Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly?

Swimming Penguin #7

Last summer I visited the Detroit Zoo for the first time in 13 years (and wrote an article about my experience, which can be read here). While I was there, I saw a new building being erected with the sign saying “Future Home of the Polk Penguin Coservation Center” and I could not wait to check it out! I literally checked the zoo’s website monthly, waiting for an opening date! Penguins are one of my favorite animals to photograph and it was so hard to do in the old penguin house (which was the first ever building built for specifically for penguins) because the glass was so smudged and it was so dark (not to mention the smell). I finally got to check it out and I was impressed! It was a much more immersive experience; you don’t just look at penguins, you are transported to Antarctica. And the coolest part, you go in a glass tunnel at the bottom of the tank (I don’t feel like I’m describing this well, photo below) and you can see the penguins zoom around above you!

About the Photos:
This was a single RAW exposure edited in Lightroom with the Improve Photography 2016 preset B&W Light. While the new exhibit seems lighter with all the blue lighting, it is still pretty dark from a photography perspective, meaning you’re going to have to open up your aperture and push your ISO to be able to get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the penguins’ motion. I had my kit lens as fast as it will go at f/4.5, my ISO at 800 (I know my camera does not have great noise performance any higher than that), and I was able to get the shutter at 1/125, which was fast enough to make the penguin look like he was flying! Also, by converting the shot from the blue color cast, that no amount of editing was able to tone down, it almost looks like he’s not flying through water, but through the air.

The bottom photo was a JPEG taken with my iphone and uploaded to Instagram. This is not an art photo, I just want you to understand this exhibit.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 3, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  I have started my summer photo a day project again this year. To make sure you don’t miss a single day, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your visit to see the penguins, visit DetroitZoo.com.

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