Friday, March 15, 2013

No, really, Who are you going to call?...

I've never shared these and there's an awesome story behind this photograph.

On Sept. 4, 2006, I was visiting the Little Rock Zoo as I have many times in the past. I always look for the interesting and unique, but I was about to be presented with a rare opportunity. While photographing these chimpanzees, I heard a female scream from the other balcony area across the chimp yard (enclosure). At first, I was worried that someone's child had fallen into the enclosure. After the scream, several adult chimpanzees ran over under where the woman had been screaming. From the other overlook, I couldn't see anything, so I focused my telephoto on the chimpanzees. They seemed to be preoccupied with something. Soon, two of them began running toward the center of the enclosure -- toward my location. So, now I could clearly see that the woman had accidentally dropped her cell phone ... and the chimps had possession! I spent the next 15 minutes photographing the interplay of two chimpanzees trying to figure-out what kind of contraption this was.

What a great moment. The two chimps, who had apparently claimed the prize, were the ones who were challenging each other to get the device to work. At the moment I shot this photo, I immediately laughed and thought that one chimp would say to the other, "Now, who could you possibly call?"

The first test was the 'bite' test. The first chimp closed the flip phone and tried to bite it unsuccessfully a few times. Soon, the second chimp became immensely jealous and wanted the phone. So a tug-of-war insued on the ownership of this alien device. Care to guess the weakest point on the flip phone? Yes, they separated the two sections at the pivot point - so one had the lower keypad section, while the other had the top, display section.

I continued to photograph each of the chimpanzees trying to get the device(s) to work. Each chimp tried pushing the buttons, screens, antenna, as well as random bites. I have great stills of each of these scenarios, some I have included below. The expressions are priceless. This was likely the most entertaining venture I've ever photographed of chimpanzees. One of the zoo employees soon arrived to pull the cell phone(s) away and returned it to the owner.
I have so many great shots, it was hard to choose a few that were my favorites.
Above photo # _KS10222.

A few more from this sequence:

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