At the San Diego Wild Animal Park…
Where the expanses really are open and just about everything I shot was with the equivalent of a 600mm telephoto lens.
Generally, there were not that many fences in the way, but you had to wait in a long line to get a ride around half of the park and occasionally there were fence obstructions that kept me working on my tiptoes just to position the lens over the edge of the rails.
While waiting in line for the “tram” to take me through the park the king of the jungle climbed up on an abandoned Range Rover that has had its roof reinforced since it’s a favorite resting spot for both the king and the queen.
The park tram seats 4 across and I was able to position myself into a seat on the side so that I had a good position for anything that would be on the right side of the tram. For the left, I had to rely on the telephoto.
While the focus is a bit off on the head, I like the the basic effect for this, so I’m including it. It was very hard to compose shots from the tram when it stopped for just a moment, frequently with some obstruction or another between me and the animals. The park offers a special three hour photo safari for an additional 150 bucks, but I was happy with my shots from just my 35 dollar ticket. The safari gets quite up close and personal and even lets you feed the giraffes, but quite frankly, driving up to a sleeping gazelle or rhino did not seem all that attractive. For me, the “prime shots” were of the really wild animals and there is no driving up to the lions and feeding them, unless of course you go back in time and visit Rome.
Just after the tram shot, the cheetas were fed and I took this one after disembarking from the tram and walking over to the other side of the exhibit. Note how well this animal blends into the background.
A shoebill, lives in African swamps. I sat and waited for several minutes before I was able to get a profile. Sometimes you have to stare at the back of a head for a long time, and even then you are never assured the bird will turn.