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Old Jan 17, 2012, 3:05 PM   #1
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Default At the Zoo

This past weekend found us in San Diego for a get-away weekend break. We went to the San Diego Zoo for the first time. My only recent experience with zoos has been the Wild Animal Park, which is mostly a large open area where the animals have room to roam and mingle in a more natural environment.

My back has been really bothering me the past week or two, so I limited myself to two lenses - the 12-24 in case I wanted to take an atmosphere type shot and the DA300, figuring I'd need the extra reach like I did when at the other park. Dan used the 55-300 on the K7.

My choice of lenses was a poor one for that particular zoo. You are close enough to the animals that 300 was too long - I would have been better off with the DA 200, I suspect. On the other hand, using the 300 meant that I didn't worry too much about shooting through bars if the animals were toward the back of their enclosures.

We only covered less than half the zoo in the 3 plus hours I managed to stay upright for. The zoo is quite large and has a large collection of interesting animals. Here are some of the pictures I managed:

Cuddly:



Asleep:



Sentry:



Large and Wrinkled:



Totally unconcerned:



Eating lunch:



The young panda will return to China in a couple of years, when he's older.

The day we were there was very grey. But there were a few things that were bright around (taken by Dan with the K7 and DA55-300):



We had a great time, I'd love to go back and see the rest of the zoo next time (or perhaps it'll turn out to be a 3-day place). Next time I'll leave the 300 at home and take the 200 (though I do like some of the portraits I got) along with perhaps the 50-135. Bottom line - I wish I had known better what to expect since the location was quite a bit different than I had expected it to be.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 4:10 PM   #2
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The 300 worked pretty well, you captured some very expressive images.

The last time I was at the San Diego Zoo was probably in the early 1960s. Only the elephant looks vaguely familiar!

Oh, and I hope your back mends quickly. Mine has been bothering me the past week or so, too.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 5:09 PM   #3
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Nice animal shots. The K5 gives you the ability to keep the shutter speed up and not have to worry about noise. These images are all tack sharp and the color is wonderful. Nice shooting!

In 3 weeks we will be going to Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) on a safari. What gear to take has been on my mind all year? It is the main reason for the K-5 and Sigma 150-500 purchases this year. We will have a weight limit on our internal flights. My plans are to take both the K-5 & K-7 bodies. The K-5 with the 150-500 and the K-7 with my Tamron 18-250. I understand that dust is a big issue (rocket blower and plenty of lens wipes packed) and this scenario will keep me from making frequent lens changes. The only other lens I will take is the Sigma 10-20 for landscape shots.

I will not be taking a tripod. We will be limited to a duffel bag that the tour operator sent us and we are limited to 30lbs in that bag. Our other bags will go by land rover to a destination 3 days away.

Any suggestions for other gear I should consider taking would be welcomed.

Lou
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 6:56 PM   #4
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Harriet - Some very sharp & detailed photos, with excellent captures of the varied "personalities." Elephant photo is especially lovely in tone and composition too!

Lou - Have never been on a safari, so can't offer much advice here. Just wondering, do you have a Raynox close-up lens? Might be a nice light addition to the 18-250, in case you want some true macros. Also I would feel lost with no tripod at all. Maybe a bean bag to help stabilize the 150-500?
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 7:28 PM   #5
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These are all wonderful photos. I also like the elephant, but I'm especially taken with your sentry. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know what it is -- a prairie dog, maybe? Looks too slim to be a prairie dog, but what do I know. The San Diego zoo looks like a great place to spend a weekend.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:21 PM   #6
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Some very nice images, Harriet. I can't believe you've never been to the San Diego Zoo before. I've probably been five times. Most recently in 2004. And, yes, it takes days to get through the whole thing and really enjoy it. I love your shot of the flamingo. Very creative. And, I wonder if the panda is one that was just born when we were there in 2004. They had just been released to be seen by the public that month if I remember correctly.

You've captured these residents well.

Patty
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:39 PM   #7
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The sentry is a meerkat, they are apparently a member of the mongoose family. They are always fun to watch.

Lou - I've never been on a safari either, I envy you being able to go. Sounds like you've chosen to go a way I'd probably go, though I don't have either lens.

We really enjoyed the zoo, though we only saw a very little bit of it. We'll go back again to try to visit other parts. They do a couple of animal shows and have an interesting way of helping their wild animals adjust to being around humans and commotion. They use a buddy system - they team a big cat (like a leopard) with a very large domestic dog (they had one that was similar to a Great Pyrenees but a little taller and not quite so long haired). The cat will take its cue from the dog, being calmer than it might otherwise be. While I could only manage a portrait of each alone, Dan took one of both dog and cat looking the same way. Unfortunately, they were close enough that he couldn't avoid the chain-link fence. It's still a cute picture, though not good enough to post here.

My back is arthritis and so doesn't go away - it just gets managed. I've not been managing it well recently and I'm paying the price right now.

And yes, Patty, that's the one that was born in 2004, I think. He's quite the cutie, isn't he?
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltech View Post
Nice animal shots. The K5 gives you the ability to keep the shutter speed up and not have to worry about noise. These images are all tack sharp and the color is wonderful. Nice shooting!

In 3 weeks we will be going to Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) on a safari. What gear to take has been on my mind all year? It is the main reason for the K-5 and Sigma 150-500 purchases this year. We will have a weight limit on our internal flights. My plans are to take both the K-5 & K-7 bodies. The K-5 with the 150-500 and the K-7 with my Tamron 18-250. I understand that dust is a big issue (rocket blower and plenty of lens wipes packed) and this scenario will keep me from making frequent lens changes. The only other lens I will take is the Sigma 10-20 for landscape shots.

I will not be taking a tripod. We will be limited to a duffel bag that the tour operator sent us and we are limited to 30lbs in that bag. Our other bags will go by land rover to a destination 3 days away.

Any suggestions for other gear I should consider taking would be welcomed.

Lou
Don't forget enough battery power to make it between charging stations/charging Ops (check with the tour operators and see what your power situation will be as far as having plugs available to charge batteries etc and when they will be available) and more SDHC cards than you think you could fill (if it was me using the K-5 for a weeks trip I'd take a minimum of 3x 16GB cards). Also a plastic trash bag of sorts to project the camera if it rains.

dave
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:56 PM   #9
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Great zoo pictures. I like the first one the best - so cute!!!!!!

dave
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Lovely shots ! I really like well taken zoo shots. The only one I dislike is #1 because of my particular pet peeve of seeing man-made objects in zoo shots. Maybe just an facial close-up instead ?

#3 is just wonderful !

Lou - Sounds like a nice set-up. Although I haven't been on a safari (wasted 5 years living in Africa !) I do know that most people say the animals are often so close to the vehicles that something like a 17-50 is the best lens.
That aside throw a low light demon into the bag, such as a 50/1.4 or kin, at evening meal-time at the ranches, or around campfires, it will be perfect without killing the atmosphere with flash and your other lenses are all slow.
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Last edited by Frogfish; Jan 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM.
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