Photo Essay

At the Zoo: Nashville, TN, Story #1

Elephant Portrait

My wife is going back to college for a post-post graduate degree. She must be in Nashville, TN one full week of each month for a year. She wants me to be there with her for support and to help her get around town. I work for myself so as long as I have internet access I'm good to go and work in the hotel. I've decided to photograph all of Nashville before her school year is over. So far I've covered two areas of the town; the Zoo and the Parthenon/Centennial Park.

I got to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, early after dropping off my wife at Vanderbilt University one morning. We had been in town for a few days already, but the weather was dark and rainy. This day promised to be an exception with sunny skies. I took my chances and decieded this was the day. The Zoo turned out to be well designed with thatched roofs, jungle sounds piped in, and other decor to give you the impression you were in a jungle setting. The weather turned out hot and sunny but a good deal of the trail I walked was is in the shade, so I didn't get a sunburn. (I usually do) I first walked up on the two blue parrots sitting togeher and they were very eager to be photographed. I went into the lizard and frog exhibits and this forced me to change all the settings on my camera. I've shot a Zoo before with this set up (Nikon D300, 18-200 VR lens) and was ready this time. I've also learned to be patient and shoot different sittings and mutiple shots, as you are never totally sure what you'll get in the low light scenes.

I found that my luck that day was very good in that a few times the animals didn't want to cooperate and were just walking away, but if I waited long enough, they would do something interesting. The jungle cat got up on the broken tree and laid down for me. When shooting the girraffe's, one was chewing on a large bush and I got a series of funny faces and the one with his tongue all the way out! When shooting some monkeys one gave a big yawn and I got a scary shot of his teeth. The gibbons were way up high in the trees and making very loud noises that you'd hear all through the Zoo. I could have used a more powerful zoom lens for them but everything else I shot that day my zoom covered nicely. There was also an old turn of the century farm house with garden and barn and I checked that out as well. Got the butterfly shots in that area.

In 3 hours I walked the entire Zoo and had a great time. Now I'm off to another area of Nashville, and another story!

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