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Animals That You Have No Luck With

Discussion in 'Animal Photography' started by Moebelle, 18 Aug 2016.

  1. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

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    No matter how many zoos I've been to that display these particular species, there are just some animals out there that I have absolutely zero luck with photographing. Sometimes it's based on my skill level and available equipment but sometimes I also notice that there are animals that are just plain non-photogenic. Most of which that are high class... Here's a list of animals that I have trouble getting a good photo out of and I would like to read your's if you're a photographer.

    Cougars unless they are jumping
    African Painted Dogs at any angle
    Any gazelle species unless they are rutting
    Camels unless they are yawning
    Andean condors and all vultures
    All snakes
    Lizards behind glass
    Sloths
    Giraffes most of the time
    Cheetahs unless they are running
    Adult bonobos
    All penguins except Blue penguins
    Colobus
    Guenons
    Macaques
    Orangutans
    Typically Indian Rhinos
    All bears, unless they are fighting
    Nicobar pigeon - Surprising considering their colors
    Saddle-billed Storks - No matter how many times I try, I'm never satisfied
    Silverback gorillas
    Lionesses
    Capybaras
    Any small bird
    Crocodilians
    Bongos
    Zebras
     
  2. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    An interesting question. I am firmly of the opinion that anything can be photographed, provided that you have the right kit and you're in the right place and the right time - however at least half the skill of photography is being right there, right then and with the right gear in your hands. However some species in some enclosures make things very difficult - sometimes the best answer is to got to a different zoo with a different lens at a different time of year :)
    However there are still an awful lot of animals for which I have never got a really satisfactory photograph, even after 40+ years of trying. The ones that spring to mind are
    • giant panda (although I haven't seen one for years)
    • birds of paradise (they hardly ever pose nicely for me)
    • squirrels (too fast)
    • aquatic salamanders (usually kept in dim light and they hide away)
    • small tortoises, terrapins & turtles (I know it sounds silly, but it's hard to get the camera low enough in most zoo enclosures)

    Alan
     
  3. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Lions
    Cheetahs
    Fishing cats
    Bears except giant pandas
    Sea otters
    Storks except Storm's stork
    Rhinos
    Great apes (except babies)
    Sloths except three-toed sloths
    Pheasants
    Raptors except for vultures
    Pretty much all hoofstock (the smaller it is, though, the better I do)
    Elephants
    Lizards behind glass
    Tortoises
    Elephant shrews
    Flying foxes except for spectacled flying foxes- and that's only because the one I saw used to be a pet and likes humans
     
  4. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @ Moebelle - If you come out here to Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, I can virtually guarantee fantastic cougar and rattlesnake photos.

    Some of the animals on the lists above are due to overall poor exhibit quality. There are no good orangutan exhibits anywhere in the United States (from what I have seen), so you will not get a good photo except perhaps for a tight portrait. For reptile houses in general, perhaps you just need a macro lens? Also I always carry a black cloth (napkin) in my bag to shield glare from the viewing glass.
     
  5. RetiredToTheZoo

    RetiredToTheZoo Well-Known Member

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    Somehow I missed this thread. I agree with Gentle Lemur's statement, "at least half the skill of photography is being right there, right then and with the right gear in your hands." The other half, especially when photographing animals and children, is having the time and patience to wait for the great opportunity to present itself, and the ability to recognize and act on it. I've lost count of the number of great photo opportunities I've missed because I just didn't see them and act in time.
     
  6. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    I have countless photos of very bad quality - blurry (for example clouded leopard), silhouetted (for example siamang), too much contrasted, too dark (babyrousa), with glass reflections, with flash reflection (f. e. chinese giant salamander), with the wires showing in the front (such as abyssinian ground hornbill) or with the animal in bad or very bad position (such as bush dog). However, I would like to remark on those animals that we saw and tried to photograph, but due to available light, animal moving, too hidden, etc etc.. we don't get any photo at all. Mines are, for example, black dorcopsis at Prague, fennec at San Diego, fossa at San Diego and Berlin, brahminy kite at Taipei, tentacled snake at San Diego, Zoe's imperial pigeon at London, Perdicula asiatica at Plzen... and probably much more. All these are now species from which I lack photos :-(
     
  7. cypher

    cypher Well-Known Member

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    Anytime I come across an animal I'm having a hard time taking a shot of, it's usually due to the enclosure. Mainly lighting conditions, man made obstacles, or barriers such as fencing or glass viewings.
     
  8. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Elephants. I never know how much to zoom in, especially with their long trunks. Then you have their long eyelashes that can blocked their eyes a lot.
     
  9. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    I find it very difficult to take good photos of primates, as they seem to be moving constantly and so my pictures often end up blurry. Same issue with aquatic animals moving underwater.

    Part of it is that I'm only using my mobile phone to take pictures rather than an actual camera, so there's that :p
     
  10. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Only exception I can think of at the moment are the maned wolves at the Houston Zoo. They seem to spend much of their time hiding so I rarely even see them, much less get the chance to take a good photo.
     
  11. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    Enclosures are a huge part of the problem; especially any where you've got two layers of protection. Often wire on the cage and then a further barrier (eg fence line) that keeps people back; because then you often cant shoot through the wire by getting your lens up close to it; and very few enclosures offer a very long depth to allow you to focus far into them to get to the subject.

    The other things that often get annoying are reflections or marks on the glass (marks on both sides!) or very close-up enclosures (I tend to end up with a long lens fitted so don't tend to carry a shorter lens - weakness of DSLR and being lazy ;)).

    Indoors is also a major challenge because even if the animals are not light sensitive; most indoor areas that are bright enough for eyes are dim for cameras; to say nothing of the challenge of mixed light where you've got shade and natural light spilling in from windows.
     
  12. cypher

    cypher Well-Known Member

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    Spot on. This is what I find to be the biggest challenge when taking photos at the zoo. Exhibit constraints and lighting issues (mainly indoors).
     
  13. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

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    Fences and other distractions are the reason why I now place some animals in black backgrounds and make "studio shots". If they're easy to photpshop out I'll do it but my main goal is to make it look like I was never even at a zoo.