Great Locations for Outdoor Photography (Part 3)

Categories: Feature Tips

One of my favorite places to photograph animals is the Bronx Zoo in New York. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States encompassing 260 acres of parkland. With award winning, barrier free exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals, the Bronx Zoo offers superb photographic opportunities.

Here are my tips for shooting at the Bronx Zoo:

  • Preferred Lenses: 70-200mm, 100-300mm, 80-400mm, 300mm with a 1.4x teleconverter or a point and shoot camera with at least a 10x optical zoom
  • Carry a flash unit for indoor shooting and to use as a fill-flash outdoors
  • Photo opportunities are almost endless; bring extra memory cards or film and extra batteries
  • Try to visit on bright overcast or partly cloudy days to avoid harsh and high contrast light
  • Animals tend to be more active during the spring and fall when temperatures are cool, so plan your visit accordingly
  • Avoid the weekend crowds if possible. Admission is free (or by donation) on Wednesdays
  • Obtain a list of scheduled feeding times to get action shots of animals as they run for food
  • Watch the background (unsightly or busy backgrounds will destroy your images)
  • With telephoto lenses, work at the largest aperture available (f2.8, f4.0, f5.6) to throw distracting backgrounds out of focus
  • Use high ISOs of 200, 400 or higher to stop action and subject movement
  • Shoot at your subjects eye level or lower for dramatic portraits
  • Fill the frame with your subject (eliminate empty space and all signs of clutter)
  • Use a variety of lenses (or lens focal lengths) so your images don't all look the same
  • Use a polarizing filter to eliminate reflections when shooting through glass
  • When shooting through glass, place your lens right against it to eliminate reflections (bring window cleaner to remove smudges and finger prints from glass surfaces)
  • Arrive at the zoo early when animals are most active and when there are fewer people around
  • Wait for interesting behavior or a compelling expression before shooting
  • Obtain a map and concentrate on a few exhibits at a time. Don't try to cover the entire zoo in one afternoon or even in one day
  • Tripods are difficult to use when the zoo is busy; bring a monopod with an Image Stabilized or Vibration Reduction lens to eliminate camera shake

Red Panda, Bronx Zoo, NY, (copyright) Adam Turow

Nikon F100, Fujichrome Provia, Nikkor 300mm f4 ED IF



Gorilla, Bronx Zoo, NY, (copyright) Adam Turow

Nikon F100, Fujichrome Provia , Nikkor 300mm f4ED IF w/Nikon TC-14b 1.4x Teleconverter