Zoo Therapy


Each semester during dead week (aka the week right before final exams) OSU hosts a petting zoo for the college kids on campus. And I know what you’re probably thinking…a petting zoo for college students? That sound so stupid! But I’m telling you, it’s not. Every time this petting zoo shows up I’m amazed at how many students surround the animals, interacting with them and spending a few minutes getting lost in the moment before heading back to their studies and other obligations. And not just students, but staff and faculty members too. It might seem silly but a handful of barnyard animals can do wonders for people of all stripes and walks of life during an intense and often stressful part of the year.

When I visited the Finals Week Petting Zoo during May of 2019 I was on my way to a faculty meeting but stopped long enough to get a few pictures. I would have loved to stick around for a while just petting the goats and rabbits (and one llama, I think) but, as they say, it was not meant to be. Still, the few minutes I did have were pretty relaxing and I tried to get a few shots of the occasion as well. The X100F is perfect for this type of scenario since the 35mm (equivalent) focal length lets you isolate a subject while also showing plenty of surrounding context, which is what you see here. The sheep is clearly the subject of this image while behind it you can see students, a building, trees, and more. I shot this wide open at f/2.0 to get some background blur, which incidentally meant I had to use the electronic shutter since the mechanical shutter on the X100F has a max speed of 1/1000 second at f/2.0, but a proper exposure required 1/2000 second.

One thing you’ll notice about this photo is the colors look a bit…odd. Over-saturated, perhaps. I shot this in JPEG using the Velvia preset and I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out. It’s a little overdone for my taste, but rather than shoot and tweak in RAW I’m finding that I prefer to customize my JPG settings and just let the final picture be what it is. So this was definitely a learning experience for me, and it will continue to be so as I play around with the JPG settings.

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