On the weekend, my children and I visited the Calgary Zoo for the better part of a day. We used to go frequently when they were younger but it had been a couple of years since we went together. We had a really great time there with a number of fun moments watching the animals and having fun with each other. When we visited the river otters, Kezia had this wonderful interaction with Finnegan, the son of the other two otters. The otters are so curious, which matches Kezia perfectly, so when he saw her at the glass he swam by performing spins and rolls. When she put her finger against the window, he followed it around to her great delight. Two beautiful creatures sharing a little time together.
It was chilly at the zoo wandering the pathways last night amid a cold breeze off of the Bow river. It was worthwhile though as Bobbi and I were surrounded by over 1,500,000 Christmas lights!
(click on any of the photographs for larger images)
This annual event runs from November 26 to January 2 this year. Most of the zoo is wrapped in lights taking the shape of animals, dinosaurs, sleighs, jungle scenes and a lot more. We went last year and it was -30°C plus the windchill which made it a bit too cold for more than a few photographs as I was attending a party and was not bundled up. This year I had longjohns, two sets of gloves and some good layers on so I was able to enjoy the walk more. We were both bundled up but Bobbi’s boots let her down a bit – nothing serious. We had no trouble having a great time.
I had to hunt this creature down…
… but I finally got clear of the forest of lights for a clean shot.
This year I brought my tripod as well because I wanted to make long exposures and play with some zooming techniques during these slower shutter speeds.
Here is a straight long exposure of the jungle scene.
And here is the same composition with the addition of the twist of the zoom lens. You can do this handheld as well but using a tripod you get straight zoom lines and I find I have better control over the speed of the zoom and how the effect looks.
Thank you to the Zoo for putting on such a visually delightful event, my wife for humouring me as I doddled along in the cold and my parents for spending the evening with the kids.
Two weeks until the big day but in case I don’t see you between now and then, Merry Christmas!