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newbieman
05-09-10, 18:35
I have been doing zoo photography for about 18 months with a 55mm film camera I now have a digital Nikon D60 I was wondering if you good people could give me some very helpful tips when photographing animals at zoos.
By this I mean what would be the best lenses to use, What type of steadying tips, What are the best ways to take images, well basically any tips would be helpful
many thanks for your help in advance
Adrian

yelvertoft
05-09-10, 19:38
Hello Adrian,

Firstly, what kind of shots are you looking to get? For example, If you want tight cropped close ups of animals faces, then you are going to need longer lenses than more general portraits of animals in groups in the context of their settings.

What equipment have you already got? In what way do you feel it isn't good enough?

Without knowing what you're trying to achieve, it's tricky to advise how you can achieve it.

Vanatoi
05-09-10, 22:10
Hello,

Magazine 'Digital Camera' - issue 100 - june 2010.
Site 6 - Instant expert, Master zoo photography -

Don Hoey
07-09-10, 14:19
s you have not posted any pics in the gallery it makes answering this a bit tricky. I have found a related thread in the 'Wanted' forum that gives an idea of your kit and circumstances.
http://www.worldphotographyforum.com/showthread.php?t=5154

As Duncan has said it would be helpful if you could expand on your experiences of zoo photography to date.

Don

robski
07-09-10, 15:23
Much depends on how photo friendly the zoo is. One of the biggest proplems is get a clear shot through railings, fences, mesh, dirty glass windows, etc.

newbieman
07-09-10, 19:38
Hi there everyone I have in the past had problems taking action shots with my Nikon D60in action mode, also when shooting in dim light against glass I have very poor quality images
I am just a beginner in the field of digital photography so as much help from everyone would be gratefully recieved

Don Hoey
08-09-10, 17:33
Dim light on its own is not a great deal of help as only you recognise how dim, dim actually is.

However Stevie and I have been to Banham Zoo in Norfolk a couple of times so I have been looking at the exifs. This is something I really think you should do to see what ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture combination the camera set for your very poor images. With your camera you should have also got a copy of View NX software. If you look art the screen grabs here you will see a tab on the left side of the screen " Camera Settings". Click that and as you click on any image the settings for that shot will be displayed. Personally I hate the various Icon programs as it makes for sloppy shooting. You do really need to be able to see what combination of ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture you are using to maximise the number of good shots you get. Stevie uses Program mode but she is now in the habit of using 'program shift' to select the best combination of shutter speed and aperture for any shot.

Back to our Banham experience then we go through the whole gamut from bright sun to deep shade. I am guessing you may be referring to the equivalent, or even worse light, than our in shade Fennec Fox, for your dim light images. Looking at the ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture settings then as your lens is f4 at 55mm but f5.6 at 200mm I would suspect that the shutter speeds in your exifs will be very low.

Without support for your camera, there is an old approximate rule for handheld photography to avoid camera shake, of the minimum safe shutter speed equaling the focal length of the lens.
Two things here.
1) That does depend on how steady you are. Some people can go below it and others like me have a safe limit well above it.
2) Due to the magnification factor of your sensor you have to multiply any focal length by 1.5. This means when your lens is at 55mm your safe shutter speed handheld would be 1/82.5 sec or 1/125 sec in round numbers.

Look back at the action shots you refer to and I will bet low light is the problem. In low light subject contrast is reduced, and if the long end of the lens is selected then the autofocus is working at its limit of f5.6 and that could lead to errors. For handheld at 200mm you should be using a shutter speed in the region of 1/250 sec +.

If I am right about the shutter speeds then you have to think about support, and the cheapest option is a monopod. They are less bulky than a tripod and quite useable in a zoo environment. If you do get one then don't get the thinnest lightest one as they are just a waste of space. You need something robust enough for you to put some hand weight on the mounted camera for extra stability in low light situations.

I look forward to your response in regards to your duff shots.

Don

Don Hoey
08-09-10, 17:43
.................I am just a beginner in the field of digital photography so as much help from everyone would be gratefully recieved

Maybe worth your while reading Duncans threads on
Shutter Priority Mode http://www.worldphotographyforum.com/showthread.php?t=604
Aperture Priority Mode http://www.worldphotographyforum.com/showthread.php?t=414
Manual exposure http://www.worldphotographyforum.com/showthread.php?t=125

Feel free to ask questions if you are not sure of the relationship between ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.

Don

surfg1mp
08-09-10, 18:10
Thank you don for that gem of info.....ie the 1.5 crop factor needing to be included to work out shutter speed to avoid camera shake. Didnt know that.

However i do seem to be able to get sharp shots if i match the focal length with shutter speed, its still interesting to know that and it does make sence.

yelvertoft
08-09-10, 19:21
However i do seem to be able to get sharp shots if i match the focal length with shutter speed, its still interesting to know that and it does make sense.

The guide Don is referring to is just that, a guide. Some people are better at hand-holding than others. Mrs Y has been known to get acceptably sharp shots with a 200mm lens at 1/15th on an APS-C sensor camera without any anti-shake features. I'm not so fortunate.

Don Hoey
08-09-10, 19:31
The guide Don is referring to is just that, a guide. Some people are better at hand-holding than others. Mrs Y has been known to get acceptably sharp shots with a 200mm lens at 1/15th on an APS-C sensor camera without any anti-shake features. I'm not so fortunate.

:D :D :D
Somewhere there is an Andy Bright shot that is super sharp yet taken at a ridiculously slow shutter speed. I remember Foxy commenting on it.

I found when I moved from a 6mp sensor to 12mp I had to add another stop to my safety level, so resorted to using at least monopod when a tripod is not necessary.

If in doubt doing a few tests to establish your own is easy enough.

Don

Don Hoey
08-09-10, 19:36
Somewhere there is probably a thread that refers to program mode and how it selects aperture and shutter speed. I have just found this graphic I drew up in 2007 that may be of interest in this thread.

Don

Don Hoey
08-09-10, 19:46
Somewhere there is an Andy Bright shot that is super sharp yet taken at a ridiculously slow shutter speed. I remember Foxy commenting on it.

Don

I knew I would find it sooner or later :rolleyes: :).
Post #33 in this link
http://www.worldphotographyforum.com/showthread.php?t=1065&page=4

Don

newbieman
09-09-10, 07:40
Many thanks to everyone that's replied soem great information will be trying some new idea's next time I'm out but please keep the info coming