briankennedy.net - wildlife page five
Prairie Dog, National Zoo At the Zoo

Zoo animals are not "wildlife" because they are not wild. Consequently, wildlife purists frown on zoo photography.

Nevertheless, a zoo can be an excellent place to practice wildlife photography and to get used to shooting animals with a long lens. After I bought my first long lens, I immediately took it to the National Zoo in Washington, DC to the Prairie Dog enclosure, where you can get very close to the animals. The Prairie Dog and Panda shots on these pages were taken at the zoo.

Zoos present different challenges from shooting in the wild. The animals are typically behind bars, wire, or other barriers to prevent them from eating you. You are limited in the angles you may choose and the distance you may approach. The best shots are usually from as close as you can get and with the lens peeking through the wire or between the bars. If you don't want the shot to scream "zoo," avoid manmade objects in the foreground or background. With care, you can get some really nice zoo photos that are indistinguishable from those made in the wild. Honest photographers caption their photos to clarify that it was a captive animal.

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Landscape, wildlife, and travel photography. All images on this site (c) Brian Kennedy.
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