Views on Zoo wildlife photography

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Overread, Aug 17, 2008.

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  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    continuation from here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=1351872

    here we go:

    I won't argue the legitimate front - when I go to the zoo I know I am not photographing wild animals in the wild (though many zoo animals are still wild) and I don't ever try to pass off my photos as anything but what they are - to me being able to manouver to a position devoide of manmade objects and without the smear of glass is a sign of some skill in the zoo field - different skills definatly to stalking an animal in the wild but none the less a skill.
    As for the prison effect I agree - I don't disagree that zoos - of any size - are like prisions and are not the best place for animals and that to be gawped at day in day out by kids, parents and canons (;)) must be torment. Further bordem in such confined spaces must be further tormenting to the animals - however I am under no illusions that zoos are needed to keep many species alive. Wild stocks are always under threat from habitat loss and damage as well as the risk from poachers/hunters as well as the ever increasing human encrochement on wild areas.
    Parks and nature reserves go a long way to help prevent these problems, but in many of these (Vastly too small) areas its very hard to balance the populations of species to keep the numbers always up without having a detrimental effect on another species. Thus zoos are needed as breeding grounds - to keep the stocks present and the genetic variety as varied as we can achive
    Its not ideal but it is a step forward
     
  2. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Cameras are just a recording devices. They record experiences we want to remember. Why is it not legitimate to record my experience of my visit to the zoo? Also why do you feel that it's acceptable to preemptively call people retards?

    Pretty lame IMO.
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It's not preemptive. I've heard all the excuses in the book. I still think it's preposterous.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think Bi wants you to start listing your personal reasons for in more detail
     
  5. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    • :biglaugh:
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Thank you for that.
     
  7. uplander

    uplander TPF Noob!

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    Sometimes when I open a thread in a wildlife galley and I see a shot that was taken at a zoo or a avariary or such I am a little incensed because of the time I put into getting shots in the wild. I don't begrudge them I just don't appreciate the shots as much.

    I would much prefer a less than sharp shot of something wild doing what it does naturally because i can get the feel of being there and sense the excitement of the moment. While ultra sharp candid / captive shot are nice also they just don't give me the thrill of a really superb shot caught in natural enviroments.

    I think instead of quantifying what is wildlife and not I would push for galleries and forums of " In habitat shots"
     
  8. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm glad you two have found each other.
     
  9. John_Olexa

    John_Olexa No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As a hard core animal rights activist. I much prefer Animal sanctuaries to Zoo's I don't like Zoo's as a whole. Some are better then others though. Sad point, there now more tigers in zoo's then in the wild. Might be the only way to see them ( and other animals) in the next decade unless something is done.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Originally Posted by Alpha

    As I've said before, going to the zoo to take photos of "wildlife" is like going to a prison to shoot portraits. Plenty of people here will disagree for many reasons. They're retarded. The people and the reasons. Not being able to afford an African safari doesn't make zoo photography any more legitimate as far as I'm concerned.

    Bring it on, zoo photographers! Or don't bother. I don't care.


    My reply, as I have also said before on this topic:

    Personally, I think prison would be an interesting place to do portraiture... the stories some of those faces would tell would be fascinating.

    Zoo animals are not wild animals, and are only called "wild" by marketers.

    Taking a picture of a lion in an enclosure in St. Louis is in what way less interesting than doing your 150th session of a primped out senior girl in the same ally you have shot the previous 149 sessions, or having her lean over on some big 3D "Senior 2009" prop?

    The answer is that every senior girl is different... just as every animal is different. I have seen a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of zoo critters, and I find it fascinating to see how very different they are from the previous ones.

    Here is an example. I was at the Knoxville TN zoo several months ago, and they have a white royal bengal tiger. Nearby there is a sign that says "don't use a flash, the tiger doesn't like flashes"...

