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Challenge: Free Study 2012-04 (Advanced Editing VII)
Camera: Canon EOS-400D Rebel XTi
Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
Location: Central Park Zoo, NYC
Date: Apr 24, 2012
Aperture: f5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/80
Galleries: Nature, Animals
Date Uploaded: Apr 30, 2012

My wife and daughter spent the day at the International Beauty Show at the Javitz Center, so I had the whole day to myself in NYC. I started my day by going over to Roosevelt Island to see the Blackwell Island lighthouse, and I rode the tram back over to Manhattan. I still had about five hours to kill, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. At that point, my wife sent me a text, telling me that the show "was a zoo". Now I knew what I was going to do, as I was only about four blocks away.

The tropical birds area was very nice (hot and humid, but nice) and I got some nice shots in there. The snow monkeys are cool, as are the red pandas. My first trip past the snow leopard enclosure found one cat out, asleep, with his back toward me , high on a rock. The polar bear was asleep. The penguins & puffins were neat, but stinky and behind glass with heavy condensation. The sea lions were fun to watch, too. I decided to double back to see if Mr. Polar Bear was awake. He was, but still groggy and I got a few decent shots. On to see if the snow leopard was up and about. When I arrived back, the one that was sleeping, was wandering around, but was behind some bushes. I took a few shots and decided I would go back to the birds. I didn't realize there was a second snow leopard enclosure and this one contained a female, who was up and quite active. While the male was behind heavy glass, she was enclosed by very fine (I assume) electric fencing. For the next hour, she put on quite a show. She sat and laid on a rock, probably no more than 25-30 feet in front of us. She even 'meowed' for us a few times. I didn't realize that the big cats meowed. I took several hundred shots of her before she eventually wander off back in to the bushes. I headed back to the birds, but it just wasn't the same.

I had a tough time choosing which shot to use. I narrowed it down to six, then to three and finally decided on this one. Expect to see her again in the 'Best of 2012' challenge next January.

adjusted contrast in Camera RAW
dodge the eyes
resize & sharpen with custom action
Noise Ninja

Thanks for all of the kind votes. Having tracked votes all week, I actually thought I may have gotten nothing under a 5. Those fours must have snuck in before I got out of bed on day one. The score was pretty low the first time I looked, I was actually disappointed, but then it began to rise.....

I was so excited by all of my shots that day. Probably one of the best photo sessions I've ever had. With scores like this, I'm going back to visit her every time I'm in NYC!

Place: 8 out of 275
Avg (all users): 6.8160
Avg (commenters): 7.4444
Avg (participants): 6.6915
Avg (non-participants): 7.1935
Views since voting: 1751
Views during voting: 210
Votes: 125
Comments: 14
Favorites: 2 (view)

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05/09/2012 02:46:09 AM
There were many great animal shots this month. This was one of my favorite ones. Such a great pose from the big cat.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/08/2012 02:49:13 PM
Yeah, so I'm glad I was wrong about that last part. :)

Congrats on your Top Ten in a FS!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/08/2012 10:30:31 AM
A magnificent creature, well captured.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/08/2012 08:20:20 AM
I love the position you put the leopard in the frame...this was one of my favorite images.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
05/07/2012 01:50:09 PM
She sure looks fed up, haha. Very nice capture of a beautiful animal.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2012 02:40:20 PM
Love the pose!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2012 10:32:28 AM
Not a fan of zoo shots, or animal captivity shots, but this is moving for some reason. Perhaps I've been biased by the title. Anyway...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/04/2012 02:21:55 PM
This is a beautiful photo. The clouds actd like a big diffuser to give this a calm feeling.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/04/2012 09:02:10 AM
Beautiful animal. A shame that greed for their pelts has caused them to become an endangered specied.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/03/2012 07:41:53 PM
Very nice sharpness and detail.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/01/2012 06:18:09 PM
Fabulous capture. But, to really sell this one here, you'd need to dodge a bit on the highlights of the eyes, I fear.

(commenting only)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/01/2012 03:29:11 PM
OMG , He/she is so friggen cute ... here kitty, kitty ... what a wonderful shot .
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/01/2012 05:26:49 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/01/2012 01:14:16 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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