Afternoon at the Zoo

Sequoia Park Zoo SP12-313

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, March 30, 2013), the Sequoia Park Zoo, California’s first zoo, hosted their annual “Egg-stravaganza,” during which several animals are given “egg-spanded” treats. My job was to attempt to photograph the critters feasting on their delectables. I started with the barnyard. This presented some formidable challenges. You have no choice but to photograph the animals from over a fence, which means you’re looking down on them. Worse, it’s crowded, and it’s difficult to get good vantage points, especially in response to changing circumstances. So there wasn’t a whole lot that I could get:

Next came the red pandas! These are among the easiest animals in the zoo to photograph. No fences or windows shoot through; the red pandas are oftentimes climbing above ground level, so they are level or a bit higher than you; and they tend to keep apart, so you don’t get clusters of animals getting in the way or exposing their less attractive parts of their anatomy. The red pandas were asleep when their turn to get treats came around. But they woke quickly enough when the zoo keeper entered their enclosure:

The pandas were given treats wrapped in a colorful, magenta bag. One of the pandas, Stella Luna, gave the bag a sniff; but both pandas were far more interested in chewing down bamboo leaves:

The red pandas share an enclosure with an Indian Muntjac, a deer-like creature who, with his facial features, provides color commentary for the panda’s mischief:

Next, one of the more difficult subjects to photograph, the cotton-top tamarins. The prove an especial challenge because the light is so bad in their enclosure: it’s dark with most of the available light coming in straight from the top, which causes the white fur on the top of the tamarin’s head to be too bright, especially when compared to their dark faces. The only thing to do is to crank up the iso and hope you can fix all the enormous problems with the image in Lightroom:

On the way to the cotton-top tamarin I ran across the porcupine: