Sunday, June 6, 2010

Your own low cost "Photo Safari"

For those photographers who dream going on a photo safari or those who are fortunate enough to afford the high cost of a photo safari nothing better than the local Zoo to practice some of your photo techniques.

Yesterday I went to the local Zoo in Calgary, Alberta and took some shots of the exhibit and the animals. The greatest hindrance to doing photography in a Zoo environment is dealing with 2 kinds of human elements. One being the people frequenting the zoo. However small children's interaction with some of the animals can provide some unforeseen photographic opportunities. Usually with patience you can wait long enough for crowds to clear so that you have the ability to get the POV (point of view) that you require to take the shot. The other element a photographer has to do deal with are man made objects such as structures like buildings and fences that limit your compositions and interfere with the content of "the frame".

Usually you can move around to change your POV to enable you to get the "shot". But with chicken wire fences this is impossible. Don't fear there is a workaround for those pesky chicken wire fences its call depth of field. If you have a high quality "fast" telephoto lens with an F-stop in the range of F2.8 to F4.0 the smaller the number the better you ability to blur out those lines between your subject and the fence. This work around is only effective when the distance between the lens and the fence is fairly close and the subject of the photograph is some distance from the fence. Experiment with this technique and you'll be surprised by the results.

Some of the animals are allowed to roam around the Zoo boundaries which makes for fantastic opportunities. The Calgary Zoo allows Peacocks to roam around the Zoo and allowed to strut their stuff.

I knew I would enjoy the experience so much that I paid for an annual membership and I plan to return throughout the year. Especially in September as one of the Zoo employees mentioned that there are a lot of offspring in September and that the baby Peacocks are allowed to roam as well.