London Zoo, its full of kids right ? Super busy with small, sticky, hands on the glass enclosures, line ups to the food and drink spots and noisy, yet loveable, kids running riot everywhere. This makes it a challenge when wanting to practise your animal photography.
If this seems a little much for you, and it is for some, wouldn’t it be nice to wander the zoo where the only animals are in the enclosures? You need the Sunset Safari. This is the feeding time for the animals before they go to bed. Available only eight times a year, on selected evenings, the Zoo is open from 6:30pm to 10pm. Bars are set up around the grounds and adults are able to release their inner child with face painting, entertainment and science. I suggest the self guided tour which starts at 6:30 pm and costs £22.50 per adult as the best way to make the most of this for your photography.
Seeing the animals lazing in beautiful dusk light or preparing for their nights sleep makes for a great evening of photography when accompanied with an adult beverage or two.
I have posted previously how the Zoo is a great place to practice photography. Utilising the longest lens you have, you can play with depth of field while capturing the animals without the costs of a real safari. London Zoo treats the animals really well and is a popular destination.
Here are my suggestions on making better Zoo images.
Using the map, plan the way you wish to move around the enclosures. Pick your favourite animal first so that you can spend a little more time there, or to allow you to come back if that particular animal is not in sight at that time.
Look at how the animals are interacting in their surroundings, obviously this is not their natural habitat, but the Zoo does the best it can to emulate how the animals would live in the wild. Is there a way that the light falls, is there a different angle to everyone else or can you capture the character of the animal.
Practise your portrait photography.
Using a larger aperture and faster shutter speed see what you can capture. They say never work with animals and children, but why not try and make some interesting portraits of these constantly moving, models. Remember to focus on the eyes to complete the portrait.
Look harder and see if there is a way that the enclosure can be used to enhance an image. Are there colours or reflections that can be used.
Remember to savour some moments as not everything should be viewed through a viewfinder
Once the animals start to go to sleep, it is time for the adults to play. Live entertainment, shows, food and drink are a plenty and the atmosphere is a fun one. This is an ideal event for locals and tourists alike.
There are two more sessions left for this summer so make sure you don’t miss out by booking your tickets.
I am not affiliated with London Zoo, I just think its a cool thing to do and a great way to practise your photography with very different and sometimes challenging subjects.
Have you been to the Sunset Safari ? Have you photographed the Zoo ? Have any questions ? Get in touch.
And remember to follow my journey