12/05/08 New York, New York
Review: The Central Park Zoo is my favorite little zoo. With a Tropics building unparalleled by any other zoo I’ve seen, what I also like so much about the zoo is my familiarity with each exhibit. They don’t have a huge collection, but it’s a really solid collection. Here’s a little insider information about my photo montages: Every zoo has birds, and birds for the most part, are pretty routine. I try to keep them to a minimum in the presentation, so if you see a combo with lots of birds (reference: left) the big animals were sleeping!
Photographability: The tropics building tends to be a tad dark, but the Canon Mark IIn with a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens with a 1×4 converter at 1250 to 1600 ISO still manages to hold the quality. The birds are super colorful and it’s easy to get clean (or natural) looking backgrounds. Looking down into the snow monkey exhibit makes for boring photos, so it’s cool when they are up on their cliffs at eye level. The polar bear exhibit is tricky, shooting through thick plexiglas at any angle leads to soft photos. The penguin exhibit in December is dark, dark dark. Good for them and their cycle, bad for viewers. Best to see them in June when the lights are at their brightest.
Highlights: I like when Gus the Polar bear is swimming. And I love ducks, and the Eider Duck (third column, bottom) is one of my new favorites.
Lowlights: The usually rambunctious snow monkey troop was hunkered down out of sight. And the penguins, literally: low(no)-light.
Pleasant Surprise: Unrelated to animals, it was great to visit with my friends and colleagues that I used to volunteer with at the zoo.
Would I return? Absolutely! A new lemur exhibit has just opened, and snow leopards are coming this spring!
Rating: 5 (out of 10)