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Taking Pictures at the Zoo - What Not to Bring

written by: Mayflor Markusic•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/15/2009

Zoo photography can be strenuous. But it is not taking pictures that zaps out your energy. It is that big bag, heavy with camera accessories, that creates a dull ache on your shoulders. Do you really need to bring all these gadgets. Actually, there some of them can be left behind.

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    What not to bring to the zoo

    Most people, in their excitement to see the new baby elephant or the sea cow, would tend to toss in every camera gadget and digital accessories they can get their hands on into the poor, overexpanded backpack. As a result, they end up trying to figure out how to carry this heavy bag while attempting to hit the shutter. Obviously, this means that there won't be a lot of good pictures. For the serious zoo photographer, bringing gadgets and accessories that are not needed at the zoo becomes a problem. Individually, these gadgets don’t weigh much, but when placed together, the total weight is significant. So what should you leave behind?

    • Remote flash cable – Unless the zoo photographer is willing to place the camera at more than two feet from his body, there is really no need to be bringing around the remote flash cable. The same goes for the remote cords and extension cords. (Average weight: 1.4 ounces)
    • Underwater camera flash – There is no chance to take underwater scenes. It is also dangerous to attempt underwater angles of alligators. (Average weight: 11 ounces)
    • Adapter rings – The camera that the zoo photographer brings should be assembled and ready already. There is no need to bring the extra adapter rings for other lenses. (Average weight: 1 ounce)
    • Extra filters – Before heading out to the zoo, the photographer must decide whether the polarizing lens filter or the ultraviolet lens filter will be used. And if one of them will be used, it should already be attached to the camera lens. The extra filters should be left behind. (Average weight: 2.5 ounces)
    • Flash bracket with umbrella – Aside from being bulky, the flash bracket with umbrella is appropriate only inside a studio. Bringing it will just irritate other zoo visitors as well as strain the zoo photographer’s muscles. (Average weight: 2 pounds)
    • Battery chargers – Instead of battery chargers, the zoo photographer should bring extra batteries that have been fully charged before the trip to the zoo. Where did you plan to use these chargers anyway? (Average weight: 2 ounces)
    • Tripod or monopod – Some zoos allow visitors to bring a tripod or a monopod but others don’t. Before hauling the tripod, the zoo photographer should check first with the zoo management to see if a tripod or a monopod is allowed. Keep in mind that some zoos allow monopods but not tripods. (Average weight: 2.4 pounds)

    If you bring all the above camera gadgets with you, you'll be carrying an extra five pounds with you.