Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 15/10/2011

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter

Bufflehead, originally uploaded by

What a difference a year makes; the last time I visited Whipsnade Zoo, despite the clear blue sky at home, arriving at the entrance gates, we were enveloped in fog which lasted until the mid morning sun had burnt it away. Today, the skies were clear blue from setting off to leaving the park, the 600 acre site being bathed in wonderful soft autumnal light throughout the day.

You could even say it was a perfect day, but until half an hour before the zoo closed my photography was left wanting… I just wasn’t in my groove, as they (well, me actually) say. I don’t know what it was, perhaps it was my high expectation (and therefore pressure I had put on myself to achieve), perhaps it was the fact that I kept finding myself watching the wildlife rather than photograph it (it’s been over six weeks since I was went to a zoo – that’s like a lifetime in photography years) . Either way, I had only take around 400 photos for the 6 hours I’d been there, I probably doubled that number in the last hour (I guess I should have just gone for the last hour then!).

One of my first ports of call, when arriving (and we were the first through the gates (I was desperate to see some exotic creatures(they’d heard I was turning up and decided to hide(which is par for the course really))))* was to go and see the European Lynx (great effect!). There has recently been the pitter patter of tiny paws at the zoo, after only one year of the animals having been introduced there – that, in zoo terms (or any other) is pretty awesome – and I had high hopes of photographing these cubs – who can resist such cuteness after all. Having lugged all my gear to their enclosure I was able to see both cubs, the mother and the father – but none of them were in a particularly photogenic setting (ie. they were hidden behind logs and bushes). The rest of the day didn’t fair much better until that last hour. Perhaps it was more me… or perhaps it was the lack of people around… or more over the fact that most animal are either nocturnal or diurnal (well the animals I’m interested in are) but they all perked up around 4pm and I fair abused my camera shutter button. I’m looking forward to reviewing the pictures of the Lynx as well as Cheetah photos when I get home.

So that’s one zoo down, but quite a few more to go this month… fingers crossed the weather stays the same… and toes, legs, arms and eyes.

* when you are creating perl scripts you have to keep track of the brackets – so that last part, for me, was quite easy**

**If you don’t know what perl is, or if you think a script is what is used in a play or movie, then you have more of a life than me***

*** which isn’t difficult.



  1. Nice capture of the male bufflehead. One of my favorite ducks that I see when I am kayaking about. Small but showy.

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