Zoo Challenge – How to shoot animal?

Sony Malaysia organizes outing for Alpha user in back to back two weekends. We are the luckiest one. The outing not just a user gathering but prize is given to the best photographer as well. Before be at Zoo Negara Malaysia, it’s good to do some homework on shooting technique. I got few tips from net and books.

  1. Shoot from creative angle. Let’s say from animal eye level and not from top looking down at the animal.
  2. Close up for animal expression. They are some identical moment of each species.
  3. Use fast shutter speed since animal like to move around very fast. 1/125 is the minimum.
  4. If you are close then please don’t flash, otherwise you are not just scare them away but make them blind too L
  5. Set your camera to vivid saturation mode for more colorful images.
  6. If you have telephoto lens, use it. 75mm (or 4X zoom on normal camera) is very short for zoo shooting. (I know because I was limited to that, wish to have a 200mm on hand)
  7. Isolated the man made objects from your subject to make it look natural. (Don’t shoot the cage and fence if you manage to)
  8. There are many flora and ponds to use with your creative composition. Try it.
  9. Be simple. Not just photography but applies to your shooting gears too. Carrying unnecessary weight will send you home earlier.
  10. Be patient. Animal might not pose for you. Shoot and re-shoot.

We were given two hours to get our best shot. Unfortunately my long telephoto lens broke down at event started moment. I forced to use short telephoto lens to complete my assignments. Last time I been here was 5 years ago, but nothing change beside the KFC trademark restaurant has closed down. Pingu family (penguin) left two. Other animal has reached heaven, I think. I managed to walk the whole zoo in two hours. From there you can guess how small the zoo is or how not interesting it is. Finally I submitted a western cowboy look photo for contest. Not paying much hope on this since I was limited by the shooting range. I agreed I lost my patience to wait animal posing 😛

Some participants did come out Nat-Geo quality photos. The grand prize is Cybershot camera and runner-up gets a photo backup hard disk. No Alpha lens given as prize, kind of surprise for us. However, Zoo Outing should be fun and who care about prize? Then story continue at Ampang Boom Store which serve the best nasi lemak as rewards.

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