Join the Q: At the Zoo

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Join the Q: At the Zoo

I upgraded my bridge camera recently, and was excited to try it out. I like taking wildlife photographs but, as I wasn't yet familiar with the new camera's features, I didn't want a subject that was too challenging to capture. In the hope of getting the best of both worlds, I went to the Zoo with my family.

My old bridge camera didn't enjoy the Zoo last year, as it got steamed up when I went in the tropical Butterfly House and was never quite the same again, so I made sure to protect my new camera carefully and then set off.

Even though the weather was cold and wet, plenty of people had ventured out, but the Zoo is very spacious these days1 so it didn't take long for the queue to move through the entrance. To my consternation, we were funnelled into the Butterfly House first, but I decided I couldn't take my camera out of its protective coverings, no matter how tempting the beautiful bright butterflies were, and the camera emerged unscathed into the main area several minutes later.

I had read the quick user manual for the camera before I went, so I knew there was a mode for taking pictures through glass, which would be a very useful feature in the Zoo. However, by Murphy's Law, of course I couldn't find the mode when I was in the Big Cat House looking at the cats through glass... I took a photo anyway, and was pleased with how it turned out - not too much reflection in the window, and a great view of the sleek Jaguar.

After lunch, it was feeding time for the birds in the Tropical House, so I went there next. Although quite a few of my photographs turned out fuzzy while I was working out how to handle the camera in the dim indoor light, there were plenty of opportunities to take pictures as the birds flocked round me to get to the food, so a few photos turned out OK and I enjoyed the session.

Being winter, the sun started setting not long after that, but I took advantage of a 'golden hour' to take photos in an outdoor aviary. The photographs of the Bali Starling turned out particularly well, even if I do say so myself.

Bali Starling by SashaQMindanao Bleeding Heart Dove by SashaQSunbittern by SashaQ
Tropical House Feeding Time by SashaQSpotted Jaguar by SashaQ

As the sunlight dimmed, the weather grew colder, so my family and I decided to head home. Not without a quick stroll through the Bat Cave, though, where the Fruit Bats were particularly active, swooping past my face. Luckily, I don't believe the myth that bats get stuck in people's hair, as their echolocation must surely be too sophisticated for that, so I enjoyed the sensation of the air moving round me as the bats' wings flapped.

We had enjoyed the day and seen a lot, but there were still areas we hadn't had time to explore so, over mugs of well-earned hot chocolate at home, we resolved to go to the Zoo again soon.

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1In comparison wth the 1980s.

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