If you are planning to take an African safari to photograph wildlife in Kenya, Tanzania, or Botswana, start by applying for or updating your passport and then getting in a few days of practice at your local zoo. A trip to a zoo will give you the opportunity to learn how to operate your camera properly so that you can capture the best possible photos of all the creatures you will find in the wild. Even if you have no plans for international travel, a photo trip to the zoo can be interesting and enjoyable. Most large cities and many medium-sized cities in the United States have a zoo. There are over twenty-five in the state of California, and over 2,500 zoos spread across the country. Do an Internet search to find the best zoos in your area.
I have visited several zoos recently to expand my wildlife photo collection and to take notes on some tips that may help you with your photography at the zoo. Some zoos are focusing on and doing outstanding work at restoring endangered species with breeding programs and returning virtually extinct wildlife to environments that are being cleaned up and preserved. Zoos used to have long rows of cages keeping their animals “behind bars.” New zoos have been totally redesigned to resemble their animal’s natural habitats. A few safari parks scattered across the United States are offering guided tours through expansive environments with a variety of large animals, like elephants and giraffes.
Issue #143 - Photographing Wildlife at the Zoo covers the highlights of my local zoos, from San Fransisco to Los Angeles and Sacramento plus tips on thirteen other zoos scattered across the country. This issue has tips on improving your exposures and the most important tip (on page 8) that will guarantee sharp images.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.