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Sunday, February 6, 2011

San Diego Zoo: The Animals

Right after we cleaned up for the shower I hosted yesterday I took off to spend a few days with my parents. Looking back maybe I should have given myself a buffer day to rest but I really wanted to spend as much time as I could with my parents. They travel all across the United States in an RV and have been in the Los Angeles area since October; once they leave here (mid March) it will be another year or two before they will be, for any great amount of time, in the area again so I was trying to get in as much time as I could. Already with the Galapagos vacation and this shower I hadn’t seen them in over three weeks. Yikes! So I was not willing to postpone the time with my parents.

Needless to say I was exhausted. I ignored the pain (or at least I tried too, sorry Mom if I complained too much), put how tired I was out of my mind and just pushed through. My parents and I decided to go to the San Diego Zoo and although I was super excited to go, I adore taking photos there, I should have probably left my big lens at home. My body was groaning with pain but I carried that lens through the entire park all day anyways... why you ask? Because I just cannot leave it behind, the photos I can get with the 500mm lens are just too dang incredible. Plus if I am going to get any better as a photographer I have to practice, practice, practice and well practice isn’t going to get accomplished by leaving the lens in the closet to collect dust. No pain, no gain they say!

And now days later the pain is forgotten but the photos remain. And well I am pretty proud of them. Not only because I love how these photos came out but because they are proof that I am becoming a better photographer. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

I have said this before and I will say it again and again although I do love zoos, I do support them and am a member and I do love the educational value they give by allowing us to interact so closely to animals, I do not like seeing animals caged up. Some species hit me harder than others for some reason. The injustice to one of the wild pigs or a meerkat is less for me than that of for instance the monkeys and gorillas. Those animals always seem too bored or lonely and have mannerisms and eyes too similar to humans for me not to be effected.

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MONKEY BEHIND BARS STARED OUT OF ITS CAGE LISTLESSLY
CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/125 – APERTURE 10 – ISO 3200


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/250 – APERTURE 13 – ISO 3200 – WITH A -1 1/3 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
A MONKEY WITH A FUNNY MOHAWK


Clyde is a pretty well known orang-utan. Weighing at over 280 pounds he is gigantic. He was out in the open right up near the glass today and was staring at the sky with such a wistful expression, I was able to capture this shot before he turned his back to the gawkers at the window and continued to eat.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/640 – APERTURE 13 – ISO 2500 – WITH A -1 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
THE ORANGUTAN CLYDE


I also have a hard time with the big cats. All that power and raw energy just seems to command more space for them.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 13 – ISO 800 – WITH A -2/3 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
THIS CHEETAH IS BEGGING TO BE LET OUT


We were lucky today to see so many of the animals out and about. I think because it was such a mild day temperature wise and that we had a little luck. I was able to make two more excellent photos of the big cats, a first for me.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/125 – APERTURE 10 – ISO 3200 – WITH A 0 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
THIS SNOW LEOPARD WAS JUST PACING IN HIS CAGE


Probably my favourite photo of the day was a picture taken of this North Chinese Leopard. While we were looking at him a trainer came by to say hello and give him a snack. That snack must have been pretty tasty because in a moment I was able to capture a few photos of him licking his chops before he sauntered to the back of his cage for a nap.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 10 – ISO 500 – WITH A -1 1/3 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
LUCKY I CAUGHT THIS NORTH CHINESE LEOPARD LICKING HIS CHOPS IN ACTION


Speaking of tongues, this ‘I forget what it is called’ horse\giraffe looking dude was reaching high up for those hard to reach leaves. Since he was just out of reach I was able to snap a few shots of him trying to get it with his tongue..

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 10 – ISO 500 – WITH A -1 1/3 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
I ADMIRE HIS TENACITY


Not every moment at the zoo is sad or I would never go, in the long run in my opinion the benefits of zoos far outweigh the bad. I particularly like how new opportunities at the zoo happen. Every single time I go the animals do what animals do and they are different. For instance I normally like to connect with an animal, have them looking into the lens or at least facing the camera. However at the zoo today I was toying with different angles and I had several shots of animals from the back, without any eye contact, that I just adore.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 10 – ISO 500 – WITH A -1 1/3 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
GIRAFFE HEAD


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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 13 – ISO 640 – WITH A -1 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
GREVY ZEBRAS STRIPES LOOKED INTERESTING FROM THIS ANGLE


I saved one of the best for last. When we entered the zoo my mother made the executive decision to head straight for the panda bear exhibit which is generally super busy. Because we were one of the first people there we got in without the normal huge line and then much to our surprise, for the first time, we saw the panda out and about. He was wide awake, he was eating, he was rolling around and we were ecstatically shooting away.

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CAMERA 7D – LENS 500mm f/4 IS USM – SHUTTER SPEED 1/800 – APERTURE 11 – ISO 640 – WITH A -1 EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
THE PANDA ALWAYS DRAGS IN A CROWD

2 comments:

lilmansworld said...

do you ever print your pictures? because I too love your two favourite pictures. the panda looks like he's saying peace with his bamboo

paul peggy zeus said...

That is the Opaka that looks like a giraffe and zebra combined. NICE JOB!

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