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Old Jan 4, 2007, 1:07 PM   #1
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Had the opportunity to take a day off and decided to visit the small Moonridge Alpine (~7,000' elevation) Zoo in the local ski resort area of Big Bear Lake (SoCal).
http://www.moonridgezoo.org/

They're established for adopting unique wildlife that has been injured and aren't able to survive on their own. Their current location's 50-year lease expires in 2009 and they're looking to move onto Federal property...

It was a good learning experience in using all of the different aspects of camera adjustments given the lighting, shadows and obstacles. The good aspect is one is able to get very close to the enclosures and, in some cases, be within 10' of the subjects...)

I highly recommend new and old trying a zoo/wildlife exhibit visit and spend some hours honing up on imaging techniques as a worthwhile adventure. You'll quickly learn some new techniques as well as will probably come back with some great images for some nice large portrait prints...

Manual focusing techniques are a must along with varying the aperture, shutter speed, use of EV adjustments/fill flash, differing composition angles and post processing techniques... Unfortunately, the zoo's current enclosures are not fully photog friendly (mostly chainlink fencing) but I spoke with the staff and made suggestions for their new facility to offer better camera access into their exhibits (including from at least 4 differing vantage points for the changing time-of-day lighting angles...)

These are my FZ30 hand held attempts using 5-MP EZ mode and manual focusing. I have about 330+ images to go through and PP. Most of them are with my D50/Bigma, though, as I'm still learning the combo and, of course, found its low light capabilities a definite advange for these problematic circumstances.

All in all, though, the FZ30 was still able to get a few nice images when I dialed in some of the right settings. Use of spot AF and Exposure areas helped a lot with the varying light conditions. (Although, I had more problems with blown highlights than with my D50...) The below images were PP for levels, shadows/highlights/high pass filter -- no noise reduction used. EXIF info follows image

"Caged..."

[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/200"
F Number = F5
Exposure Program = Aperture priority
ISO Speed Ratings = 100
Exposure Bias Value = ±0EV
Max Aperture Value = F2.83
Metering Mode = Spot
Flash = Flash did not fire, auto mode
Focal Length = 88.8mm
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Focal Length In 35mm Film = 535mm
Scene Capture Type = Normal
Gain Control = None
Contrast = Normal
Saturation = Normal
Sharpness = Normal

A bit over processed...?
[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/50"
F Number = F3.7
Exposure Program = Normal program
ISO Speed Ratings = 80
Compressed Bits Per Pixel = 4
Exposure Bias Value = ±0EV
Metering Mode = CenterWeightedAverage
Flash = Flash did not fire, auto mode
Focal Length = 88.8mm
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Focal Length In 35mm Film = 535mm
Scene Capture Type = Normal
Gain Control = None
Contrast = Normal
Saturation = Normal
Sharpness = Normal


[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/100"
F Number = F4.5
Exposure Program = Normal program
ISO Speed Ratings = 80
Exposure Bias Value = ±0EV
Metering Mode = CenterWeightedAverage
Flash = Flash did not fire, auto mode
Focal Length = 88.8mm
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Digital Zoom Ratio =
Focal Length In 35mm Film = 420mm
Scene Capture Type = Normal
Gain Control = None
Contrast = Normal
Saturation = Normal
Sharpness = Normal


Make = Panasonic
Model = DMC-FZ30
Software = Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Windows
[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/800"
F Number = F3.7
Exposure Program = Shutter priority
ISO Speed Ratings = 100
Exposure Bias Value = ±0EV
Metering Mode = Spot
Flash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length = 88.8mm
Exif Image Width = 2560
Exif Image Height = 1920
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Digital Zoom Ratio =
Focal Length In 35mm Film = 535mm
Scene Capture Type = Normal
Gain Control = None
Contrast = Normal
Saturation = Normal
Sharpness = Normal

And a D50/Bigma image...

Make = NIKON CORPORATION
Model = NIKON D50
Software = Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Windows
[Camera]
Exposure Time = 1/500"
F Number = F6.3
Exposure Program = Aperture priority
Exposure Bias Value = -2.33EV
Max Aperture Value = F6.28
Metering Mode = CenterWeightedAverage
Flash = Flash fired, auto mode, return light detected
Focal Length = 500mm
Custom Rendered = Normal process
Exposure Mode = Auto exposure
White Balance = Auto white balance
Digital Zoom Ratio = 1x
Focal Length In 35mm Film = 750mm
Scene Capture Type = Normal
Gain Control = None
Contrast = Soft
Saturation = Normal
Sharpness = Normal

Now, the fun parts starts... learning how to post process chain link fencing/shadows out of the images...

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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:18 PM   #2
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All together great shot's, nr 3 being my favorite, great work - Ronny
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 2:37 PM   #3
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Very nice, sure is an impressive bird.
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 8:18 PM   #4
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Wow, so magnificant to see such close-ups of a gorgeous bird!!! thanks
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 10:33 PM   #5
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Some terrific work there. I think you are right, having an opportunity to vary the setting and try stuff is great for learning your camera.

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Old Jan 5, 2007, 9:17 AM   #6
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Great series Telecorder! Numbers 4 & 5 are my favorites. We don't see enough of your post though.

Don
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 6:53 PM   #7
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All are exceptional shots Telecorder, I love the shadows of number 5 especially the clarity and shadows in the bird's eye!

Emmanuel
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