The San Francisco Zoo

sanfranzooThe San Francisco Zoo

2/27/2008 San Francisco, California

Review: The San Francisco Zoo is a now infamous zoo with tigers, as well as a zoo with an otherwise nice collection showcased in new and old school exhibits. The african savannah is a relatively new and nicely done exhibit allowing multiple exposures of the same groupings. 

Photographability: Most of the exhibits are pretty easy to work with, a lot of the exhibits allow for multiple views from platforms at various elevations. The now famous tiger exhibit has been updated “for our safety” which has effectively made it difficult to see the tigers.  Moat barriers which provide unobstructed views of the animals are used frequently here, but the moats are pretty wide (for our safety) and the fake stone backgrounds are all too consistent with many exhibits. Rock perches on the back with, pick your sleeping cat, aren’t all that interesting.  The Grizzly Bear exhibit is very cool, and if the sun is right, shooting through the plexiglas at the watering hole is rewarding.  I used my Canon Mark IIn camera and 70-200mm zoom lens with the 1:4. 

Highlights: I love hippos!  They also have great access to several Koalas, a rare sight!

Lowlights: A lot of the exhibits, those that haven’t been renovated, are drab and boring. The baby giraffe wasn’t on exhibit.

Pleasant Surprises: This was my first visit to the San Francisco Zoo, it was as much fun to see the trail of terror from the 12/25/2007 Tiger incident with friends that were there that day, as it was the collection.

Would I Return?: Yes, I already have plans to in April 2009.

Rating: 6 (out of 10)

The Oakland Zoo

oaklandzooThe Oakland  Zoo

2/28/2008 Oakland, California

Review: The Oakland Zoo is a nice little zoo with a really great flying fox exhibit. The layout is easily meander-able, but very hilly, and unless you’re reading the map, there are surprises around every corner. 

Photographability: Most of the exhibits are pretty easy to work with, a lot of the exhibits utilize the moat barriers which provide unobstructed views of the animals, though you’ll need that zoom lens to get up close and personal. I used my Canon Mark IIn camera and 70-200mm zoom lenswith the 1:4.  The Canon G7 came out for the macro moments.

Highlights: The gibbons were howling and the siamangs were out and on the move swinging around their exhibt.  I like those neck monkeys.  Oakland has made a commitment to keeping their elephants and are building a wonderful facility to accommodate them. The flying foxes were especially cool too, I’ve never seen an exhibit like this one. Judy made a fun video of the flying foxes.

Lowlights: They’ve got a troop of chimps but it’s impossible to shoot through the fencing. 

Pleasant Surprises: This was my first visit to the Oakland Zoo, sandwiched between visits to several others.  I loved the smallness of it, and prefer it to the San Francisco Zoo.

Would I Return?: Yes, I already have plans to in April 2009.

Rating: 7 (out of 10)