Well in fact yes we are….
Last week I hosted a group at the San Francisco Zoo on behalf of the North American Nature Photography Association and their Meetup program. I also offer this as a free “meet and greet” as part of my own field workshop program.
As I have written in past articles, the Zoo is a wonderful place to practice your photography skills for wildlife as well as observing animal behavior. Mind you, I realize these are not the same behaviors you’d find in the “wild” but its a great place to start.
Additionally it offers the opportunity to explore many other photographic skills. When I first meet with a group I explain that we all know what a Giraffe, Hippo or Lion looks like. You can find one in any magazine or text book, or gee, even the internet!
So why not steer yourself into another direction? Have you ever taken the time to really look closely at an animal’s fur? Or a bird’s plumage? It can be amazing in its intricacies! The photo ops for this are unlimited, particularly if you’re into abstracts…
Take this (above) Marabou Stork for example…only a face a “mother could love”…
But what if you look at little closer. “Dial in” with a longer lens…see the picture within the picture.
Look at the intricate detail! The layering, patterns, textures, tonality. I called this one “Nature’s piano keys” because that’s what I saw in my “creative mind” when looking at this wonderful creature.
Here are some other examples.
The afternoon light on a tiger’s face… what is she thinking?
Or this feather pattern of a White Pelican…
And some of my favorite close-ups…a Flamingo preening it’s feathers (This print is on my wall)
The zoo offers many other benefits to a photographer, beginner or advanced. It can open your creative mind, particularly if you’re in a creative slump. Just dial in…put that long lens on and go for it.
If this appeals to you and you’re in the area, check out my dates at the Zoo and please join me. More info here