Sometimes, the best subject or background is behind the fence. If you’re at a zoo or museum or park, this will often be the case. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get the shot.
Usually these places use chain link fences or glass walls that you can photograph through. And there’s a trick to shooting through fences. Get close. Really close. In fact, your lens should almost be touching the fence.
I made an eagle portrait at a zoo. There was a chain link fence between me and the bird. I took the lens hood off my zoom lens and placed the glass less than a quarter inch from the fence, making sure that the glass didn’t actually touch so it wouldn’t get scratched. Then I made my exposure. Because the close focusing distance of this lens was 36 inches, anything closer than that simply didn’t register. Additionally, I shot the this photo wide open at f5.6. This means that I had a very shallow depth of field. Only the area right around the bird’s head was in focus. Anything in front of, or behind the bird, just blurs. That’s why you can shoot through a chain link fence and still get the shot.
Note: This obviously won’t work as well with a shorter lens or in cases where you shoot stopped down for greater detail.
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