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April 28, 2003

Zoo Pix

Posted by Mike on April 28, 2003 11:37 AM

I went ahead and scanned a few zoo pictures in on my own. It's interesting shooting with an SLR. I forgot how much I'd come to rely on the viewer on the back of my digital camera, which introduced a few cognitive glitches. With a little thumbnail of the photo displayed on a screen on the camera, framed by the rest of my field of view, it was easy to think in terms of composition because the image was somewhat abstracted. With an SLR, the picture frame became my entire field of view, an image that occupies a different mental space from the one in which I'd become accustomed to composing photographs. Something to think about more next time I'm out.


Equipment fetish note: Everything was shot with a 35-200mm zoom, which is longer by almost 3x the optical zoom, and longer by almost half again the digital zoom on the Canon S-10 digital camera. The digital zoom on the Canon also has the unhappy habit of rendering just about everything like a frame from the Zapruder film, and its autofocus struggles with glass. Later models (Michael B. has a Canon G2) do better with this, but I haven't seen the digital zoom in action.

In the end, the 200mm zoom still fell a little shy for zoo shooting, as most of the guides I dug up on the subject seemed to predict: a 300mm zoom would have spanned the moats and lengthy stretches of open ground in the enclosures and allowed for tighter framing of the subjects. Something to think about before this summer's Yellowstone excursion, though in a related getting-old-note, I just realized that "the last time I was in Yellowstone" = almost sixteen years ago, which makes me wonder what sort of animals there will be to see this summer.