Lions and Tigers

May 16, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

On Sunday, I visited the National Zoo here in Washington, D.C. I’ve been to the zoo before, but I wasn’t thrilled with my previous results. This time, however, I was equipped with a better camera, a better lens, more experience, and some basic knowledge about the zoo. The key is to go early before the tourists arrive and while the animals are active.

I also decided that this time I would focus on my favorite animals, the great cats. Fortunately both Luke and Shera, the African lions, were out and about.


Naba, the other lioness, was away. She gave birth to the Zoo’s first cub in 20 years. That’s very exciting news.

The following are two photos of Shera. She’s quite a magnificent creature.



However, she was taking it pretty easy. I love how content she looks in the following. And I love the green bokeh in these photos.



But of course, lions are famous for napping. Occasionally, Luke would yawn. It proved very difficult to take this picture. He doesn’t exactly let you know he’s going to yawn before he does it, and if you’re not paying attention, you miss the shot. The background on this one is regrettable, but otherwise a good shot in my opinion.


The lions aren’t the only animals on great cat island. Here’s a shot of Guntur, the male Sumatran tiger.


Guntur’s father Rokan is in a separate pen. Rokan is 19. That’s extremely old for a tiger. In the wild they rarely live past 12. He looks very scary in this photo.


I got a shot of Rokan yawning as well.


On my way out of the zoo, I stopped by the cheetah conservation station to see if I could get some interesting photos of Tumai, the zoo’s resident cheetah. They pulled her into a new pen where they had setup a chasing target. I didn’t realize what was happening at first, so I wasn’t prepared. For a split second, Tumai decided she wanted to play and chased the target around the pen. But only seconds later, she decided she didn’t want to have anything to do with it and waited by the door to her normal pen. This was the best shot I could get, as clearly my reactions aren’t as fast as a cheetah.

 

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