The Picture That Got Away

Every photographer at one time or another has missed a great shot do to not having the right lens, not shooting the picture quick enough or for other reasons. Well yesterday was one of those days for me cause I kept on missing the shot while at the zoo. I was at the zoo yesterday with one of my other photographer friends and it felt like the animals had been toying with us.

We first get up to the Lions and one of the male Lions is sitting up so regal in the tall grass and by the time I put my camera to my face and my friend pulls out her camera he plops down and all you see sticking out of the grass is his back side.

Then we head over to the Sun Bear and we notice the keeper has laid out treats for her but no bear to be seen. We see the keeper and she tells us she is about to release the Sun Bear. One of the treats we noticed was a cereal box of Granola sitting in a tree and we badly wanted to get a picture of the bear eating the granola cereal. It turns out we missed that picture too because the bear was so quick about grabbing the box and then she went into her night area with the box of cereal.

My friend and I are starting to realize that this is one of those days you have to be really quick to get the great shots. We start joking about you only have 30 seconds to get the shot when in fact it probably was only 5 seconds. Yesterday was really hot do to a heat wave coming into the Bay Area so the animals mainly had been trying to keep cool so they would head into places the cameras just could not go into.

There was two pictures that I really wish I had gotten but do to the lack of not having the right lens on it was not possible for me to get the pictures. When I take pictures in a zoo I normally have my 80-400 Lens on the camera so I can get the close up shots of the animals and I normally carry with me my wide angle lens but yesterday I decided to not bring the wide angle lens into the zoo since I never switch the lenses out anyways. It turns out this would of been a good day to have had it with me.

My friend and I arrived over at the elephants and shortly after arriving at the exhibit one of the keepers and a Volunteer Zoo Keeper came out to feed the elephants which they feed them 11 times a day. The Keepers are not allowed to get close to the animals so they toss the food in different places for the elephants to find the food. After the keepers had spread the food around the enclosure they went back into the keeper area but then they came back out with a bucket full of apples. The keepers start throwing the apples into a little swimming pool for the elephants trying to get at least one of the elephants attention to come swimming in the pool on the hot day. I have never seen the elephants swimming in the pool before and I was glad that I was there when I was because I got plenty of pictures of the elephant swimming in the pool with my telephoto lens but a few things happened that would of been great for me to have my wide angle lens. The keepers had been sitting next to a fence away from the pool since they are not allowed to have normal contact with the elephants but the elephant in the pool notices that the keepers have the apples so it comes to the edge of the pool and is sticking its trunk out trying to tell the keepers give me more apples. The keepers throw a few apples in the elephants mouth but then the elephant wants more and all of a sudden when the elephant realizes that the keepers are not giving any more apples she puts her trunk in the water and pulls it out of the water quickly and sprays the two keepers down with water. I missed that shot because I did not have my wide angle lens. I also missed a shot of the elephant throwing mulch at the keepers cause she wanted more apples.

It's a bummer I missed those two great pictures do to the fact that I did not have the right lens with me but from now on I will carry that smaller lens and if I notice an elephant creeping up to the pool I will just switch to the smaller lens especially if there is a keeper throwing yummy treats to attract the elephants to the pool.

Photo credits: , Susan Pettitt.

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August 28, 2008


Thanks :) The elephant pictures in my blog are actually from several weeks and months ago. I still have not uploaded the ones from the other day when the elephant was swimming in the water. I even have a picture of the elephant come right at me while she was in the pool and was a little nervous she was going to spray me just like her keeper.

August 28, 2008


very true, but great shots you got of the elephants!!

August 28, 2008


Good photograph...superb

August 28, 2008


Thank you all for your comments :)

August 28, 2008


Great shot!I like animals~

August 27, 2008


Yes, it can be frustrating, time consuming and at times tedious waiting for an animal to show up or turn around then hope your lighting, battery or memory card does not fail. But, oh the feeling when you capture something amazing! It makes it all so worth it -- look at everything you've captured to date!

In addition your blog offers a very important reminder -- bring every lens, because one never knows!

August 27, 2008


What a bummer! You've done well with the shots you do have though. I know exactly what you mean - I always seem to miss the best shots at the zoo, the last time I was there I missed a shot of a baby gorilla kissing his mother's face...why? Because my memory card ran out!! Just as I was putting in another one they both walked off into their enclosure. I suppose as long as you get some good shots (which you clearly did) all is not lost. I love shooting animals (in a photographic sense!) but at times it can be very frustrating work.

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