Today I am welcoming in 2016 with a fun personal project.
A week ago I took my wife to the zoo for a birthday surprise. I decided to bring along my Sony A7s with a Canon 70-200L. My goal was to have a great time with my wife while also snapping a few photos. I am usually not a fan of zoo photos as they often look sad or caged, etc...
I wanted to try to capture them in a different light... Wild, happy, mischievous, or just a lazy afternoon.
Obstacle 1: shooting in a difficult setting where you may never see the animal, get a close enough shot, or have a bad background with buildings or people in the shot.
Obstacle 2: Using a Canon lens on a Sony body without a smart adapter. Nailing manual focus at 200mm f2.8 before the animals move on your perfect shot.
Obstacle 3: Trying not to ignore my wife and become obsessed trying to get the right shot.
We got pretty lucky with some animals being out and about. But per usual most of the big predators where sleeping away the afternoon far from view. All in all I am pretty happy with how the shots turned out under the circumstances and we had a great time which is the most important thing to me.
Aperture: Keeping the aperture at it's lowest setting (f2.8) so I could blur cages or plants in front of me and also blur backgrounds of the animal enclosures.
Shutter Speed: I used the shutter to control my exposure and also to be high enough to account for any movement on my part and the animals. I wanted to be able to get a crisp shot even if the animals moved right in the middle of my shot.
Shooting Low: When at all possible I tried to get as low as I could to be on the same eye level as the animals. Often times at Zoos you are looking down at the animals, I wanted to have more of a connection with them and the lens on the same level.
Focal Length: If I remember correctly all these photos were at or near 200mm. I wanted to really compress the image and isolate the subject. This also ensures most of the foreground and background will be out of focus.
A great fun exercise in shooting without having full control of your environment and subject. Check out the photos below and let me know what you think!
With over 8 years of experience in the film industry one of my biggest passions is giving back to the community. Visit, learn, share, love.