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BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Animals, Pets, & Wildlife Photography

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Photography Question 
Melissa Hallum
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/18/2005
 

Places To Get Great Animal Pictures


After browsing through some of the galleries here at BetterPhoto.com, I'm amazed at some of the great photos of animals, exotic and local. I am an 'amateur' photographer. I absolutely love to take pictures of animals and landscapes, but I'm kind of getting bored with taking pictures of my cats and at my farm. I was just wondering if anyone could give me some tips on where I might go to be able to find some great subjects. I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks for your help.

1/10/2006 10:21:57 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com

member since: 10/6/2001
  Look for zoos and drive-through animal parks in your area, wildlife refuges, parks and protected areas where they aren't so frightened of humans. Look on your state's travel promotion Web site. They usually have good ideas.

1/11/2006 3:10:53 AM

 
Daniela Meli

member since: 3/1/2005
  Or take a trip to Kenya or Tanzania! The Massai Mara and the Serengeti are great places to see amazing animals.

1/11/2006 4:48:57 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
 
 
  bat dog
bat dog
© Debby A. Tabb
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
If you just need a change ... well, shooting out of a local pet store can be fun. The zoo is a blast, but the best time is in the rain. Just some thoughts.

1/11/2006 2:07:08 PM

 
David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Parks and wildlife refuges are good places, and since the animals are fairly used to people, you can usually see a lot of them and get fairly close (but not too close, since they are wild animals, after all). You don't want to stress the animal or risk getting hurt.
Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier National Park are all places I have been that have done well for me. State parks can be good for waterfowl and other birds, deer, etc. Beaches tend to be good places for waterfowl like herons, egrets, ducks, gulls, etc. For wildlife, remember the environment you are in. You will see much more wildlife in an area that supports more life than in, say, a desert. I have seen deer and sheep on my trips to Arches and Canyonlands, but not nearly as often as I have in Rocky Mountain NP.

1/11/2006 2:18:26 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery

member since: 6/27/2004
  Living on a farm should give you a little bit of an advantage as far as wildlife is concerned. If I lived on a farm, I'd try to find a spot where I could set up a permanent blind and get a predator call from an outfitter such as Cabelas and spend a little time in the blind trying my hand at calling wildlife to me. You could get something like a 'distressed rabbit' call and if an animal is close enough they will come to investigate. Coyotes, bobcat, fox, and I've read that even deer will come out of curiosity. There are calls for as little as $10 that claim to bring animals as far away as 1/2 mile.

1/11/2006 3:47:42 PM

 
Gen Nagase
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/31/2003
  Also, check out the National Wildlife Refuge map and see where they are located in your state. You may be pleasantly surprised to fine one nearby. Also, join the local and National Audubon Society and take field trips with the experienced birder(s).

1/11/2006 6:02:01 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/3/2005
  I get bored too. It seems I have to travel further and further away to get something to shoot. Not just animals but landscapes and such. I drove around and around one day for three hours in South Winsdsor CT looking for things, I got almost nothing, a couple farm shots...thats all. I guess it helps if you know the place but then its all been done before. I wish I could get back to the everglades this year but that aint gonna happen unless one of you guys wants to give me a couple grand for the trip...(hint hint)lol
-zacker-

1/11/2006 6:22:02 PM

 
Melissa Hallum
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/18/2005
  Thanks you guys...I had thought of the zoo, but the area where I live has a rather small zoo, and I sometimes question the health of some of the animals. As for the locations that you gave me, I'll try to check them out...thanks again for your input.

1/12/2006 4:56:59 PM

 
Kathy 

member since: 6/13/2003
  If you can find a wildlife rehabilitator, they might be willing to let you take photos of animals they have in their care. If they agree, give a donation. Rehabbers are unpaid and spend their own money caring for the animals.

1/17/2006 6:09:41 PM

 
jean ray
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/22/2004
  Don't forget aquariums! They are great fun. Marine fish and invertabrates come in an amazing array of color, shape, and texture. Flash is generally permitted, except for a few species that may be harmed by it, and as long as you either shoot with your lense right up to the glass or at an angle, you won't get ugly refleections. Also, most aquariums have marine mammals and birds, and some have tropical birds, too. And they are a great place to spend time in a city during nasty weather.

