(click to enlarge)
I never really liked going to the zoo when I was young. In fact, I can only recall going once on a school field trip. The Detroit Zoo is large and the animals were few and far between. When the boys were toddler, we did get an annual pass but then we moved down here to Florida. The pass worked for the Lowry Park Zoo and I liked going there much better. The zoo was smaller and more compact. I could whisk the boys through in less than an hour.
We stopped getting annual passes when the boys started school. It's too hot to go during the summer and too crowded on the weekends. Last summer, we got a family pass for the Aquarium. In September, the Aquarium, the Zoo and MOSI, have reciprocal agreements. We ended up getting memberships to the Zoo and MOSI.
The Zoo is near my chiropractor. So I would visit the Zoo before getting my adjustment. I found I liked going to the Zoo without my kids. I could go where I wanted and take as many photos as I wanted without worrying about Andy wandering off.
The Zoo isn't cheap. But I knew that Allen and Mike had passes. And Doyle had said he would go so I schedule a Friday photo walk.
The weather was beautiful but a bit on the warm side. Doyle prefers the overcast days but my camera loves the bright sun. I took my tripod with the intent of shooting the zebras for Bonnie's niece. I wanted to head to the African Safari area first but followed along as Jeff and Allen walked toward the Asian Gardens. My shyness gets in the way of me being an assertive leader. Besides, I know I can come back another time.
Jeff was a bit disappointed and disgusted with the lack of photo opportunities. The Zoo is not designed with the photographer in mind. The barriers are almost impossible to shoot around. I really hadn't thought about it as I am used to it. I like that the animals are so close and not so far away like at the Detroit Zoo.
Allen suggested we go into the Harrell Discovery Center. It is full of colorful frogs. I didn't use my flash so none of my pictures came out. Jeff and Theresa wandered and found the eagles. Jeff was very happy to get a great shot of one.
The Zoo was full of school children and the manatee area was one of the worse. The building is dark and with all those loud kids, unbearable. The manatee pools were cloudy and green and you couldn't really see them.
We left there and Jeff found some egret nests. The ground was stained with bird poop. You could see that there was a bird up there but not enough of the bird to take a shot. Then Allen found another nest with several young birds. The mother sat and guarded while we shot at them with our cameras. The light wasn't great, it was too bright. But I got some good shots. I would have never seen these nests without Jeff and Allen.
We hung around the carousel try to get some shots for hdr. Doyle was trying to get some blur and light trail shots. Jeff entertained us by running around to get some panning shots.
The penguins were disappointing. Only 2 came out and most of the vegetation was lost during the cold winter.
We finally made it to Safari African. We went inside the hall and Doyle and I tried some light trails with the colored lights in the ceiling. There was a restaurant and a food court. No one could decide which place to eat so I chose the restaurant. The air conditioning felt good.
There were more zebras mixed in with the giraffes. The elephants pooped near the water and then ambled away from the stench. I finally saw the baby zebra. Actually there were two! Unfortunately, the grevy zebras are housed with the rhinos so the fences are very thick an d obnoxious. But I managed to get a really good shot even without setting up my tripod. The IS in the camera works pretty well. This exhibit was the most active. The male zebra tried to mount one of the females. He wasn't successful. The rhinos snorted and snuffed at each other and looked to get ready to rumble.
We wandered about and were looking at the African spoonbills and hornbills and storks. There was a fine mesh separating the birds from us. I took some shots not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised with a couple of good shots.
Then we headed back. It was just after 2 pm when we left the park. And over 800 images.