A zoo is a fantastic place to practice some photography; very interesting subjects and they’re usually pretty close to you. The money you pay to get in and that you spend there is often used to support global conservation efforts too, so it’s a great day out that helps the world.
While in Hamburg I went to the city zoo, where the Orangutans had an exhibit.
I think they are probably my favourite of the great apes, and this male in particular was watching us as much as we were watching him. Standing face on and with a 300 mm lens I was able to close out the unnatural background and capture quite an intimate candid shot as he watches the world go by.
The image is quite highly exposed, but I think the slight washing out of the background enhances the impact of the orangutan by taking away distracting detail. We are drawn directly into looking at him, and marveling at the detail and texture that is revealed in his beautiful face.
I think the fact that he isn’t looking directly at me adds some life to this image. We can see he is looking to the left of the frame, and that makes the image a little more dynamic; what is he looking at?
On a technical note, the light here was terrible. I had to shoot at an ISO of 1600 which is enormously outside of my comfort zone in terms of image degradation, but as a web image it works – print this for a wall and I think the quality would be missing.
I think it’s worth it though, to have a record of such a stunning animal.
Visit a local zoo, take some great images and see if they offer opportunities to get involved with some kind of conservation