    Well, since the tiger was behind a chain link fence, a flash would be pointless anyway, and I had already had my flash turned off. Still, I was using a 70-200 VR with an SB-600 sitting on top, and I walked over to the fence to see what I could see. The kitty saw me coming near it, and snarled at me when I raised my camera. It knew what the camera was, and could see the flash on it... It didn't know, of course, that the flash was off. I took one shot, and realized that I had to open up my aperture some because I was getting too much of the fence in it when all the sudden the cat jumped up, and ran as hard as it could, leaped, bounced off the fence and screamed at me from about 3 feet away. It then simply flicked its tail and trotted off.

    I didn't get a good picture out of the deal, but at least it was interesting...

    Most people consider the zoo a place to go to take the kids to see animals in cages... but as with most conventional wisdom, this is wrong.

    A modern American zoo is not a cage, it is a liferaft in the sea of biological destruction... and it is the only chance that many of these species have of being in exsistance in 100 years.

    For my wife and I, what we do has a higher purpose than just going to a park and taking pictures. We are deeply committed to conservation and the Species Survival Program of the AZA.

    We live in a world where bidiversity is being destroyed on a horrific scale, and the modern zoo system will save many of the species that are otherwise doomed to oblivion.

    For example, I have personally seen 42 amur leopards. While this in its self doesn't sound too impressive, keep in mind that there are only 250 known amur leopards in the enitre world... and the animal would already be doomed to extinction if it were not for the zoo system. There are still some in the wild (50 or so), but not enough to maintain a diverse enough gene pool for the species to survive.

    The pictures I take are used in educational materials about the animals. I supply the institutions with a complete set of full resolution photos for them to us free of charge in any of their promotional materials. I am working on a website that will index the pictures that I have taken so that school aged children can use them in their science reports.

    Yes, it would be better for me to live permanently on Safari in Africa to shoot these animals in the wild, I conceed that. But I am not a gabillionaire, so that just isn't an option.

    Personally, I think it is pretty good that we traveled across 17 states over the last two years on this particular project.

    For us, a trip to the zoo isn't at all about seeing some cute furry kitty in the cage, it is about trying our best to take amazing pictures that will make people who look at them say "wow, that is really neat, I want to learn more about that cat (or frog, or cow, or whatever it is)..." because the only way to save these animals is for mankind to fully realize their unique and beautiful natures...

    Sometimes the pictures are not all about the photographers...
     
  11. tkaat

    tkaat TPF Noob!

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    Just for knowing sake would everyone here be happy if those (people who go to a zoo take some pictures and drop them in the wildlife section) stop posting photos there and in another say like "I want you to look at my photo of a animal from the wild in a confined area smaller than my apartment I took" cause that what it seems.
    I know this is just some peoples views on what some poster "try" to pass off as a wildlife photo in your eyes. To some people going to the zoo is as close as they are going to get to a animal from the jungle or where ever, cause of what ever circumstance, and they feel as though they have accomplished something from going to the zoo and taking that photo of a once wild animal.
    I think I have a understanding of where both sides are coming from but you have to realize that everybody has their own way of thinking about what they are doing. Some people see caged animals as wild animals while some see them as what they are caged animals and so you are going to have some people take their camera to the zoo to go take a few pictures of the animals while others take their cameras to take pictures of their family. And with everything put there, there will always different people looking at it with different thoughts
    I personally see ,most, them as caged animals while others I feel are there to protect their existence :meh:
     
  12. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    Originally Posted by Alpha [​IMG]
    As I've said before, going to the zoo to take photos of "wildlife" is like going to a prison to shoot portraits. Plenty of people here will disagree for many reasons. They're retarded. The people and the reasons. Not being able to afford an African safari doesn't make zoo photography any more legitimate as far as I'm concerned.

    Bring it on, zoo photographers! Or don't bother. I don't care.

    Edit: I feel like nobody is going to say anything tonight but I'll check this thread tomorrow after work and there will be 30 replies.


    I dont know what your issue is with Zoo photographers. Some of us "Retards" dont have the luxury of travelling the world like you rich kids do, and can only photograph what we can get our retarded hands on. I take photos of what ever the phuck I feel like shooting and to have some dickhead Alpha-getti call me a retard cause like to shoot animals at the zoo. Glad to see your up to your same old moron self.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
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