Lion around

The zoo is perhaps one of the best places to go when starting out in the world of photography. There are many varying degrees of subjects on display, some willing to participate and some not. I think this is why zoos in general provide a good level of variation and conditions when photographing subjects….and of course if you have children there is no better place to combine family and hobby time together.

First up the Lion. I found myself a good location and decided to setup the tripod. The conditions very good with the sun just above and slightly to the rear of me, wand very little cloud cover. The contrast between the lion and the surrounding landscape was very good. The lens used for these shots was an older Canon EF70-300mm. A tidy lens which performs well in the mid-range but does tend to introduce a little bit of chromatic aberration across the blue plane especially when shooting at maximum zoom.

With my tripod out, camera in Manual mode and the male lion subject lying on top of a grassy knoll about 20metres away, I hooked up my remote trigger and waited patiently.

After about 20 minutes the lion decided to pop its head up to survey the surrounding landscape providing me with a few opportunities to capture some little action.
f5.6 1/640 ISO250 275mm
After a few yawns and a tired sounding roar, he aptly rolled over and went back to sleep again.
f5.6 1/500 ISO250 300mm

Next I moved on to the ape enclosure. I had to survey the area first to locate where most of the apes where “Hanging” around. Unfortunately I was limited to the normal tourist viewing spots so had to make use of what space I could gain.

For this I changed my camera to Aperture Priority and went with Auto white balance. Lighting conditions tend to change rapidly around this enclosure due to dense over hanging trees and bush. Unlike the lion the monkeys can be a bit more active so I increased my ISO to 400 and changed my focus array to a single point AF so that more of the focus would be on the subject I’m tracking.
f5.6 1/250 ISO400 250mm

f5.6 1/250 ISO400 275mm

f4.5 1/200 ISO400 175mm
f4 1/160 ISO 250 120mm

Lastly was a quick walk around to see the Orang-utan. Unfortunately they were not very active today and I struggled to capture the little one as he stayed under a canvas sheet all the time. So after about 45minutes of waiting one of the Orang-utans decide to roll over in his tree house and provide me with a small window of opportunity to snap a few shots. I wonder what he was thinking.
f4.5 1/320 ISO250 170mm