Zoos, pandas and actors

My day job is in news, not photography (yet!)  Yesterday, thanks to a co-worker who knows I love photography, I got a chance to photograph a media event at Zoo Atlanta for work.

The zoo has several pandas on display. Last year, the only cub born in the States was born at Zoo Atlanta.  Yesterday was 100 days since the cub's birth and according to tradition, the zoo held a ceremony to announce his name.  When my friend asked me to photograph the event, we thought it was just going to be a quick photo op with the cub (which was a treat, he's not even out for the public to see yet) and the naming ceremony with Zoo Atlanta staff, some local officials and what the zoo p.r. office said would be an appearance by an international celebrity.

The zoo had a surprise lined up.

 

 Taken with 50mm 1.4 lens, 1/60 at f 1/8 ISO 200

The event turned out to be a promotion for the upcoming movie "Kung Fu Panda 2," starring Jack Black.  I was expecting the celebrity to make an appearance at the ceremony, not in the room with the cub.

We didn't get much time in the room.  That cub was running the show, and he was not happy.  He was yelling.  We were told ahead of time if he or his mother got agitated, the photo op would be cut short.  Anyone ever hear an agitated panda cub?  It's not cute.

 Taken with 50mm 1.4 lens, 1/60 at f 1/4 ISO 200

 

Things went better with the kids in the audience later.  They love Jack Black and he put on quite a show with the announcement.  They named the cub 'Po' after his character in the movies.

Taken with EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, 1/125 at f /5 ISO 400

 Taken with EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, 1/160 at f /7.1 ISO 400I didn't use flash with any of these.  It was a fairly nice day with some cloud cover and there were a few stage lights, (which were a bit annoying for my purposes).  In the room with the panda, flash and tripods were not allowed, so the 50mm lens was perfect.

I'll be posting more pictures from this event later.