This portfolio primarily consists of photographs captured at the Oakland Zoo in California. Photos taken elsewhere will be annotated.
The California Trail section of the Oakland Zoo opened July 12th, 2018 after many years of planning, financing and construction. It expanded the Zoo from 45 acres to 100 acres, making the Oakland Zoo as large as the San Diego Zoo.
There are basically five kinds of photos I shoot at the zoo. As an official Volunteer Photographer, while I often shoot for myself, I also shoot at the request of the zoo, or capture those images that I know the zoo might like. Often for Marketing or Membership, but also for the Education and Animal Care departments.
1. I try to shoot photographs of animals in such a way that it is virtually impossible to tell that they were not photographed in the wild. No fencing, platforms, or human artifacts of any kind.
That said, I watch for moments. It is always fun to capture a great photograph, but capturing a great moment is every bit as important.
2. I look for scientific, or educational photo opportunities. For example. getting shots of an animal with clear eyes, and with the Nictitating membrane covering their eye. I often put those shots together in a single photo for docents to use when interacting with zoo visitors.
3. Sometimes the zoo puts out interesting looking enrichment items, and there is value in having shots of animals interacting with these. A lion playing with a ball, for example. Or an elephant eating a watermelon whole. These are not found in the wild, but they enhance the animals well-being in so many ways.
4. I often shoot photos of animals interacting with their keepers. Some animals never have direct contact, some get quite a bit. I try to provide keepers with interesting shots of them doing their jobs. Especially during feeding or training sessions.
5. Special events and Docent activities are shots that the zoo likes to have photographs of. I do not intend to post those types of photos on this page because I don't get signed releases. The zoo can use them, I generally won't.
There are also the occasions when a zoo has a new exhibit, or building, and wants to have photos for their web site or Facebook page. I have been able to help a few students by supplying photos of animals as well as enrichment items.
As for my methods, I am quite often shooting as wide open as I can, as fast as I can, and with as long a lens as I own, in order to get through fencing or glass.
My walking around lens for my Nikon D750 and D500 is the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6
By the way, all text descriptions are under the photos, not over them.
If you just want to see a few of my favorites, click on the Favorites button instead.