 5/19/2012

Starting in June Amiee Stubbs, the Official Nashville Zoo Photographer, will start teaching the classes and private lessons at the Nashville Zoo.

Feathery Spectrum!

I have not posted a bird picture for quite a while. So here are a few images of one of my favorite birds in South Africa.

Lilac-breaster Rollers have many colors of the spectrum in their plumage.

These pictures were taken in Phinda Private Game Reserve, the Timbavati Private Game Reserve and in Kruger National Park.

More about Lilac-breasted Rollers:
The Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about at ground level. It is the national bird of Botswana.