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Gorillas Enchant At The Franklin Park Zoo

April 29, 2013
Franklin Park Zoo gorilla

And then our eyes met…

Captivating Faces

My favorite residents at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts, are the gorillas. I love everything about them — their movement, expression, and especially when they make eye contact with me. While I enjoy all of the animals at the zoo, if I was only permitted to photograph one group of animals it would definitely be the gorillas.

The Challenge of Glass

The gorillas are visible through high-impact glass walls. As you can imagine, those walls are covered with fingerprints and nose prints thanks to the many children that visit these beloved creatures. That poses a big challenge for a photographer — how to get a clear shot through dirty glass. Photographing the gorillas involves a bit of strategy. It’s a process that I’ve developed and improved upon as the result of several visits.

My Shooting Strategy

Here’s the shooting strategy that’s proven to be successful for me:

1. Wear an old long sleeve t-shirt.

2. Breathe on the glass wall and use the sleeve of the t-shirt at the elbow to clean the dirty glass.

3. Take time to establish eye contact with the gorilla. Show him/her the camera without pointing it directly at him/her. Maintain eye contact and SMILE.

4. Remove the lens hood. Carefully place the front of the lens directly against the glass. It must remain flush against the glass. Maintain eye contact and SMILE.

5. Stand your ground and keep your spot in front of the window. Beware of wayward children and other pushy visitors.

6. If losing eye contact, slowly raise your hand and move it as if to wave. This will get the gorilla’s attention. Re-establish eye contact and SMILE.

6. Move from window to window and shoot from all perspectives.

As you can see from this shot, a smile can work wonders. Sometimes you even get a little smile in return.

Give my strategy a try at any zoo you visit.

To see some of my other Franklin Park Zoo gorilla shots, click here and here.

Photo Info:

Camera:  Nikon D300
Lens:  Nikkor 70-200 mm
Exif Data:  ISO 200, 160 mm, f/3.5, 1/60 sec.

For Licensing Information or to Purchase A Print:  Email Me!

Come back every Monday to see my latest “Single Shot Showcase”!

~ Liz Mackney

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