This Easter Sunday I went to a zoo with my X-Pro3 and the XF35/1.4R as my longest lens.
As a photographer you should always be well prepared but that doesn’t mean that you should always prepared for everything. When we went to see my mother in law I had a visit to a cathedral in mind. But the weather was beautiful and cathedrals and churches were busy so we decided to visit a nearby small bird and animal park.
So here I’m with my Asia setup: XF14/2.8R, XF23/2WR and XF35/1.4R. Not the most obvious lens choice for zoo photography. 😉 So I took my oldest lens and put it on my camera. On the bright side it is a bright lens which would help to blur away the cage wires.
Of course it only made sense to point my camera at subjects that were very close. Most of the time I didn’t take any pictures but just watched the animals. A new experience for me as I normally had my eye glued on the viewfinder.
This is a small park in the middle of Bavaria but they had a nice selection of birds. They even had eagles and Andean condors on display. But despite their size I didn’t bother to take a picture. As mentioned above I did not take a lot of images at all. I had a different job. Camera butler! My mother in law loves to take images but she didn’t like to deal with the technical things behind it.
Last Christmas I gave her a Nikon Z6 and set it up for point and shoot. No touchscreen, no histogram, no manual override of anything. The mode dial set to “green-auto” or whatever it is called and AF so that the camera decides what should be in focus. Images recorded in JPEG only with HDR to the low setting or auto. I can’t remember right now. The point is: The images she takes with it are excellent. Sharp, well exposed and most important the composition is very nice.
But what worked in normal conditions didn’t work here. The autofocus was the main problem. I couldn’t find where to change the AF setting to point AF (it’s the i-button stupid!) so I switched the lens to manual focus and removed the lens shade to get closer to the chicken wire. That way she could focus on the subject instead of the cage. The lens was an average 70-300 lens with f5.6 so it wasn’t possible to blur the cages completely.
But that wasn’t a problem at all. My mother in law really enjoyed the day, she was happy and like a child in play she was totally in the moment. That’s the joy of photography: It lets you forget your daily routine, stress and or bad news and for a couple of hours you can be truly free.
Below is the artist at work and finally last but definitely not least her work. The picture of the day!