Monday, 30 September 2013

Paignton Zoo Visit

A great day out at Paignton Zoo, even though the weather was dull and misty. If you have never been it's really worth a visit, one of the best zoos I have ever been to. The gardens are just beautiful and really enhance the environment for both visiting humans and the residents.



Recordings of bird song and animal noises play all along the walk from the car park right to the entrance. The Chilian Flamingos start the tour.

Then a walk along into the zoo past the Wetlands. Here is a Dalmatian Pelican.


I had booked on a fantastic all day photography course at Paignton Zoo, sadly not enough people signed up and it was cancelled. However Paignton Zoo and the photographer Mark from Evolve Photography were great and offered me a free visit to the zoo and a mini photography class.


The lions were having a rest from the rain and this was the best image I could get. Mark advised on how to avoid including the the wire on the enclosures.

In the image below you can just see a slight wobble in the image in the top right, that's the wire-but it's hardly noticeable. The camera wanted to focus on it rather than the subject, so it takes a few go's and also a bit of moving around to get the lens looking through the hole to catch the animal in focus.


Here the wire was unavoidable but the Zebras are lovely


Beautiful Rothschild's Giraffs. Sadly the new born giraff calf died in August this year.



A couple of the camels taking it easy-probably had a busy weekend!


This is Duchess an 42 year old African Elephant and the only remaining elephant at Paignton Zoo.

She has had a lot of problems with her eyes, glaucoma meant she and had to have an eye removed a few years ago and this year successfully had a cataract removed. After her mate died a few years ago Duchess has been on her own-although this is not an ideal situation, with her failing eye sight and age the Zoo felt it would be too difficult for her to accept more elephants to the enclosure. Her keepers look after her very well and she has really bonded with them as her companions.


Just managed to get an image of one of the cheetas. It was having a rest at the back of the enclosure.


The marvellously entertaining baboons





A giant tortoise taking it easy

 .........and eating some grass

One of the lovely gibbons. I had to wait ages for it to come out from between the branches and it's quite far away, but was delighted I got it.


Two kangaroo, who had just had a bit of a boxing match. They were deep in the undergrowth, and it was very dark, so it took a few go's to get this image.


A real challenge taking this image as this little monkey was in an inside enclosure. Most of the photos I took were just black at first.


Not a great quality image but I like the contrast of their pale colour against the lovely dark tree


Look at this cute little fella



I'll end now with a few of the plants and flowers around the zoo




It was all very scary as I shot the whole lot in full manual mode! It took quite a while to work it all out. These are the best photos from the day, but I must say there were quite a few under or over exposed, blurred or just plain rubbish!

Congratulations to Mark and Natasha who were married on 20th September. Thanks so much for showing me around Paignton Zoo today, showing me the tricks of the trade and being such good company. It was lovely to meet you both.

Hope you have enjoyed this post on Paignton Zoo
Hello and welcome to new follower Country Rabbit
bye for now
SeagullSuzie


14 comments:

  1. A lovely post on a zoo I've never been too so it was great to see round it. V impressed you ventured into manual mode for the photos and you did well avoiding the wire- my camera always wants to focus on it! CT :-)

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    1. I can recommend a trip to this zoo, the gardens are wonderful. Yes the wires do spoil photos so this was a very useful tip, when I go again I will try it all again....and probably fail!

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  2. So sorry about the giraffe - I heard about its birth but hadn't realised it had died poor thing. Great photos - made me want to go back as I haven't been for years.

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    1. I know, poor thing was doing so well and everyone was so excited after it's birth, they are very cute too when like mini copies of the adults. Visitor numbers are way up on last year due to the great weather.

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  3. Great post with some lovely photos :) Its a zoo I've never been too so lovely to see it through your eyes (lens!!!)

    Well done on using full manual mode!! I tend to use Aperture Priority all the time. MY attempts at manual focus have been a disaster!!! Well done on avoiding the cage wires - I once had to delete a whole set of photos I'd taken on a visit to an Owl and Monkey sanctuary for that reason!!

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    1. I have been working towards the program modes and trying to move away from automatic. I know it will make my photos better, but it's trying to remember it all and quickly. I have some books and info on digital photography but it's just getting time to look through it all.

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  4. What a lovely bunch of photos! The giraffes are my absolute favourite animals ever so your photo of those beautiful Rothschilds is the best photo in my opinion :) What a shame that the proper photography class was cancelled, but at least you got a free visit :)

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    1. I do like the giraffes and they are slow moving so very easy photography subjects. The zoo were great at offering me a consolation visit and it was so nice of the photographer to give up his time for free. They will try again nest year, so I will book again!

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  5. Those pictures are amazing especially as they were taken on the manual mode too! It must have been great to been given lots of advice. What a shame there wasn't enough people to run the course.
    Sarah x

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    1. I missed getting a few animals due to the manual mode and a lot of the photos were no good, l just couldn't work out the settings in time. However the zoo is near so I am lucky enough to be able to go back often. I'm sure if I had been in fully automatic mode I would not have captured some of the animals, like the black monkey, the cheetah and the kangaroos.

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  6. A wonderful selection of photos. It is a shame about the course being cancelled, but good to hear you still had some advice and a free trip.

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    1. We are thinking of joining and making an effort to go more often-Even 6 times a year would be great. They do a great badger watch through the summer, but we missed them all this year.

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  7. Fabulous photos and all taken on manual mode, clever girl. I keep looking for photography day courses around here but the only ones that pop up are for portrait which I'm afraid does not interest me. I want nature and landscape photo courses! Cameras are a sore point with me atm, mine's gone off for repairs but as normal with me this year, there are problems...grrrr. Anyway enough of me and back to your fabulous post and photos. I love so much that the gracious lady elephant has bonded with the keepers and that they look after her so well. x

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    1. Thank you very much. I hope your camera comes back soon. Lovely old Duchess, she does look quite sad on her own and obviously it's not normal for an elephant to live like this. A lot of visitors write negative comments about her being on her own. They don't understand the difficult situation Duchess is in nor how hard the zoo works to look after her. On the subject of your courses, have you tried searching the local wildlife groups, as thats how a lot come through down here.

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