Zoo or Portrait Studio?
Some times after I have been out at the zoo taking photos and I am at home reviewing the photos I took that day I am amazed at the outcome of some of them. Some times the pictures look like they had to have been taken in a portrait studio instead of a zoo.
This portrait of the male and female lion is one of my favorites that I have taken that to me looks like I could of taken it in a studio and that these lions are trained to look at the camera. In fact the picture was taken in a zoo of two lions that I know quite well. The story behind the picture was that it was lunch time and the female lion was really wanting to go inside and have her meal. She kept on pacing back and forth and the male lion just sat there and watched her for about 10 minutes. She finally gave up and sat down on the rock at the entrance of the cave that the male is sitting in. I talk to these animals while photographing them and I normally get a good response from the male lion but the female is normally a little harder to work with. She was actually born in Africa in a wildlife preserve and later brought to the United States to help bring new genes into the Lion population for zoos. The male lion was born at the zoo but his mother died while birthing him and his siblings so he and his only other sibling that survived was raised by hand. With him being raised by hand I think this helps with how he reacts with me since he has a connection with people unlike the female lion. After she settled down she kept on looking still at the hidden door that is in the cave but the male lion was watching me cause I was talking to him. I was mainly taking pictures of him but all of a sudden her head turned and she started watching me as well. I quickly switched from only taken pictures of the male lion to taking a few pictures of them both looking my way since I had her attention also. I was amazed when I pulled this picture up on my computer screen when I got home because the lighting in this picture is all natural from the sun. To me this picture looks like it could of been a studio picture.
This Western Lowland Gorilla picture is another one of mine that I always think that it looks like a studio instead of a zoo. The male Silverback looks like he is posing for me with his arm up a little which actually was resting on his knee. He is looking straight at the camera. You can see in this picture that his chest muscles are built as if he worked out or some thing. Plus I like the creamy color background.
These pictures that I took that look like a studio instead of a zoo always remind me of several animal photographers that have always been inspiring to me because some of their greatest wildlife photographs look like they had been shot in a studio but in fact was taken in a zoo.
Photo credits: Susan Pettitt.