What better way to spend a Sunday than at the zoo? On July 30th Aron and I met a wonderful group of photographers who were eager to learn the ins and outs of wildlife photography in a controlled setting. The zoo is a fantastic spot for people to hone in their wildlife skills without worrying about missing that once in a lifetime shot in the wild. Once everyone had arrived, Aron and I made our introductions and then learned about the group by asking them what cameras they were using and what they wanted to learn. Once we were all acquainted we headed into the zoo to see what the animals were up to on that foggy San Francisco morning.
The first stop was the patas monkeys. When we approached the area, the monkeys were nowhere to be seen so we took the group around to the other side and found a few moneys hanging out in the trees and bushes. This was the groups first chance to shoot some unobstructed animals. Aron and I answered questions as they arose and then took the group towards the big cats. We didn’t get very far though before we were distracted by a beautiful male peacock, and of course, you can’t pass the penguins without saying hello to them as well. After two brief sidetracks, the group had finally made it to the cats. First on the list was a sleeping tiger. I was not discouraged by the sleeping cat though since this animal is always sleeping. We strolled over to the Lions next and much to our surprise, these magnificent beasts were very active moving around their holding area and letting out a few great roars as well. We spent a decent bit of time with the cats before making our way over to the grizzly bears. When we arrived the bears were nowhere to be seen, but then we spotted one posing on a rock around the corner. The group headed over to get some very intimate shots of the massive animal.
Soon, our stomachs were roaring and we decided it was best to head to the Leaping Lemur Café for some grub. Once we finished lunch we visited the Flamingos just outside of the café. Although these strange birds are fun to photograph, they sure do stink! Once everyone had their fill of flamingo stench, we carried on to the lemurs which are the playful mammal made famous by Disney’s Madagascar. The group shot the lemurs from a couple of different angles before we moved on to the Africa section of the zoo. The giraffes are always hit on this workshop. Sometimes we have to peel people away from these long necked landscapers but this group said goodbye quite peacefully. The last stop of the day was the gorillas. These huge primates were scattered about chewing on greens when we found them. The group had a great time photographing them from all different angles before we finished up with a group photo and said our goodbyes.
This was by far one of the most active days at the zoo that I’ve seen. Aron and I would like to thank everyone who joined us for the trip. Keep exercising those shutter fingers.
Until next time,
Mike, Aron, and the rest of the Aperture Academy team
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.