Zoo and Aquarium shots?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by crownlaurel, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. crownlaurel

    crownlaurel TPF Noob!

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    I'm not asking to see any. I have a question about them. How to get around the cages and fences and 2 layered plexiglass and smudges on the glass?

    We took a day trip to Chattanooga today and decided to try out their zoo. Apparently the city has bought or aquired the Warner Park zoo and it reminds me of the old Atlanta Zoo back when Willie B had a gym room with tire swings and a tv set (for him) to watch. Many of the animals are in cages that are difficult if not impossible to focus past and the observation points have really smudgy glass and bad glares. I'm sure a filter could fix the glare problem and I didn't have a can of windex wipes to clean the glass, LOL. I was able to focus past the chain mail type cage of one bird but there were some monkeys I coudln't get close enough to the chain mail to really get a good focus.

    We also went to the Tenn Aquarium (yes, it costs us less to buy a tank of gas and drive 2 hours away with our family membership than for our family to drive 30 minutes to Atlanta and pay a one day entry)...boy was that place crowded. I was able to focus past some of the smudges and imperfections in the plexiglass there. I couldn't get a good sharp image of the seadragons and last time I wondered why that was...because they are in round tanks (and here I was thinking it had something to do with my poor photography skills :greenpbl: ). The penguins were great, but they have splashed so much water on the glass, it's hard to get a focus on the ones not in the water.

    I'll post some of my pics (most of them belong in bloopers and snapshots...especially my river otter streaks and my penguins (also mostly streaks) in the galleries in a bit. I shot over 600 today (boy am I glad I wasn't trying to improve my film skills, LOL).


    I do know to be able to get the images I'd like to be taking away (aside from better skills, LOL), I'd need a wider aperture (not really a possibility at this time with my d40), at least a monopod (not practical with a family trip in a crowded place), probably some filters...a lens hood woudl have served better than my hand in some flash shots (where flash was allowed) and with some glare. Also I know for several of the zoo shots, a higher zoom would be nice. I kind of wished I'd taken my kodak as it's great outdoors.

    I've finally reached my question...if you shoot in zoos and aquariums, do you have any tips? I know Sabbath uses even P&S cameras in zoos, so without special equipment how do you focus past glass or wires or other obstacles?
     
  2. lkavaney

    lkavaney TPF Noob!

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    rubber lens hood or lens directly on glass to rid of reflections etc

    long telephoto lens will make the foreground and thus bars/caging disappear.

    look forward to seeing your pics!
     
  3. lkavaney

    lkavaney TPF Noob!

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    oh and finger prints etc if the mess is on your side a bottle of window cleaner and a cloth though be prepared for funny looks :sexywink: but who cares if you come away with a killer shot?! better than a fab photo with a kiddies hand print in the middle.
     
  4. crownlaurel

    crownlaurel TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I did realize the need for a lens hood today...too much chance of getting half my hand in the shot w/o one.
     
  5. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking forward to these fun challenges this weekend. My girlfriend has been begging me to go to the zoo forever and I keep putting it off, but I finally told her this weekend would be fine.
     
  6. BioLogic

    BioLogic TPF Noob!

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    The value of the point and shoot at zoos is that the little lenses fit within the chain link fencing. We (I'm Mrs. Sabbath999) sometimes carry one just for those nasty fences with cool critters up close to them.

    As for the glare, I wear a hat. If there's a glare spot in the shot, sometimes I can use the hat in my free hand to block it.

    (Woo, it's fun to have something constructive to offer. I'm such a new photographer this is my first time to actually know something. :) )
     
  7. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Thats some great advice. I will make sure I remember to put my P&S in my bag before I go.
     
  8. crownlaurel

    crownlaurel TPF Noob!

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    Thanks bio. Nice to hear from Mrs Sabbath :D . I poked around your site this morning and see you enjoyed Zoo Atlanta. We haven't been there in a couple of years but I think our next family fun membership will be there.

    If you ever run out of zoos to visit, there's a wildlife preserve a little over an hour north of Atlanta called the Chestatee Nature Preserve ( http://www.chestateewildlifepreserve.org/ ). I haven't been there in several years, but I was there when they first opened and it's less than a mile from my dad's house. My dad had a herd of buffalo in his yard once when they got out and recently one of the lions got out and fell asleep under someone's car. I know this place started as a wildlife rescue and he has built it to over 100 animals.

    Thanks for the tips. I have a few more pics to post in the gallery some time this next week.
     

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