Cougar Mountain Zoo and the ISO 1600 Goof

Back in March, I visited the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah early in the morning. It was my first time there. I knew that they had cougars, but they also have two Bengal tigers, reindeer, and birds – lots of cranes and macaws.

Some photos are in my Puget Sound flickr feed: Around Puget Sound – a set on Flickr .

I was quite proud of how the day started, which meant I was destined to screw up. Ah, pride.

After the Woodland Park Zoo incident (not checking my white-balance before taking photos), I made a mental checklist to go over the camera settings before I started shooting. Auto-white balance? Check. Aperture? Looks good. ISO? 100. Alright, the basics are good, let’s go.

Some how, my magic fingers managed to change the ISO to 1600 shortly after I started taking some shots. Before I got to the crowned cranes I realized my goof with great horror and suppressed swearing. By then I had already taken shots of the tigers and cougars playing and it had warmed up enough that play time was over and the day-long naps had begun (get there at opening to see active felines).

So in what could have been some nice shots, I’ve got lots of noise. Like if you look into the mouth of one of the tigers, you see color dots all over the place. Bummer. You can fix white balance in a jiff with RAW, not so much an ISO screw-up.

Cougar Mountain is nice for being up close with the animals, but to do that they put some pretty heavy duty bars up between you and the predator, making getting good shots kind of arduous(shooting between the bars with a significant zoom). The staff is very friendly and ready to give you plenty of background on the animals.

Oh, and I discovered while the cougars and tigers would play all cool and disinterested with me while I was standing there taking photos, one screaming happy child running around would get their attention in a flash. Very handy.

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Flying penguins found by BBC programme – Telegraph

First, read the story, second, you must watch the included video: Flying penguins found by BBC programme – Telegraph .

This is almost as good as the bumper Swiss spaghetti harvest. Kudos.