Oregon Zoolights – Have Your Tools Prepared

ZooLightsTrain My wife received tickets, from her work, for the Oregon Zoolights, and the steam train that you ride around the zoo. Every holiday season the Oregon Zoo puts up lights, and you can get in and tour the zoo at night. It is really very nice, and the kids love it.

Nicole has been asking to go to this event for years, and we kept this trip as a surprise until the last minute. The following video gives a great sample of the lights that are on display at the zoo.

Nicole hasn’t been on the train at the zoo since she was four or so. On the way back to the station she commented, I remember the train being bigger, the ride being longer and this being more exciting. Besides her being a teenager we all had a great time. It was cold enough that you need to be bundled up, which definitely added to the holiday atmosphere.

So why the title having your tools prepared? I forgot to charge the batteries for my camera. I charged the alternate set, but I thought I had already swapped them out. As soon as I pulled my camera out and saw the location of the batteries – the official ‘I’m done, charge me location’ I knew the batteries were dead. A quick check before I left the house would have resolved this issue.

Let this be a cautionary tale about verifying that your tools are ready for use, wether it is charging the batteries for your camera or laptop, or ensuring you have all the cables for your camcorder. Your destination is the wrong time to find out you don’t have all the components you need.

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7 Responses to “Oregon Zoolights – Have Your Tools Prepared”

  1. Mike Goad Says:

    That is a good lesson. I had a similar lesson a 2 1/2 months ago.

    We took a long walk at Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone in September. It was a chilly but beautiful day with a lot of great images to shoot.

    It wasn’t until we were down the road a ways that I realized that the 4GB SD card wasn’t in the camera; the SD card is the only storage device the camera has.

    I had snapped some really great shots, but they weren’t recorded. An error message pops up on the LCD screen but I always use the optical viewfinder.

    Fortunately, we had another older camera with a lower capacity SD chip that I could use in my DSLR camera. A few shots later I realized that I had forgotten to change out the batteries.

    That’s OK. We still had the older 5 megapixel point and shoot Kodak. It takes decent photos, though it has limited capabilities. In fact, one of my best shots the entire trip was taken that day using it.

    Unfortunately, the saga wasn’t over. Towards the end of the day, we were hiking up from one of the viewpoints down a ways in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the batteries in the Kodak finally died. I had been nursing them along for a couple of hours by turning the camera off as soon as I was done shooting. Fortunately, the next thing on our agenda was to head back to the camper.

  2. teeni Says:

    Oh that is an awesome thing the zoo does where you are! We have a ski area out by us that does a light show every year that you drive through in your car – it is sort of similar. They have you tune your radio to a local station and it plays holiday music the whole time during your ride. I am going to try and get TGH to take me and the elderly neighbors for a ride to it this year.
    I’m sorry you weren’t camera-ready but I’m glad you were able to find that video to share with us. Point taken about having the equipment ready!!

  3. Thomas Says:

    Mike – Thanks for another great story, I hope we can use these to learn our lesson. We get in such a hurry sometimes we forget that 2 – 3 minute check while at home or base camp that would save all the heartache. It sounds like you were still able to get some great shots. I think I managed one blurry shot at the zoo before the camera died. My wife not normally a big picture taker managed to rub it in the rest of the evening saying things like, hey look, that’s a great picture, oh that’s right the camera doesn’t work. My wife can sure be cruel 😉 I think she is unused to my making mistakes like that, so when I do she needs to remind me that I am human.

    teeni – The ski area sounds really cool. We have a drive through area at the local speedway that sounds similar to what you are taking about. Portland is pretty festive over the holidays. Be sure to take your camera with fresh batteries for some good shots!

  4. Sassy Says:

    That’s so beautiful Thomas. Shorty would have a field day. The closet Zoo around us is in Birmingham Alabama. Over an hour away. Not a fun trip to take either. During the kids spring break I got lost and drove around for nearly an hour trying to find it. I missed the proper exit.

    On to the batteries. I got super smart. I have 8 sets of rechargeable batteries for my camera. There’s always a set or two or three charged up. I’m the only one that takes any pictures around here, no one else is allowed to touch my camera. LOL

  5. Thomas Says:

    Sassy – From what you have said, I think Shorty would have a great time at the zoo, and the zoolights.

    I do have multiple sets of batteries, and typcially when one set is drained, I put them in the ‘drained battery’ location in my camera bag. I failed to take care of this when I got home after my latest outing. When I left, I made the assumption that the batteries had been changed after my last outing, which is typically what I would do.

  6. Opal Tribble Says:

    They have something similar here in Maryland at the Baltimore Zoo. I belive they call it Zoo lights also. During Halloween they have something called “Zoo Boo” i think the name is cute.

    I can relate to not being ready. This morning I shot a video of my ferrets fighting over their raw meat. You should have seen the tiny snarls on their face and how they were all firmly latched onto once piece of chicken flesh although there were several other pieces in the bowl.

    The angry “snipping” sounds they made were price I went to upload the video and realized that I forgot to hit the play button to record the piece, Gah! Sighs…I’ll try again tomorrow.

  7. Thomas Says:

    Opal – The Zoolights were a lot of fun, you should definitely think of taking Aiyana, I bet she would have a blast. I think we have some type of Zoo Boo during Halloween here also.

    I am glad to hear that I am in good company when it comes to not having your tools set quite right. I am definitely looking forward to video of the Fuzzbutts, they always make me laugh! It is funny how animals will fight over the same thing, when there are other things that are exactly the same lying around.


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