While I love to visit the zoo on warm summer days, I usually don’t come home with many good pictures, and the reason why can be summed up in one word: Strollers. Anyone who’s visited a museum, zoo, or other such institution with me knows that the never-ending sea of strollers is pretty high on my list of pet peeves, and on at least one occasion the shuffling mob gave me a migraine and sent me off home. There is an easy way to avoid this, however; visit in the wintertime. The above photo is of Zeff, a 14-year-old female Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), taken right around 10 AM on a cold February morning last year. As you can tell by Zeff’s breath in the picture, it was quite chilly indeed, about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but I had the “Tiger Mountain” exhibit all to myself and shot some halfway decent photographs. Even better was the fact that Zeff was communicating to another tiger in an adjacent enclosure, the condensation from her breath clearly visible as Zeff called to the other cat (it’s a sort of low-pitched “awwrrrroo” sound). In any case, some of my best experiences at zoos occur between December and February (which is when I haven taken some of my most favorite photographs), and even though I’m no fan of the cold, it’s worth venturing out into it if I can almost have the zoo all to myself.