Studying Photography at the Zoo

Their entire lives, my kids have been photography subjects. The cameras I use to photograph them have changed over the years, but they’ve always been a fixture in our family life. The kids usually love it, despite short phases where they don’t want the camera to see them, and they often ask to see the images I’ve captured or look over my shoulder while I sort and edit images. Just today, as I looked through my photos from a recent trip to the Zoo, my almost two year old daughter was sitting right next to me, babbling very excitedly at each photograph.

It’s not very surprising that as they get older they become more and more interested in taking pictures themselves. These days they share an Olympus tough camera. It strikes a nice balance between good a good sensor and optics, as well as being nearly indestructible. And of course they love experimenting with their own equipment. Trying different aproaches and discovering new techniques to capture the images they really want. They rarely ask for my help, but are always excited to share pictures that they’re proud of creating.

Last week, on an unseasonably warm day, we went to the Zoo and they became engaged in photographic exploration. Amidst sharing the camera back and forth they started talking about the idea of a joint photography project: capturing pictures of each species at the zoo, along with informational displays about them, and building a scrapbook of the images. It might be a while before that sort of project comes together, but they had fun working towards it. They even started teaching one of their little brothers how to use the camera so he can be a part of it. He very proudly took a picture of his favorite animal, a peacock.

I haven’t looked through their zoo pictures yet, but they were pleased with them, and I’m pretty satisfied with what I captured myself. It was a perfect day to be out. The crowds weren’t too substantial, which is always a treat. The sky was overcast and not too bright. Among others, we saw some active and entertaining monkeys, an elephant demonstration, lots of peacocks and some lions feasting on chunks of meat. An array of great subjects to practice our shooting. Perhaps sometime soon I’ll start sharing pictures that the kids capture themselves, but for now, here are a few of my best pictures from the day:


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