New Camera, New Zoo by Josh Trudell

joshtrudell.com, parrot, photography Some people have work-related hazards such as ergonomically incorrect keyboards or desks that leave them bent in uncomfortable positions.

Others are Iike Maricela, the nice lady at the San Antonio Zoo in charge of the parrot cage. While most of the streaking rainbows buzzed around the cage, Snowflake sat on her shoulder, nibbled on her shirt collar, then finally nestled into her hair.

Finally, Maricela was forced to swing her head side-to-side to shake the nesting bird loose.

The parrot, dislodged but unruffled, promptly hopped back onto her outstretched hand and headed back toward her shirt collar, nibbling on the button hole.

The parrot cage, and the zoo as a whole, is my go-to place for testing new camera gear. In this case, it was my new Sony A99.

My initial verdict is very positive. The images are very, very sharp. It's a little disconcerting to have the LED viewfinder show the image I just shot before going back to live action, but I was getting used to it by the end if the day.

The manual focus option is also different - it can be locked in through a menu, or if you just want it for one shot, hold a button on the back of the body and focus. Take your thumb off the button, though, and it snaps back to auto.

I found the light sensors to be a vast improvement over my A-350, which is forgiving in its own right. Having a sunny day helped, but on shots in dark shade, I was getting good results at ISO 100.

It had been at least two years since I had been to the zoo, and I was more than a little impressed with the number of improvements and additions it has made. The interactivity has increased a lot, especially in the birds area - I nearly stepped on a couple of tiny birds on a walkway through one of the cages.

Zoos are always a little sad after a while - I like to see animals in nature rather than behind steel mesh. But in comparison to other zoos, San Antonio has one to be proud of. The rest of my zoo pictures can be seen here.