Friday, February 19, 2010

In the wild or in a wildlife park?

There are photographers think that wild animal photographs, like this tiger, are not worthy of being shown because it was not taken in the wild. I can understand that point of view, but, and it is a big but, I really enjoy photographing animals, and since visiting Africa is not in my future, I will have to make due with what I can. When I was young, many moons ago, a big cat like this would be behind bars pacing back and forth in a small cage. I took the photo of this tiger three weeks ago at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is actually a wildlife park. The tiger compound is meant to recreate ancient Indian ruins.

I think there are a total of five tigers in the compound. While we were observing them we were treated to  seeing one tiger sharply reprimand one of the others by running up to him (or her) and growling fiercely. One of the attendants said that the tiger were raised together, and they generally get along well. Obviously, one of them is the "big cat" who keeps everyone else in line.

The Animal Kingdom also features a 100-acre savanna with free roaming native animals. We have been through the savanna many times, and we have seen elephants, but never such a large group.

At the building block of all photography is light — and light can make or break a picture. Most everyone has heard that the "magic hours," the hours around sunrise and sunset, when the light is best for nature photography. There are many reasons why it is not always possible to shoot when the light is best, one being that the Animal Kingdom is only open from 9 to 5.  To make up for the less then optimum lighting of mid-day, I cropped the photos of the elephants to cut out the washout sky, and I used Adobe Lightroom to make the photos more monochromatic, making for a more dreamatic image than the full color photo.

A creature that must be presented in full color is the Scarlet Macaw.

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