My Day At The Circus

The Train Finally Arrives

Keeping train time isn't really the business of clowns. Although the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus walk had been slated to begin at 3:00 pm in Huntsville, the silver snake didn't actually arrive until nearly 5:00 pm. The crowd had gathered anyway, and no one was disappointed.

Onto The Siding

Even though the train finally arrived, there was still a lot of moving around on the tracks to do before the animals would finally be able to walk.

Posers Be Selfie Posers

Some folks go to see the show, and some folks are the show! This woman couldn't resist the moment to take a selfie with the clearly elated child in her arms.

One Hell'uva Toybox

When the clowns go on the road, they take their toy box with them!

Fun Ride For Circus Workers

You know it's part of their job to wave and be happy with the crowd, but they really seemed to be having a good time laughing and kidding with one another.

Did A Tiger Escape?

Just kidding. I have no idea what consternation caught their attention.

Elephants On The Loose

Finally about 7:00 pm the elephants did emerge to begin their short trek to their new temporary digs at the Von Braun Civic Center.

Headed Downtown

On past the Historic Huntsville Depot the elephant parade continued.

Were The Beatles Hers?

This little guy was heard muttering something about Abbey road, and I guess he was a little lonely since I'm not even sure there were any other animals in the parade besides the elephants. Other dangerous animals, like lions and tigers are always dropped off closer to the civic center and not allowed to roam around.

Headed For Star Butts

Some girls will get a tattoo anywhere. But, most don't get to go around showing the tattoo on their, uh, behind like this... elephant. The pachyderms headed into the setting sun is indeed a sad omen as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have declared that the elephants will leave the show in 2018.

So, I decided to go to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephant walk last week when they were in town. I had photos from ten years ago that had been lost in a computer crash of some kind, and I wanted to get some new shots while the elephants are still around! You probably already heard that the Circus has decided, because of public pressure being incited by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), to phase out the elephants in the show by 2018. For Huntsville, that might mean one more show in a couple of years, but even though they come around on a regular schedule, there is some variation and you never know.

The photography isn’t my best, but all things considered I was happy to get some decent shots. As noted in the captions, the train arrived late. While there was plenty of daylight when they first got here, the sun was already on the horizon and by the time the animals actually started to walk the shadows were gone and darkness was falling fast. I didn’t want to up the asa higher than 400, too much grain, so I went ahead and attempted to use the flash. A couple of long shots didn’t catch much light from the flash, and some of the others did. And, because of the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at the animal walk, I had to move from my first vantage point before I could take any shots as the animals emerged from the train cars. Getting out of that crowd might have resulted in being stampeded by one of the elephants! Instead, I went out front on the main route, and that turned out to be a good thing because I was able to get around to take the last shot “Star Butts” as the elephants headed into the sunset.

TECHNICAL NOTE: As you can see here I’ve finally installed a fancy slide show plugin for WordPress, but I have some ambivalence about it still. Assuming it works correctly, it seems to be a neat trick at face value, but it does have some drawbacks. It’s a conundrum on not-very smart phones for one thing, and it works best when configured from it’s own database as opposed to the WordPress library. That’s not good in the event I might want to change or upgrade to a different method, which would require rebuilding any and all slide shows already on the site. Oh well, it’s in a testing phase. Let me know how you like it.

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© 2015 – Jim Casey
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