Group Shoot at the Zoo

A bunch of us from the photo group at work decided we needed to take an outing, so today we cruised to the St. Louis Zoo to play with the critters big and small. The weather was cruddy — low 40s and occassional mist, with really gray skies — but it wasn’t oppressively hot like every other time I’ve been to the zoo.

The six of us kinda split up and wandered around in a couple of groups. I started with the sun bear, worked my way around a big pond filled with all kinds of birds to the sea lions, the big cats and wrapped up with the rest of the bears. Frankly, of all of it, the big cats impressed me the most. There’s just something about those giant animals playing and acting just like common housecats that’s really appealing to me. In fact, there was this “kitten” — about the size of a medium-sized dog — that was “playing” with the humans. He’d sneak up, hiding behind the concrete, crouch, twitch and run toward the wall, “pouncing” toward the folks watching. It was a hoot to watch.

In all, I popped about 500-600 shots across our three hour stay… only to find out when I got home that I blew the focus on almost half of them. There were some shots that were brilliantly focused, and many that were obviously out of focus. I shot almost exclusively with my 100-400/3.5-5.6L lens, and expected much better out of it, even with the dreary lighting. I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying enough attention to the focus, if I was rushing things, or if I’ve got an equipment problem. Whichever the answer is, I need to get back down there for another shoot, and see if I can duplicate the problems I was having.

Despite the results, it was a lot of fun to go play with the critters, and talk shop for the morning. That was well worth the trip!