Last weekend I took a trip with Dawn up to Blackpool Zoo for the first time. I am not sure why I have not visited before but it is probably due to having the excellent Chester Zoo just down the road. It was a a wonderful spring day with clear skies overhead but not ideal for photography with some intense harsh sunlight. My preferred conditions for zoo trips are bright days with white cloud above which acts like a large diffuser and removes the problems caused by high contrast. I also find zoo trips most productive when I go alone as I can make several circuits of the zoo which gives increased opportunity to photograph animals that were not showing on the first lap, allows you to spend an extended time with a particular animal and means you can visit particular areas when the light is in optimal position for different enclosures. On this trip I just packed the 300mm lens and just took a few photos while wandering around. Generally a zoom lens is much better at zoos as the flexibility in focal length is a handy feature for dealing with different enclosures.
I will start off with an animal that I have not seen or photographed before. I was really constrained by the enclosure particularly given that their long claws had scratched a broad band of the perspex that I was shooting through. So apologies for it not being that good a photo.
In the beginning there was a word...and the word was Aardvark.
Photographing animals in zoos tends to produce quite a lot of static portraits so I was pleased to find this Red-necked Wallaby springing around its enclosure.
An inquisitive animal which seems to be present in most UK zoos the Oriental Short-clawed Otter.
Moving across to the big cats which are always very photogenic. These two photographs show how getting some action, even as in this case if it is just a yawn, can make the image that more interesting.
A standard portrait of an African Lioness
and in mid-yawn
I never fail to be amazed by the sheer size and power of an Amur Tiger they are very impressive and beautiful animals. Sadly also highly threatened in the wild and in this Year of the Tiger I would urge you to try and support conservation groups that are trying to prevent their extinction. A world without tigers would be a very sad one.
I also photographed a few birds on the circuit around the zoo that included a Night heron, Eastern White Pelican, some free range Peacocks which are difficult to resist with their dazzling colours and African Spoonbill.
Finishing off with a couple of photographs from the reptile collection which proved a struggle due to the lack of available light.
The lurking eyes of a Yacare Caiman
If you ever find yourself out an about in North America and looking at one of these at this distance then its time to take a sharp exit!. An Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.