1/17/2006 8:07:47 PM

 
eric brown

member since: 5/1/2004
  ther are even a few places where you can pay for private photo time one north of toronto (northwoods) one outside Minneapolis, theres one down in texas with some really nice big cats, theres a cat rescue place in tampa(iam going there next month) theres a wolf place in new jersey of all places a nice little raptor center in vermont an another one not far into new hamshire then theres all ways triple d game farm if you have lots to spend if you find any more on line could you share with me please I too am always looking for cool new spots eric trnbaron@aol

1/18/2006 4:32:13 AM

 
ahmed elmasry

member since: 7/7/2004
 
 
 
ahmed

1/18/2006 9:14:57 AM

 
Aaron  Reyes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2005
  try animal shelters? you could get them when they take the dogs for walks. maybe you were looking for something more exotic than dogs though...
I think i've heard that some zoos won't let you photograph if they think you're a pro. maybe hide the nice lens in a bag when you first get there?? even if you're not a pro they might see a nice camera and just say no.
i've wondered if that's really much of an issue. anyone else heard this?

1/23/2006 5:14:57 PM

 
Deja Webster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/1/2005
 
 
 
Hi Melissa
I agree with Aaron, check out your local animal animal shelter.
I take pictures every week out at our shelter. Our local newspaper uses them for a weekly ad showing which pets are available for adoption.
It has been an incredible learning experience and something I look forward to doing. You learn to get better with any type of fast moving object.
I take all the dogs shots outside and for the indoor pictures of our cats I stick one of those natural light bulbs in a floor lamp. I don't have any fancy equipment so the bulb helps on a gray day.
I put the cats on a office chair covered with a white towel or sheet to make them stand out. I can move them around by moving the chair. I always shoot from the floor or ground for those "eye" shots that will find them a home. I also get head shots more often than full body shots for the same reason.
Deja

1/23/2006 10:55:39 PM

 
Deja Webster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/1/2005
 
 
 
Hi Melissa
I agree with Aaron, check out your local animal animal shelter.
I take pictures every week out at our shelter. Our local newspaper uses them for a weekly ad showing which pets are available for adoption.
It has been an incredible learning experience and something I look forward to doing. You learn to get better with any type of fast moving object.
I take all the dogs shots outside and for the indoor pictures of our cats I stick one of those natural light bulbs in a floor lamp. I don't have any fancy equipment so the bulb helps on a gray day.
I put the cats on a office chair covered with a white towel or sheet to make them stand out. I can move them around by moving the chair. I always shoot from the floor or ground for those "eye" shots that will find them a home. I also get head shots more often than full body shots for the same reason.
Deja

1/23/2006 10:56:26 PM

 
Deja Webster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/1/2005
 
 
 
Hi Melissa
I agree with Aaron, check out your local animal animal shelter.
I take pictures every week out at our shelter. Our local newspaper uses them for a weekly ad showing which pets are available for adoption.
It has been an incredible learning experience and something I look forward to doing. You learn to get better with any type of fast moving object.
I take all the dogs shots outside and for the indoor pictures of our cats I stick one of those natural light bulbs in a floor lamp. I don't have any fancy equipment so the bulb helps on a gray day.
I put the cats on a office chair covered with a white towel or sheet to make them stand out. I can move them around by moving the chair. I always shoot from the floor or ground for those "eye" shots that will find them a home. I also get head shots more often than full body shots for the same reason.
Deja

1/23/2006 10:57:58 PM

 
Lynn P. Foerster
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Lynn
Lynn's Gallery

member since: 2/28/2005
  Deja!
This is so weird. I did a search on "rabbit" and clicked on the link and recognized your pics and then saw your name! I love this puppy shot! (Deja & I met in a BetterPhoto course last summer for anyone else reading).
Lynn

1/27/2006 7:13:40 PM

 
Shannon Cook
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2006
  Melissa -

There is an amazing place 90 minutes north of Phoenix and 25 minutes south of Sedona in Arizona. It's called "Out of Africa WildLife Park". I was lucky enough to be there when they had 6 month old baby tigers that we got to play with! You can also take a little tour in a jeep and feed giraffes! Got a couple great shots of that. Or if you have any dog parks in your area, those are always fun.
Shannon

1/31/2007 1:31:42 PM

 

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