Patient Jungle

What is it like to have a subject that moves? How does a photographer snap a shot of the subject’s face? Patience, patience, patience.

Patience isn’t always easy to harness though in high stress situations or when there’s a time constraint. Sports is one of those type of photo subjects that can cause an issue, but that’s why photographers usually have the multiple shot option on. That means they hold down the camera button and several photos will be taken in that one push. It’s really useful in high stress environments.

But what if the photographer is just moving through a zoo with friends and they don’t want to sit and wait for the photographer to take several minutes to get a good starting shot of an animal? Well, just ask my brother and fiance. I’m sure they were definitely over my 20 pre-photos before I finally got the right settings to take the photos I wanted.

It was certainly a good way to learn what settings worked in certain lighting, so the changes in shutter speed or aperture went a lot quicker. The goal (as any photographer hopes, I’m sure) is to know automatically what settings are best without many alterations. If only it were possible immediately, right?

Now to the photos of subjects that moved (and some that didn’t) at the St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri.


This was shot with my Canon with an f-stop at f/5, 1/50 second exposure, and ISO at 1600 because of the low light in the Reptile House. Focal length was at 200mm with my telephoto lens.

I’m not sure if this was the Komodo Dragon or the Gila Monster, but he was a mover. He was crawling down his rock, so I took at least 10 photos of him crawling down the rock (quite unflattering I might add). Getting a shot with his tongue out was another battle. It was easier to take the time to figure out the best settings (and it’s still a little dark for my taste, but I can edit that in Photoshop) since it was very warm in the Reptile House and absolutely freezing outside. It was wonderful practice for my first real attempt at using my Canon.


The settings for this were f/8 for the aperture, ISO 1600 (I think all of them are sitting at 1600), and 1/500 of a second exposure. The focal length was 55mm, but I think I was using my 18-55mm lens.

This was an odd situation because the tank was dark except for the lights the lizards were sitting under. I had to change my settings to be much faster than what I was used to for the lizard to not get washed out. It actually turned out to be one of my favorite photos because of the major contrast between the light and dark spaces. Using the telephoto lens would have been great to get a much closer shot, but that would have warranted another change in settings. It’s always a changing game with photography.


Aperture was f/7.1, ISO 1600, exposure 1/160 second and 125mm with my telephoto lens.

This is Kali (pronounced Cully), the zoo’s only polar bear right now. He was pacing all over his enormous exhibit. He ended up laying down, his butt to the glass, and chewed on a log of wood. He’s a funny bear. It was fun trying to follow him and snap a photo of his face before he showed us his best side.

Here’s a video from the zoo of this handsome guy playing with a heart-shaped block of ice, just in time for Valentine’s Day:

I’m going to post a few more photos from the day at the zoo just for entertainment. Thanks for sticking around and I look forward to sharing more soon!


P.S. The featured photo is one of the leopards who was pacing around and making an interesting bark growl. ISO 1600, f/11 aperture, 1/200 of a second exposure, and 75mm with the telephoto lens.


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