For the Better

Guest blogger: Nicole Richer

Since 2004, my equipment to snap pictures of nature consisted of a Canon 30D camera, a standard lens, a wide angle lens, a macro lens and a 100-400mm zoom.  As a nature photographer, they gave me great pleasure and beautiful pictures no matter what the location I found myself in. I have shot wildlife in many locations, including zoos. Unlike my backyard and other local wild spaces, zoos offer possibilities to take pictures of wildlife from far away places.  From zebra to butterflies, it’s a great place to capture the more exotic side of nature.

Cheetah at the Memphis Zoo

Cheetah at the Memphis Zoo

The major down side of my camera equipment is the weight. When hooked together, the camera with the zoom weight about 10lbs. Visiting many locations, like zoos, with the equipment attached to a tripod was exhausting. Even though they performed well and gave me wonderful pictures.

With the technology rapidly changing since I first bought my camera in 2004, I recently decided that it was time for me to overhaul my equipment.  I was looking for a lighter equipment, a camera with a large zoom range with excellent image stabilization and fine photo quality color producing bright and vivid results. I was also looking the possibility to take pictures without having to change lenses. With all those requirements in mind, I turned to my friend, Jean Provencher to get his opinion on the subject.

Mr. Provencher is an historian, writer and a nature blogger who lives near Quebec City, where he has the opportunity to shelter many birds, butterflies, insects and various small animals. He gladly shares his nature with us on his blog (http://jeanprovencher.com). His blog is filled with a wide range of wonderful pictures and interesting writings. His experience makes him the perfect person to help me choose a new camera.

Mr. Provencher ended up suggesting his own camera model, a Canon PowerShot SX50HS with a 50x wide-angle optical zoom and equipped with an image stabilizer. For months, I have been reading his blog and looking at his pictures and I knew it represented exactly what I wanted for myself. So, the next morning, I made my way to the store and bought my new camera.

My pictures taken with my Canon 30D and zoom were excellent pictures, but the weight and the complexity of transporting my equipment with all the lenses was truly getting tiresome. Buying this new camera gave me the possibility to photograph in macro and with a zoom without changing lenses. With this new camera instead of having up to 400mm, the optical zoom is now 1200mm, which is much greater than my heavier zoom.

Thanks to Mr. Provencher, I purchased exactly what I needed at a very good price. Now comes the fun part… learning about this little beast!

Panda at the Washington National Zoo

Panda at the Washington National Zoo

Polar Bear at the Bronx Zoo

Polar Bear at the Bronx Zoo

There are many resources online to give you more information on how to photograph wildlife in zoos. Here are a few that I recommend: