Friday, March 9, 2012


On Tuesday, March 6, Geri and I went to the Phoenix Zoo.  I have had difficulty in the past in trying to photograph living animals, as I am slow in composing and focusing the shot and the animal seem to have a tendency of moving just before I release the shutter.  In addition, there is often opportunity for optical interference between me and the subject animal in the form of glass or wire or just plain distance.  To some extent that was true on this visit, although I will say that I think I am getting better.

The zoo did not appear to include any African elephants, though it did have at least one Indian elephant . . .

which had freckles!

The zoo also had a beautiful leopard.  Unfortunately, it was behind a wire enclosure.  Moreover, the animal was continually pacing, and I just could not seem to get all of it in any one shot.  Here is the best of those that I took.

Here are a few more large mammals that one would expect for a zoo of this size.

I found myself focusing on just parts of these animals, I guess in the belief that it would be more interesting to show just those aspects that distinguish that animal from others--including the rhino's ears.

The zoo also sported some gerenuks, which seemed to be a cross between an antelope and a giraffe.  Not sure I had ever seen one before.  (Sort of looked like one of those annoying creatures in one of the Star Wars movies.)

The zoo also offered camel rides.  We weren't interested, although this one seemed better behaved than most.

There was also the usual staple of reptiles.

I wish the tortoise had not been in the middle of lunch when we stopped by (bok choy, I believe).  Also, I would have liked to emphasize the ridges in the tortoise's shell, but that would have required that I be directly above it--not possible.

This lizard was being held by a zoo trainer, and I wanted to catch it with its tongue sticking out.

I did better with birds this time around.  Here is a flock of so-so looking flamingos.

Not great; however, they were in an enclosure with a large variety of other animals and there was a lot of inter-species activity.  When I took this shot, all of the flamingos seemed to be looking in the same direction, perhaps hoping for a little action.

I had good luck with some pelicans.  Unfortunately, most of these specimens had some sort of fleshy flanges on their beaks that looked like they had  been mutilated.  Here are a couple.  Pretty unattractive.

As a result, I wound up shooting only a portion of their heads.  But here I did have some success in getting some clear shots.

Also I caught a parrot and some sort of duck.

Not bad.

There was also a large flock of nearly-white flamingos that we could get quite close to.  The problem here was that they seemed to be taking their afternoon naps and most of the time just tucked their heads into the feathers in their backs.

Occasionally, though, they would pull their heads out, and I would take that opportunity to get a shot, as in the following.

But the real prima donnas were the baboons.  In addition to the photo at the beginning of this post, I got the following.

One wonders who does her hair.

I took these shots with my telephoto at a wide-open aperture of f/5.6 to minimize any background distractions.  This last shot was cropped a bit too much, but generally I am still quite happy with it.

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