Zoo Portrait

Dear J-

Typically when I go to the Zoo I come back with well over a hundred shots of various things — it’s not as impressive as it sounds, as I usually have my camera set for continuous shooting and therefore take two when I might intend to take one. Today I get back and there’s all of twenty-nine shots in the can, most triggered over the course of maybe ten minutes as we’re walking around. There’s several explanations that come off sounding like excuses — we’ve been there so often! I had to choose one lens! our hands are full with two kids! — but some days you’re not feeling it. There’s always people there surreptitiously eyeing what you’ve got and others swaggering around with red and gold-ringed lenses, bodies sporting vertical grips and motor drives popping popping popping along. I’m as guilty of spraying pictures as much as the next guy, but it’s not what I want to be remembered for.

I tried something different — pictures of people at the Zoo, and like all pictures of people it’s hard to not be too nosy or feel intrusive. But this is a perfect place for it: folks are engrossed in watching the animal antics that they’re relaxed and honest in their reactions. Kids running around and harried parents may not make the best subjects (or photographers) but there’s no pressure in it. Everyone’s got a camera out but they’re always trained on the animals — after all, why else do most folks go to the Zoo? There’s opportunities everywhere for photographs, if you keep your eyes sharp.



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