Tierpark Hellabrunn with Minadax Telephoto

Click for Photo Gallery – read on for background information.

Munich’s Hellabrunn zoo was founded in 1911 as the first “geo-zoo” in the world. Animals live spacious enclosures, often without any significant barriers at all, that are organized in geographic clusters. Harmless animals that are used to human contact, from goats to peacocks, are free to roam the visitor walkways. Of course there are also a number of traditional glass containers for smaller animals like insects, reptiles, fish, etc.

On this visit, however, I put the Minadax 1.7× telephoto converter on the long Sony SEL-70200G f/4 lens of my Sony A7R II and focused on long-range shots of larger wildlife that you can’t get too close to. The typical vignetting of the Minadax is visible in many photos, but to be honest I quite like it for this kind of photography. It has a certain nostalgic effect and focuses attention on the subject at the center. Some of the great apes were sadly inaccessible to me on this occasion as they were behind (plexi-) glass walls that caused annoying reflections, and I didn’t have a polarizing filter for the Minadax. Next time…

I’m happy to say that the much-improved shutter noise reduction of the A7R II compared to its predecessor made itself felt. Even with the heavy Minadax converter screwed on, very few pictures were outright blurry. Usually I had the luxury to choose between several good shots for every subject. As usual I adjusted exposure and contrast in Adobe Lightroom, and cropped a few pictures though mostly just from 4:3 to 1:1 format when the sides were uninteresting.

You can find my selection of 50 pictures from the zoo in this Google Photos gallery. Click on each image to see the full-size JPEG. The info icon shows basic EXIF data and whatever information I could find or recall of the animals – Hellabrunn’s own animal dictionary covers only a fraction of the presented species. Use the magnifying glass icon to zoom in, all the way down to individual pixels. Below you can see a downscaled sample of an African grey crowned crane.

Crown Crane

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