Lion in a zoo
From Don Peters/ DPA instructor in Chicago
To view more of his images please visit http://digitalphotoacademy.com/portfolio/donald-peters/
I love shooting animals…with my camera. However, as a “city boy,” it’s tough. Sometimes I get out of town and actually find animals roaming about, but much more often, I find fabulous creatures to shoot at the zoo.
The challenge is to remove the “zoo” from the shot. Background is everything since often it’s something else in the frame that gives the zoo away. This problem can be handled somewhat by a blurred background (using a wide aperture (e.g. f/4), but if the animal is far away from the camera, the lens optics and the laws of physics often defeat that idea. So, I’ve found the key is to “zoom with my feet,” to move about to get that perfect line-up between the camera, the subject and a non-descript background. And, of course, some blur or other post processing technique can be used later to conceal any remaining clutter.
Here, this noble lion “cooperated” by lying stationary and I was able to position myself between he and some “zoo rocks.” My patience was rewarded when Leo looked my way for a moment and I was able to capture the noble “gesture” of the king of beasts, looking out over his kingdom. Patience is key in animal photography. We must patiently wait until that creature offers a gesture, or displays an attitude. Often this is a subtle thing. Taking lots of exposures will increase your odds of capturing “the moment.” (Nikon D300 with 18-200mm Nikkor lens at 200mm, ISO 400, 1/500 at f/4.5)