Opening of Watershed Heroes

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Today witnessed the opening of Sequoia Park Zoo’s “Watershed Heroes” exhibit. The part of the exhibit featuring otters and salmon swimming about in respective tanks finally saw the light of day. I went early to see the exhibit as part of a zoo members’ preview. Scores of members came, many with kids, to see the three new otters, all brothers, swim and play in their new exhibit. It was too crowded to get much in the way of photography; but even if it hadn’t been crowded, these otters are going to be challenging to photograph. A section of exhibit allows one to see the rascally otters swim above and below the water. But the glass is rather thick, and it’s not clear you can get any sharp images shooting through it:

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Of course, the water is also reducing resolution. But even when the otters are above water, it’s challenging, although the success rate is better at shorter distances:

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Two other issues remain. First, the otters are full of energy and constantly on the move, swimming manically or playing aggressively. Following them requires a camera with advanced tracking auto-focus (which my camera lacks) and fast shutterspeeds. And then the light is none too good in terms of not being bright enough (or if the sun came out, coming from the wrong direction and being too harsh and contrasty), making fast shutter speeds impractical. The best bet may be to photograph the otters when they come up out of their pools and run about the rest of the exhibit (which, alas, they don’t do very often):

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The salmon, still tiny and minnowie at this point, are much easier to photograph, despite being full emerged in their tanks:

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