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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,560

    Thumbs up What a great day for some photos

    Just after lunch, I decided to blast off for "Brookfield Zoo", the Chicago suburban premiere and world-class zoo. Okay, okay ... I know we all go to these places for photographic ideas. Well, it was 90-degrees, today, and the animals ... uh, knew it. Having been much cooler in the prior few weeks, today was "back to normal" for this time of year ... but a far cry from earlier temperatures. People we commenting that the tiger (Raja) was so animated it was far from the usual sleeping kitty.

    Well ... I had to admit, it was a challenge tracking him as he paraded all over his little domain, here, there .. and over there, too. Worse yet ... he looked hungry and was chewing on something on the ground. Then he looked over at me ... and this look said it all!

    Name:  Lets-do-lunch.jpg
Views: 238
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840 @ 230mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    I will add more good stuff, as I process it ... LOL ... it was a good day ... too bad I got a late start.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:33 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Red face I gotta tell ya ...

    After reviewing these shots, this "cat" was not pleased.

    I got him actually backing himself into his pool ... like a human in a sitz bath ... to try and cool down. Now, having a dog, as I do ... when he gets out of the pool or the shower ... it is shake-city ... with water spray flying in every direction. When Mr. Kitty, here, got out ... there was no shake ... just dripping and what looked to be a very uncomfortable beast.

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool1.jpg
Views: 234
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool2.jpg
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M- AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool3.jpg
Views: 227
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool4.jpg
Views: 232
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool5.jpg
Views: 266
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  Gettin-in-the-pool6.jpg
Views: 222
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Name:  horked-off-kitty.jpg
Views: 222
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 160mm - f/4.5 - 1/350 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    He then made it clear ... it was .. like time to skidaddle.

    Name:  Time-to-uh-go.jpg
Views: 211
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    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 160mm - f/9.5 - 1/250 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus

    Don't kid youself ... he may look small in these shots ... but, this animal is nearly ten feet long ... add another three with that tail of his.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:35 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Cool The King ...

    I then made my way to the next hiding place of a big cat ... the Lion.

    Name:  Mr-Lion.jpg
Views: 227
Size:  453.2 KB
    SONY α700 w/ Tokina 80-400 @ 400mm - f/9.5 - 1/250 sec - ISO-400 - Manual - AF-S - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light

    Unlike the Tiger ... he found himself some decent shade, a bit of a summer breeze and basically watched the rest of us sunshine-lunatics get baked.

    This was where DRO did make a difference, since our friend, here, had his big ol' paws hanging in the sunshine.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:37 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Unhappy Polar warmth?

    The polar bear wasn't spared, either, as he raced back and forth, looking to get inside through his trap door, which was closed. He had a huge pool of cool water, which he definitely made use of and often.

    Name:  Just-keep-it-coming-bartender.jpg
Views: 258
Size:  49.8 KB
    α700 w/ TAMRON 180mm f/3.5 MACRO @ f/3.5 - 1/250 sec. - ISO-400 - M - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light

    But, you could easily see that he was in some anguish, not being able to retreat to the indoor frosty AC and probably also from hearing that it was not much better up north, where the ice shelf was evaporating.

    Name:  I-hear-its-not-much-better-up-north.jpg
Views: 219
Size:  287.8 KB
    α700 w/ AT-X 840 @ 400mm - f/5.6 - 1/350 sec. - ISO-400 - M - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:38 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Unhappy The grizzled old bear ...

    Yeah, the heat really beat on the Grizzly, today. He just flat gave up!

    Name:  Im-sleepin-this-one-off.jpg
Views: 202
Size:  90.5 KB
    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 150mm - f/11 - 1/200 sec - ISO-400 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:39 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    Great shots I have been wanting to go to the Bronx Zoo before the weather got so hot. Too late for that now. LOL I will have to wait till the fall. I am going to take the grandchildren to the Cape May Zoo which is about a half hour away.
    Frrank
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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22083244@N06/

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    So, on a lack of color day ... what has less color than the rhinosaurus?

    Name:  Rhino-charge.jpg
Views: 235
Size:  382.8 KB
    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 120mm - f/4.5 - 1/200 sec - ISO-200 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light

    The white rhinosaurus, of course.

