Friday, 25 October 2013

Pandas at Chiang Mai Zoo, Northern Thailand.....things get so much better!!!

So, as I may have mentioned I took a day off fishing today. (Wife: "We're not going fishing again today are we?" which pretty much sealed the deal.)

So, off we went to Chiang Mai's famed zoo. We paid a little extra to watch pandas and as you can see from our last post it didn't start out too promising. As it turned out things got MUCH better at the Chiang Mai Zoo Panda House. For 20 minutes my wife and I had watched two unconscious black and white bears barely visible at the back of their enclosures. I had read what seemed like dozens of "Do Not" signs telling all tourists and potential panda-watchers that we were all scum and need to learn to behave better in front of sleeping pandas.

Then, like magic, two doors opened, the pandas awoke instantly and disappeared through their respective doors. Along came the zoo keepers laden with bamboo shoots and fresh fruit.

The zoo keepers left, the pandas returned and I can now officially tell your that their names are Munch-Munch and Chew-Chew.

 A word about the camera used for the photos and video you see here. It's the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD.

 My take on it after days of continuous use is that it takes pretty good (but not great) photos and is much, much better when used as a video camera. I've been having a little trouble with over-exposed photographs which have exhibited washed out highlights. Some fixing with Photoshop Elements has helped a LOT...this really is a great budget photo editing program with amazing photo recovery properties. The photos below have all needed editing to some degree or another but Photoshop Elements has done a good job of recovering what were rather soft and bland photos.



 The video near the top of the page was not edited in any way except to add title and credits text. On the other hand the photos here have been cropped, corrected, shrunk and sharpened. They're pretty decent but still a little short of the quality I need from a good bridge camera. On the other hand the video quality is amazing (even if the cameraman is bloody usless at holding the camera still).

Yes, I'd recommend the Panasonic FZ70 (or FZ72 in some countries) for good but not great photos and Great (not merely good) video. We will continue to use it for much of our video and outdoor photography needs during our extended Thailand trip.

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