As I mentioned last week, the girls and I went to the San Antonio Zoo this last Sunday, along with my brother-in-law and his family. It’s been a couple of years since we were last there, but we have been a number of times.
I really enjoy this zoo, to the point that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my least favorite of the Disney World parks. That being said, I found the first phase of the new Africa Live! exhibit to be somewhat disappointing. I was hoping it would be more comparable to the Kilamanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom, but it simply isn’t. I suppose it lets you get a bit closer to the Hippos and Crocodiles, albeit separated by glass. I will admit that it’s basically what I had expected from the plans I had seen on our previous visit.
I don’t think my kids enjoyed the animals as much on this visit. Instead, they really just wanted to run around. I’m thinking they probably haven’t been getting enough physical activity with the shorter winter days. I think the part they appreciated most was climbing trees in the park outside the zoo before we even went in. C’est la vie.
I, on the other hand, was having a grand ol’ time with my new lens. While I still long for a high-end lens, several of which I saw people using at the zoo, I am very satisfied with the versatility and results of this lens. I’ve included a handful of the shots here, plus I’ve selected a week’s worth for Glass Renagerie, my photo blog. The first of those is Smirk, which I am linking as a convenience for the future when they are not the most recent photos on the blog.
If the technical details of photography are not your thing, you’ll probably want to stop reading here. Unless you have insomnia….
I also used the lens at my nephew’s birthday party the day before. Typically, I would’ve used my 24-70 f/2.8, which is certainly a higher quality lens, but I wanted to use the new 18-200 IS instead. Looking at the keepers, 15% where taken at less than 24mm and nearly another 10% where taken at greater than 70mm. In other words, about a quarter of the shots were taken beyond the range of the better lens. Of course, had I been using the 24-70, I most likely could have moved my feet to capture most of the same shots, except perhaps some of the widest of them.
I have no hesitation regarding using this new lens as a travel lens, which is exactly why I bought it. Things like trips to Six Flags, riding a Mardi Gras float and snow skiing are perfect opportunities for this lens, and I look forward to using it in those situations.
Indoor events, on the other hand, are less clear. The additional wide-angle range from 18-24, along with the image stabilization, can really come in handy. However, I often end up using a bounced flash, mitigating the IS benefit, and the 24-70 has faster focus and a brighter view. Plus, the 24-70 *should* produce better quality images. The complete overlap of the focal lengths of these two lenses was one of my main concerns when I was deciding whether or not to get this lens. I expect it will work itself out in time, and there are still several situations where the 24-70 is the obvious choice (portraits, weddings, most indoor sports, etc.).
Next up on the wish list — lighting kit supplies.