|That one perfect moment. (L-R: Twiga, Kiko, Mstari)|
I've often referred to my method of taking pictures of animals as "brute force photography". I'm not a true practitioner of the art, per se: I don't pay that much attention to lighting, location, time of day, filters, etc., etc., etc. What I do is visit an animal I want to try to get a photo of, choose a spot with a relatively clean view (and as devoid of other people as possible), set up there, and wait for my subject to do something interesting – which sometimes means simply showing up at all. I will wait a very long time for an opportunity (I spent over four hours on one morning in May to get some photos of our lynx kittens) and, far more often than not, I am rewarded for my patience. I shoot in bursts and refine the best captures in "post-production"; I also seem to have a bit of a knack for predicting the moves of an animal and zeroing in on facial expressions or unusual moments, which helps quite a bit. Most of my best pictures are a result of this method, but every now and then I will stumble upon a scene which I recognize as an instant "classic" – as was the case with my photo for February of this year. Sometimes, too, it all comes down to simply being in the right place at the right time and being ready to shoot.
Which is what happened when I captured the above photo for July, 2016.
|My first glimpse of Kiko on exhibit|
|My very first glimpse of Mstari – 1 week old!|
|A very doting mother|
|Alison feeding Kiko (front) and Twiga|
|(L-R) Kiko, Mstari and Twiga circling the wagons|
So yes, this was a case of "right place, right time"; however, I created that possibility through anticipation of the animals I knew so well and it came to fruition by the actions of the one unknown: Kiko. For all the technical aspects of photography that I am light years behind in, I am very pleased with my ability to recognize patterns and habits of the creatures that I spend so much of my days with. They have rewarded my patience and powers of observation time and time again and that is why I still return with my camera on so many days where I do not have a scheduled shift at the Zoo. I hope – oh, do I hope – that I never lose that passion. With subjects like these, though....how could I, really?
Next month: another huge animal, and a photo taken not too far from where I stood to snap the one for July. I hope, this time, I have it ready for the first of the month!