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Zoo Photography With A Zoom Lens

Next time you visit the zoo make sure your zoom lens is packed alongside your camera and sandwiches.

| Animals / Wildlife

Zoos are great locations for photographers to have a go at wildlife photography. However, as they're popular visitor attractions it can be hard to get close to some subjects, plus walls, fences and glass also pose a challenge. However, packing yourself a longer zoom lens can make the task in-hand a little easier.

Why Take Only One Lens?

When you're walking around a busy zoo you don't want a large bag of kit getting in the way of others, plus it can be tiring carrying a bag full of kit around all day. By taking a zoom, which gives you multiple focal length options in one body, you'll be saving on space, weight and also time. Why time? Well you won't have to be digging around your camera bag every time you want to shoot at a different focal length, plus you often have to be quick when photographing animals and a zoom will allow you to go from one focal length to another with a simple twist of the lens.

A fast zoom, such a the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Sp Di David Pritchard recently took on a visit to Twycross zoo, will help when shooting through fences as the task of making them disappear becomes easier.

David says: "As long as the light is coming from the right direction, the fast aperture and minimal depth of field of the Tamron 70-200mm allows you to make a fence disappear entirely from shot. The high-quality glass takes care of the rest, picking out pin sharp detail. Similarly, dirty glass goes from being a distraction from the main subject, to a contrast-reducing soft-focus filter, as in this shot of a female Bonobo."

Zoo Photography With A Zoom Lens: Bonobo

Photo by David Pritchard


Why Long Reach Helps


As a visitor to a zoo, you're not only limited on how close you can get to your subject but you're often restricted on where you can stand and how much you can actually move around to find the best shot. This can mean you end up with shots of the enclosure the animal is in as well as the animal which are fine but often don't look as natural. However, with a zoom lens that has long reach you can easily focus on an area of interest, excluding the surroundings and creating a far more interesting shot in the process. Cropping in will give you a shot that has more impact and won't include distracting elements around the frame, too. 

Zoo Photography With A Zoom Lens: ElephantPhoto by David Pritchard


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NDODS Avatar
13 6.4k 131 United Kingdom
9 Aug 2013 3:42PM
An interesting article...

Regards NathanGrinGrinGrin

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