Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First visit of Brookfield zoo this season

Couple of weeks ago we had a chance to go to Brookfield zoo in Brookfield Illinois. It is our first time here this year. Since we felt we are going to go here more often, we bought the yearly pass. It's a very good deal as it comes with tickets for events and tram rides, also guest passes for family and friends.

The peacock that was walking around freely in the zoo.
The zoo as usual had plenty of visitors on the weekend. This weekend wasn't any different. We came in with a bunch of friends and we basically walked around taking shots. There were animals we wanted to see indoors and outdoors.

As usual, the big cats were being lazy.
I brought my two full frame camera bodies...the Canon 5D MK2 and my Canon 6D. I equipped the 5D with my Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens, and I put the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM into my 6D. All throughout the day I carried them in my Blackrapid dual straps.

Another lazy cat.
This was my first time carrying both teles at the same time. They really didn't bother me the whole day except when I took my jacket off but that was about it. The Blackrapid dual straps is a perfect companion on situations like this. I loved it.

The adult Giraffe that ate everything that dangled up in the tree.
I basically had to set up my camera in shutter priority mode. I put my ISO to auto so I didn't have to tinker with it the entire day going back and forth indoor and out. Lighting changed all the time from sunny to cloudy and back.

Inside the ape house.
It never really got dark until we came inside the ape house. In there my camera ISO jumped from 800 to as much as 3200 ISO. There were skylights above us but there was never really enough light all around. This is the reason why I love carrying my 70-200 f/2.8 lens because of its versatility and awesomeness in low light situations.

The trainer and the dolphin.
Now this is where the 70-200 f/2.8 lens shines...the dolphin show! Indoor where the dolphin show was, there was light coming from the gap between the roof and the stands. It had light but was kind of dim sometimes. I mostly used the 6D and the 70-200 in the show.

One of the tricks that the dolphins can do.
The 6D being superb in lowlight conditions really did well in the dolphin show. I set my focus mode to AI Servo and let my camera do the focusing while I composed my shots. I made sure I was in burst mode too so I don't miss any shots.

The photo can't even describe how high that thing was.
The 70-200 IS USM's superb focusing speed didn't let me down in this scenario. The dolphins would jump up and the USM motor locks up the focus in a fraction of a second. It even focuses faster than my eye. And what I'm using isn't even the MK2 version of this lens.

I had to set my shutter speed very high to capture these crisp shots.
The 6D paired with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM lens was the perfect combination. I can't imagine if I had the 5D MK3 body, how much faster it could be. But the 6d and 70-200 combination was perfect. I had the speed, sharpness, and color that I wanted for my dolphin shots.

I almost had left the sharpness of the dolphin shot as it was from the camera. 
We also went into a reptile house. There we saw a bunch of reptiles behind glass. Now shooting behind glass is a thing that I absolutely hate to do. But of course, my 70-200/6d combination was perfect for it too.

One of the reptiles inside the reptile house.

One of the female peacocks wandering around the park.

This guy was being camera shy.

This guy was showing off his swimming skills.
The seals were fun to photograph underwater too. Same thing, I used the 6d/70-200 combination for this shot. I had no problems with focusing.

One of the little guys in the ape house.
So we didn't really had enough time to go around the zoo to see everything. We got tired and decided to go home. I loaded my shots into my mac and picked out my best shots. I believe the next time we have to visit the wolves. Other than that, we did really enjoyed the zoo that day.

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