Zippity Zoo Da!

Taking photos at the Zoo can be relaxing while providing some challenges. Here are a few tips to consider. 

Know the Zoo Rules: Before you arrive, find out the rules. For instance, you cannot use any KC Zoo photos for commercial purposes.

While there, don’t block paths or expect people to stop because you want to take a photo.  

Identify a Point of Interest: What about the animal interests you?
Be sure to approach your shot to take advantage of your point of interest.

Radi is one of my favorite subjects. What interests me about him is his attitude.


Manage Distracting Elements: A good first option is to shoot from angles that have natural looking elements around the animal.

If you can’t avoid the distracting elements, try using wide apertures, a telephoto lens, and a tight focus on the animal. This will tend to defocus bars or other barriers between you and the animal

A third option is to use the distracting element as part of your composition. I like the way the barriers in this shot convey a sense of passage. 


Focus on the Eyes: When you get the eyes in focus in a prominent place in your photo, it creates a better connection between your subject and the viewer. I had a difficult time looking away from the tiger’s eyes. 




Watch for Antics: Animals sometimes do funny things. Be on the lookout for those. For some reason the koala reminded me of a rock star intently focused on his performance. 

If you haven’t been to the Zoo recently, consider adding it to your list. 

P.S. You get bonus points if you can name the song that this post title used for a play on words. 

Why I Enjoy Landscape Photography

by Malinda VanDyne

What about landscapes draws you to them?

Is it difficult to overcome the urge to kick off your shoes and run across a field of blooming clover? Does the sunlight dancing on a pool of water captivate you so much that you begin to walk toward it? I admit to thoughts like those.

Rather than lose control of the situation, I let my camera be my intermediary. If I can visually capture nature calling me, I not only avoid possible embarrassment, I create a means to relive the memory.


For instance, something about this curved waterfall mesmerized me. It was a challenge to my self-control to not dive into the water. My camera saved me. As I look at the ropey strands of water in the photo, my mind returns to the experience of gazing at the waterfall



Can you imagine the sensation of touching a fuzzy plant? That’s what my camera allowed me to do with this plant from a distance. Now, I have a memory to revisit with the bonus of knowing I did not damage the plant by touching it. 

This is why I enjoy landscape photography. I can appreciate nature without being intrusive. My reward is an assortment of photos that let me repeatedly enjoy nature. 

Faux Mushrooms

For some reason, there are many strange growths on the trees in this little forest. At first glance, I thought these were mushrooms. Upon looking again, I think they are a type of tree growth.

Blue Bird

When I captured this image, I wasn’t sure what type of bird it was, I described it to my mom. She was certain is was a bluebird. Apparently, they were quite common where she lived as a child. Mom was correct. With a quick internet search, I confirmed that this is a bluebird. More research revealed that several states have designated the bluebird as their state bird.

Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Butterflies are gorgeous creatures who are not inclined to strike a pose for you. What’s a photographer to do? 


  • Pick a location with flower gardens that attract butterflies. The more butterflies that are available, the greater the chances that you will get good photo opportunities. 

  • When possible, choose a cooler day when they are moving more slowly. That will allow you to get closer to them.


  • As fun as it may be, don’t chase the butterflies. Instead, pick a place next to an attractive flower and quietly wait for a butterfly to visit. This does require patience.


  • Wait for the butterfly to move into a position where it is facing the sun. When the sun shines from the side, you will often get harsh shadows across the wings. When the sun is behind the butterfly, you may get flares. 
  • Position your camera’s sensor so it is parallel to the butterfly’s wings. That will help you keep the butterfly’s body and wings in sharp focus.


  • Because butterflies are always moving, you will do best with a fast shutter speed (1/500th sec). 

  • To make the butterfly stand out from the background, use a smaller f/stop. 


  • Watch your shadow. Butterflies enjoy the sun. If you cast a shadow on them, they are likely to fly away from you. 

With some planning and patience, you can take beautiful butterfly photos.