Olympus OM-1, handheld
Vivitar 200mm 3.5
Kodak Gold 400
Exposure unrecorded


chimpanzees Pan troglodyte

One day I lucked out at the NC Zoo – the chimpanzees (Pan troglodyte) were close to the viewing area and being photogenic. I happened to catch this tableau during a breather in their antics. Their expressions seem evocative of something, but opinions differ. I welcome anybody's suggestions or captions.

Historical Note: 'Zoom' lenses (variable focal lengths) were introduced in the late seventies and early eighties, and for a long time the professional consensus was to avoid them entirely and stick to the 'prime' lenses – fixed focal length and better glass. "Zoom with your feet!" was a frequent admonishment. And this was because the first zooms were generally aimed at the casual shooter that didn't want to invest in or carry around a lot of lenses, nor fumble with changing them as the situation demanded. Often, they weren't very good glass, not terribly sharp, and were prone to falling apart, so the advice was, to a certain extent, solid.

However, it continued long after the quality of zooms increased, and never applied to some situations anyway, and this photo illustrates one of them. Taken with a fixed-focal-length lens, it's full frame, right to the very edges, and a bit too crowded at that. 'Zooming with my feet' was out of the question, as it often is in nature photography (even at zoos,) and the brief display didn't encourage trying to switch lenses. While the quality of a resulting image is a valid concern, actually getting it, and even better getting a variety of them with different compositions, is also a valid concern. There are no rules that apply across the board, in any kind of photography – something to remember when receiving advice.