Hannah and I went to Twycross Zoo this week. Apparently they have the largest collection of monkeys and apes in the western world! Unfortunately I didn’t pay enough notice to the plaques so I’m not sure what all of these animals are 😦
I’ve tried wildlife photography before at Bristol Zoo and at Longleat Safari Park but this time I was particularly pleased with the results. We went to the zoo on a weekday during the school term, so the zoo was very quiet and most of the other visitors were adults who were content to stand quietly and watch the animals behave naturally, rather than thumping on the glass. The animals seemed more co-operative and with fewer people jostling for position at each window, I was able to take my time watching each animal, to note its behaviour and take a picture of it interacting with its environment rather than a quick snapshot while it is just sitting still.
It was also the first time I have used my recently-acquired Sigma 100-300mm telephoto lens for wildlife. Its previous outing was landscape photography on a tripod at Dundry. The lens is significantly better quality than the Tamron 70-300mm lens that it replaced, but the comparison isn’t just about the optical quality of the glass. At 300mm, the Sigma has an extra stop of light so the camera is better able to make metering and autofocus decisions. The Sigma also has ultrasonic focus motors so once the camera has decided how to focus, the lens actuates very quickly, meaning you lose far fewer shots of moving objects. I did note, however, that the Sigma lens weighs a ton and is difficult to hand-hold. I was glad of my monopod!
I’ll be taking this lens and the lessons I learned at Twycross to Longleat for our honeymoon, where we have booked a private Land Rover and our own guide to show us around 😀