You Belong in the Zoo
Last week I had the pleasure of photographing wildlife at the San Diego Zoo with my friend and professional photographer Ryan Beck for their Festival of Flight celebration. The Zoo is pretty big and if you are like me in that I like to visit certain areas a few times during the day as the light changes, it is going to take several days to get through it all. Fortunately, depending where you live, the Zoo offers a membership for $79 that gives you unlimited entrance to the Zoo and Safari Park for a year. On this outing I spent a lot of time in the Scripps Aviary.
One thing to remember about the Zoo is that you don’t need to wait until golden hours to do a lot of shooting because there are so many places that are heavily shaded that you can usually get great images at any time of the day. Another thing. Brush up on shooting through fences and around obstacles before you get there because there are plenty of great close up shots to be had that are through fence and wire mesh. I liked the aviary because of course there are no fences but also because it is heavily shaded and I like to shoot close to wide open for awesome backgrounds. The rain forest environment is great for that. If you have a chance to follow a feeding tour I highly recommend that. You are all but guaranteed to get great shots.
You will not need any thing longer than a 300mm lens for the most part and using a tripod is not a good idea either although I did use a mono-pod in darker areas frequently throughout the day without any issues or complaints.
One last suggestion – don’t limit yourself to any kind of wildlife. There are some many cute, kind, fluffy, colorful, or ferocious characters there that I think one should get a great image of everything.