When you were a little kid a field trip to the zoo was always special. A chance to get close and personal with wild creatures was always welcomed as a child.
As we get older, sometimes we just don't get to the zoo. We may even have reasons not to go, 'I'm busy' or perhaps, 'Oh, I've been there a hundred times'.
If you haven't been to the zoo I would suggest you check it out again. Not only are the animals wonderful and fun to see as an adult with a different view on life and creatures than the eyes of a child, they are great to see through photographer's eyes.
On my recent trip to Hawaii, I had a chance to spend a morning at the Honolulu Zoo. I had a great time there seeing all the animals and birds and I even had a better time capturing them all in photographs.
When I shoot photos of animals I always work hard to try to capture their essence, their 'wild' in wild animal. The best way to do that is to not capture any human elements. By removing these elements you can make the photo appear to have been taken in the wild.
One way to accomplish this is by getting close to the animal, either physically or with a zoom lens. This does two things, one it will on its own remove human elements to the photo but the best part of these 'close' images is that it will show the viewer the great details that only by getting close and personal with the animals will you be able to see. This was the reason for going to the zoo in the first place.
In the series of photos I have posted here, you cannot see any human elements. I have printed them in Black & White to bring out details.
The image of the Black Rhinoceros recently won an honourable mention at a recent competition. The judge loved the image, loved the B&W and the details. Printed at 12 x 16 inches, the details in the skin and other areas are incredible. He also commented on how good it looked so close 'not' showing the usual entire horn. By backing away to show the entire horn, the details of being so close would have been lost.
The zoo was quite wonderful and well designed. Most animal had fairly large areas in which to roam, all but the elephants whom were chained in a small pen. Although this saddened me greatly, I was very happy to see that they had a very large new area that they were soon going to be moved to that would allow them to roam freely.
The image of the Elephant, even a chained one, could be that of a wild animal. Again, no human touch. The image shows the elephant spraying himself (herself?) with dirt. This image is a quick B&W that I have not had time to manipulate properly and so a bit of detail is lost in the highlights. Another project for another day when I'm not at the zoo.
Hope you enjoyed these images and hope they inspire you to get out to the zoo.
© 2008 Francois Cleroux
(Version 1.00 - November 2008)
Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.