On the heels of the success of the movie March of the Penguins in 2005, a very unusual penguin colony has been discovered, to the astonishment of scientists who study penguins. Despite the fact that until now all penguins were believed to live in the southern hemisphere (except for the Galapagos penguins, which cross the equator by just a few miles), a colony has been discovered in northern Arizona, in a desert locale of all places.
Scientists are astounded by this discovery because all previously known penguins are aquatic, depending on the ocean for food. What do penguins eat in the absence of dependable water? How do they regulate their body temperature? At least one theory is being developed for this latter question. Our photographer happened to catch this penguin colony in the process of an amazing transformation.
Here we see a now-familiar sight: penguins huddled together for warmth in the cold winter air, balancing their precious eggs on their toes.
But then, in just a few minutes, the penguins broke out of their formation, donned knitted garments, and began frolicking in the snow! The eggs were stacked together in a nest warmed by a knitted blanket. Penguins danced around the communal egg nest--was this some sort of fertility/survival ritual? Clearly this colony will be the subject of further study, as many questions remain. Who knitted the garments? Were the penguins themselves partaking in the resurgence of knitting among humans? What is the explanation for their strange coloring--a camouflage device for the pine forests endemic to this region?
OK, enough silliness. Actually, it wasn't cold out when we took these pictures. It was about 50F. And there's an apalling lack of snow, so we substituted white flannel bedsheets. The photo shoot was a little stressful, because apparently aspirations of artistic vision and a 4-year-old assistant don't go very well together. But Max and I aired our artistic differences and finally came to an understanding, and he ended up taking some nice photos. He's a tripod junkie: anytime the tripod comes out, he can't keep his little paws off it, even if mom is trying to take a non-wiggly photo at that exact second.
For Alexandra, an ensemble with a mini feather and fan pattern on the hat, and a micro version on the penguin's hat.
For Miku, the same red but with a 2x2 rib instead.
For Dmitri, complementary color scheme to Max's, with rolled brim.
And for Max, the archetypal birdie-monkey hat, blue with green contrast, rolled brim. This is Max's craft tithe, he wants one (or more) of everything I make. Usually it ends up being much more than 10%.
One of these white-hatted penguins is for my artist-group friend JoAnne who, as an adult, doesn't get a matching birdie-monkey hat. The other one is currently unspoken for. Fluffy white, with pompon. The wider scarf is a micro-feather-and-fan (six stitch repeat), the narrower scarf is half of a micro f&f.
One last picture: the invaluable photo crew, with cast of characters.