Unfortunately we are not always able to jump a flight to the exotic corners of the earth to photograph some of the worlds most beautiful and elusive creatures. Fortunately though, you can get some images that would otherwise be logistically impossible thanks to local zoos. The images above are a few images I captured while at the San Diego Zoo last summer.
Photographing wildlife at a zoo does present some rather unique challenges since you are not shooting those images in the animals natural habitat. When shooting images at the zoo you have to deal with people, bars, glass, and other man made objects that detract from the essence of the wildlife. Here are few tips for shooting in zoos to get the most out of your subject.
- Chances are you will not be allowed to bring a tripod (check with your local zoo first to see if they will allow it, or see if you can score a permit), but a lot of zoos will let you use a monopod if you happen to have one.
- Consider shooting with the longest glass you have, this will allow you to get “closer” to your subject and fill the frame.
- Be patient, many times the longer you stick around the better shots you will get as you can observe the behavior of the animal and learn on the spot how best to capture a great image of your subject.
Bottom line…zoos are a great way to put you and your camera close to some of the most beautiful wildlife around, and if you are lucky enough to get a chance to photograph in the wild, the zoo might be a great place to practice your techniques so when you encounter your subject in the field you are ready to photograph!