How many of my fellow photographers that have taken my online class with the PPSOP, or been with me in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet can afford to go photograph wild animals? Probably not that many, and fewer still can get away for that long.
For the ones that can, and I’ve know several friends that have gone to Africa on a Photo Safari, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll even come back with pictures that were worth the cost. You’re in a special truck with lots of other people shooting, and the time of day is not usually the most advantageous for quality light or seeing animals moving around in their natural habitat. I’ve been told that when they went out a lot of the animals were sleeping in the shade of a very hot sun.
Well, here’s a good idea that will dazzle your friends and at the same time give you an idea of what it would be like to photography exotic animals… go to your closest zoo!!!
Yes, I know it sounds dorky, dumb, and a host of similar adjectives too numerous to count, but I can tell you from experience that it can be a lot of fun. One gray day I was kind of bored, so I picked up my camera, my tripod, and my longest lens and headed to the Houston Zoo. I had no idea if it was going to work out or what I would come back with, but before long I was having a great time; I was in Africa. The key for me was to make sure the animals looked like they could have been free and wandering all around me, which meant to not show much of the environment…as in cages or walls with moats around them.
With my 300mm lens always set on F/2.8, I could knock everything out of focus except for my subject. I wondered around the zoo several times hunting animals. Since I had gone on a weekday morning, I felt as though I was wandering around in the jungle all alone, and it was great. It felt as if the animals sense this and acted as if they were also alone in the jungle. It was a great experience, and one I plan on repeating; now that I know what to expect.
You should give it a try sometime. Your friends just might start calling you Bwana!!
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I still have a couple of openings for my “Springtime in Portugal” workshop, and my photo trip in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.