Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wildlife in the City, with your Pentax. (Recycled post)

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

With more than 600 posted articles in the past three years, it's inconceivable that readers would surf through all older posts. Some of those posts still apply to today, and in the future, I will be recycling some of the older articles.

We all dreamed at one time or another, as photographers (beginners or Pros), of getting an assignment from National Geographic. Wouldn’t it be cool to be sent on assignment to Africa or Australia to photograph indigenous wild animals? Well, give yourself the assignment. Surely, there is a zoo near you, at least closer than Africa. Visit your local zoo and photograph these wild animals in their natural habitat. "Yeah right you say! These animals are behind bars, surrounded by concrete walls, swimming in a concrete pool; that’s not what we call a natural habitat." Give yourself an assignment to take pictures of wild animals at the zoo, so that it appears that these animals are in the wild. It can be done. You just need to use the right equipment, follow a few rules and settings, and voila. It’s good if you have a fast lens, say f/1.8 to f/2.8. It’s better if you have a telephoto. It’s best if you have a fast f/2.8 telephoto. It’s perfect if your telephoto is a  PENTAX DA Star 200mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM Telephoto.

When photographing animals in a zoo setting, try to get close to your subject. Use a telephoto or you can crop your image later if getting close is impossible. Use the largest aperture your lens permits as this will make the background blurry and will camouflage man-made structures. Using the telephoto will help even more in that respect. Sometimes, shooting from a low point and looking up to your subject will help, as the sky likely looks the same in the jungle as it does in the City. Position yourself so that the background has as much vegetation as possible. When the background is blurry, vegetation looks the same as if it was from any continent in the world. If there is a chain link fence, put your lens right to the fence (except if the animals can reach) and center the lens with the chain link opening, to minimize seeing the fence. You can crop the edges of the image later on.

Don’t take foolish risks and do obey the park rules and regulations. I hope that by taking pictures of zoo animals, many of which are on the endangered species list, will make all of us understand how important these wonderful creatures are and how beautiful each specie is. Everyday, hundreds of animals are killed for profit or die from disappearance of natural habitat caused by humans. If they all disapear, we too will disapear, eventually. The whole planet is a delicate ecosystem.

Have a pleasant experience, and it would be great to see some of your pictures.
And this next picture, is from the animals' perspective. Another endangered specie.

Yvon Bourque
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