Zoos are a great place to practice shooting (not a good word to use but this is a photography site) animals. The thing is, we all have great images of the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my). What about finding the less popular or, even better, the less seen shots?

Capturing Details

I recently had a couple of hours to wander the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. It’s a very manageable zoo to walk in a short afternoon. Before I even got there I had an idea in my mind to only shoot details using my Canon 70-300mm lens. Yes, mine is an older lens but I am not a gearhead and this lens never lets me down. It was perfect for what I wanted to do, capture details.

Black swan tail ruffles
Double-Wattled Cassowary
Tigers Tangled in a Nap

Challenge Yourself

How often do you go out with your backpack or camera bag fully loaded? I know a lot of people who suffer from anxiety if they don’t have every single lens and camera body they own with them. Me? I’m the complete opposite, I hate carrying anything extra. So the one camera/one lens way of shooting is something I do often. Do you know why? It forces us to see, think and shoot differently. One camera/one lens makes us “crop with our feet”, makes us move up, down, closer, further, right or left in order to get the shot we want. It forces us to think creatively and in a way that we don’t normally think or shoot. Limiting ourselves can be one of the best ways to learn and grow. Sometimes, that even means putting the camera on (gasp) auto and seeing what you can get without having to think about settings.

Stingray underwater in a very dark room – shot in auto.
Alligator Tail


On a bit of a side note, I also challenged myself to only edit these images in the new Skylum Luminar 2018 (Luminar 2018 starts shipping November 16. But you can save on software here). I am currently using the new Luminar as a plug-in for Lightroom CC Classic. I’ve started out with presets that are included in the original Luminar purchase and just done a little bit of tweaking with sliders, filters, and options. Just by playing it’s a good way to just get to know my way around in Luminar.

Do you see what I saw?


Learning & Growing

There are so many ways to learn and grow in photography, by limiting ourselves to technique, lens choice, location, subject matter and also with editing we will be pushed to learn more and try things we would not ordinarily try. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and into some new and wonderful images as a result.