The next installment in “zoo week” on the blog comes from the San Diego Zoo in California.
I remember visiting here when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was absolutely in awe of the place at the time. My strongest memory is of the giant tortoises – tortoises bigger than me!
I wondered if this was one of those childhood memories where everything seems huge but when you visit again as an adult it turns out to be not so big after all?
Well it wasn’t one of those memories. The zoo is just as large and impressive now as I remember it and after many hours walking around I was both delighted and relieved that there was an aerial tram that takes you from one end of the park to the other offering a spectacular view above the treetops.
I rented a special lens for the occasion – a 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM. Nice lens! The focal length was a perfect compliment to my 24-105L giving me a great deal of range while only carrying two lenses. It was quite heavy though. And not as sharp as the 400mm L lens I rented in Florida last year. I’m glad I tried it because I have been considering buying one and after using it for a couple of days I think I might give the 70-300L a shot before I put my money on the table. That is IF I put my money on the table. I think I might just save my money and keep renting lenses when I need one. I figure that way I always get the perfect lens for the job and I always get the latest and greatest technology.
Now, on to the photographs! Please click any of the photographs to view a larger version.
First, a flamingo, always a great subject in my book.
My favourite subjects were the monkeys. I love their playful expressions and the challenge of capturing them during a fleeting moment when they stop moving about. This is a Tufted Capuchin.
The gorillas were so interesting to watch. They seemed just as interested in watching us as we were watching them.
The orangutans have such fascinating faces …
…especially the males!
As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I fell in love with elephants at Lion Country on the same trip I went on as a child. So I was especially looking forward to the elephants in San Diego.
But I have to say that I was disappointed. I did make this one decent image but the elephants here were so sad. It almost made me cry to see this elephant standing just rocking back and forth, every once in awhile he would kick at his ankle guard, and go back to rocking. They didn’t have a very big area. I’ve never seen such a sad elephant.
Ray had quite the encounter with this baby hippo! Just like the gorillas, the hippo seemed just as interested in watching Ray.
My favourite part of the zoo turned out to be the same as when I was a child – the giant tortoises! We were so lucky that just as we came upon the exhibit this one tortoise came right up to the edge and the keeper invited us in to pet him! She said it was an experience people pay hundreds of dollars to have (you can pay between $600-$1000 dollars for an exclusive VIP experience). We were just there at the right time with a tortoise that seemed to like us. They are very soft under the chin!
I couldn’t help but wonder if this tortoise remembered me too 🙂
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