I spent the morning wondering around the local zoo photographing some of the animals, avoiding the hundreds of school children on a field trip and watching other zoo patrons get frustrated trying to photograph the animals.

One of the most common mistakes people make is to leave the camera on full automatic mode.  This was especially obvious in the reptile display area. There were the families standing and looking at the reptiles trying to take a photograph with the flash on, but because the encloseres have a glass front, the flash just bounces off the glass and causes a big white spot.

Tip 1: Turn the flash off and hold the camera steady.

This shot was taken by getting close as possible to the glass and focusing on the head of the snake.

Tip 2: Find out when the feeding times are.

Knowing when the animals are going to be fed will help in getting a more active shot. The pandas send most of their time sunning in the trees or just sitting.

Getting this shot was possible because the panda had just been let out to eat.  Make sure you have you gear ready, most times you will not be able stand and wait for the perfect moment especially at the most popular exhibits.

Tip 3: Take multiple photos

This shot was the fifth in a series of seven shots. The tongue sticking out gives the shot a little personality.  It wouldn’t have happened if I was trying to time the shot.

Tip 4: Underexpose for those tricky moments.

The white polar bear caused the exposure reading of the camera to underexpose the bear. Manually setting the exposure helped to give the bear a correct exposure.