Wildlife

Melbourne Zoo // January 2015

It has been blistering hot in Melbourne the last week or so, and so it wasn’t the best day to go to the zoo yesterday but my friend Nicole and I persisted. I’ve been waiting to go to the zoo for a long while – it’s a completely different skill set taking photos at the zoo to taking photos at a convention. I guess they both involve waiting for the right moment (which is fundamental in all photography) but there’s a level of patience required with taking photos at the zoo that you don’t have at cons.

I also find that the audience actually plays a huge part in how I photograph conventions, and I’m feeding off the push-pull between the crowd and the people on stage. Whereas a lot of times at the zoo I’m trying to filter out the other people around me – and usually trying to fight for space in amongst everyone!

And, in fairness, I haven’t heard on of an actor refusing to go out on stage because the weather is too hot, and this happened quite a bit at the zoo yesterday (It could happen though, never say never).

So I didn’t get a huge quantity of photos, but I was happy with the ones I did manage to get.

Lion resting at the new Lion Gorge, Melbourne Zoo

Lion resting at the new Lion Gorge, Melbourne Zoo

 

The heat was getting to everyone :( Gorilla, Melbourne Zoo

The heat was getting to everyone :( Western Lowland Gorilla, Melbourne Zoo

 

My favourite - Sumatran Tiger, Melbourne Zoo

My favourite – Sumatran Tiger, Melbourne Zoo

 

Capuchin monkey, Melbourne Zoo

Black Capped Capuchin monkey, Melbourne Zoo

 

And, funnily enough, I ran into a Canon photography club a few times as we were walking around and they were all carrying these massive L-series super telephoto lenses, something like this, and I felt very jealous and very inadequate!

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo” Paul Simon

As promised, I have edited some more pictures from my trip to the zoo.

A playful Orangutan

A playful Orangutan

Among the treetops

Among the treetops

Basking in the sun

Basking in the sun

I’m rapidly deciding that the Sumatran Tigers are my favourite. I love the environment they have them in at the Melbourne Zoo, it’s beautiful. And the two male cubs who were there on the day I took photos were gorgeous.

A cool drink

A cool drink

I’m really trying to be conscious of not “over-processing” my photos too much, but the temptation is definitely there. I’m also trying not to compare myself with other photographers, but that is going to take a long time to grow out of.

Baby Elephant Expedition

On the morning of the 17th of January, 2013  Royal Melbourne Zoo celebrated the arrival of an 130kg baby elephant calf born to Asian Elephant Num-Oi.

Both Mum and bub were doing so well, that on the 19th and 20th people were invited to come and see the baby elephant getting used to his new environment and bonding with Mum. It was a bright Summer weekend in Melbourne, and still school holidays so I knew it would be busy. But I couldn’t resist an opportunity to try to take photos of the new arrival!

On Sunday I dutifully trooped into town with all my gear and stood in line with everyone else waiting to get a glimpse of the little guy. He didn’t disappoint!

The new arrival!

The new arrival!

He seemed a little unsteady, and stuck close to Mum the whole time. She was very protective, and it was lovely to see them bonding.

Hiding with Mum

Hiding with Mum

It was a uniquely challenging photo experience. It was so bright and the glare from the sand (not to mention the dust clouds Mum threw up to keep the baby cool!) made visibility difficult. It was so crowded too, so finding a good shooting place was difficult. But I loved it, and I’m glad I went.

I took other photos while I was there, which I will blog about soon. I need to keep finding these opportunities around to keep shooting. That’s my battle cry this year – Keep Shooting!

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Everything I’ve read has said that Wildlife photography is both one of the most popular forms of photography and also the hardest to break into. It is expensive both financially and time-wise, and there are very little avenues for one to make a living from it, unless you are lucky enough to be discovered by National Geographic or Discovery.

But I still love going to the zoo and taking photos. I find it both relaxing and challenging. It helps me to slow down and concentrate, to take differing conditions and make them work. To make it look like the pictures aren’t taken at a zoo takes a lot of work. I’m constantly awed by the animals and feel very humbled taking their photographs.

Beautiful Gorilla, Werribee Open Range Zoo

Werribee was a completely different experience than Melbourne Zoo. It felt less “caged”, and I could get really close. It was a very rainy day, so there was hardly anyone around. I felt very free to take my time, to sit patiently and watch for the right behaviour/mood/frame. It was one of the best experiences I have had photographing so far. A perfect precursor to how hectic the next few weeks will be :/

Majestic, Werribee Open Range Zoo

Hippo, Werribee Open Range Zoo

For more of my wildlife (and other) photography check out my portfolio – Stardust and Melancholy Photography