Portland Zoo - Stephen Jennings Photography

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Portland Zoo

July 8th, 2015




Originally I had a few of photo shoots scheduled for today. A newborn and a maternity, but life happens and they had to be rescheduled; still I went and scouted the ByBee House on Sauvie Island to see if it was in decent shape to photograph. Generally when I scout a location there's only a few things that are really, really important (to me anyways). 
1. Is there construction/obstacles or some kind of festival etc going on.
2. Is the background cluttered with junk that will add blotches to my bokeh (blury background)
3. Is it really busy and packed with people.
4. Color
By color I mean what is the vegetation like, is there a garden, what kind of trees grow there, how tall is the grass and so on. When I shoot a portrait I want the background to be blurred, with a shallow depth of field, but I don't want mixed colors, or colors that won't complement a person based on expected outfit or hair color. I thought the ByBee House during this drought is a little depressing, maybe a little haunted, I'm not sure. :D 





With unexpected free time we decided hey, it's only going to be a cool 94 degrees today, let's walk around the zoo! The best part about going to the zoo in the middle of the week when it's in the 90's? Hardly anyone there! You can have entire exhibits to yourself. Unfortunately many of the animals will be hiding somewhere off in the shade, but at least little kids aren't stepping on your toes. As a bonus when we arrived we saw that there was a concert at 5:30-7:30, apparently every other Wednesday. It was a local celtic/folk band (our kinda music!) with beer and food. If it wasn't in the 90's and if Harry didn't throw a tantrum it would have been a perfect evening.

I brought a 105mm lens, not really 'long' enough to get good portraits of animals, but it also doesn't weigh that much and is very sharp. 




The greatest benefit of the 105mm Macro is being able to take these really close photos right against the glass, something that usually can't be done with longer telephoto lenses. Most of the animals were hiding today though, but for the friendly ones that wanted their portrait taken nice and close it worked out perfectly.



Monkeys! I always feel really sad when I see the monkeys at the zoo. It's one thing to cage a lizard or a fish, what do they know, but a highly intelligent animal like a monkey or an elephant? It's a juxtaposition of ideas, wanting your child to see animals and learn about them, but not wanting to condone the caging of animals. Man, this parenting thing is harder than it looks.



Harry unimpressed with the progress at the Elephant Exhibit. Tired, hot, and generally in a bad mood we had to leave. Along the way we lost a member of our family, Mike the Monkey, Harry's favorite stuffed toy was violently ejected from the stroller, never to be seen again. RIP Mike the Monkey.


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