Thursday, June 17, 2010

Photographing animals at the San Francisco Zoo

Yesterday I made another trip to the San Francisco Zoo; this time to shoot images for an article I am writing for Lexar's Digital Photography web site. The article will give tips on how to better photograph zoo animals. I was hoping for some of that good ole' San Francisco fog to give me nice even light, but even though I showed up right at 10am (the opening of the zoo), it wasn't to be. The sunlight was pretty intense. But, I made the best of the situation and set out to capture some "good images" and some "what not to do" images. Here are some of my favorites.

I was the only one hanging out by this guy and I swear that he was staring me down.

I walked by the lion pen at least 4 times, and each time they were laying down in the back, out of site. Finally, on my last attempt, they had made their way back towards the front of the exhibit. This guy had his head down and, as I stood there waiting to see if he would look up, he seemed content to wait me out. I remembered a trick that I had used a couple of years ago. I pulled out my car keys and rattled them, thus simulating the noise that they associate with their keeper (and therefore food). That worked! He looked up at me numerous times and even got up and meandered around for a while.

Look - a three headed giraffe!

I used this image in my article to demonstrate the importance of focusing on the animal's eyes. I shot this at f2.8 to diffuse the background and draw the viewers attention to the bird.

This Mandrill, Jake, was my favorite subject at the zoo. He had great colors in his face and on his back side. I must have stood by his area for 45 minutes trying to get a decent shot of him. The bad lighting wasn't helping me in this quest. He must have paced around his pen at least 25 times before I left. I can not tell you how many times I heard kids walk by and say "hey - has a funny looking butt!". Too funny.

For the article, check out in a week or so.

1 comment:

bposguy said...

nice work, man. i don't know much about photography but i do film and edit video in final cut pro and can appreciate some good photography. i also use photoshop for applying filters to still frames. most of my stuff is artsy type music video stuff or wedding videos and photo montages. i posted a short video yesterday of an orange on if you'd like check it out. my site is more towards freestyle writing for now but i'll build on it and add some videos and what have you. so again, i give your blog 5 gold stars and keep up the good work. take care