Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 21/10/2011

From one Cheetah to another




Chimpanzee, originally uploaded by http://andrewskelton.net.

Apes and Big Cats, you will have come to realise Dear Reader, are like a magnet for me whenever I visit a zoo; whilst Whipsnade has many examples of Big Cats, they only group of Great Apes, Chimpanzees. I’ve photographed these apes over a number of years, and am spell bound each time I visit them.

The sun was blazing down as I approached their enclosure, which was a great advantage for my photography on one hand, but unfortunately the heat had had another effect – most of the chimps were either sheltering from the direct sunlight under various platforms or they were laid out sunbathing. Either way, there was little scope for a good photograph of these wonderful creatures, in fact this animal was the only one that had enough light for me to be able to take any pictures at all – the one pictured today.

I’ve come to rely on the two lens Extenders I have in my arsenal; most people shy away from using them complaining that the images are impaired with them but I can’t say I share this sentiment. Of course adding in anything has to have an effect, but I’m managed numerous images using one, the other or even both, as is the case with this chimpanzee. With the 1.5x and 2.0x extenders fitted to the 600mm and my 1D4, the effective focal length is 2,340mm – extraordinary!

Needless to say, a good tripod is essential in these cases, and contrary to all you’ll read, I leave the image stabilisation switched on as even your breathing will create camera shake. I will be taking these useful bits of kit with me to a number of Zoos I’ll be visiting over the next week – I won’t be holding my breath until then, and I advise you not to either.

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