Adventures of a father and a photographer. Tales about the mystery and excitement of family travel.

torstai 21. syyskuuta 2017

The Great White Photographer

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a very interesting city. For example, it's one of the safest capitals in the world. You can walk on the streets at night with your valuables and feel completely safe. The city has many interesting sights like the medieval old town. However, my favorite place there is the Tallinn Zoo.

The zoo is quite small, but it has some very exotic animals like polar bears and an Amur tiger. Unfortunately, some of the buildings are from the Soviet era and are not that well taken care of. The zoo is not actually bathing in money, but they are doing their best in renovating the place and building new facilities for the animals.

One of the most interesting interesting animals at the zoo are the African elephants and the black rhinos. They have a big yard for them, but it's pretty cold in Tallinn compared to Serengeti. Don't get me wrong, it's not the North Pole, but it does snow in Tallinn in the wintertime. I think the polar bears feel more home there than the African animals.

So, the big animals need a big house for the winter. And there is a big concrete building for them in one of the corners of the park. It's not a palace, but it works. And of course there need to be big barriers between the animals and the public.

The elephants have their own shelter on the other side of the building with huge bars, logs and a pond of water between them and the people watching them. The rhinos are on the other side and one of the walls of their shelter is made of thick glass. The audience gets to see the animals really well and even get pretty close to them.

On one of our visits to the zoo I got to try out my brand new Canon 100mm f2.0 lens. Of course we went to see the elephants and the rhinos. The elephants were outdoors and I got some pretty interesting photos of them. I was very pleased with myself.

Then we got indoors to see the rhinos. I don't know why they were in, but I thought that would be a wonderful opportunity to get some intimate pictures of the huge rhino bull. Well, I don't know about you, but being from Finland, I haven't encountered rhinos very often. Although the thick glass wall was between us, the rhino was a very, very impressive animal.

The rhino was stomping around in his shelter. I raised my camera and had a look through the viewfinder. All of a sudden the rhino was even bigger and seemed to be extremely close to me. I tried to think rationally: there was the glass wall and I was using a relatively long lens. Objects seen through it look bigger than they actually are.

The rational thoughts didn't do a very good job calming me down. I felt my knees shaking a little when I took the photos of the bull. Somehow I managed to get some decent pictures. You hardly can see that they are taken through a glass wall. Unfortunately, my knees were so shaky that the photos are not tack sharp.

And by the way, there was a rhino baby born at the zoo on the 3rd of June 2017. I saw the baby playing on the yard and he wasn't half as scary as the rhino daddy.

Canon EF 100mm f2.0 USM

I just love the prime lenses. I had been using the short 24mm and 40mm lenses for a while, but sometimes they are just too short. I got the 100mm lens and all my prayers were answered. The lens is very sharp and light, very easy to carry with you. It's a perfect lens for discreet street photography and a great companion on a zoo trip.

The model is pretty old and it's not the L series, but for the price it's an excellent lens.

You can read more about the lens here.


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