PHOTOGRAPHING THE SACRAMENTO ZOO
BY Jim & Shirley White
Bread soaked in whipped eggs, toasted and folded into a boat like shape and filled with fresh fruit compote with house made whipped cream. Wow! I love it. It is 0800, Shirley’s birthday and we are on a photo adventure. First we fuel up at the Tower Restaurant which used to be famous for a drugstore that sold records. I can’t help but to look nervously over to my right where 70 years ago were about 6 card tables where a kid by the name of Russ Solomon sold vinyl records in his Dad’s drug store. That is where I bought all my Dinna Shore records. We could buy records from a department store down town, but this was in our neighborhood and sold by one of us. Wow….spooky to remember. Russ’s big gamble really paid off.
We try to get to Russ’s err… the Tower Restaurant by 0800 have breakfast and drive down Land Park drive to the Zoo and get there by 0900, when the zoo opens. We are after the big cats and they become active about that time. This trip (Sept.5) every cat in the zoo came out, stretched and yawned right in front of us. No packs of school kids to deal with and since it was a Thursday, it was “bone day”. Yep, plan your trip to go on a Thursday and even the very young Snow Leopard will chew and play with his bone right in front of you. Fall and winter are great times to go to the zoo too, since some days you will have it all to yourselves.
Equipment notes: take the fastest zoom you have…hopefully at least up to a 200mm. We shot steady for about two hours and I shot most of my exposures at f2.8. They have planted bamboo everywhere and most of the cages are very dark. I used the pop-up flash many times. It is almost like shooting in a jungle. Pray for your animal to walk around and stop in a sun-beam for you. Even the Orange Panda did it for us. You think it was luck? You bet!!
We left the zoo by 11:00 and went down to Fat City, in old town, for lunch. I recommend Frank Fats on O Street as being the best. I do miss Posey’s and when at Frank Fat’s having Frank stop by our table for a chat. But then I miss Russ Solomon and my Dinna Shore records too.