Hello everyone! I hope all is well. I missed my usual Friday post last week. I had a good excuse though; I had company down from upstate New York to visit for a few days. It was great seeing them as they also got to bask in the wonderful weather that we now have here. It has been clear skies with the temps around the 75-degree range with a slight breeze. This is what I live for.

Last year while the same folks were visiting, I converted them from PC to Mac. To keep tradition, I had to find a way to burn their credit card again this year. Me being a photographer, the subject usually comes up somewhere in discussions. I found out that they had a bought a high end film camera awhile back. As we all know that film is pretty much nonexistent at this point. They explained that they didn’t want to respend that much money again rebuying all new equipment. After poking them with a stick for a while, I found out that they had bought a Canon system. I guess they will be staying in the hotel next year….JUST KIDDING! (Well maybe…) They already have the lenses and even a flash unit. This is a no brainier; all the need is a new digital Canon body.

Since our family is basically a zoo, we decided to go the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. I have posted some photos from my trip there before. This time was going to be different. I was going to release the reins to my company and let them shoot digital for the first time. I fitted a Nikon D300 with a 80-400 lens and a D200 with a 70-300. These lenses will reach out into the exhibits and actually get a close up of the animal instead of the animal being the size of a postage stamp.

All went well but when you are making the transition from film to digital, it’s the same ole’ issue. You’re not used to being able to shoot as often as you like due to the processing of the film later on. For their first time out, I think they did a marvelous job. Below are some photos that they took. At the end, I will show you a few that I took with some fill flash. Here we go…

 The Original Telephone Game – William Dovey © 2011

 Don’t Piss Me Off! – William Dovey © 2011

I Love This New Bubble Gum Flavor – William Dovey © 2011

 Ready For My Close Up – William Dovey © 2011

 Break Time! – Karen Dovey © 2011

 The Three Wise Guys – Karen Dovey © 2011

 The Last Thing That Bin Laden Felt – Karen Dovey © 2011

 Peaceful Waters – Karen Dovey © 2011


This one we had to mess with a little. If you are a regular reader you know how I love my trashcans. Well, I guess this place isn’t as trashy as Disney as there wasn’t a trash can around. So, we ended up putting the camera on a flat spot on the railing and we used these settings: ISO 100, ¼ at f/22. This was taken in the late morning so we had the harsh sun to contend with. Even with all of the cards stacked against us, we were still able to pull this off. Give it a try, you never know what will or won’t work.

On these last two, I used fill flash to help fill in some of the shady spots. I put the camera in manual and I was at ISO 100, 1/250 at f/5.6. All I had with me was the pop up flash on the camera. This is not my most favorite flash, but when it’s the only one you have, it’s your favorite. I went into the camera’s menu and changed the flash to manual mode and reduced it to 1/8 power. I took a shot and there wasn’t enough light. I bumped it to ¼ power and checked it again. Perfect. I didn’t want this to scream, “FLASH PHOTO!”

 She’s Gone To The Birds – Spencer Pullen © 2011

 Lovin’ It Up – Spencer Pullen © 2011

There you have it. If you are looking for something affordable for your family to do, try the zoo. We bought our tickets ahead of time at AAA and saved a few bucks. Take the longest lens that you have and an external flash if you have one. Take lots of photos of your family acting like a zoo while at the zoo.

Until Next Time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Spencer these are great shots and so sharp that you feel you can almost reach into the frame and touch the subjects. The detail is great. Makes me want to dig out my 100-400 lens and run up to the zoo! Thanks for posting.


  2. wonderful shots – the giraffee one reminds me of how my out of alignment jaw feels at the moment – Ineed to take that one to my DDS.

  3. Spencer

    These turned out great! My aunt has been shooting photography for some time with my grandfather’s manual camera. I think once she starts playing around with the settings that she will have the hang of it. Best of all, I explained to her that you don’t have to shoot the whole roll of film to change ISO speed anymore!

    It also looks as my uncle has the “eye” as well. They both did a superb job.


  4. Looks like your relatives had a great time at the zoo, and enjoyed the digital world. Enjoyed the pictures very much. They did a fine job. Maybe you made them converts. Thanks for sharing and compliment your photographers for a fine job.

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