One of the benefits of living in Memphis is being a few minutes away from a world class Zoo. For most people a Zoo will be their only opportunity to photograph exotic animals. Even though a Zoo is an unnatural environment artistic photographs of great impact are still possible.
A Zoo does not offer the challenges of photographing animals in the wild, but it has it’s own challenges that get in the way of making a quality photograph. I will be spending some time writing about how to overcome those challenges and make great photographs in a place that is accessible to many of us. I will discuss equipment, post processing, techniques, animal behavior, etc.
For me the goal of Zoo photography is to make a compelling image that; displays the beauty of the animal, generates interest in conservation and the Zoo’s mission. I understand that some people do not like Zoos so let me address that issue right now. Luckily Zoos have advanced and are not the places of small cages and little attention to the animals psychological needs they were 30 years ago. Many of Zoos, such as the Memphis Zoo, have created naturalistic and enriched environments for the animals in their care. Also the mission of Zoos have changed. Certainly they are still places for a family’s entertainment but most Zoos focus is now on education, conservation, and preserving endangered species, think of Zoos as DNA Arks. I believe compelling photographs also furthers the mission of Zoos.
For the next installment I will start with equipment for taking the best photos in a Zoo setting. I would encourage everyone to comment and/or send suggestions of topics you would like to see covered in this blog.