Doing something different
Over the years one thing I’ve tried to do is give myself an occasional challenge.
I’ve been to zoos many times. You already know my love for animals and wildlife. We have some amazing zoo’s near us that do incredible work with breeding programmes and saving endangered species, some zoos should be supported.
Anyway, I’m not here to extol the virtue of a good zoo, I’m here to talk about photography.
I have many a shot of tiger or a lion or a penguin or a meerkat, you know, the usual kind of zoo photos. Some are really good and I keep them, happy that I’ve caught something a bit different, most though get filed away under “seen it, done it before”.
So, this time I decided not to take photos of whole animals.
I gave myself the title Claws & Paws.
This would also include Talons and Hooves, it was just that they ruined the rhyme!
It’s easy to go to somewhere like a zoo and keep taking the same pictures. By challenging myself to look at a detail I found myself taking longer to take a photo and spending more time watching the animals, watching how they moved, how they stood and waiting for something that would make a good image.
This is why I love photography. You don’t just have to do what you always do. You get to take a step back, challenge yourself and look at the smaller details. By seeing the smaller things you can learn to appreciate the bigger picture.
Doing this project slowed me down, gave me thinking time and gave me a challenge. I took less photos then I usually would, but I built myself a little collection of something that was different to all the other photos.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy – there was a lot of blurred photos and a lot of empty photos where the creature suddenly took off out of the shot as I pressed the shutter button, or just moved slightly to do something. It called for patience.
The photo above of the talons on the tree is a prime example. These are the feet of a Hornbill that never stopped bouncing around it’s enclosure. I followed it around for a while and then found it always came back to this perch eventually. So I just waited. Eventually I got the shot.
Would I do anything with these photos? I’m not sure to be honest. It wasn’t producing any competition level photos or anything, it was about trying something that I wouldn’t usually and getting my mindset and eyes to think about things differently. I achieved what I set out to.
I did however take a full face photo of this little cutie – sometimes I just can’t resist.