So first things first, you have decided you need some reference photographs to help with painting an animal(s), what do you need to think about.
- What species of animal do you want to paint
- How far are you able to travel
- How much time and money do you want to spend.
So I decide I want to photograph a tiger. I'll then use the internet to come up with a list of Zoo's or Wildlife Parks within the area I am willing to visit. I will look at the list of animals each facility keeps and make a short list of which ones have tigers. At this point I might look at which subspecies are kept or how far away each place is.
I might find that the best choice is a photographic day which several facilities offer, these are obviously much more expensive than a visit to the Zoo or Wildlife Park.
So now I know where I'm going I need to decide when I'm going. I would avoid:-
- School Holidays/Weekends if possible
- The middle of the day as I find the animals are most active early morning or late afternoon.
- Very cold or very warm weather (this depends on the species to some extent)
I'm now ready for my trip, packed the camera and put on some comfortable shoes, and clothing suitable for standing still for long periods of time.
In the next part I will discuss what to do when faced with your model, especially if it is a speck on the horizon.