Baby E – Melbourne Zoo
I couldn’t resist.
After seeing the new week-old baby elephant in the Elephant Barn last Saturday, I went all the way back yesterday, specifically to photograph the new Star of Melbourne Zoo.
You’re probably thinking I live next door to the zoo by my many visits, but I don’t. It’s a short walk to one tram which I catch down to one of the main interchanges on the other side of the Botanic Gardens and then a long tram trip to the northwestern side of Melbourne City on the ‘Zoo’ tram! Probably takes about 45 minutes to get there (on a good day). This tram takes me to the back entrance of the zoo, then a 20 minutes walk through part of the temperate rainforest area to what is called the Thai Elephant Village.
I thought the first school term started yesterday and the zoo would be pretty empty.
But school started today for the younger children, not yesterday.
As a result, the zoo was fairly crowded and the crowd pressed up to the fence to see the 2.00-3.00pm viewing of the Baby Elephant was 3-4 deep. I’m not short, but there were a lot of tall parents struggling to push their children to the front or sit the smallest on their shoulders, to see through the small openings between the trees surrounding the elephant ‘paddock’ no 1 (there are 3 paddocks). I shot about 50 photos with my telephoto extended as far as it would go and then proceeded to dodge heads waving to & fro trying to get a shot. I took about 5 photos before I got a shot without a person’s head taking up half the frame.
If you zoom in on the first photo, you can see the baby’s eye peering between the Mother’s legs. Baby E fitted just under the adult’s tummy and was about as high as a keeper’s waist.
Forget trying to ‘compose’ a shot, or even get the mother elephant’s head in the frame half the time. I just tried to get the baby elephant somewhere in the frame.
I suppose I ended up with about 7-8 images of the baby where you can actually see him (out of 50 shots).
3 Keepers kept a constant presence nearby (in case they had to intervene). But most of the time, Baby E kept under or right next to Mum. At one stage, 2-year-old Mali (the elephant) had to intervene by wrapping his trunk around Baby E and pulling him out of the way. (well, I think it was Mali, as there are a couple of 2-year-old elephants and I can’t be sure which one was being so attentive).
I’ll try for a better shot in a few more weeks once the initial excitement has died down and all the school age children are back at school. A Monday is usually less crowded.