Assiniboine Park & Zoo Photowalk

On Sunday July 30th I was lucky to attend a photo-walk organized by Don’s Photo at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.  Don’s Photo did provide Canon Lenses to test borrow for the afternoon, all you had to do was sign it out with some type of photo ID. I took the opportunity to try out the 100mm – 400mm L Glass.  The intention was to test it out with my Canon EOS to Sony E-mount adapter, and well I wasn’t happy with the Auto-Focus shots so all the pic’s you can see here are manual focus as the auto-focus pics were all a little out of focus.  These images are the final edits, the originals had flatter colours but not in a bad way.  

I always find Canon colours a little flatter than the Sony colours, but I like the way it works in post processing.  Flat raw files are not bad if there is still good colour separation, which the Canon has, that way you can control the colour levels better in Lightroom afterward and you don’t have blown out colours.

It was a very sunny and hot day (yes, Winnipeg gets hot) so you would think that it was a great day to use pretty much any zoom lens with all that light, but the animals were sticking to the shadows to stay cool.  Having a lens that could stay around f 5.6 consistently was good, so I didn’t have to bump ISO levels much, but there were still times I had to bump it to 1200ISO to keep the shutter speed around 1/2000th of second.  The tigers were in direct light so I only had to have the ISO at 400 to keep it nice and fast.

For anyone who hasn’t shot in a zoo before I’d say the general advice would be this:

  • Keep the frame rate high to pause action, over 1/1000th of a second but around 1/2000th of a second if there’s water around.
  • Get your aperature as wide open as possible.  Chances are you’re taking photos of the animals, so don’t worry about a wide focus area.
  • Don’t be affraid to adjust your ISO levels.  Once you’ve got your aperature as wide as possible, adjust the ISO to keep the shutter speed high.
  • Auto-focus.  I shot manually on this one because of my lens testing, but if Auto worked well I would have relied on that. If you’ve got a continuous AF setting you should use it and keep the animal in frame as you shoot, you never know when they’re going to do something.

As mentioned the photo-walk was made possible by Don’s Photo and the Assiniboine Park and Zoo.

Snow Leopard in Zoo
Snow Leopard at the Assiniboine Park and Zoo