Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Cheesyman, Dec 18, 2009.
just some shots i got when i went chester zoo a while back haha
For me personally I like the lizard the best.
I think as a rule, it is best when you shoot animals in captivity you should get them in the most natural surroundings, in other words, avoid having a fence in the background.
ahh now they appear give me a sec- though it looks like it was a dull (tricky) day to shoot
Nope no such rule exists at all
About the only real rule that exists is that the eyes should be in focus - that is about the only major "rule" that wildlife photography has to it - most of the others are common elements that may or may not be used.
consider that many very famous and impressive works have been done in zoos and circuses which use the cages and bars as a key element in the composition. The key part is that its ideal to try and shoot so that each of the elements in the shot comtribute to the overall appearance and presentation - a wild background is not distracting much of the time and the viewer will focus on the animal - whilst an out of focus line of bars or fencing can seem to be a distraction when its not contributing to the main subject of the shot (the animal).
Out of all of them, my favourite would be the lizard. The only thing is that I feel like it could be a bit sharper or more focused. And it's a bit dark but that also adds a bit of a cool effect to the picture.
Panther - probably one of the stronger shots you have here - for although you have clipped theback and legs away it appears to be a more delibrate choice and the points where you have clipped are not unpleasing (least to my eye). You also have frame space in the direction that the cat is looking in which is always important. I might be tempted to crop of a small slither from the right side just to remove those hanging leaves and give that side of the frame a more open feeling to it.
Lion shots - cub and lioness - both of these are showing one thing that makes zoo photography hard, the wire caging. Sadly I know most zoos won't let you get right up close to the bars (which most times removes them totally) and that gives you those grey and less contrasy sections in the shot. I have had some good luck in the past by boosting the contrast in those ares of the shot only (using a layer mask in editing) and you might get away with it in these two shots.
Overall I would have prefered to see the cubs paws a little more, whilst the lioness is showing a similar crop to that of the panther and she is looking right at you - which is aways very nice to have in an animal shot.
Robin - a good capture overall - the bars in the background are a sadly distracting though, but again you caught the birds attention and he is facing the camera in this shot. A bigger aperture (smaller f number) might have helped to get the bars more blurred, but the only other alternativ would have been to have shot from a different angle - something that is not always possible (especailly with birdies)
elephant - Overall I like this shot, you captured the motion well without blurring (not always easy on dull days) its only a shame that you chopped of parts of his feet and tail. The close framing is not bad in this case (personal feeling about the shot) but it would have been far better to have those missing bits in the final shot
Red Panda - cute shot and a neat capture of him doing something other than walking or lounging. The background bars again being a pain in the shot, but at least the foreground of the shot is not showing any effect (shot through glass?). Distractions other than that would be his clipped tail and that errant ear appearing below. Cropping the frame closer to his face might have helped since including all the tail would have had another face appearing which would have been cut off.
Lizard - about the only shot that I feel is not lacking in overall contrast, but sadly the auto focus has failed you on this shot, since the AF has gone for the closest part it can focus on, which has captured the lizards cheek and missed his all important eye. To get around this I will often shoot with just the middle AF point active - that way you can point the camera directly at the area you want in focus rather than have it guess. Another method is to use a smaller aperture (bigger f number) to get more depth into the shot, but that is always risky since it not only cuts down on your shutter speed (or requires you to use a higher ISO) but it also is not garanteed to work.
Little black monkey that I don't know the name of - a very cute shot - though with the angle of his gaze its calling out for more frame in the right and upper sides - since our eyes follow where he is looking its more pleasing if we don't reach the edge of the shot too quickly. Would have been great if you had got his attention facing the camera with that pose, but we can't have everything. (sadly)
Penguin = EVIL!
Overall - the dull day has sapped some of the contrast and colour out of things I feel and a little boost to contrast in most of the shots (plus a little saturation) would give them a little lift and a bit more punch to them. Also they appear to be quite dark overall - are you perchance using a flatscreen (LCD) monitor to edit these shots one, because many of them run very brightly.
What would be the purpose of having the fence in the background? Why would you WANT the fence in the background? SO imo when taking zoo shots be patient and wait for the animal to get infront of a more natural surrounding avoid the fence, it makes no sense to have it in the picture.
Fence in the background is harder to work with, but I am sure there is some creative way to work it into a zoo shot. Chances are most people won't see that shot or desire to create it since many who shoot at zoos still want to present the animal in as natural an evironment as possible, but that does not mean that it is the only way to present the animal
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