Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 06/11/2011

Tygers of Pan Tang*

I did a silly thing today, well – there’s probably more than one thing – but there’s one thing I’m really regretting… going on a roundabout. I didn’t fall off, if that’s what you’re thinking… I was trying to be all arty and whilst I did get some images that may well see the light of day (or Flickr in other words) but I am still feeling sick. I’ve never suffered from travel sickness before but for some reason that circular motion still has my head swimming and my stomach churning.. and all for a couple of photographs.

Today’s image was taken on a rainy day at Dartmoor Zoo. With my trusty 1D4 and 600mm mounted on the tripod pointing being buffeted by the wind and the rain, I had been trying to capture some images of the tigers who so far hadn’t been put off by the inclement weather. With a few good portrait shots “in the bag”, one of the tigers decided to get up and move to the front of the enclosure to where a moat runs the length of one side of it’s home. There are many virtues I can, and have, extolled about the 600mm lens but one downside is the minimum focal length which is some 18ft – which as you can imagine, can be problematic at times (there are some ways of getting round that, but that’s a professional secret**). This was one time I was cursing the lens – the tiger was much closer to me than 18ft, plus at that magnification all I could get (when I moved further away) was a head shot (not literally – the frame was filled with the animals bonce***). Lightening fast (which was the only weather we didn’t have that day), I delved into my camera bag (which was incredibly wet on the outside, but all toasty and dry on the inside) and whipped out.. da da daaaaaaa… my old Canon 5D (mark I) with the Sigma 150-500mm lens attached. This camera has served me well, in many campaigns, and was to do so again on the day – I was able to get the complete animal in shot, and still get a nice shallow depth of field to isolate that hypnotic stare. As the saying goes, there’s life in the old dog yet.

*A UK metal band from the 80’s who I can honestly say I’ve never heard any of their work.

**and if you can find one, he (or she) may tell you, I’ll be damned if I know what it is!

***Noggin, noodle, noddle, pate, belfry, attic, pate, top story, think tank… ‘is ‘ead!


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