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Thread: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    I made a trip to the zoo today to practice. Did most of my shooting in Manual, concentrating on exposure and evaluation of tones to practice when to underexpose or overexpose.

    Most of these are just sharing - there are too many for real C&C. I got there as soon as they opened so I couldn't do much about the harsh light.

    Technically, I'm pleased with the Egret and the Porcupine - the extremes of what I was practicing. C&C always welcome.

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    I waited a long time for this little guy to move someplace interesting. Not exactly frame worthy, but fun.

    Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Hi Terri, one of the hardest things I find about zoo photography is getting a composition where the setting looks natural as you have done in #'s 1, 2, 5, and 7.

    For birds, such as in #1, I try to clone out the band as it is an eye-grabber and can detract from an otherwise excellent shot.

    In #'s 3 and 5, if you can subdue the busy background with a contrast and/or sharpness difference, it'll make the subject pop a bit more.

    I really like the three main characters in the last shot! If you have the skill, it might be worth doing a background substitution if you have a shot like #3 that is relatively clear of subjects. Sometimes when I get a shot like this and realize that an otherwise outstanding image needs a different background, I look for a close-by scene that I may be able to use in post processing. If you do, be sensitive to the background's distance, shooting angle, and lighting, particularly light direction so that these attributes match the subject image.

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    I really like the Tiger, his eyes are clear and I think the lighting helps to show him "on the prowl". For some reason, I always like Tigers in this kind of lighting. The last on of the Giraffe family is a marvelous composition. It's so easy to project human behaviors on the animals when they are so obviously behaving similar to us. It's as if the little one is looking-up and saying "Hey, I don't like being left out--I'm not a baby anymore!"

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Thanks Frank for your comments. I had not thought of cloning out the band.

    You are right about the backgrounds in 3 & 5. I will give your suggestions a try.

    I'm afraid my skill level isn't good enough for what you suggest in the last shot but it's a helpful suggestion to think about for my later development. The way that enclosure was set up, there just wasn't any good perspective with natural backgrounds for full body shots. But I couldn't resist trying to capture the behavior.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Gretchen, thanks for taking the time to view and comment.

    I love tigers and spent quite a bit of time trying to get a decent shot. He was moving constantly in and out of light and spent most of his time prowling up and down a fence with rare trips into this natural background. (Of course the best shots of him have that fence in the background.) I really should have changed to a shorter lens because when he was in this space I could barely get his whole body in at 100mm and therefore messed up some shots trying.

    That poor baby giraffe was the only little one in a land of giants. He was jostled about a lot. :-)

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Terri: I think that what you went to the zoo to practice on, manual shooting, exposure, and tonal range, that as was said in My Fair Lady "by Jove. I think she's got it!"

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Thanks Allan for your encouraging words. I do feel I'm starting to get it. It first started coming together in my landscape class a few weeks ago. I kept snapping a shot and then using my handy new loupe to view the picture on the LCD. My instructor told me to quit using the loupe and to think about the tonal range of what I was shooting and then to look at the histogram and think about whether it was distributed as I intended it to be. This along with a better understanding of how where you meter affects how you choose exposure has helped a lot. But this is definitely one of those areas that you can't just "learn" in class and then go execute. It takes experience and lots of presses of that shutter release! I'm getting better at spotting a bad exposure in the field rather than thinking I have a good one and then being surprised when I get home.

  8. #8

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    By Jove, she is getting it.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    ........... think about the tonal range of what I was shooting and then to look at the histogram and think about whether it was distributed as I intended it to be. This along with a better understanding of how where you meter affects how you choose exposure has helped a lot. But this is definitely one of those areas that you can't just "learn" in class and then go execute. It takes experience and lots of presses of that shutter release! I'm getting better at spotting a bad exposure in the field rather than thinking I have a good one and then being surprised when I get home.
    And that, in a nutshell, is what it's all about.

    Combine that with achieving a high level of satisfaction with compositional skills and you have the complete package.

  10. #10
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Allan, now you're just making me laugh. Thanks!

    Donald, I always appreciate you taking time to comment. If it was only as easy as it sounds!

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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Terri, Thanks for posting these photos. I started going to that zoo 65 years ago. Always loved the place.

    I agree with Frank that photographing so the animals look like they are in some kind of nature is the desired outcome. I find that a very difficult task. And given that I have lots of wildlife near my home I don't do zoos very often. However, I might change my approach after seeing your images. They are beautifully in focus and each one provides some information about the species at hand. I appreciate your work, especially given that it was done under difficult circumstances.

    Cheers, Chuck

  12. #12
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Chuck, your words are touching to me. Thank you so much.

    Isn't it great that we are fortunate to have wildlife visit us where we live? My husband and I don't camp near as much as we used to because we see far more wildlife on our front porch than we ever did camping and hiking. But I did enjoy my zoo visit. As difficult as it was to display a natural look, it still was a great way to concentrate on other things for practice.

    When you were here, did you by any chance visit the Denver zoo? I've been thinking of driving up there as I've been told that it has more opportunities to make the shots look more like the animals are in nature.

    Thanks again!

  13. #13
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    Re: Trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO, USA)

    Terri a very nice series, well captured. My favourite for 'expression' you were seeking has to be #6. Couould I suggest the shadow in the top RHS of the croc shot would be better cloned out? And whilst I loved the threesome like others I did have a bit of a problem with those cylindrical thingies near Dad's head. But great shots which I enjoyed seeing. Thank you for sharing

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