This past weekend I once again accompanied my wife to Washington DC, she for business and me for pleasure. Rather than being housed near the overly-familiar Mall, we stayed at the very nice (and famous) Omni Shoreham just off Connecticut Ave and overlooking Rock Creek National Park, northwest of the central city and actually quite close to the National Zoo. So, I spent a lot of time at our nation’s zoo. Friday morning looked to be rainy, and stayed cloudy all day – this turned out to be an excellent bonus. Cool weather and overcast skies meant active animals with nice diffuse, shadowless lighting. FYI, I spent the whole day with my 400 mm lens on my Canon 7D, perfect for getting closeups – these are not cropped images. However, this lens will not allow me to get the whole animal and means you need to focus on the particular area of interest (generally the face and especially the eyes).
The National Zoo is known for its pandas, and there was a nice little audience watching them (mom, dad, and their daughter, all in separate areas), but I am always drawn to the “big cats” – see my previous blogs of visits to this and Brookfield Zoo near Chicago. These first of the tiger I especially like – his keeper was walking around outside the enclosure and this guy was keeping a sharp eye on him, possibly hoping for food. Those eyes just look right through you.
Can’t not have any lion shots! I was there early enough that all the big cats were just being released to their outside habitats. It was clear when this male lion got out. He strutted around, marked his territory, and then proceeded to bellow (it’s not really a roar) his presence to the rest of the zoo. Impressive!
I’ll finish with this, as one has to have a shot of the pandas if you’re ever at the National Zoo! This is Bao Bao, the daughter, not full grown as yet.