Como Zoo

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Saturday morning free and decided visiting the local zoo would be a great way to spend it.  What could be better? Well, for starters…I could have decided to visit the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota on a nice sunny afternoon, but this Saturday had been on my schedule for quite some time.  Two months prior I had signed up for a Composition in the Field workshop through the Digital Photo Academy.  Thus, even with the clouds, I quickly became excited for the soft and even light conditions that overcast days typically produce.  I packed up my gear and headed out.  It wasn’t until I reached downtown Minneapolis that I realized I probably should have looked at the radar before I left.  The light was nice and even – this is true – however, the clouds had an ominous grey look about them.  I glanced at my smartphone, and moments later I’m wishing I had brought an umbrella and some rain gear!  Thankfully, my camera bag has a nice little pocket with its own rain cover.  I decided to press on and hope for the best.  Unfortunately, the day continued to present some other surprises.

I pulled up to the Como Zoo parking lot and was quite pleased to see a plethora of parking spots available – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all!  I unpack my camera, attach it to my shoulder strap and walk the short distance to the entrance gate to meet the rest of the group and the instructor.  Lo and behold – the gate is locked!  That’s odd, I thought to myself until I saw the sign on the door. It’s not open for another hour!  I re-check the scheduled start time for the workshop, but I’m right on time.  On cue, fat raindrops started pounding the pavement.  None of us class participants, expecting to see animals in an open zoo and with no options for getting out of the rain, are happy campers.  Still, the group decided to make the best out of our given situation.  After 30 minutes of shooting random flowers and trying to capture rain drops in puddles, a friendly staff member let us into the entry area and out of the rain.  This presented a unique point of view as we were able to capture the feelings (wet and stuck in the rain) we had moments ago on the faces of those still waiting to get inside.

The zoo eventually opened and the group made a decision to stay indoors and photograph the Tropical Encounters exhibit.  This was fun, and I enjoyed getting some great shots, but it still didn’t capture the feeling and images I had been hoping for earlier in the morning.  I wanted to photograph those animals!  Our three hour class had already been shortened by an hour, and after 45 minutes of the Tropical Encounters, I was ready to brave the rain to get some animal portraits.  I advised the instructor of my plan (who thankfully then offered up his umbrella), and away I went for the next hour and 15 minutes.

The day definitely could have gone better, but I did enjoy playing with various camera settings and adapting to the various lighting conditions (indoor and outdoor).  Below are some of the images from my rainy day zoo adventure.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to share your comments!

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