A few months ago wrote a blog about “animal portraits” at the Franklin Park Zoo. Here’s the second part of this series from my visit last Sunday. Hope you like the photos.
For this photo shoot used a Canon 1Dx Mark II and a 500mm lens in order to fill the frame with the animals. At times, needed to use a 2x extender for shots at 1000mm. All the shots were taken “through the fence” wide-open in order to isolate the animal from the background. Used manual mode and kept the shutter speed as high as possible, and with the aperture constant, adjusted the ISO for the desired exposure. For composition, looked for a clean background with minimal distractions, as well as shadows and light to help draw the viewer to the animal in the image. Also watched the behavior of the animal before photographing it, so that I could get use to where the animal was going in order to plan the shot. However, despite all this planning, it was of course up to the animal to decide where it would be, and a little bit of luck to capture the moment.
Map credit – http://www.nhmountainhiking.com
Arrived at the zoo at the”zebra entrance” and headed to the Serengeti Crossing for photographs of the white-bearded wildebeest and Grant’s zebra. For the shots above waited for a wildebeest to enter the sunlight with a shadowed background, and exposed for the wildebeest in order to isolate the animal from the background. In the lower photo, I like how the wildebeest is looking to its left and far away into the light.
At this time of day, most of the zebra were near the water troughs or in the shadows of the trees. However, their was one zebra grazing on the grass near the bamboo forest, that caught my eye since it was in a pocket of light. Most of the time the back of the zebra was facing me, which wouldn’t have made an interesting photo. So waited for the zebra to move for a more interesting composition. Was lucky to have my eye in the viewfinder for this shot, when the zebra suddenly decided it had eaten enough grass, and walked down the hill.
After photographing at the Serengeti Crossing, headed to the Giraffe Savanah. Along the way, noticed a lot of people at the Children’s Zoo, with most of them viewing the black-tailed prairie dog exhibit. Initially went to the front of the exhibit and tried to photograph through the glass wall, since wanted to get low shots of the prairie dogs. However, shooting through the glass may it difficult to get sharply focussed photos. So looked around for a better vantage point. Noticed to the right side of the exhibit was fencing, which allowed me to get an unobstructed view of the prairie dogs. An added bonus were the yellow flowers in the background that formed a colorful background when photographing at f/4 for a shallow depth-of-field.
The previous blog was about the giraffe’s at the Franklin Park Zoo, so only included one photo in this blog. Here’s a portrait of the adult female giraffe, Jana, in the Giraffe Savannah.
Next went over to the lion and tiger exhibits, but at this time of day they were resting from the mid-day sun and were not very active, so went over to the Tropical Forest to see the Westland Lowland gorilla’s. The gorilla’s are very challenging to photograph due to the thick glass viewing walls and low light. To help get sharp shots, needed to push the lens right up against the glass wall.
On my way to the Outback Trail saw a peacock cleaning its feathers in the dirt. Was hard to get a clean photograph of the peacock, so focussed on its beautiful feathers shining in the sunlight.
Being from Australia, it was great to see some of the animals that I grew up with in the Outback Trail including kangaroo’s. The kangaroo’s were also resting in the shade from the mid-day sun, which was a great opportunity to get some back-lit shots.
Back at the Serengeti Crossing decided to put the 2x extender onto the 500mm lens for some full-frame head shots of the animals. The zebra were enjoying the green grass for lunch.
Watching the behavior of the animals in the Serengeti Crossing made me realize the ostriches were in charge.
One more photo of a wildebeest from the Serengeti Crossing.
Thanks for spending the time to read this blog about “animal portraits” at the Franklin Park Zoo. I plan to return to the zoo in the near future to take more photos of these beautiful animals.