Getting Good Photography at the Zoo

2015 Lowry Park Zoo-126

Flamingos behind chain link at smallest opening (f32)

Good photography at the zoo can be daunting. The Zoo is one of the places where you really need a camera with both aperture and shutter priority.

Because the animals are behind grates, chain-link or glass, getting the photo you want can be difficult. Luckily, by controlling your depth of field, you can often make grates and chain-link disappear as though they weren’t there!

I will generally preset my camera at the lowest f-stop on aperture priority, and at 125th sec on shutter priority. With these preset, I can usually get any picture I need by simply switching back and forth between aperture and shutter priority. I use aperture priority to shoot animal behind grates, screens and glass. Because of the very narrow depth of field at maximum aperture opening, the screen/grate/glass is thrown so far out of focus that it disappears.

The picture at the right was taken behind a chain link fence. The picture is ruined by the fencing, but there is great depth of field. It was taken at ISO 540, 1/125 sec and f32. This is the perfect time to narrow the depth of field so that the fence disappears.

2015 Lowry Park Zoo-124

Taken with aperture opened to widest setting (f4.5)

I do not need a fast shutter for this picture, the birds are moving, but very slowly. the photo at the left was taken from the same location, but the setting changed to aperture priority as detailed above. The fence miraculously disappears! Naturally the depth fo field is now very narrow. Not all of the Flamingoes are in focus. This yields a nice effect, and the background has a nice bokeh.

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Mike Cartwright

Mike Cartwright

Mike Cartwright is the principal photographer and has many years of experience shooting mid-level and high end homes. His Father was also a Photographer, and Mike started shooting and developing while still in grade school. His photos are published, has won awards, and have contributed to the sales of many homes. When it comes to architectural photography, Mike is a seasoned pro who can get the right lighting and angles to make your project "pop"!

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