10/07/08 Baltimore, Maryland
Review: I stopped at the Maryland Zoo on my way down to visit some friends in Washington, D.C.. I spent a lot longer than i’d anticipated, two reasons, the zoo is set pretty far back in from the parking lot, and the chimpanzees were totally engaging. The zoo overall was underwhelming, the exhibits were really spread out and it was easy to miss exposures for some exhibits without backtracking. The zoo has quite a few exhibits but I didn’t really feel like i’d seen many animals. The montage confirms that.
Photographability: I strive to keep barriers out of my photos. This proved especially challenging with the elephant exhibit, and while I know it’s all in place for my safety, it’s unfortunate that the restraints went right through the normal line of view. I opted for the Canon Mark IIn with the 70-200 f/2.8 zoo lens with the 1/4 extender. It was a REALLY bright day, so i was fine to lose the 2.8 aperture and get my shutter speed away from 8000. The chimpanzee exhibit was especially challenging, the plexiglas barrier is VERY scratched up and grimy hands from shrieking children gummed up one side, while the chimps did their part with their mouths and other items from their side. Add in some glare and it was almost unbearable to even observe them! I used the Canon G7 on manual for the majority of the chimp shots as they were right up on the glass and i was able to readily control the exposure with the funky light. Overall a very challenging photographic experience. Whew!
Highlights: Baby elephants are really cute, and Samson was no exception. The top right photo continues to be one of my favorites. I’d never seen a baby spoonbill (first column, second down, and bottom right), and while I generally try to avoid birds in the combos, this was an exciting sight.
Lowlights: The chimpanzee exhibit was impossible to work with/view, with or without a camera.
Pleasant Surprises: I did no research on the zoo aside from finding address for the GPS, so the baby elephant was a real treat! The polar bear exhibit has a real Tundra Buggy, and while it was cool to see, it may have tempered my urge to go out in one with a whole lot of people i didn’t know. Stuffy, cramped.
Would I return? Probably not, I’d more likely be eager to get to the National Zoo or Philadelphia Zoo on either side.
Rating: 2 (out of 10)