Visits to the zoo are a good source of inspiration for photographers, but can be frustrating as there are many obstacles: windows, cold and artificial lighting, fencing, crowd, little natural scenery, etc. Many of you ask me questions about the photograph at the zoo. So I'm going to reveal my little personal techniques to circumvent these problems or to accommodate. I'll even show you what not to do Here are 5 tips from my experience.;)
1. How to snap through the bars and fences?
Here is "my recipe", the technique I use to remove the bars or mesh. It is necessary :
1. Approach the bar or wire mesh,
and try to place the lens maximum between the bars.
2. Favor a low depth of field
so that the bars can be found as far as possible in the gray area, and therefore almost invisible. To reduce the depth of field, select the mode Priority Aperture. This mode is called A or Av depending on the brand. Then select a big opening when choosing a figure F / that is as small as possible. Example: F.3.5, F / 2.8, F / 1.4, etc.
3. Choose a long lens
In other words, "zoom". Indeed, the focal length also affects the depth of field and therefore the importance of vagueness.
4. Choose the animal's position
If possible, shoot an animal that is away from the fence. Obviously, you have little leverage to dictate to an animal laying that would suit you ;) but sometimes it is simply to spot repetitive motion of the beast (back-and-forth for example) to photograph when she is far from the bars.
The purpose of these 4 maneuvers is to place as much as possible the fence in the gray area to make it as invisible as possible.
Proof by example
2. How to snap through the windows?
Obviously, photographed through glass is easier than through the bars or mesh. But there are two big pitfalls: the tasks on the glass, and above all the reflections!
How to remove stains on the glass?
The problem of tasks is that they act as a filter on the image, which appears blurred. The first thing to do is of course to move to try to find a place without a job, or with less duties. If you do not have another way to photograph through a dirty glass, then use the same technique as for the bars that of the shallow depth of field: put yourself in priority fashion to the opening ( a or Av) and zoom (to use a long focal length).
How to work around the problem of reflections in the glass?
The reflections can come from the sun or lighting but also (most actually), other visitors passing by the window. If you have at your disposal a polarizing filter, use it, because it significantly reduces the effects of reflection. If you do not, then aim at your subject, and in your sight, watch the highlights. It is now a waiting game: do not move, and wait for visitors in your back go their way, or so expect a visitor dressed in dark. The reflection will make it much less visible.
Finally, if really it is impossible to eliminate glare, so make sure you integrate your framing! It's easier than it sounds.
Proof by example
Here's an example, photographed at Beauval zoo. The crowd was so dense that it was impossible to avoid reflections of the visitors, despite my patience. So I chose to integrate these reflections, provided they do not spoil me: a beautiful green snake. So we see the reflection of a busy dressed in white, but is positioned so that it fits the decor. If you do not know, we do not notice:
Here is a second example, where will you find the reflections on the glass in this picture are? ;)
Also, remember to use the aforementioned technical (shallow depth of field + long focal length) in order to blur the reflection maximum.
3. How to arrange with the decor? / What you should not do
In zoos, the decor is not always very credible nor flattering. The decor of the enclosure itself, but sometimes the surrounding landscape.
All played at framing
Do well around your viewfinder, and do not integrate as part (even in the background) elements such as the door of the enclosure, a poorly imitated rock fences, visitors, a bowl food, or the houses in the distance, the sandwich of the zoo, the service door to the bottom of the enclosure, etc. Here are some examples of what not to do:
These examples you may seem obvious, but unfortunately a lot of people do not pay attention to these details. Sometimes attention you lose a little and concentrate on animals, we forget to check the environment, including the background.
But when they appear in the image, these elements completely out of the viewer animal atmosphere and make the difference between a good photo and a totally banal picture.
4. What focal priority for the photo at the zoo?
You'll understand when reading the above lines, I suggest you long focal lengths , to isolate your subject from the surrounding scenery, and minimize the visual impact of windows or bars. Opt therefore of focal lengths from 100mm and more: 150mm, 200mm or 300mm if you can when I go to the zoo, I photograph personally with: > a Sigma 70-200mm F / 2.8 when using my Nikon D3s DSLR, > with a 55-200mm Fujinon F / 3.5-4.8 (82-300mm equivalent on full frame sensor ) when using my hybrid Fuji X-E1 .
5. How to photograph animals?
Attitudes. It is important to be patient not to randomly shoot an animal. Not until an interesting attitude: a movement, a look, a funny or touching expression. This is a key point to get interesting pictures. Here are some examples :
For a pleasant change, consider talking photograph or graphic detail. Two examples:
Focus on massive hand of a silverback gorilla, Beauval Zoo. We guess the power of the animal.
Fujinon 55-200mm F / 3.5-4.8 to 150mm (225mm equivalent) - 1 / 125- F / 4.5 -. 500 ISO
© Clement Racineux / Tonton Photo
Focus on very graphic patterns of plumage of a brahma chicken mesh silver partridge. Zoo Champrepus.
Sigma 70-200mm F / 2.8 - 1/1600 - F / 4.5 - 500 ISO © Clement Racineux / Tonton Photo
If the decor or crowd you being able to take the animal as you'd hoped, operate your creativity by imagining other possibilities. One example of original framing:
Think of the post-processing from the view-to-grip can sometimes be more creative and come out different images:
And of course, also consider photographing the details to circumvent a complicated situation ! (I mentioned earlier)
In summary, out of pretty pictures from your visits to the zoo: > review it well your understanding of the depth of field , and the impact of focal thereon (by reading this article ), > prefer long lenses, > Think "animal photo" in tracking attitudes, looks, >, and the most important advice: treat your framing! Do not include items annoying reading the image, especially in the background.
I hope these tips will have you informed and even inspired! If you have any plans this weekend, so-programming a small photographic trip to the zoo! If you have other tips learned from your experience, share them in the comments! If you have any questions, ask them in comments also. Source and image by; http://tontonphoto.fr/