Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tai Shan

Took my shot at the the baby panda cub (Tai Shan) at the National Zoo in DC today. Talk about your tough shooting situations! Low light, strange colored light, tons of people, tight viewing location, a wall of glass between him and us, and an uncooperative subject :-)

Of our allotted 10 minutes viewing time, he spent the first two with his back towards us, his face plastered to the rock, drinking the water that ran over it:

After that, he turned around and meandered a bit, before stopping to chomp for another minute on a bit of what looked like burlap in his den area:

Then he struck a pose:

And then retreated to his private chamber, away from adoring fans.

We only had about 5 minutes of time with him. Not a total success, but not a total failure either. I felt bad for the group who came in after us, as the little beastie looked like he wasn't coming out any time soon.

I was shooting at ISO800, but I really should have been at 1600 or 3200. Noise you can fix; blur from slow shutter speed you cannot. My most disappointing shot from the day had to be this one:

I love the way the curve of his face matches the curve of the rock. I just wish it would have been in focus!! I fired off a number of shots (including this one) just holding the camera above my head, to get over the crowd. When we arrived there, I was up front (while he had his back to us), but I didn't want to monopolize my time there (I am 6'6", so when I block views...I *really* block views), so I rotated out and took a spot on the side of the viewing area.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the shots I got. I can see getting up *early* and trying to get last-minute tickets for another try at it...perhaps this weekend.