Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 96: A Terrrrrrrrrrific Day!

click photo for larger version

Ever since my daughter was about 2, we have enjoyed many trips to the wonderful Oklahoma City Zoo. My favorite animal has always been the tiger and I always insist that we go to see that exhibit whenever we go to the zoo. Unfortunately our zoo has just one tiger and his favorite daytime activity is sleeping. So in all the times I've been there with my camera, I have only had one other opportunity to photograph this guy actually up and walking around. The other time, I didn't have my camera set up right and I got nothing usable. Yesterday, I went to the zoo on my lunch hour and this time I was ready.

One of the features of our zoo that makes it tough on us photographers is that the enclosures around all the cat exhibits have wire mesh between the public and the animals. Now there are some exceptions where they have glass viewing areas, but the glass is so thick that it too creates distortion in photographs. I most often opt to shoot thru the mesh and to do so you have to use a long lens and you also have to have the areas of the subject that you want to be sharpest peeking thru one of the holes in the mesh.

If you look at today's photo, you'll notice a lighter and less sharp part of the photo across the left shoulder of the tiger. This was caused by the mesh. In many of the photos I took, it was directly across the face. Here's an example. You'll also notice that the mesh gives it blue tint in the areas affected.

Anyway, it was a great day. The weather was perfect. The tiger was up and moving. And I was by myself so I could be patient and wait for the tiger to strike a good pose.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 180mm. 1/80 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.


Kristie said...

I think the mesh is not a problem at all, because when I opened your blog first thing this morning (as I do every morning .... love how you have your posts set up for 12:01 am!) my first thought was, "Holy cow, how did he get in the cage with the tiger!?!?!" Those could be promotional photos for the zoo ...... great job!

Hmmmm, what a coincidence. You're shooting a larger group of animals tonight. :)

T.R. said...

These are amazing. I'm not seeing any blue shadow. I think I like the second photo even more. They are stunning!!! I learn so much from you.

Anonymous said...

This is very nice....love the big cats......you guys got any Snow Leopards? (my fave) I miss living ONE MILE from the L.A. Zoo, and my 365-day pass!


Jim Smith said...

T.R. Wow...thanks so much. As an admirer of your work, I'm especially honored.

Darren...yes we have a snow leopard. Like the other cats he/she sleeps most of the time as well during the day. We have an annual pass for the family. It's a cheap date that is always worth the time.

Jim Smith said...

Kristie...the great thing about shooting the larger group tonight is that I can get in the cage with them. Should be a lot of fun.

Alisa said...

I have a date tomorrow with a handsome young man to go to the very same place.
I did not see the blue at all either. I will be thinking of your photos as I take mine!