    Name:  white-rhino.jpg
Views: 234
Size:  68.2 KB
    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840mm @ 150mm - f/4.5 - 1/200 sec - ISO-200 - M - AF-C - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light

    These guys always trip me out ... because they look so familiar ... almost like an oversized pig, in a way ...
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:39 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    The thing about zoo shots ... you get what you get. You have very limited artistry in your lighting and basically, it is just playing with the camera to try and get a decent focus and exposure of the best framed subject you can. Post processing can clean a lot of it up ... but still, they are relatively wild animals and like infants ... forget about any cooperation.

    Heck, you're just lucky if they do not attack!

    Which brings up this ... I ask you, what is a trip to the zoo without the regal elephant?

    Name:  elephant-wlk.jpg
Views: 209
Size:  469.4 KB
    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840 @ 100mm - f/4.5 - 1/100 sec. - ISO-200 - M - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light

    And when you take his picture ... remember, like in all solid portraits ... it is in the eyes!


    Name:  Elephant-eyes.jpg
Views: 219
Size:  450.1 KB
    α700 w/ Tokina AT-X 840 @ 400mm - f/5.6 - 1/500 sec. - ISO-200 - M - Spot Metering - Spot Focus - Natural Light
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:40 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    WOW! :drool:

    Those are all so beautiful!

    Any exif info on these? Mostly large apertures I see and which lens were you using? Was it your DI II 18-250 is it Tamron lens?

    I'm wanting to go to the zoo now and see what my 70-300mm can do!
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Visit Summary

    A lot of these were taken with the Tokina AT-X 840 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 Model I ... as it has the greatest variable range for framing. I tried the TAMRON SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD MACRO and the SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO, but because YOU become the zoom mechanism for the prime lenses, it does not work very well, when you cannot move around very much. You need lots o' primes. The one that is obviously missing is the SONY CZ 135 f/1.8. This one splits the gap between my 90mm and my 180mm. Anyway, once in a while you can make it work ... like with the first polar bear shot ... where I feel that f/3.5 bokeh really made the image "personal" and focused.

    Argumentatively speaking, yes, I do have the TAMRON MF 135mm f/2.5 & a TAMRON MF 200m f/3.5 ... but, only so much room in the sling bag for glass. Instead of taking it, I compromized for expediency (to my shame ) with the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6. In the end, I feel the choice of the long zoom still got a lot out of this trip than I probably would have gotten from the 135mm prime.

    I found the 17-50 completely ineffective ... as being far too short. If I wanted the entire habitat, fine ... but I wanted the animal ... and his expression. I wanted to get close, from across those pits. So, although you should probably have the short zoom lens with you, just in case you go indoors, I probably could have done the entire shoot with just the Tokinia 80-400 or the TAMRON 70-300mm. The sun was bright ... which plays right into the α700's DRO scenario.

    Of course, all the moms were there, with their kids and the point & shoots ... and that obligatory and anticipated look of frustration and disappointment, when I showed them what I was getting compared to ... what they were able to acheive.

    @ dr4gon: I have gone back through the lot and supplied EXIF data.

    You mentioned the TAMRON AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) ... and that is a great tote lens, capable of getting good shots. Unfortunately, I wanted a more artsy aspect to these ... with the wide-open bokeh, which you simply cannot acheive with that particular lens. That's why the other lenses cost more. The wider that aperture, the deeper the gouge. They do deliver "the punch." So, I packed four lenses with me, instead of just one.

    This really was not a "grab & go" situation. I knew what I wanted to get, was all by myself, and had some time (about three hours). Every shot was "handheld", this time, as I had taken a tripod with me before and like any public situation, people bump and stumble. Not with my lenses, thank you. As big as I am, I was jostled, as these kids rushed past to see "Simba" or "Raja". Some woman actually backed right into me.

    I have to confess, there is no way in God's green earth you are going to do Brookfield Zoo in three hours. I had really just wanted to get the larger Mammals ... outdoors. The day was admittedly a trifle warm (90-degrees), but I think I translated their mutual discomfort as well as I could.

    I guess to be fair, these anmimals are "paid professionals." They get room and board ... a sound medical plan ... and are relatively safe from being consumed by something ... else? So, when the sunny days come ... out they go! "Earn your keep", so to speak. Tough existance ... prisoners, I guess, with a longer life than usual.

    Comments are appreciated and hopefully, you can get some decent stuff reflecting on the settings I used for my work. I certainly hope they help.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-02-2008 at 08:45 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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