Panda, Panda, Panda

Red Panda
On January 18th the National Zoo will present the new little panda cub, named Bao Bao, to the public. However if you’re a FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo) you got to see the baby panda a week earlier.  So I went early this morning to see the panda.  They routed people through the top of the Asia Trail to meter the crowds and then only let groups of about 20 people into panda house for 7 minute viewing intervals.   We only had to wait about 15 minutes to see the panda. While waiting in line we enjoyed the antics of the two red pandas. 

When we finally made it into the panda house the baby panda was awake and feeding.  However, I didn’t get as nice a view or picture as I wanted.  The problem was they did not completely clear out the viewing area before letting more people in. Thus some people were not obeying the rules and leaving when their group’s session was up, basically hogging the panda.  There was one guy who just would not move, even though his group already left.   I think to improve this; the zoo personnel should have fully cleared out the viewing area then let the next group in that way it was fair to everyone.  I got maybe one nice shot of the baby panda, but never got his face.  I think I may go back after the 21st when they offer private viewing appointments to FONZ members. Then maybe I'll get to see the tiger cubs too, they were not out today or I would have had tiger cub pictures too. [Zoo Pictures]

The baby panda and her mom

I was shooting at an ISO 1600, f5.6, and 1/50s shutter speed on my 18 to 200mm lens inside the panda house.  For using an ISO of 1600 there was very little grain to the photos.  Outside the panda house I used an ISO of 400 then adjusted for light.


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