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Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China.
These animals spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft. When foraging, they are most active at night as well as in the gloaming hours of dusk and dawn.
Red pandas have a taste for bamboo but, unlike their larger relatives, giant pandas they eat many other foods as well—fruit, acorns, roots, and eggs.
The red panda has given scientists taxonomic fits. It has been classified as a relative of the giant panda, and also of the raccoon, with which it shares a ringed tail. Currently, red pandas are considered members of their own unique family—the Ailuridae.
Red pandas are endangered, victims of deforestation. Their natural space is shrinking as more and more forests are destroyed by logging and the spread of agriculture.
One of my favorite places to photograph animals is the Bronx Zoo in New York. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States encompassing 260 acres of parkland. With award winning, barrier free exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals, the Bronx Zoo offers superb photographic opportunities. Here are my tips for zoo photography:
• Preferred Lenses: 70-200mm, 100-300mm, 80-400mm, 300mm with a 1.4x teleconverter or a point and shoot camera
with at least a 10x optical zoom
• Carry a flash unit for indoor shooting and to use as a fill-flash outdoors
• Photo opportunities are almost endless; bring extra memory cards or film and extra batteries
• Try to visit on bright overcast or partly cloudy days to avoid harsh and high contrast light
• Animals tend to be more active during the spring and fall when temperatures are cool, so plan your visit accordingly
• Avoid the weekend crowds if possible. Admission is free (or by donation) on Wednesdays
• Obtain a list of scheduled feeding times to get action shots of animals as they run for food
• Watch the background (unsightly or busy backgrounds will destroy your images)
• With telepIoto lenses, work at the largest aperture available to throw distracting backgrounds out of focus
• Use high ISOs of 200, 400 or higher to stop action and subject movement
• Shoot at your subjects eye level or lower for dramatic portraits
• Fill the frame with your subject (eliminate empty space and all signs of clutter)
• Use a variety of lenses (or lens focal lengths) so your images don’t all look the same
• Use a polarizing filter to eliminate reflections when shooting through glass
• When shooting through glass, place your lens right against it to eliminate reflections (bring window cleaner to remove
smudges and finger prints from glass surfaces)
• Arrive at the zoo early when animals are most active and when there are fewer people around
• Wait for interesting behavior or a compelling expression before shooting
• Obtain a map and concentrate on a few exhibits at a time. Don’t try to cover the entire zoo in one day.