If the feeding time is advertised then you need to be in place at least half an hour before, because:-
- The animals tend to be moving about in anticipation
- It will get really busy around the enclosure and you need to have selected your place.
- After feeding the animals usually retire for a sleep
If the cage has a glass viewing panel as well as mesh then I sometimes choose to shoot through the glass if the mesh is double or triple and quite small.
If it is a fairly large mesh I will shoot so that the links do not obscure an important part of the animal such as the eye or ear setting. I will also kneel or bend so that I shoot on eye level with the animal to reduce distortion.
I shot this cheetah through mesh, it isn't a good photograph but plenty good enough for me to use as a reference. His face was at a slightly odd angle which I have straightened a little.
If I choose to photograph through the glass, the first thing is to pick a spot which is reasonably clean, I usually use a tissue to give it a quick rub.Then put the lens right up against the glass, this will reduce glare and reflection. Again try and take the photograph at eye level for the animal unless you want to paint a different viewpoint.
Wherever you choose to stand, you will have to be patient and take an awful lot of photographs. Most of them will not be that useful, but patience usually pays off if you watch the animal to see which area of its enclosure it prefers. You can sometimes see a path worn in the grass where the animal often walks.
If you are photographing an animal which is either allowed to roam free or has no mesh then patience is the only requisite.
I sat and watched the Meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo for an hour before this one came and sat right in front of me.I live reasonably near the Wildlife Park in the Lake District which has several species of free roaming lemurs, wallabies, ostrich, etc. The photographs can be taken with any size of camera, my son takes excellent photographs with a small digital that cost less than £100. Do not be put off by thinking your camera is not good enough.
In the last post I will consider what to do with the photographs once you get home.
Just to show that you can take good underwater shots putting the lens against the glass. I took this photograph in the Aquarium in Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada.