Zoo + kids + 50mm

Staring at a chameleon
Staring at a chameleon
Sleepy Snake
Sleepy Snake
Sitting frog
Sitting frog

Had a free day with the kids today, so since it was sunny, we decided to go to the zoo.  It’s a place we don’t go to often, but we used when the kids were younger.

I can definitely recommend the Zoo Friends pass – you just have to go 4 times a year to make it pay itself off.   But the best thing about it is that once you have one, you can go to the zoo for free – so instead of going to the park, just go to the zoo!  Also, you don’t feel compelled to do the whole zoo at once.  You can take it in bite sized pieces, and come back to continue another day.

Today I decided to take the 50mm 1.8 lens only.  The last time I went, I took the 70-200mm but it’s pretty heavy, and without the wifey around to help, I needed to travel light.   It was a good challenge though, trying to take and compose good shots with the 50mm as lots of the animals are too far away.   But it was good for the close up exhibits that you can find in the Alinta Reptile Encounter and Wetlands (in the Perth Zoo).

Tips for getting shots like this:

  • Large Aperture – Open up the aperture to get the minimum depth of field.  This basically means that the subject will be in focus, but everything else in front and behind will be out of focus, making the subject stand out.  In the photos above, I used apertures down to f/1.8.
  • Not too slow Shutter – Make sure the shutter is not too slow, make it at least 1/focal length.  So, for the 50mm lens, at least 1/50 seconds.   The main point here is to ensure that you’re not getting any camera shake causing blurry photos.   Unfortunately, at the zoo in the indoor enclosures, there’s not that much lighting, so to get a faster shutter speed with a large aperture, you will need to increase the ISO (see next step).   I did end up with some blurry shots, but once I pumped up the ISO and checked the shutter speed, all was fine.
  • Higher ISO – Pump up the ISO.  This is easy if you have a digital SLR.  For the photos above, I pumped up to ISO800.
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