Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Turtleback Zoo Trip

Having got my new Zuiko 70-300mm telephoto lens, I was itching to put it to some good use. I wanted subjects which would look good close up. Apart from flowers, animals and birds are the few subjects which actually look good close-up without too much post processing :-)

So our team of 3 (Suni, Adi and me) headed for this assignment. Suni was the designated helper (for changing lenses etc) and Adi was the designated tripod carrier! :-) [before somebody cries “child-labour”, I want to clarify that it was his idea and he volunteered for it, a job which he handed over to Suni even before we reached the zoo!]

So, the Turtleback Zoo – I did not know what to expect from a zoo which in the middle of the city. Honestly, I didn't have too many expectations from this zoo. But I was really surprised by their Aviary section which, as you will see, alone made it all worth it!

Although I had carried all my gear, I knew my main gear of use will be my beautiful (albeit slow in focusing) 70-300mm lens. This lens has surpassed all my expectation of it (as you will soon see), with a 35mm equivalent of 140-600mm, I never found it wanting. As a backup, I did carry the EC-20 2x teleconverter, which would have made it 1200mm effective zoom! (this however makes the lens slower as the aperture is reduced by 2 stops at the widest angle, but its handy in a bright conditions for shooting still subjects), but it was not needed. 70-300 did a superb job.

Our first stop was the Penguins, however they were asleep, so I shot the outside of their lair OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An Interesting Statue at the entrance!
An Alligator. It was probably taking a nap and Adi thought it was not real. He still thinks its rubber! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The parrot was a pretty site! And it was completely still as if it was meditating, which made my life easy!
Taken at full zoom max aperture (5.6) and 1/400
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The meditator.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA But this guy made my life a hell, he would not keep still for a second. I had to switch to 5FPS to get a decent shot. Would you believe that this is one of 18 shots I took, and it still not properly focused?
The shade didn't help me either, otherwise I could have used a faster shutter. On 300mm I used 1/320 , the fastest I could to avoid shake.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The peacock was beautiful, but it refused to open up that day :-(
And it was perched either on top of a cage or the building, but still I could get some decent pics.
This one I love, because it had just got on to top of that foyer and I got almost a perfect shot (given the the time I had before it flew away!). The glass behind was very dirty but the Noiseware was more than up to its task! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The cats were cool, as usual. The shade did help in the end as the lighting became almost perfect! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This one was staring at Adi! probably found him yummy! :-)

300mm with IS @ 1/100 sec! HANDHELD @ ISO-200.
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Now, the main show! The Aviary.
I took all most all of these at 300mm from about 1 to 2 meters max. Zuiko 70-300 has a beautiful macro capability which lets you go as close as 97mm with full 300mm zoom. I simply love this lens.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Yellow cutie!
All these pics were take at Center-weighted average metering.
This one is 1/320 @ f/5.6
When shooting birds you need very fast shutter speed, because they are very restless creatures. However, some of these were as if posing for the camera. Must be used to them! :-)
The bokeh in the background is nice as I ensured max aperture.
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The girl had an egg attached to her tummy!
Its obvious they were discussing the young one’s future, and as usual, they are not in agreement.
So, what’s the surprise?
This couple was in a shadow and I didn't have the time to change ISO or mode. shot @1/80 f/5.4 ISO 100. And if that was not bad enough, I had set the E-30 to underexpose but 1/3 stop for the previous shot. Only thing that saved my life was RAW!
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The bald eagle!
The mountain wolf.
Shot through a dirty glass at 1/1000 @ f/4.5 ISO-400.
AF on E-30 did a fantastic job as the wolf was running toward me.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA How can any visit to the zoo be complete without this one!! George the Monkey! :-)
And some special effects! :-) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoy and take care!